5 Powerful Ways to Close a Presentation

Man Bowing on Stage in Empty Concert HallWe live in a world of judges: You will be judged by each and every person during your next presentation.

Sound intimidating? It should be. No one ever said giving presentations is easy. So, how do you minimize the level of judgment that will be placed upon you?

For starters, you need to know how to open your presentation with confidence and purpose. Last week, I offered up 5 Powerful Ways to Open a Presentation. This week, I will help you with your close.

Your close is just as important as your open — it’s your lasting impression on your audience, your final words of wisdom. Your open grabs people’s attention; your close leaves them in awe. Here are five powerful ways to do that:

1. Circle Back Around

I love films that provide me with a sense of closure. One movie that comes to mind is Mel Gibson’s film, Apocalypto, a tale about a warrior fleeing possible death from the Mayans in the deep recesses of the jungle. What makes this movie beautiful is that it starts with the cameras entering the jungle and ends with the camera exiting the jungle, providing a complete sense of closure. As an audience member you completely understand that the adventure is over for now.

2. Build Up to Something

Since we are taking some inspiration from Hollywood in this post, make sure you take a lesson from M. Night Shyamalan, director of The Sixth Sense: Have a climatic ending! Create that “I had no idea… ” experience.

3. Repeat the Important Stuff

Author Daniel Pink often states that presentations are all about brevity, levity and repetition. I want to focus on the latter. If you are making a handful of significant points throughout your talk, use your ending to remind your audience of those items.

4. Have a Call to Action

I have seen one too many presentations where the presenter never invites the audience to do something with the new information that was just presented. Audiences are always thinking – “What’s the next step?” Download a PDF? Buy a book? Contact someone? The audience has just invested 30, 60, or 90 minutes looking for a value-add, so make sure you provide purpose to your talk by creating a compelling call to action.

5. Inspire

Every great journey begins with a single step. Unfortunately, most people aren’t willing to even take that action. If you find it challenging to do any of the above, then seek to create inspiration. Every human being loves a good “pick me up,” so if you can encourage your audience to take that first step, you have added more benefit than you can possibly imagine.

Are you going to be judged during your next presentation? Sure thing. Should you be nervous? You bet. Are you going to look amazing embracing these principles? Oh yeah…you’ve got this covered.

Scott Schwertly is the author of How to Be a Presentation God and CEO of Ethos3, a Nashville, TN-based presentation boutique providing professional presentation design and training for national and international clients, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to branded individuals like Guy Kawasaki. 

Read More: 5 Powerful Ways to Open a Presentation

35 Responses to “5 Powerful Ways to Close a Presentation”

  1. Zelellew Elfinesh Woldeyes

    Valuable and helpful lesson. Thanks!!!!

  2. Davina K. Brewer

    I give homework. A different kind of CTA, I sometimes circle back to the beginning when I had the audience thinking about X, then get them to apply what they learned to X when they get back to the office. Practical advice and instruction that people can really use can also be a strong way to close. FWIW.

  3. Fred Talbott

    Superb advice. I’ve found inspiration–uniting each audience member with the greatest values or lessons we’ve shared–extremely powerful and appreciated. Thanks, Scott–you always share the truly best practices.

  4. Gail Mogan

    The ways you presented opening and closing a presentations make me want to do one now! LOL
    I wish I had read your article when I was a member of BNI when I first opened my business 9 years ago. I was so nervous doing them, and for my presentation I read a report to them rather than engage, which to them was boring at best. As I was reading my report I typed up, the pixels in the print broke up and scattered and I almost hyperventilated. It was the worst presentation I think in the history of the world. To top it off, I felt flushed as I remember gulping a lot!! 😐

  5. Olatunji Mohammed

    It is amazing, what a helpful and valuable information!!!! We really appreciate ur contribution to humanity development.

  6. johnlaity

    The best close is one that results in a remembered call to action = Action.

    I like to get someone else to make the Editorial decision on what it should be. That way, I can be sure it is a clear request and not biased by the detail in my presentation.

    Brevity is best.

    Think of it like a newspaper article. The reporter takes what you say and then reports a tiny tiny tiny part…But it will be the part that helps sells the paper.

  7. svenstekkel

    Great and useful tips scott! Brevity, levity and repetition make a clear and unforgettable presentation.

  8. Jacob Akuetteh Armah

    Very good points. It’s amazing to know this. I have been using some of there points in my presentations. I am encouraged to continue using them.

  9. Enrique Aguirre Hall

    Precise and meaningful. I appreciate the initiative.

  10. Pankaj Saxena

    This is true that often the presenter starts with great tempo and build up a beautiful presentation but then as they fail to conclude what they wanted to convey, it feels like being left in the middle and leave much to audience’s imagination to find out the ‘value’. Good Points to complete the presentation.

  11. Amin Moshksar

    That was good information, specially for starters to open a new season to be a great lecturer.

  12. Erika

    Nice Tips Scott,
    It’s really amazing tips to close any presentation that leave impression in audience mind.

  13. Pradeep Kumar C

    Nice and useful tips. Thanks. I m reminded here of a cute tip I read long back, ie, “Exit as you entered”!

  14. Elias Mokwena

    Absolutely valuable information, priceless. For a novice presenter like me, all that you have dished out raises my confidence. Thanks for sharing these valuable tips with us.

  15. lia

    thanks for your best information, I hope in the future I can do presentation and don’t be afraid again to face the audience.