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Do you end with a ‘thank you’ or ‘questions?’ slide?

February 9, 2011 Filed under Blog, Featured, Popular, Presentations 

If you do, you are wasting a valuable opportunity to leave your audience with your take-home message.

Of course, you should express your appreciation to your audience by thanking them for their attention, but I am not impressed by a speaker who thinks that a slide is the way to express such sincerity.

Likewise, everyone knows that when most speakers are done speaking, they are given time to answer questions. So, why show a slide stating just that?

Leaving your principal conclusions or take-home message for your audience on the screen while you answer questions allows the readers to focus on something meaningful. The longer that message sits in front of them, the more likely they will remember.

Take the pledge: Say no to “Thank you!” or “Questions?” slides.

(Image from SSW consultants from their Web page that advocates “Always end your presentation with a ‘Thank You’ slide. More than being polite, it makes clear that this is the last slide and presentation is over.” Duh.)

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7 Responses to “Do you end with a ‘thank you’ or ‘questions?’ slide?”
  1. Tanya Otte says:

    Thank you (!) for raising this topic. It’s also one of my presentation pet peeves, as is the “Outline” slide for a 15-minute talk, which is another waste of space. If you need a road map to where I’m going to take you for the next 15 minutes, maybe you should pick a different presentation to see.

  2. Prof. David M. Schultz says:

    Thanks, Tanya. I already had a blog entry on outline slides lined up. It’s now posted.

  3. Lucas says:

    While I fully agree, I have a problem not having a ‘thank you. any questions’ slide.
    I always end with a graphical summary showing figures people have seen before, and say: ‘that’s it. any questions’ or something like that. The problem I’ve had is that the audience is often not sure that the talk is really finished.
    Have you had this problem?

  4. Prof. David M. Schultz says:

    Hi Lucas,

    The graphical summary sounds like a great way to close your talks. When you said everything you are going to say, you could close with “Thank you for your time and attention, and I will now take any questions that you have.”

    I find it hard to imagine that any member of the audience would not understand that the talk is finished at that point. 😉



  5. Martin says:

    I strongly disagree. Some talks are very amenable to having a summary at the end, while many don’t. In math, for example, it is not unusual for a talk to consist of a sketch of a proof of a theorem. What would the summary be? “I proved the theorem”? I have seen (and done) many talks ending with a “thank you”, and it never looked inappropriate.

  6. Prof. David M. Schultz says:

    Hi Martin,

    Thanks for your comments and providing perspective from a different discipline. Although I appreciate what you’re saying, I still think that one does not need a “Thank you” slide in the situation you are describing.

    The summary for such a talk could be a reminder of what the theorem was, the method that was used to prove it, and what the implications were of that theorem. Again, your closing should be about giving the audience a take-home message – leaving something substantive in front of the audience and helping them to remember why the presentation was given and what it’s main results are.

    Even if you don’t think such a summary slide is necessary, I’m not sure what the advantage of a “Thank you” slide is in those situations. At best, such a slide is not effective for the reasons I talked about above.

    Happy to hear back from you.



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