How great speakers end presentations

Ending a presentation can feel awkward. Once if grinds to a halt, you’re left weakly asking, “Any questions?” or an almost apologetic “Thank you.”

However, in this post here, I shared with you how to end a talk with more power.

If you’re really serious your message impacting on others use a technique I’ve seen in everyone from the most popular TED Speakers, the more persuasive politicians and the extraordinary presenters I’ve seen at events such as 5×15.

It’s the ‘So What?’ Statement.

What is the ‘so what?’ statement?

To increase your gravitas and ensure your message has resonance, it’s best not to end with logistics or ‘any questions?’ but to end with a strong statement.  This statement should encapsulate the very purpose of your message and will reframe your ‘What’s in it for me?’ statement.


What the ‘so what?’ statement looks like:

Here are a couple of ‘so what’ statements in action.

  • Jennifer Kahn ended her 2016 Ted Talk on gene editing with this statement: “It can be frightening to act, but sometimes, not acting is worse.”


  • Jack Harries, the environmental activist, ended his data-packed talk at 5×15, on why fighting climate change is so vital with this: “Whilst myself and many people of my generation have had to accept that we may never be able to bring children into this world, many of the people in this room do have kids and they are relying on you to act.”


  • Adam Foss’ 2016 Ted Talk on a prosecutor’s vision for a better justice system provoked a standing ovation when he ended his 15 minute talk like this:  “Demand better. You deserve it, your children deserve it, the people who are tied up in the system deserve it, but most of all, the people that we are sworn to protect and do justice for demand it. We must, we must do better. “


“But hang on,” you may say. “Look, Frankie, I’m not gonna change the world with my data analysis or my luxury consumer goods. The world order ain’t gonna change cos of my ability to persuade the board to bring back timesheets.”

Ah, maybe not. But if it wasn’t important to some extent, you wouldn’t be talking about it.

Timesheets ensure the company can keep track of expenses and…well, keep afloat! It ensures people are paid according to the hours they work. Essential, I would say.  Go back to Maslow’s chart on basic human needs again if you’re not convinced.

As for luxury consumer goods, they make some people feel good. Give me my yacht. Now.


How to use the ‘so what?’ statement in a business case:

So let’s talk about something really ground breaking, fantastically sexy: an app.

This app helps carers to manage care plans for clients. (I did warn you. Brace yourself.)

So what? What does it mean for clients?

  • It means that carers don’t forget to give clients vital medication.

Given that you could nearly always go deeper with the purpose, ask yourself ‘so what?’ again. It’s important that you do this at least twice to get to the pearl inside the oyster shell. It doesn’t always break open with one crack.

  • The answer: this app save lives and aids clients in attaining a better quality of life.

That’s your ‘So What’ statement right there.

So you have your action step, such as:

  • ‘Download the app right now’ and wait while they do….

Then hit them with your ‘So What?’ statement so that the ending will look like this:

“Download it right now. You’ll see that this app not only saves lives but will give your clients – whatever their care needs are – an improved quality of life. Surely, something we all deserve, no matter what happens.”

Isn’t that an improvement on the crickets you get after ‘Thank you’?


Your Action Step

  1. Consider a panel on which you may be invited or a presentation you’ll give.
  2. Define why this message is so important for the audience to hear.
  3. Then ask yourself ‘so what?’ to discover your more profound message.


Need any help putting your messages together?  Whether you’re hosting a panel, presenting on or off screen, have a look at my group training or 121 coaching. 

Pricing packages are there too, adding more pints to your pence, or bang for your buck, (zen to your yen, metal to your shekel…I’ll stop.  I’m on a rhyming roll.)


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