Shouting from my shed

Get the latest news, updates and happenings via my shed-based newsletter.


The Tricky Final Slide

I give a lot of talks. Lots of slides. Lots of images. Lots of different venues and types of talk.

One thing about giving talks remains constant: your final slide is important.

It’s up on the screen when the audience applauds at the end (hopefully). It remains there throughout the duration of any Q&A session, and it’s your last chance to convey whatever message you deem most important.

My aim with the final slide is pretty consistent, whatever event I am talking at: to show the audience how they can find out more about me online and continue to follow me.

There’s other things I’d love to do too:

  • – Encourage the audience to buy books (without me doing a cheesy sales pitch in my talk)
  • – Encourage the audience to sign up to my email list (email lists are like gold dust)

This evening I was preparing a new talk and glanced over a bunch of old documents I have on my computer. One thing leaped out at me: I have never settled on an effective final slide. And many of them are pretty rubbish!

The purpose of this post then is two-fold:

  1. – To point out to any of you who give presentations that your final slide, and its message, are a golden opportunity worth thinking carefully about.
  2. – To canvas your opinions on my efforts below and ask for any advice or examples as to how I can make the final slide work. I’d be grateful for any comments you care to leave below.

Here then, are my efforts (some were made for 4×3 screens, hence the black side bars):

Back in the olden days. —>

Cringeworthy-bad colour blending here! —>

First attempt to push the different social media options. —>

My bluntest in-your-face attempt to lure people to my site for FREE STUFF (Kindle versions of my books / Into The Empty Quarter film download) in order to get their emails. Blatant picture showing I’ve written some books too. Guess how many people visited the FREE STUFF page over a year of giving talks around the world? Zero! —>

Hence the simplification —>

After a while though, I can’t help myself. That big screen real estate just crying out to be filled up with stuff! —>

And, of course, it soon dawns on me that it looks horrid. Back to simple… —>

And then I start thinking, again, pleeease come visit my site… —>

Subtlety? Sod that! BUY MY BOOKS YOU B@STARDS! —>

Or at least heed some large font MOTIVATION (and hashtagging). —>

Yes, you guessed it – back to simple again… —>

Which brings us, at last, to where my evening began: making yet another final slide. Will it be my final final slide? I fear not! What do you reckon? —>

Read Comments

You might also like

On Books and Adventure I have always loved books and, in particular, travel and exploration books. I am jealous of people who have not read The Worst Journey in the World, or The Kon-Tiki Expedition, or Wind, Sand and Stars, for they still have […]...
Pootling about the Bavarian Alps Plans in the outdoors do not always work out. That does not always matter. In fact, much of the time plans are important for only one thing: giving you the excuse and the impetus to get out of the door, […]...
Seize the Opportunities for Adventure If I offered you £1,000,000 to head to, say, Dartmoor – or any wild place you fancy – and spend tomorrow night wild camping high on the Tors, I’m sure you’d leap at the opportunity. Not just a fat pile […]...


  1. Yep, keep it simple stupid (KISS)!

    Big inspirational background image with great colour, web address, Twitter handle.

    Leave out everything else. If people want to buy your books they’ll find out about them on your website.

  2. Matthew Day Posted

    The last one ……. reminds me of the highlands – an inspiring photo – makes me want to revisit the bothy you prompted me to visit !

  3. Keep it simple and make sure there is something in it for them (as well as you) So I’d work on the “Why not” slide with just the twitter handle for now (you can cross post on that to web).

    Remember the old (or maybe it’s even still running) Australia Tourism ad (we’ve got x, we’ve got y we’ve even got z (pix of awesome sites and experiences -(but still you’ve not visited) so what are you bloody waiting for?

    Your resources are then supporting them achieving their goals – we are all somewhat narcissistic . If you wanted to put pure marketing analytics behind it you should A/B test formats with similar audiences and monitor uptake in likes after and then retest refining the images. You’ll need landing pages – but in many ways conversion is as much about how easy it is once they get to your content as it is to get them there in the first place. Just my 2p.

  4. I think the telling thing is that no one visited the free website. I would say that the final slide is not as important as you think! If free things don’t attract people, I would suggest that they are not jotting down your web address at all, but rather listening to you answer questions.

    Do you take business cards/something for people to take away, or are your slides shared post-talk by email? I think this would be a better way of making sure people have your details to hand over the coming days as they think about your talk.

    • Alastair Posted

      Thanks, Joe – much appreciated.

    • Oh, and I agree with Joe. Business cards are cool! Or stickers. Or a stamp on a piece of paper. Anything offline. I think people appreciate paper and offline things, more and more these days.

      On a more important talk, I would hand out maybe a postcard sized map of the area around the talkin venue and mark on it 3 places within an hour’s distance that would make a good place for a microadventure. Maybe that gives a first kick to people. (While also having your website details on it.)

  5. As per the previous comments, I’d keep it simple.

    My favourite layout is the one with the ‘free stuff’ web address. But I’d get rid of that address and let the image speak for itself.

    What I like about it (if you take off the address) is that your presence is subtle but visible. If people are interested in you, they can quickly see where to find you. I’d keep the social media button in a simple design like that so it’s homogeneous.

    Same goes with the books picture. It tells me I can ‘hear’ more from you if I want to in a book format but it’s not overtly trying to flog me stuff.

    As for the image itself, I don’t think you’re ever going to find one that will fit every talks. I’m assuming they are not all about the exact same thing, so won’t all need the same finish.

    Note that I don’t have any training on any of what I’m saying. It’s purely from someone who has attended talks in the past and never likes big flashy last slides that take me out of a (hopefully enjoyable) talk by trying to sell me stuff. I’d rather the last slide to sum up the talk and bask me in ‘yeah, that’s good. I’ll check out more about it at home.’ Usually I don’t refer to notes but to programmes/tickets/calendar updates for that…

  6. I would definitely include both your twitter handle and website domain – for several reasons:
    – the domain includes your full name
    – a second contact method is useful (even twitter is down sometimes)
    – ‘al’ has the slight risk of being ambiguous (eg. if they note it down by hand and don’t remember your name later, it could be an ‘a1’ or an ‘aI’).

    Avoid the icons, they’re not really useful. People will expect you to have social media presence, anyway.

    It doesn’t matter too much which photo you use as long as it ties in with what you said, and it leaves the text still legible from the back of the room.

  7. Alistair Posted

    Writing wise I think you have the right idea. Simplicity. They can find your books and social media from your website. I like the idea of why not? and making people think but would maybe use a quote. (I’m a big fan of quotes)

    They’re all very good pictures but you have to think about which thousand words they’re painting. Some strike me as very “Proper Adventurer” some are very microadventurey, some awe inspiring. It depends on the message you’re trying to sell in the speech.

    About the latest one, I think the books are best sold by mentioning them in your closing speech rather than by including a picture. It’s easy to not notice and I don’t think it’ll be very effective.

    Just a few thoughts which went on for longer than I expected.

  8. I am so glad to see that you ‘um and ah’ as much as the rest of us!!
    Your final final slide looks pretty much perfect to me!

  9. Hi Al, from the above the last one is pretty decent. But I would maybe try something different. I love your flowcharts (e.g. the adventure one “Saw a bear? Awesome!” So funny! :), and would do one like that. People at the end of the talk have time to read it while they slowly move out and everyone enjoys a fun flowchart.
    Start with maybe: Inspired? NO / YES > visit my web page > big adventure > read the adventure 1000 / small adventure > read about microadventures … like it > sign up for the newsletter … want to see pictures > instagram … want to read more > buy books … read them in a cosy armchair and daydream / do an adventure yourself
    Well, you can probably make it a lot funnier.

    As a layout, I would put a full-bleed image on the left side of the screen, covering about 1/3. And place the flowchart, black on white background, nice and clean, on the right 2/3 side.
    For the image I would use something like the last one, colourful, nature-camping pic.

    If you want to highlight the outcomes of the flowchart, you could pick colours from the picture for those boxes or the font: website, shop, newsletter, instagram, etc.

  10. Gordon Watt Posted

    I think the best is the third one down, with your first attempt at social media. It makes me want to get out with my buddies and do something.

  11. +1 for keeping the last slide simple. Most people in the audience probably have checked out your homepage anyway before they had decided to go.

    For something completely different: I’ve been following your blog for a while now, but never found a way to subscribe via RSS? Is there hope for change or a workaround?

  12. Peter Stone Posted

    The pictures I find most inspirational and likely to get me off my backside into the great outdoors are the ones that place the viewer in the picture like “Wanderer above the Sea of Fog” by Caspar David Friedrich. Your final picture with the tent is pretty much perfect – I can imagine me replicating that experience in the future. Otherwise keep it simple, the public either already know of your virtual existence or will come to know just from one point of contact.

  13. Chris Willberg Posted

    Looking forward to seeing you talk tonight in Abingdon. I’ll keep an eye out for that final slide!

  14. Joseph OKeefe Posted

    I think your final slide is important, for the reasons you have already listed, and it needs to do two things. First, it needs to spark people’s imagination. They need to think “could I do that?”. Maybe they will, maybe they never will, but they need to imagine they might. An outwardly simple scene that they can imagine themselves inside may be best. Second, it needs to provide a route to find out more. This is just your web address or similar. For these reasons I like the last one best.

  15. Peter Stone Posted

    Not sure why my earlier comment has been moderated out – I thought it was relevant! I still think your current ‘last slide’ is near perfection.

  16. Go for simple image and plain text. Folks probably looked you up during the talk already.

    You’re pretty much everywhere on the internet so people will find you 😉



Post a Comment

HTML tags you can use: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


Shouting from my shed

Get the latest news, updates and happenings via my shed-based newsletter.

© Copyright 2012 – 2017 Alastair Humphreys. All rights reserved.

Site design by JSummertonBuilt by Steve Perry Creative