PodiumWise | Tips for advanced presentation skills

In Louis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the King says to the White Rabbit: “Begin at the beginning and go till you come to the end; then stop.”

That last part-“go to the end; then stop”-is a great piece of advice for speakers.

Whether it’s an after-dinner speech or a presentation to the board of directors, speakers have a hard time ending.  It’s not uncommon to hear a rambling finish made up of one, supposedly “final” comment after another.  It reminds me of the way guitar players will sometimes extend that ending of a piece by repeatedly adding one more riff after a pause that you thought was the end.

 At the heart of the problem is a lack of planning.  Endings get the least amount of attention when speakers are putting their ideas together.  It’s not uncommon to hear someone say “I’ll think of something.” when you ask them how they plan to end.  The rambling ending that results is this person thinking out loud of various ways to wrap it up. 

 An audience appreciates a speaker who delivers a well-planned, decisive ending, and then stops.  Extra thoughts after that do not bring added value; they only detract from what could have been a strong last impression.

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