I Feel Fine by the Beatles is a fantastic pop song but it does not have an ending, it just fades out. I guess Lennon and McCartney did not have time to work out a proper ending (unlike with Help!) and the song feels unfinished.
You don’t want the finance presentation you spent hours creating to end with a fade out.
So, what do you do?
Let me tell you what not to do.
❌ Do not have a final slide that says “The End.”
❌ Or a slide that says “Questions.”
❌ Or run off the end of your presentation into a blank screen with “End of slide show, click to exit” at the top.
By all means, be prepared to answer questions from your audience but don’t waste the real estate behind you. Show a slide that summarises what you have said. Maybe that’s one big idea, or maybe it’s two or three phrases.
After the questions, finish by summarising what you have presented, to make sure the message is delivered.
This is important because of the primacy-recency effect. Your audience are more likely to remember the beginning or end of your presentation than the important bit in the middle.
Use a circular structure for your presentation that reinforces your key message. You start by telling the audience what you are going to tell them, then you tell them, and you end by telling them again what you have already told them.
It is very hard not to finish by saying “Thank you.” Saying thank you is polite but it is not a very strong finish. Politicians don’t end speeches with thank you so you might want to practice ending with a stronger message to your audience.