May 29, 2013

Are you leaving out the most critical piece of your presentation?



I watch a lot of presentations. A lot of them are good and some of them are great. I walk out of many of them feeling excited and motivated to do... something. But what? If the speaker didn't tell me what I'm supposed to do next, he's just missed a great opportunity to get real results from his presentation.

What kind of results?

Here's an example from a recent presentation I reviewed. My client had just finished describing the problem of youth homelessness in Santa Barbara, and had given examples of how his organization has served one particular young woman. We heard some statistics, and we heard "Susie's" story. As a lot of presentations go, this would have been the end.

However, he went on to say this:

"Homelessness is bigger than any one person, problem or place, and oftentimes it can be overwhelming to figure out how to help. So I came up with two ways you can support an outreach program through [organization].

The first way would be to volunteer time, supporting us on outreach, helping us with drop-ins, preparing a meal for a hungry youth. The second way would be to provide financial resources or donations. This helps up provide the top level of care that we've been able to do, which I think makes our services unique."

Bam! Any questions about how you can support this organization? Any questions about what you can do should you be motivated to get involved?

It can be just a few words. It can take 30 seconds (the one above took about 40 and gave two options).

But if you're not making a call to action in your presentations, with specific steps your audience can take, you're leaving a gaping hole where instead you could be gaining clients, customers, volunteers, donors, voters, partners, investors, committee members, fans, believers, letter-writers, advocates, co-conspirators or whatever other kind of supporter you're looking for.

Do you have a call to action? Share it in the comments!

4 comments. Please add yours! :

Nikk Smit said...

Call to action. Booooyaaaah I always let them leave with an actionplan.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Good for you, Nikk!

Elizabeth Scala said...

This is an awesome post! Thank you. A good reminder, but also a good teaching point. I will keep this in mind when I go to give my signature talks. I am actually working on a plan to get more speaking gigs... so thank you for the reminder to provide an easy call to action at the end. Thank you, Lisa!

Lisa Braithwaite said...

That's great to hear, Liz! Looking forward to hearing how it goes for you. Will I see you at OBBW this year?

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