How to serve the ‘dinner party ending’

In presentations, your ending or conclusion is a power position. It confirms you as a brilliant speaker… or a run-of-the-mill babbler.

So how should you approach the end of a presentation?

Well it all depends on your content, of course, and what you want to accomplish strategically.

The conclusion could be any one of the following:

  • a summary of your major point
  • a call to action
  • a challenge
  • an appeal for questions and comments
  • an answer to a question posed at the opening

Whatever you want it to be, you can use the ‘dinner party ending’ to gently get into your conclusion.

Usually at a dinner party, when it’s time to go, someone will announce ‘Well I guess I should be going now’. What inevitably follows is more chat until another, similar, announcement is made.

After this happens two or three times, people finally leave. It’s rarely a case of anyone saying ‘Well I guess I should be going now’ and actually heading straight for the door.

We tend to signal our intention long before we actually do it. It’s polite. It prepares everyone for what’s about to happen.

So when you’re making a presentation and you want to be conversational and natural, use the dinner party ending.

Signal your intention to wrap up a few minutes before you actually end. Your audience will be prepared and more alert for your final words. Signposting is a crucial part of structuring a speech or presentation – and nowhere is it more important than at the end.

Stop writing; start talking

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