How do you deliver the conclusion of your presentation? It’s understandable to want to coast across the finish line, especially if you feel like your speech and your speaking performance were on point. But successful speakers know that you can undo all of that work if you don’t wind up strong. Don’t let your energy flag at the end or you may find your audience does the same.
So how do you deliver a strong conclusion?
We end the way we began: With eye contact and a memorized final paragraph.
Why memorize it? Well, first, you can’t exactly make eye contact with your audience if you are referring to your notes while attempting to conclude your presentation.
Second, as with your intro, if you don’t know what it is you talked about and cannot summarize it without looking at your notes, you’re in trouble. You don’t have to memorize it word-for-word or line-by-line. In fact, remember what I said back when we talked about the types of speeches: There are very few people who can read a verbatim speech well, and they usually have teleprompters. Just practice your conclusion so much that you know exactly what you want to say and how you want to say it. Do that and you can easily sum things up at the end without looking at your notes.
Why use eye contact? Well, first of all, as I recently said, because it’s the best way to connect with your audience. It’s even more important at the end of your talk. Without it, you cannot expect to reinforce your message, drive home your points, ask for something — anything — from your audience or end on a strong note. In America at least, people trust people who look them in the eye. (If you’re speaking in a country you’re unfamiliar with, as this About.com article mentions, you may want to use a little caution.)
But in any case, do something besides what is easiest and laziest. It is critical that you get your face out of the notes and connect with your audience when you begin — and when you conclude — a presentation.