Stick the landing

What message from years of training do you suppose inspires an Olympic athlete about to complete a routine before the crowd goes wild with delight?

“Stick the landing!”

No matter how the performance has gone thus far, the final moment is vital. Stick the landing! Make it solid, strong, secure. Express the best stance. Look outward and upward. Give your audience that final impression of completeness. Hold that pose with focus and energy before you leave.

As in gymnastics, so in presenting. In addition to knowing what you should do when you complete a presentation, it’s good to know what not to do. Here are some things to avoid:

Enjoy the Olympics. Enjoy speaking. And always stick the landing.

What are some ways you have found helpful when you complete your presentations to hold your listeners’ attention?

Until next time,



‎”Finally, in conclusion, let me say just this.”

This quotation from Peter Sellers makes me laugh.

This type of ending to a presentation does not.

When you are ready to wrap up your talk, do it. Avoid prolonging it with statements like, “Without further ado,” “To make a long story short,” or even “In conclusion.” Why not? They have become trite fillers, fall-back remarks that can take away from the naturalness and sincerity of your message. They seem to indicate, “I don’t know what else to say now, so I’ll just say this.” Find a fresh way to let your listeners know that you are nearing the end, and then go there.

Restating your main points is helpful to your audience, a brief recap of what you’ve given them. You can say something like, “Let’s go over those points one more time,” or something else that indicates the conclusion is imminent. Giving them something to do (sometimes referred to as the “call to action”) will help you leave on a strong note.

Then, when you’ve stopped talking, stand still and be quiet for a thoughtful moment. Just as an Olympic gymnast sticks the landing upon completing a routine, you, too, can take a few seconds to stay connected with what you’ve offered. This allows your listeners to ponder what you’ve just said. It keeps them focussed not on YOU, but on your message to THEM. This is the best way to end your presentation.

Here’s to poised completion,