Daily Quote and Reflection:Sticky Presentations –Nail the Close

Daily Quote:  Winston Churchill once said: “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”

Reflection: We all could learn from this advice. Strong opening that hooks and captures the audience members curosity and a strong closing that inspires them to action. In my coaching I have seen presenters hurriedly do a summary, ask for questions while packing and other closes that flop or plop. The flop is a close that doesn’t impact the audience or reinforce your message like a quote that is not relevant to the message you want the audience to remember. The flop could be as bad as saying–“well folks that’s all I have to say.”  The “plop” is a remark that goes out to the audience but doesn’t get a positive response. It is important to close your speech with as much energy as when you open the speech. This is a time to have a powerful story that reinforces your message or request that is so powerful to move people to action or change their thinking.  This lack of nailing the close is an opportunity missed. For example,I recently saw a doctor when presenting keep looking at his watch and flying through complex slides just to get to the finish line on time. He ended is speech by saying, well I guess that’s all the slides I have. Thanks. WOW what a let downer and terrible closing that was. In fact, your last remarks when presenting are valued all out of proportion to the total amount of effort you put into the presentation. This powerful factor of audiences remembering the last thing they have seen or heard been studied by communication experts and linguist and is called the Recency Effect.

Action Activity: For your next presentation work on fine tuning your final message by practicing it in front of some colleagues and getting feedback on how it grabbed them or in what way it needs improvement. Some expert presenters memorize their closing and use the story format or quote to reinforce their message. Don’t missed an opportunity for your message to be experienced as inspirational, memorable and energizing. Remember your closing will be how your performance in the main is judged . Good Luck.

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