What goes on the last slide?

A subscriber wrote me, “I have a question to which I have received as many answers as people I have asked: What content goes on the last slide? Do I end with ‘Thank You!,’ ‘Questions/Comments?,’ or “The End?’  No one can say for sure.”

It’s a good question, and I realize that I’ve also been guilty of lame last slides. For example, I recently did a webinar and put, “Thanks!” on the last slide. Of course, I summed up the webinar at that time, but I could have done better. For my webinars, I often have a special offer and link to a page on my site where attendees can get the special offer. I put that on the last slide. Not such a great last impression, either.

Here’s my answer: The last slide should contain your key takeaway and should be uplifting and motivating. Here’s one last slide I once used for a presentation on backgrounds for non-designers. It’s uplifting, but doesn’t have much content. Nevertheless, it’s better than “Questions?” or “Thanks!”

Here’s another, and I think it’s a little bit better. It was a session I gave to a university accounting class.

It really sums up the takeaway I wanted the students to have. You can easily gather the entire topic of the presentation from this one statement.

I almost always use a Questions slide. Usually, I just put a big question mark on the slide. But that’s never the last slide. I recommend always summarizing your talk after the Q&A period, to focus the audience again on your message. This will help them remember what you said and let you end on an up note. It’s fine to put your logo on the last slide, especially if you’re selling something. But you still want that takeaway message. Perhaps something like, “We’re here to help you achieve great customer service.”

So, I would suggest the follow order for ending slides:

  1. Last content slide
  2. Q&A slide
  3. Special offers, if any, or other necessary details
  4. Uplifting takeaway

What last slides have worked for you?

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5 comments to What goes on the last slide?

  • You’ve discussed an important question here.

    I subscribe to your idea of putting the gist of what you have covered in the presentation on the last slide. However, it need not be just typing out the same stuff again.

    While giving a talk to motivate a group of sales guys to change their point of view, I had put a nice image of a glass half full. And I ended my presentation by asking what it was. I know its a cliche but it worked. Because it was relevant. Some said ‘half full’ and some said ‘half empty’. I then drove the point home that there is no right or wrong. What the organization needs from them is a change in point of view. It worked really well.

    One can also end with a very relevant quote which reinforces your own point and lends it credibility.

    In my last presentation to a group of 100 startup companies in Hyderabad, I ended with a slide about my contact details and blog URL. The reason: I want to work closely with them in future and provide some free consultancy. So I found it reasonable to leave them with my contact details.

    Your last slide is basically very content dependent. If you are giving a sales pitch it will not be the same as when you are presenting to the sales head for your own annual review.

  • Vivek,
    I agree that the last slide will depend on your content, and the idea of bringing to a full circle a concept you used at the beginning is very valuable. I’ve never heard of someone doing a presentation with slides to one’s boos for an annual review!

  • I believe in the concept of tying the opening to the close. If you opened with a challenge, close with something connected to the challenge on the last slide. If the opening was an applicable quote, close with another quote that speaks to the content. Audiences feel a sense of closure and recognize that you put extra thought into the presentation.

  • Matthew

    I recommend using the first slide, as this will remind the audience of the topic of the presentation, your name and hopefully help them stay relevant with their questions.

  • […] my earlier post, “What goes on the last slide?” for a related […]

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