Learning Methods

Your Last Impression is as Important as Your First


As a professional facilitator/trainer/speaker, how do you close a session?

If you ask, “Are there any questions?” you are essentially telling your audience “I’m done, it’s time to leave.” As soon as any speaker says this, people stand up and head for the exit.

Your last impression is as important as your first impression.  Here are three ways to make sure you leave a fabulous last impression.

  • Review your key concepts...or better yet have participants do it for you.
    • A quick and simple way to do this is to ask the open ended-question: “What are the most important things we discussed today?” Participants will call out answers and you can expand on their comments.
    • If you want to get a little more interactive… ask participants to imagine they are writing a one question quiz based on the presented content.
      • Give them a moment to review their materials and then ask them to write one question (not the answer) on a blank sheet of paper.
      • Have everyone stand in a circle and crumple their paper into a ‘snow-ball’.
      • The ensuing snowball fight serves to mix the quiz questions.
      • Return to the circle and ask each to open the paper they now have and read, then answer the question. 
  • Offer post-session resources.
    • Provide a link, a job-aid, a reference – anything that expands on the topic but wasn’t covered in your presentation.
  • Close with something memorable.
    • A brief story or video is an emotionally engaging way to close.

Because you just might be presenting virtually, all these techniques (other than the snow-ball) work just as well virtually as they do in a face-to-face environment.

Jillian Douglas is co-founder and Chief Learning Officer at Idea Learning.

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