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“Is that it?”

I muttered at the abrupt ending of The Coen brother’s 2007 movie “No Country For Old Men”. A movie in desperate need of an ending and a reason for me to watch for 2 hours. I shall not be revisiting.

Presentations don’t typically have the multi-million-dollar budgets of Hollywood films, but arguably the ending is far more important. Yet despite this, presenters frequently treat their audience to a similarly abrupt ending and little reason to return. What they’re not focusing on is a clearly defined call to action (or CTA for those who like a three-letter acronym).

THE FEAR OF BEING DIRECT

Producing a clear call to action shouldn’t be something that businesses fear. We’ve noticed that even focused sales presentations are shying away from concluding their presentations with a clear call to action for fear of being too pushy or sales-y. But it’s not just sales – all presentations, be they internal, technical or pitch presentationsneed to conclude with a CTA. Always ask yourself that simple but powerful presentation prep question – if my presentation isn’t prompting (or at least aiming for) change, what’s the point in presenting it?

UNDERSTAND THE AUDIENCE

There are simple tools you can use that will help you get inside your audience’s brain and prioritise your targets. Tools like Audience Heatmapping and Must, Intend, Like (more on which shortly) are ideal for creating audience-centric presentations. They not only spark interaction and build trust within your audience, they also get you closer to what is an appropriate CTA.

AVOID THE WORST TYPE OF SLIDE

As you can imagine, we have seen a lot of presentation decks over the years, which means we’ve also seen countless final slides with two words emblazoned on them.

There is nothing more deflating when a presentation has worked really hard to get messages across than to see those two words finish all that hard work off with a damp squib.

If the presentation storytelling has done its job, questions will naturally follow (this is a good thing…a VERY good thing). Don’t ever forget that engaged audiences do not need to be prompted to interact and dig deeper. So instead, focus on making sure that you have a strong call to action that tells your audience what you want them to do beyond this presentation.

Finish with those dreaded two words, and your audience will have already switched off.

Finish with a strong call to action, and those questions will naturally emerge.

AUDIENCES HAVE EVOLVED

Saying life has changed since 2020 is an understatement. Many of us now work in hybrid environments, meaning fewer physical interactions but more remote ones. Consequently, audiences are now more demanding, time-poor and easily distracted. Your audience needs value from what you’re presenting to them; ensure they get it and make the final objectives loud and clear.

Audiences crave a call to action, even if they don’t know it yet.

HOW DO YOU EVOLVE WITH AUDIENCES?

Making clear plans and using essential tools unlocks understanding and helps you develop a more audience-centric CTA.

Tools such as Eyeful’s ‘Must, Intend, Like model’ help you get on that path. Each presenter carefully plots their goals and targets for each presentation and focuses entirely on what you want an audience to do after shaking their hands or turning off the video call.

The call to action is one of the last things your audience will see, so make it a good one. Failing to do so could leave your audience desperately trying to work out why they bothered to stick around for the ending.

NEXT STEPS

So, now for our call to action!

To learn more about how to drive results and action from your next presentation, bookmark this blog or our LinkedIn, Twitter or YouTube feeds and keep an eye out for a recent roundtable discussion on this very subject (we’re just putting the final touches to it).

Want to go the next step and get the lowdown on how we use these tools on presentations for the world’s biggest brands? Check out The Presentation Campus and our range of bespoke training courses.

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