Original Post by Ky Hlavacek:
One of the most important components of a presentation is how you end it. Cue the audience that your discussion is coming to an end and then summarize all of your main points. Just abruptly ending the presentation can leave your audience feeling like there was little closure and it is their responsibility to determine what they should get out of the content. A good way to think of it is to essentially end with your (slightly more detailed) elevator pitch while transitioning into a final anecdote or story. If you have structured the presentation well, you could even finish a story you started earlier in the discussion. I also try to avoid ending a presentation by thanking the audience for their time. Ending this way implies their time is more valuable and subliminally reduces the importance of your presentation. Steve Jobs was famous for ending his presentations by saying “one last thing…” and then providing an interesting fact or an announcement (Sturgeon 2020). The purpose of his ending was to ensure the audience walks out of the room with something specific to talk about.
If I were to start my project over today, I would 100% change my topic to something I am more passionate about. As my final draft came together I was confronted with a ton of new research which drastically shifted the scope of the project. This obviously means I needed to do more research upfront but I did not anticipate such a major shift in how the project would play out. Another struggle has been the voice required for my audience. I constantly question what needs supporting references when so much of the content is either standard industry knowledge or internal information that only the audience would already know. Every major paper I have written throughout the EPM program was strictly research to provide to a much larger audience and changing course for the final project has been a challenge.
Sturgeon, Rob. 2020. “Looking Back at Every ‘One More Thing’ in Apple History.” Medium, November 3, 2020. https://medium.com/macoclock/looking-back-at-every-one-more-thing-in-apple-history-dbddc2d447d3.
Your post reminded me of how important it is to constantly refer back to the project’s purpose throughout the paper. One way to look at it is being a theme existing throughout the paper. The whole presentation needs to be a story in the sense that there cannot be any missing plot points. I also see value in summarizing the main points at the end in a creative format. For example, there is potential to organize them in a way that is conducive to the audience remembering them after the presentation is over with a simple pneumonic device. Good point that the way we end our presentations impacts our ethos. Confidence is so crucial to having quality ethos, and it is important to maintain the confidence all the way through until the end. Ending the presentation with content that prompts a specific further discussion topic is smart as it gives the audience a focus after hearing such a wide array of information.