How To Thank The Audience
Thanks – Yes, No or Maybe?
Thank You or no Thank You?
Should you thank the audience at the end of your speech?
Many speakers do.
We advise against closing with ‘thank you’.
So do Toastmasters, the Association of Speakers Clubs, many other organisations, and experienced speakers, such as executive coach, George Torok.
The argument is that it is a weak finish to a speech.
However, there are ways to thank your audience in appropriate circumstances without it resulting in a weak ending. Let’s take a look.
Two Types of Presentation
The answer to the Thank You question depends on the type of speech or presentation.
What is the purpose of your speech? In simple terms, are you giving or taking?
If your objective is to inform, educate or entertain, you are a ‘giver’.
If you are selling, persuading, recruiting etc, you are a ‘taker’.
Of course, in many cases that is an over-simplification; there are nuances.
However, by deciding which category your presentation best fits, it will help you decide what approach to take with regard to thanking your audience, or not.
Don’t Say Thank You
Imagine you’ve just dropped by to give someone a present and are now about to leave.
Hopefully they will thank you. But you wouldn’t thank them, would you?
Now think about your upcoming presentation. You put hours into planning and preparing for it.
You are giving your audience lots of useful or interesting information – informing them.
Perhaps you are training the audience so they will benefit in the future. Or you may be entertaining them.
Whatever your exact purpose, you are giving to them, aren’t you?
Therefore, you don’t need to thank your audience. They should be thanking you with their applause.
Say Thank You
You are delivering a sales presentation trying to persuade someone to buy something from your business.
Hopefully, the product or service you are selling is going to be helpful for them. Nevertheless, you should be grateful for the opportunity to present to them.
Likewise if you are trying to encourage people to donate to the charity you represent or, indeed, become a volunteer like you, you’ll want to thank them for their interest, won’t you?
If you are recruiting staff, ultimately you will be a giver (of employment). However, if a group of students, with the skills you require, have listened attentively to what you have to say, it might be appropriate to thank them for their interest.
How to Say Thank You
When you deliver a speech or presentation, it’s important to structure your words for maximum impact.
Whether it’s appropriate to say thank you or not, saying it to signal the end of your speech is weak. Do not do it!
Instead, how about:
“I’d like to thank you for listening to my presentation. As a reminder, the key benefits if you … (buy, subscribe, sign-up etc) … are … (A, B, C).”
You then need a strong closing sentence to signal you have finished speaking.
A better approach could be:
“Thank you for listening to my presentation. I hope you can now see that if you … (buy, subscribe, sign-up etc) … you will … (A, B, and most importantly, C).”
It’s always a good idea to rank ideas, results, benefits etc in rising order of importance.
In the above sentence, after mentioning benefit ‘A’, raise your voice slightly for ‘B’. And then up the volume again for ‘C’ – “and most importantly, you could double your profit!”
‘Double Your Profit’ (or whatever words you select) need to be said powerfully with clear enunciation and full breath pressure.
And then stand up straight, smile and look around the room before sitting down.
No Thank You
You could just finish weakly by saying thank you …
You could leave on a resounding, thought provoking insight that echoes around people’s heads!
Last updated 6th February 2024
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