Guide on the Side - The Two Most Important Parts of Presentations, Part IIBy Marie Wallace, Published on December 1, 1998
Editors Note: Please click here to read Part I of this article.
Marie Wallace has enjoyed a fulfilling career as a librarian, beginning in 1951 in academia with the University of California and transitioning in 1971 into the private law library world until her 1995 retirement from O'Melveny & Myers. She is the 1997 recipient of the American Association of Law Libraries' highest honor, the Marian Gould Gallagher Distinguished Service Award. Throughout her professional life, Marie has been a guiding force in the Southern California Association of Law Libraries, Practising Law Institute's programs for law librarians and Teaching Legal Research in Private Law Libraries (TRIPLL).
Today, Marie has commenced on a new path she terms "Life in Progress," which enables her to pursue a diversity of interests as a master swimmer, law librarian, trainer, storyboarder and designer of wearable art. She continues to be a dynamic speaker and prolific writer on such topics as private law library management, presentations and training. She is a member of Toastmasters Internationaland is active with the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) and in continuing education for private law librarians. She devotes her "free" time to various non-profit and civic activities. Always open to new ideas, Marie can be reached at: [email protected]
|A dynamic ending is critical to the success of any
presentation because the last thing said is what the audience remembers best. It is where
you epitomize your main message. Your presentation will die a premature death with a wimp
conclusion like: "Well, I see I have run out of time" or "I don't have
anything more to say."
You can avoid dead endings by following a simple preparation and delivery template. It works for all types of presentations including teaching and training.
Effective endings require preparation and practice. They must be planned. The end of your presentation is not the time to wind down or improvise. Instead it is when you make your final, strategic sprint toward your speech goal. Preparation for the ending starts with the beginning. Who is you audience? What is your objective? Are you trying to inform, persuade, entertain, or inspire? What results do you anticipate?
Start with a robust beginning
Age old wisdom says a good beginning makes a good ending. You can liken the beginning of a speech to the entrance to a building, designed to bring people in. It sets the tone and conveys what to expect inside. The exit is designed to transition people out into a larger, external world. Often the entrance to a building is also the exit but from a different perspective. As with the architecture, the beginning and ending of presentations are flip sides of the same door. Start on a forceful note and a ending follows easily. When you struggle with an ending, it usually indicates a need to revisit your opening. (Guide on the Side - Part I - Beginnings)
Satisfy the objectives of the ending
Conform to the time frame
The ending of a speech should take the same proportion of the allotted time as the opening, that is no more than 5 to 10%. In a 20 minute speech (the length of a typical panel presentation) this translates to 1 to 2 minutes for the ending. Since both the ending and beginning are relatively short, they demand the most attention during the preparation phase. Mark Twain observed that it takes much longer to prepare a short speech than a long one.
Use a simple technique to summarize your main point
To paraphrase T.S. Eliot Your presentation should "End with a bang and not a whimper."