Thanks-Givings Put Audiences First

Thank you.

It really is the best way to end a presentation.

First of all, you should thank the audience for listening to you. As the best presentations are the start of conversations, you should want to leave a good impression on those who will choose what to do with your ideas.

So say thank you to your audience.

Secondly, saying thank you relieves a lot of tension in the room that really does not need to be there.

Humans like to follow other humans and can feel stressed if they are the first to act. Being the first to clap at the end of a presentation when it isn’t clear whether it has ended can cause stress. You know, that very noticeable pause with the presenter staring at the audience and the audience looking at the presenter, then the slides, then each other.

How uncomfortable!

You as a presenter need to make it clear that your time in the spotlight is done, that you are grateful for the audience’s attention, and it is totally appropriate to clap now.

Note that the audience might not clap. That is their decision. But you should end with grace, and accept however they accept you while you are in front of them.

So say thank you to your audience.

Thirdly, it signals that your portion is done and now it is someone else’s turn: the next speaker or the moderator or the audience.

As I’ve posted previously, Q&A is the audience’s turn, and it is courteously professional to indicate that time has come for them. While you might be excited to get into the Q&A, seeming to rush could give the audience the wrong impression: if you end with “any questions” you might be heard as arrogant, thinking the audience needs to ask a question of your elevated knowledge; you might solicit forced questions before the audience has a chance to really think of what they would like to ask; or you might get no questions which makes everyone feel awkward.

Saying thank you gives the signal that Q&A is about to start, so the audience members can compose themselves.

Q&A is better thought of as a curtain call: putting audiences first means you give them the opportunity to invite you back (immediately) to continue what is now a discussion.

So say thank you to your audience.

Thank you to you and yours, and thank you for reading my posts over this past year.

Please let me know if you would like to continue the discussion with me 1-on-1. I look forward to hearing from you. 

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