The Most Important Part of an Introduction
Endings are the most important part of your introduction.
The entire reason you want to deliver a great introduction is to empower the right people to come up to you afterwards and talk with you. A great ending doesn't have to be complicated. Also if for some reason you got lost in the middle of your introduction, your ending can help you salvage your intro and still allow some great results.
If you have done a great job in your introduction, ending your presentation well will make you memorable and someone that others want to come talk with.
Signal the end
People should know when you are getting to the last few moments of your introduction. You want to signal to the room that you are wrapping up so that if for some reason their attention has wandered, you can grab it back as you wrap up.
Examples of ways to signal the end:
"This was maybe the long way of saying something simple, "All of this is to say, I thought X "So, I hope that I made it clear that my passion is about connecting things together..." Everyone's real work-story is difficult to summarize, but mine comes down to,"
Catch the beginning
If you started your story off with a statement, categorization or story, the ultimate payoff comes if you are able to reference where you began so that people can see the whole thing tied together. There is a sort of cathartic release that comes from the referencing something that the audience didn't realize would be connected to the end.
Examples of ways to catch the beginning:
- "When I look back at the worried little girl wondering what she could do to help her dad struggling to do the right environmental thing..."
- "When I was in college, I never dreamed I would spend my days back on the farm, but I also never dreamed I'd ever have this much ability to shape ag policy..."
- "Nobody tells you that earning fancy ribbons at the state fair isn't the best feeling in the world, instead we've learned that it is getting calls from people that don't know anything about cattle, except that it is the best beef they've ever tasted."
- What are you curious about?
The culmination of a great introduction is the way you make it easy for people to come speak with you afterwards. Most of the time, people don't come up to you even if you are interesting because they are afraid that you will think their question, idea or thing they want to talk about is either not worthy, or won't be accepted by you.
To help people get over that fear, it is good to pre-load a question or topic that people can come up to you to discuss afterwards. The challenge is if your request is too specific people will feel excluded ("I love talking about PCR machines and the backend coding to make them work') or if you make them too general they will not know what to approach you about ("I love people").
So the best way to handle this is to think about what you would be curious to hear about from people in the room? The closer you get the subject to something you are curious about, then the easier the conversations will be when people take you up on your offer to talk about the thing you suggested.
More Examples of ways to catch the beginning:
"So if you talk with me afterwards... know that I love hearing stories people have of what they thought they would be and how it didn't work out, but they are doing something different now."
"I think of my own pain problems as puzzles to be solved. So if you have a new pain, I'm always interested to see if I can figure out what is causing the new pain, so come talk to me if you don't mind me working on your puzzle!"
"I love coming up with creative marketing ideas; it is about the most fun I can have at a party. So if you have a group of people you are trying to reach with something you care a lot about, come talk with me, nothing makes me happier on the drive home than giving away napkins filled with creative ideas for people to use."
I've introduced myself thousands of times, in front of tens of thousands of people. In just over 60 minutes of video instruction, I've taken that experience and created a course where you will learn how to create an introduction that is flexible enough to fit any situation and that you feel confident delivering when the pressure is on.
To learn more or purchase the course, click HERE.