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Presentation Conclusions: Signal to the End

Strong start, strong finish

A good presentation conclusion is a very important part of any presentation, and often not given as much attention as it should.  Many people focus on starting strong with a good introduction, and then delivering good content.  There is nothing wrong with this as long as they finish with the same strength with which they started.  Many times I have seen presentations end awkwardly, which can leave a bad taste in the audience’s mouth.  A good presentation conclusion will have an effective summary, recommendation or call to action, and an opportunity to address any open issues through questions.  A part of a presentation conclusion that often gets forgotten is a clear and effective “signal to the end”.  A signal to the end is a one sentence phrase that is designed to show your audience that you are going to start your presentation conclusion.  It should be said right before you get into your summary, and should act as a clear sign to your audience.

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3 reasons to include a signal to the end in your presentation conclusion

  1. Wake up the audience.  Many times the audience loses focus and is daydreaming towards the end of the presentation.  This shows them that things are ending soon, and it is time to pay attention again.
  2. Reset your own focus.  Sometimes it is easy to go so in-depth on topics we know well that we lose focus on what our audience wants to hear.  The signal to the end not only wakes up the audience, but the speaker as well and allows them to deliver a strong presentation conclusion.
  3. Clarify your structure.  Presentations need clear structure so that the audience can focus on key points and follow along.  When you use effective transitional phrases such as a signal to the end, it creates clarity in your structure and helps the audience stay with you.

3 phrases to use as a signal to the end in your presentation conclusion

  1. This brings me to the end of my presentation.  To summarize my main points,…”
  2. Well, that is all I have for today.  Let me now summarize what I talked about…. ”
  3. I have now come to the end of my presentation.  In summary, I spoke about…”

3 results of using a signal to the end in your presentation conclusion

  1. Get your points across a final time.  At the end of a good presentation, you will have mentioned your main points in your introduction, your body, and finally in your conclusion summary.  A good signal to the end focuses the audience’s attention one last time, so that you can mention your main points again as well as your recommendation.  People tend to remember what they hear at the end of a presentation more than at the beginning or middle.
  2. Set yourself up to finish strong.  By clearly defining you are starting your conclusion, it will help you focus and go through the correct steps in your conclusion.  This will leave your audience with a favorable impression of your speech.
  3. Be a better public speaker.  So many people give poorly structured presentations, and especially end their presentations on a low note.  Having a clear structure will help you to look more professional and get the results you want out of your presentation.

Having a strong presentation conclusion will leave your audience with a focused, positive view of your message and a good signal to the end is key to starting it well.  Let us know of any ideas you have in the comment areas below.  Want more on presenting with impact?  Click here.


1 reply
  1. Jennie Wright
    Jennie Wright says:

    This is a really important point Matt – and again it is often forgotten.

    To give even more emphasis to your ending, raise / lower your voice or make a change to your voice to wake up the audience – but don’t shout!

    Something like:

    OK! (with a bit more volume)
    SO! (with a rise and then a fall in your voice)
    Right! (with a clap of your hands – if appropriate – and a rise in your voice)

    Now your audience is awake, you can finish with a bang using one of the sentences above from Matt.

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