This is a common one. Saw it again yesterday. Presenter has pile o’ notes and the uniquitous spinning-transition PowerPoint slides, reaches the last slide in a rush, looks up with relief, and utters, “Well, we’re about out of time. Are there any questions?“This is not ideal on so many levels. First, the presenter has just signaled that as far as they’re concerned, they are done. Who wants to counteract that with a question? Coupled with the expected rustle of papers being packed up, your voice said “Are there any questions?” while the message and the environment say (key Warner Bros. theme), “tha-tha-that’s all folks!” Then there’s the issue that asking for questions can be done better. Asking for specific areas that still raise issues, or perhaps “what questions do you still have?” is better. Still another problem is the presenter is allowing the audience to control the ending to what should be their show. Your ending should be compelling and spawn action, not a slow attrition of people who can no longer follow a litany of wilder and less on-topic questions. Questions should precede the close. The ending should not be a visible relief. And time should not be the sole dictator of when you close (in fact, the audience should not be made aware of time, if at all possible).

End strong. End on your terms.

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