How your last slide can leave a lasting impression

The final image or text, on the screen until everyone as left the room, can make your overriding message indelible or afford audience members a chance to connect with you later.

What to put on your final slide

What’s on the final slide in your business presentation?

For many, it’s a cheery, “Thank you!”

Well, that’s simply not as powerful or as useful for your audience as it could be. Instead, use that space for something fresh and meaningful.

Your final slide should stay on the screen until every last member of the audience has left the room. It’s your last opportunity to communicate with them. What information, thoughts and feelings do you want your audience to take with them?

Here are six suggestions for slides that will give you a fantastic finish:

1. Business card. A close-up of your business card, perhaps with your hand holding it. This reminds your audience of what you do when you’re not presenting, and it gives them the opportunity to photograph the slide for future reference.

2. Contact information. If not a business card, perhaps offer various ways to connect with you to “keep the conversation going.” This could include your social media channels, a mail list signup, or a private group on LinkedIn or Facebook.

3. Summary of key points. Provide a brief list of pivotal messages for your audience to remember.

4. Call to action/next steps. Send them off with a specific purpose.

5. Final thoughts. Offer a key takeaway or a powerful closing quote to leave your audience feeling hopeful about the future.

6. Bookend thought. If your presentation began with a provocative question or thought, return to that notion to bring it full circle.

People tend to remember the first and the last thing you say, so you want to end strong. By choosing a slide with meaning, you’ll have a more powerful finish and a better chance of leaving a lasting impression.

Paul Barton is a public speaking expert based in Arizona. A version of this post first ran on his blog.

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