There’s a large gap between the conclusion of a corporate pitch deck and the end of a presentation where you’ve woven a narrative throughout. With a corporate deck, a slide that reads “any questions?” will suffice. But how do you wrap up a presentation with a hero’s journey? What about a story-based pitch that has painted a picture of a future with your product/idea?
Here are four different ideas for your next presentation, all built around traditional storytelling tactics. The twist, of course, is that all of these endings have been modified for practical use in a presentation. Without further ado…
If you’ve created a story based around impending change, you might not have enough information to complete your narrative. For example, if you are writing a presentation that tells the story of your town from its humble beginnings to its current explosion of growth and construction, you might want to end on a cliffhanger for a dash of dramatic flair. You could end the deck with a slide that says “What will the future hold?” or a stat that shows how many families are moving to the town each month. Cliffhangers risk feeling too inconclusive since you might not have a follow-up presentation, so only use this ending when absolutely needed.
Let’s say you have a sales pitch for a medical implement that can make hip replacement surgeries easier and less painful. You’re telling a story about Greg, a patient who is nervous about surgery and worried about the recovery time. One way to end the story would be to have Greg experience the hip replacement without your implement, thus confirming his fears. With a solid story, this should give your audience a sense that things could have been done differently, and that the implement is necessary in light of the outcome.
Using the same scenario about Greg and the hip replacement, you might consider a more positive twist and end the presentation with a portrait of him after his surgery when the implement is used. A series of slides could show, even without words, Greg playing with his grandkids or jogging in the park. With a more positive ending, audiences will share the same hope as the main character, and support your solution with a sense of empathy.
More in line with a traditional presentation pitch, this ending brings in the audience as a main character to wrap up the narrative. Let’s say you have an idea for a clean energy tractor that could save farmers money and spare the environment. You could describe a future with this particular tractor, painting a picture of healthy skies and happy farm communities. At the end of the deck, you could add text which ties the audience to this story with a slide that says “Be a part of this future.” This wording needs to address the audience and describe exactly how their contribution can create a happily ever after within the narrative.
Want to learn more about storytelling within a presentation, and how you can develop your own content? Check out these related posts!
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