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How to Shine Once Your Presentation Has Ended

by Chris King

You just finished your presentation. The audience is applauding with gusto. You feel relieved and accomplished. You can’t wait to get back to your seat or out of the room. You rush off the stage or platform. But should you? In this article, I am going to address the importance of what happens once you have ended your presentation.

Give the audience time to show their appreciation. I had been asked to open an all day seminar/meeting/conference for speakers with one of my stories. I was excited to be asked, and after telling one of my favorite and never-fail signature stories, I was pleased with the hearty response from the audience. But being aware of the day’s time restraints, I quickly exited the platform. A wise, fellow speaker pulled me aside later and after telling me how much she loved my story, admonished me for not giving the audience enough time to tell me how much they had enjoyed my story with their applause. Since that day, I have always allowed enough time to stay up front until the clapping starts to die down. And I have also noticed how many speakers and storytellers hurry away. As your audience applauds, don’t feel or look uncomfortable. You deserve to enjoy this moment of glory. Smile, nod and silently say, “Thank you.” This is your curtain call!


Be willing to stay around after a presentation, whether it is a workshop, a keynote or a meeting. I have found in my years of presenting, there are several people in the audience who want to speak to me after a presentation. They may want to share a positive comment, tell a story of their own, ask a question or even disagree with something I have said. Personally, I feel that a presenter who leaves immediately gives the impression of not caring enough. Usually, I have found that when I linger, I learn a huge amount about how my presentation was good, but also could be better. From the questions asked, I discover points that I should cover in the future and some areas that I could skip. The follow-up session is more valuable than any evaluation sheet (these can often be skewed and distressing).


Make sure that when you are “off stage” and no longer in the “spotlight” that you still “walk your talk.” Often when we present, our presentation will be followed by other events and sessions that involve us. For example, if you are giving a workshop at a conference, there is a good chance that you will stay for more of the conference, the meals and other workshops. I have been turned off by speakers who seem to be warm and wonderful while presenting and then are unfriendly when you see them later. It makes one feel that this presenter is far from sincere. Once we have presented to a group, the people in that group feel they know us and we are still “on stage,” even if not literally. The speakers who are genuine and always warm and gracious are forever loved and remembered – and asked back! Two perfect examples are the late Leo Buscaglia (who would stay after a presentation as long as it would take for everyone who wanted a hug to be hugged – and these weren’t brief token hugs, either) and Zig Ziglar (who always takes time to answer questions, shake hands and listen to others’ stories).


As a presenter, remember to keep that professional edge at all times.
Once you have given a presentation, and especially if it was a well-received presentation, you will be revered as someone special. This is probably because speaking is considered to be such a stretch for so many people. As that revered person, however, it is important to consider how you dress, act and handle your affairs when meeting the public. I remember my mother telling me that I should never go out of the house or act in public in any way that I would be ashamed of if I happened to meet someone who was important to me. It is OK to be casual, but not sloppy. It is OK to have a raucous time, but not be impolite or rude while enjoying it. It is OK to have opinions, but never to be unkind.


Remember, it’s never over until it’s over. And it isn’t over! There is always much more to a presentation than just planning and giving it. What follows is just as important.

 





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