Here’s a question for you: What’s the worst way to end a presentation?
It’s the Q and A. Ending your speech with a question-and-answer session is absolutely the diciest, the riskiest part of a presentation because you are giving control over to the audience.
People do it because they see other speakers doing it. But it’s one of those situations where the way everybody does it is wrong.
If you end with Q and A, you will experience what I call the “Foosh Factor.” The Foosh Factor is when all the energy gets sucked out of the room the moment the speaker says, “OK, we have time for questions.”
And then ‘that guy’ raises his hand…the guy who knows more than the speaker, knows more than everybody else. The guy who wants to share his very complicated personal situation in front of the entire audience. And it requires the speaker to get derailed and just focus on this one person.
In that moment, the energy in the room is gone, and the rest of your audience is actually irritated with you, the speaker, because you allowed it to happen.
So, contrary to popular opinion, you never, ever want to end your presentation with a Q and A session. You want your powerful words to be ringing in your audience’s ears.
So that begs the question, “What do I do with my Q and A session?”
First of all, you don’t have to open things up for questions. It’s your speech, so if you don’t want to have Q and A, it’s not required.
I happen to love Q and A sessions, so assuming you want to take questions, what you’ll want to do is have it after each point. And just take questions devoted to that specific point.
Another option for very skilled presenters is to take questions throughout. OR, you can have a dedicated time toward the end of the presentation, but not at the end or as the end of the presentation.
The end of the presentation should be a nice bow that you tie up on your presentation. It should be something motivating that leaves your audience feeling empowered and inspired to take the next step.
It could be a quote, a powerful question, an analogy, or a super short story.
But no matter what, it should never ever, ever be Q and A.
Any questions? 😉
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