Over the Thanksgiving Day break last week, I pondered about all that I’m thankful for, much like I assume many of you did. I am truly blessed to have a wonderful family, to do what I’m passionate about, and to help my clients succeed with their presentations. I also got thinking about giving thanks during presentations and about the three naive ways presenters sabotage themselves by merely saying “thank you” the wrong way. I’m sure these will surprise you, and I hope they get you thinking.
3 Ways “Thank You” Sabotages Your Presentation
- Over Thanking during the Intro – When you are introduced, it is okay to thank the person introducing you, however, you don’t want to make a big deal it. You also don’t want to thank the conference or association hosting your presentation, your friend in the front row, and the audience for allowing you to speak. You need to hook your audience and get on with your presentation. You present to share your message, that is what the audience is there for, not your pandering. Yes, thank the person introducing you and move on, that is polite. Don’t over thank everyone in sight.
- Final Slide only says “Thank You” – The key word in this one is “only”. I’ve seen many presenters, including my husband during a keynote presentation to 250 people, have a final slide that simply says “thank you”. The problem, you contact information is on the slide just before it and when you click to the final slide to say “thank you”, your audience can not get your contact info. For my husband, an A/V person switched his last slide so his contact info flashed on the screen for a few seconds and then the thank you slide sat there for 15 minutes while they set up for the next event. Combine your last two slides (contact info + thank you) into one final slide.I’ve seen sophisticated content marketers include a suggested guide or webinar that they suggest the audience downloads that continues the discussion on their last slide. [Like my example on the right.]
- Thank Your Audience for Their Time – This mistake is something I heard from a client once after he attended a sales workshop. The speaker said to NEVER thank a prospective client for their time because that means the prospect’s time is more valuable than your time. If you’re the expert, your time is valuable too. You can say “thank you” at the conclusion of the meeting, or “I enjoyed our discussion”, but thanking someone for their time shifts the leverage to them.For many people, the statement “thank you for your time” is drilled into us by our parents teaching us to be polite, so it comes out of our mouth involuntary (it seems). Much like trying to stop saying crutch words, you will notice how often you thank people for their time much more and it will frustrate you.
I know this may sound contradictory to my “audience-centric” philosophy, but it is not. It is finding the balance and positioning yourself as the thought leader. Your goal, thesis, and points of interest in your presentation should be audience focused and you should be authentic when speaking, that is putting the audience first. You do not need to over thank them because it is a waste of time and can lower your audience’s opinion of your expertise, even if they think you’re polite.
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How Speak Simple Can Help You
Win more work, increasing your billing rate, and prospects coming to you are all results of being an excellent presenter. Erica Olson created Speak Simple to help technical professionals to become comfortable presenting and excel at each presentation, whether a bid presentation or an educational, content marketing presentation. Learn more about Speak Simple’s flagship program is SpeakU, a self-guided presentation training program.