Don’t end your presentation with the words, “Thank you”.
You might be thinking, “What’s wrong ending your presentation with ‘Thank you’?’ That’s just being polite, right?
Let’s address the first three questions.
- What’s wrong ending on ‘thank you’?
- What’s a better ending?
- Is it polite?
- What’s wrong ending on ‘thank you’?
It’s a weak and ineffective way to end the presentation.
2. What’s the best way to end your presentation?
The beginning of your presentation creates the first impression for your audience. The end of your presentation leaves the lasting impression. You want to end with a strong and memorable impression that moves them in the direction you want. For that reason, you might end with a summary or call to action. Ideally, you want them leaving the presentation repeating your last words. You don’t want them leaving the room repeating “thank you”.
Imagine that they only hear and remember one message – that’s how you end.
3. Is it polite to end your presentation with thank you?
No. Unless, you wasted their time.
When do we say “Thank you”? When we receive a gift. I give you a gift and I expect you to respond with thank you. When you give me a gift you can expect me to say thank you. That’s what we consider etiquette and being polite.
Let’s follow the gift giving and appreciation path.
You are speaking to an audience. Why would they listen? Because they believe you have a message of value for them. If they don’t appreciate your value, you certainly don’t need to thank them for listening – because they weren’t listening.
Let’s assume that they listen because they trust you and appreciate the value of your message.
That means that they received a gift from you. According to rules of etiquette, they should thank you for that gift.
Their time wasn’t a gift to you. They invested their time because they were interested.
They might invest their time to read a book because they are interested and because they hope to gain value. If you were the author, you don’t need to thank them for reading.
Why do some speakers end their presentation with thank you?
That’s the key question.
The speaker doesn’t have a real close. They didn’t prepare a close and don’t know what to say to end their presentation – so they end with ‘thank you’. That’s their way of signalling that they are done. The ‘thank you’ is fake and insincere.
They might as well mumble, “I’m done now. Please clap for me.”
It’s what they’ve seen
Other speakers end their presentation with ‘thank you’.
That’s no excuse. Just because others do that doesn’t make it right or the best way. Why would you copy other people’s bad habits? Many speakers have bad presentation habits. Are you modeling your performance on the poor presenters or are you learning from their mistakes?
The speaker felt apologetic because they were selling, or they felt their presentation was poor.
So their ‘thank you is actually an apology’. They really meant to say, “Sorry for the poor presentation.”
The speaker might feel real appreciation to the audience, and they want to express it. In this case it would be more effective for the speaker to thank the audience during the presentation – but not at the end.
If you want to express your appreciation, tell them what you are thankful for. That might be getting up early for the meeting, fighting traffic to get there or keeping an open mind for the topic.
Perhaps you are wondering how I will close this article. Not with “thank you for reading”.
Instead use the close to remind them of key points and/or encourage them with a purpose.
Treat your close as an essential part of your presentation. Learn the techniques to prepare and deliver an effective close – one that the audience can repeat when they leave the room.