I was recently working with a colleague who had developed an excellent presentation. The final slide was incongruous. It had a beautiful image with the words “Thank you” on it. Your last slide should be the defining image, lasting message and pinnacle of your presentation. Not just you being polite.
The last thing the audience see as the presentation finishes will likely affect what is retained from your presentation. It should be defining, it should be part of the presentation, it should be simple and it should be memorable, memorable for more than just being the finish. It is part of your presentation, not a sign off, not a credits lists or references, not a sunset but your message, bright and clear and memorable. Don’t just say thank you.
Clearly we learn from others and frequently see sunsets, cheesy handshakes, planet earth and like. None of these convey more than the cliche. The final slide should not be “any questions?” either with dubious clip art addenda. Questions are best managed within the piece with a summary to finish (make the chair aware of your intention if necessary) This is so that it is your presentation and your message, not some well intentioned but potentially divisive questioner who leaves the final message.
How then to fit all this in? Timing. Finish earlier than billed. Take questions to 1 minute short of the changeover. Then take the stage back, give thanks for being invited, acknowledge anyone who needs it and bring up your final slide with defining image. “In summary, as I have shown, Paediatric FAST sucks.” Click to black slide.