About 90% of my clients struggle with ending their presentation on a powerful, memorable high note. It seems the open and the middle get all the attention, while the end is an apologetic tack on – “Oh yeah – sorry – this is the bit where I ask YOU for something…”
The Eternal Struggle
Western society struggles with both letting go (death) and asking for what they want (assertion).
Whoever is speaking at any given time, is the Leader of the Moment. And that includes one to one conversations as well as formal presentations to a group. Listeners take their cue from the Speaker… otherwise how do they know when it’s their turn to speak, when to ask a question or if its time to move on?
Even more significantly, how can listeners / clients trust what you are saying or follow your advice, if you don’t appear to trust yourself? Your non verbal communication speaks more powerfully than your words.
“Trailing off” affects both the speaker and the listener, not to mention your career. In particular:
- Your listeners look to you for cues as to what to do next. If you don’t lead, someone else will take over.
- Your message or conversation gets dissipated, lost in the melee of fading umms, ahhs and sad darting eyes. It is your ending, not your message that will be remembered unfortunately.
- Your self confidence suffers when you finish on a hesitant quaver, reverberating through your voice to your inner core beliefs about your ability to get what you want and to be heard.
- Before you structure your talk, decide on the purpose and outcome you want for you and your listeners. HINT: Being clear about the outcome and your purpose is VITAL to end well.
- State your intended outcome at the beginning of your presentation. The rest will then flow in a smooth, logical manner toward that outcome and your listeners will join the dots and know what to expect. In other words, Listeners will see the point if you spell the point out.
- If you feel yourself meandering, just stop right there. Take a breath and look around. Take your cues from your listeners. Ask them if you are unsure: “Is that clear? Do I need to add anything else?” In other words, have a conversation with them.
Quite often, when people struggle with an ending, they have delivered a monologue, based on the assumption that they are solely responsible for delivering everything perfectly and they will be judged accordingly. It’s a heavy burden… no wonder many of us start to falter at the end of a presentation / conversation.
Ending anything is about letting go. Easier said than done I know. Learn to “let go” of your words and trust they will be received with the good intent with which you send them. This is a good point on which to finish the last blog for the year. The theme for next year is “Shut Up and Let Your Body Talk”.