All presentations should have a purpose, something that the audience walks away excited to do. The “call to action” or CTA is an essential part of this process, detailing exactly what should happen next. It should entice and inform. It’s basically the secret hook at the end of your presentation; so how can you make it amazing?
Trigger an Emotional Response
You should already utilize storytelling in the core content of your presentation because it’s the most effective way to make your audience pay attention. In fact, studies have shown that storytelling increases retention by up to 26%. Consider emotional triggers in pop culture, like the now-legendary Sarah McLachlan SPCA commercial. If you share a story that matters, end your presentation asking to support the same story you’ve introduced. The formula is two-fold: first, share something relatable to your audience like a personal story or cause. Second, show them how they can support this story, further it, help it, make it better, and etc.
Share a Sense of Urgency
This operates under the sales premise of “buy now!” Give the audience a sense of urgency; why are you standing before them presenting today? Why is important they hear your message and “act now?” What will happen if they don’t act? Build your CTA to be time sensitive so that your audience knows they can’t put off their action.
A CTA is nothing without action verbs to support it. Use words like do, see, use, help, download, visit, and share in the present tense, ensuring your audience knows when and how act by the end of the presentation. Verbs are generally better off in the present tense, but keep a special eye on your CTA, which should be short and to-the-point. It’s the difference between “We have helped so many people in the past, how can we help you?” and “We can help you. Today.”
Without sounding like a carnival booth worker, it can be positive to explain the outcome of the CTA if all goes as planned. What is the audience going to get out of it? Will they be part of something larger, help change the planet, feel good about themselves, or see immediate financial gain? Don’t leave your audience without a vision of the future as you see it.
Your call to action is the only thing that the audience will walk away with after a presentation. Like a game of Simon Says, be sure that they clearly know what the next step is by making it short, to the point, and actionable.
Question: How can you strengthen your presentation’s call to action?
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