Now that you're wrestling with writer's block about how to end an interview presentation, it occurs to you that your English composition and speech teachers were right about introductions and conclusions: They're crucial, so they're worth spending time on. If an introduction is engaging, it can create rapport with an audience while memorable conclusions have staying power. Your instructors' advice has staying power, too, which is fortunate because many writers would say you face the more difficult of the two challenges. Ending anything – a paper, a speech, a presentation – takes more than skill; it takes time as you compare and contrast your choices until you land on the one that "fits." This is precisely where the sometimes elusive, often frustrating but ultimately appropriate bar is usually set: Does the conclusion fit everything that precedes it?
End a Presentation, Don't Just Stop
Consider six of the most effective techniques to use at the end of your presentation before taking a look at two bolder choices that probably only the most assertive job seekers will like. (Steve Jobs is linked to one of them, so take a strong hint from there.) But even Jobs might pluck one of the six techniques from this list because he was nothing if not a stickler for planning. And each of these techniques, while different in style and tone, will show that you've taken time to end your presentation, not just stop it:
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- Come full circle at the end of your presentation. In other words, link it to your introduction, Nuts & Bolts recommends. If you've opened with a reference to an upcoming company project, or if you've posed a question, return to that project or answer the question at the end. You will give your interviewer the impression that you're a planner who cares about telling a complete story (just like your teachers said).
- Echo a core message. Without repeating a theme word for word, save your most powerful point (or points) for the end of the presentation, Indeed suggests. This technique could work particularly well if you're trying to differentiate yourself from other candidates or if you know you're in contention for a job because you possess a particular skill set or can lure certain clients to follow you.
Consider More Ideas for Your Interview Presentation
Tell a relevant short story, otherwise known as an anecdote. This can be a winning technique for an introduction, too, so consider a hybrid solution by opening with an anecdote and then returning to it to end your interview presentation. Consider the impression you'd make if, for example, you've long harbored aspirations to work at this company. You could share this insight in the introduction and then end your interview presentation with a transition that starts with something like, "You could say that I'm somewhat in awe to be here. But now that I am..."
Close with a visual image, especially if you're struggling with how to end a PowerPoint presentation. A short video is another alternative. It doesn't have to have the polished touch of a professional designer; it's the message that must be spot-on and memorable.
Make a personal appeal. An interview is essentially a sales pitch and presumably, your presentation is a finely honed sales pitch. The ending is an ideal time to set your modesty aside and spell out exactly how you can help the company, what you can contribute or, perhaps, how you see yourself as an ideal adjunct to the company's vision and mission.
Invoke a quote, as long as it relates to your theme. This is easier than it sounds, if only because you could easily spend hours searching for a quote and still come up dry. So as a plan B, identify a person that you know the interviewer or company president admires and focus on expressions, advice or mantras that you suspect will resonate.
End Your Interview Presentation With Gusto
Once you weigh these six options, one should jump out to you as being most appropriate – the one that "fits" your presentation. If you're looking for a more forceful way to end your interview presentation, you may wish to consider:
Taking a page out of Jobs's playbook, American Express suggests. Jobs was known for ending presentations by saying "One more thing..." and then delivering a zinger. It wouldn't be wise to quote him without attribution, so you could say something like, "At this point, Steve Jobs would say, 'One more thing...' I actually have two more things to say."
Nudging the interviewer to the next step. Not everyone can be so confident as to say, "I'm really enthusiastic about this opportunity, and I look forward to hearing about next steps." It presumes there will be next steps, so if this tactic appeals to you, at least be confident that your presentation was well-received.
Such is the challenge of crafting endings: There is no one "right" way for every type of presentation or every person. So when your gut instinct tells you that you've landed on "the right one," do exactly what your teachers would have recommended: Trust your instinct and run with the ending you like best. In this case, it should culminate in a new beginning for you, too.