Practically any presentation that I witness, ends with a ‘Thank you!’ or ‘Questions?’ slide. The slide above is one of those examples that even combines both of them.
It seems a universal misconception that this is a good ending of your presentation. But… is this really the last visual message that you want to share?
- Most presentations are followed by a Q and A session that lasts at least 5 minutes or more. Do you want to have something so obvious and non-informative like this, being projected on a big screen behind you during all this time (probably receiving the most viewing time of any slide from your whole presentation)?
- No matter how good you are – there are always people that drift off with their attention during the presentation. Only at the end, when the dynamics change – they regain consciousness to the here and now. Even these people can still be reached with your core message – but when all they see is a big question mark on the screen – even this opportunity will get lost.
In other words… pay speical attention to your last slide – what is the message that you want people to go home with? And consider including your contact information for more information afterwards.
And instead of a slide with ‘questions?’ it is much better to show a thought provoking question to start the discussion. But don’t let this be the last slide of your deck. Unless of course it is the start of a round table discussion amongst partipants.
But how about thanking the audience? Of course you should! You have been given a platform to share your views and ideas. Although there are always presentation purists that argue that this is selling yourself short. It is the audience who should be thanking you.
As for me – I always thank my audience for their input. And this automatically leads to being thanked as well. My presentations are interactive. Questions and reactions makes the experience more valuable for all – for which I am truly thankful. And there is nothing wrong with expressing that.