Thank you for taking the time to read this post.
You’ve finally got the meeting, you’ve spent hours preparing the presentation, working out all the angles trying to pre-empt any questions that could come your way, you’ve researched the customer, you think you know what many of their challenges are and you’ve got all of this into your slides. You are ready to go, nothing’s going to stop you from delivering the perfect presentation.
You arrive in the meeting room and after a little social chat you open your laptop, take a deep breath and off you go into your slide deck. It’s going well, your research has been solid, you’ve picked up on many of their challenges and they are nodding and agreeing with you and there’s plenty of good interaction. So on you go, building and building on your value proposition, there’s more nodding, more agreement and interest in what you’re offering. Now you’re into the final stretch, the last few slides where you’ll really bring the presentation home, everything that happens next hinges on these next few slides. Finally you’re ready to press the presentation clicker to advance to your last slide, the big payoff, the slide that sets out everything that you want to happen next, the slide that makes it absolutely clear as to what those next steps should be, it’s the slide everyone is waiting for, up till now it’s been an interesting discussion but this is where it all comes together, you press the clicker, the final slide appears on the screen, and it says…Thank You
Now I’m British, so as with most Brits my conversations are frequently littered with, Sorry, Please, Would you mind and Thank you, not in a Hugh Grant kind of way, but I’m sure if you were to stereotype us then you would think of something like this. But in a slide deck this is one of a few things that gets me going and here’s my reasons
- Start with a Thank You! do it at the beginning and not the end, it’s polite to thank people for their time and for the opportunity so do it right at the start. I’m sure they’ll appreciate it and now it’s out of the way so that you can focus on the real reasons that you are all there.
- Your final slide is the payoff. when you’re presenting to a customer there’s one big thing that you want and that is that something should happen next, don’t let people try and guess what this is…tell them. Your last slide should be the next steps, sure you’ll probably discuss these and you won’t proceed with all of them, you may even add some others, but your last slide is the big opportunity, it’s the reason you delivered your presentation.
- Or maybe you’re one of 7 or 8 presenters at an event, that means that maybe 6 or 7 people have all presented before you and I can almost guarantee that all of them will have finished their talks with a Thank You slide. Be different! be the person that asks the audience to do something because they listened to you, you’ll be the one they remember because just maybe they’ll do that thing you asked and they’ll remember it was you that asked them to do it. Also just being the one person without a Thank You slide can often make you stand out as being the one different presentation. The rest of your presentation obviously still needs to be pretty good as well though.
Maybe this is also a slightly quirky part of my personality but I love to see how many people that present after me either remove the Thank You slide, or make an awkward apology and refer back to my talk again, especially if it’s a competitor, nothing like having a competitor feel a little awkward and also refer to my talk at the end of theirs.
Some of you are probably thinking…well the marketing template that we’re given always ends with a Thank You slide…sure it does, but that doesn’t mean you have to use it. Marketing slides and templates are exactly that, they are templates, they give you slides that you can choose from to make creating your own slides that much easier.
My advice is try it, the next time you’re building your slides for a presentation, the first thing you should do is remove the Thank You slide and think about what you actually want people to do next, summarise this and use this as your last slide. I guarantee it’ll feel a little strange the first time you do it but I’m pretty sure that once you do you’ll never go back to a Thank You slide ever again