Welcome to part three of a four-part series on the best formula for a presentation closing that resonates.
End on a high point. Options for Closing Techniques:
The last thirty seconds of your speech must send people out energized and fulfilled. This means you need to finish with something inspirational that supports your theme.
1 • “The Circular Technique”
As a discipline, it’s always wise to revisit your opening, whether you use this technique or not. In the Circular Technique, the opening and closing generate the same emotion or have corresponding circumstances or situations. For example, I opened my keynote to the American Cemetery Association with the story of my experience when my mother died. Using the circular technique, I led into my close with this:
“At the beginning of my presentation, you heard my experience when my mother died. Let me close with my brother’s experience that he wrote in the liner notes of his CD, Blessing of Tears. ‘Life is what we are given, living is what we do with it . . .’”
My opening showed my perspective, and my closing gave my brother Robert’s perspective.
Welcome to part two of a four-part series on the best formula for a presentation closing that resonates.
If you plan to include Q & A, indicate how much time has been allotted.
To keep the session flowing, I recommend that you say, “What are your short, specific questions?” Be sure to let your audience know when you will take two final questions. With virtual presentations, after each point of wisdom and before you transition to the next chunk of content, why not add a slide with a question mark on it. This reminds you of your flow, and it gives the audience time to engage. Up front, ask the introducer or moderator to tell the audience you will be doing this. If you are your own moderator, let the audience know to add their questions when they have them. My advice: If you have an audience of more than a handful, have a moderator. Not all questions need to be answered if they are off-topic. If three attendees ask the same question, they can be combined. It is a good idea to have a couple of on-point questions prepared in case none are asked.
If you speak on a complex subject, it is best to answer questions throughout your presentation.
Welcome to part one of a four-part series on the best formula for a presentation closing that resonates.
Every great singer opens with their second-best song and closes with their best.
In a perfect world, your close will be a highlight of your speech. This way you increase the likelihood that you will look out and see your audience leap to their feet applauding. Bill Gove, the first president of the National Speakers Association, told me, “A standing ovation says more about the audience than the speaker.” In other words, a mediocre speech can receive an ovation from a direct sales organization, whereas the best-crafted presentation delivered to enthusiastic accountants mostly likely will not.
There is, however, a surefire formula that you can rely on to close your presentation.
Six-step formula to captivate your audience at the end of your presentation:
Developing good public speaking skills helps you make more sales more often.
To sell you need technical skills, product knowledge, how you compare to your competition, territory management, a good relationship management system, discipline, and self-management. However, that is not enough. Too often the best presentation wins.
Earlier in my career when I was primarily a keynote speaker, a large food service company invited me to keynote their yearly sales conference. After my speech, Jennifer, the National Sales Manager, pulled me aside and said, “I liked your speech. However, I really loved how you delivered it. Can you teach our salespeople to speak that way? We sell quality food and uniforms to hospitals and healthcare systems.
Business and educational professionals, speakers, and trainers know that whenever you present, whether you’re talking to one person or one hundred, you want to connect with your audience and get your message across. What’s the best way to do this when you deliver a virtual presentation? Like it or not, virtual meetings and presentations are here to stay.
When it comes to designing and scripting your presentation, all the techniques you have learned from my articles, videos and FrippVT still work in virtual presentations. Many professional speakers are perplexed when clients want us to accept half our fee for a virtual presentation. Of course, we do not have to travel, but virtual presentations are more stressful and less satisfying. They require more rehearsals, and we live in dread that “the technology will not work, and the internet may go down.” It often does. These elements add to the stress level of even the most seasoned of us.
Nothing happens without first understanding the technology.
Business entities use different technologies. They include Zoom, WebEx, GoToMeetings, and Teams. Conventions work with production companies and more sophisticated platforms. Even a seasoned presenter who is superb at delivering live presentations can find the shift nerve-racking.
Technique: Open Your Speech in the Middle of a Conversation
Most presenters who know what they are talking about aren’t bad once they get started. Very few of the professionals I have worked with, however, know how to open and close their presentations effectively.
No matter what opening option you use, good presentations begin comfortably. That is why I call this technique, “Start in the Middle of a Conversation.”
My sister-in-law, British singer and actress Toyah Willcox, was sitting at a head table with Princess Diana. Yes, the REAL Princess Diana. They were at a Woman of the Year awards luncheon in London. Lady Diana said, “Do you ever feel like running into the street and shouting,
‘Don’t believe everything you read in the newspapers?’”
If you were delivering a presentation on PR, publicity, getting known, the audiences’ misconceptions, or even networking, the “brush with fame approach” would be a great way to begin. It is almost as if you were in the middle of a conversation with a friend.
My friend John Cantu was a San Francisco comedy legend. He ran the Holy City Zoo Comedy Club where many of the greats like Robin Williams, Dana Carvey, and Paula Poundstone got their start.
“Good structure gives you the confidence to be creative.” Patricia Fripp
How often have you sat in an audience and been mesmerized by a speaker? Was it their compelling content? Were their stories scintillating? Were they able to reach out and grab you in such a way that you thought, “Wow, the speaker is talking JUST to me”?
Be honest. How many life-changing, career-building, or truly unforgettable presentations have you heard? Have you ever been that speaker? At this point, you realize what that ability means to you and your career.
To review: Your content or material is everything that makes up what you say in your presentation. Your structure is the order and framework of the presentation.
Your delivery is how you communicate your message, personality, and authority.
Your first step in creating your speech structure is to answer this question: “Based on my subject, what is my premise or central theme?” This is the big idea you want to get across.
Every TV show, movie, and book has a clear premise. So does your presentation.
Every audience wants to know that you know who they are. The premise statement is valuable because when you have your core presentation, it helps you adapt your focus and examples for each audience. Sometimes you state your premise. Other times it is in the back of your mind driving your presentation.
Hear Patricia describe your Central Theme or Premise
Imagine that I ask you, “If you had one sentence rather than 20 or 45 minutes for your presentation, what would you say?” If your answer is in one sentence and not a paragraph, you probably have your central theme. That is the premise of your presentation.
The dictionary definition of a premise is “A basis of argument leading to a conclusion.”
Once you have your premise, you list your key talking points, what we like to call your “points of wisdom,” into the outline of your presentation.
Your talking points prove your premise; they make your case for you.
“A strong presentation structure gives you the freedom to be creative.” Patricia Fripp
This is how you organize your presentation with a logical flow. (Part one)
It will be easy for both you and your audience to remember with minimal or no notes.
The more you work on clarifying your content, organizing your structure, then adding some initial scripting, the easier it will be for you to have professional-sounding delivery.
You would not build a home without a blueprint. You would not drive to another city without a map, GPS, or good directions. It is the same with your speech structure. It is what we consider the skeleton under the flesh of your words.
Once you have decided on the content you are going to include in your presentation, you are ready to learn how to organize it into a strong structure.
The first step is to clarify the intent and benefit of your message for the audience.
How to Present and Teach in the Virtual World...and More
Receive free, on-going Fripp webinar invitations, sales and presentation skills information, and special discounts from Executive Speech Coach, Sales Presentation Trainer, and Professional Keynote Speaker, Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE. As an added bonus, sign up now and receive a free copy of Patricia Fripp’s How to Present and Teach in the Virtual World.
If you already have Patricia Fripp’s How to Speak and Train in a Virtual World., or just want to go straight to our Free Resources, click HERE.