How to Close to a Presentation

A person playing violin at a street corner

I frequently ask my seminar audiences the one presentation skill they most want to learn (If you would like to see how I do that, this short video will show you). One of the common answers is “How to be more effective with my close.”

Too often presentations end like balloons losing air. They just fade until the presenter mercifully lands on the last slide. Here’s a better way: Build your close around asking your audience what you want your audience to do next.

That might be sign up for a program, make the sale, grant a loan, reorganize your department, or any number of things. The more clear you are on what that step is, the more clarity you can bring to your close. The close should tie up any loose ends in your presentation, deliver a call to action, and create a compelling reason for your audience to take the action you want them to take.

I recently came across a street performer in Philadelphia. Her photo is to the right. She was playing violin and she had her case open for tips. Inside of her open violin case was a sign that read “Help me get to Italy.” Her music was her presentation; her sign was her close. She gave her audience great content. She was an amazing violinist. And people probably would have thrown some cash her way but because she shared a compelling reason (she wanted help getting to Italy) it motivated her audience (passers by) to do what she wanted them to do (give her money). It worked, too. I threw in a five dollar bill and in the few minutes I stood on the sidewalk listening to her, I saw at least fifteen other people drop cash in her violin case.

The same approach can work for you—even if you can’t play violin—for the close of your next presentation.

  • Be clear what you want the audience to do
  • Tell the audience what you want them to do
  • Give the audience a compelling reason to do it

It’s that simple.

Here’s what I want you to do:

  • Leave a comment in the comment box below telling me how you plan on using this technique
  • or send me an e-mail at and tell me about a presentation you have coming up and I’ll help you figure out your close.
  • The person who leaves the most compelling comment will win a free, 20-minute presentation coaching session on Skype.

Okay, get busy.

2 thoughts on “How to Close to a Presentation

  1. Greetings Mr Sandusky!

    I am going to be giving a 3 hour training on ” The Art of Verbal De-escalation: How to Avoid Violence” [That’s my title 🙂 ] I will be enhancing the training with power point slides, videos, and interactive exercises. My objectives are as follows:
    *How to identify a person who is in crisis (or on the brink of crisis)
    *How people verbally and non-verbally communicate when they are in crisis
    *Stages of Crisis Development
    *Stages of Verbal Escalation
    *How to effectively intervene during each stage
    *Increase your self awareness and what can impact your ability to respond to a person in crisis. >>>This is what I want to really drive home since the audience are all in the mental health field and familiar with the Stages, etc. There will be approx 50-60 people in attendance. In your article you indicated that we could send you info on what are next presentation is and you would help come up with a powerful closing. I would LOVE, love, LOVE your input.

    I saw you at NATCON 2015 and your presentation continues to impact how I present, as well as my approach to putting together my presentation, etc. I wish that I would have attended one of your presentations earlier in my career. I think that I could have really been someone.

    Thank you so much for your time and response.
    Terry Murphy

    • Terry, so nice to hear from you. I think you have a powerful presentation topic. Here is my one recommendation: Before you show the audience anything about de-escalation, help them to experience the feeling of escalation. Once your audience feels that, then it will be far easier for them to follow you through your carefully thought out steps of de-escalation. This is one of those topics that emotions precede intellect. Video or an in-person example could really set the tone. Then at the end, re-visit that same opening scenario and have the audience tell you—using what you have taught them—how to de-escalate. Hope that helps. Great luck with a powerful presentation. Best, G.

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