What is a Call to Action in a Presentation?
The call to action or CTA is what you want your audience to do.
The call to action typically comes at the end of your presentation.
In copywriting, calls to action typically have some very strong action words or verbs.
Your call to action should be clear and concise to get the audience excited and motivated to follow through on it.
Focus the Call to Action on One Specific Task
Think about something that is very specific and easy for your audience to do.
Your CTA should not be “climb Mount Everest!” but rather, “sign up for our Mount Everest newsletter.”
It should be tangible and easily accessible. Think in terms of baby steps.
In the world of advertising, a baby step might come in the form of “learn more” or “read more,” not “go buy this $3000 product or service this minute.”
Understand Where Your Audience is in the Decision-Making Process
Understanding where they are in the process will make your calls to action more effective.
If it’s a very complex or expensive decision that you’re trying to get them to eventually do, that will require a lot more buy-in.
Pushing the audience to go too far, too fast is a common mistake among new sales reps and business development reps.
In a corporate context, there may be multiple decision-makers across multiple departments that need to buy into a given decision.
So be very aware of what would be a reasonable next step.
Share the Benefits of Your Action
What is your audience going to get out of this? Back up a step and build that into your presentation.
The audience is always thinking in the back of their heads, “what’s in it for me?” So tell them. Make it very clear, and then articulate the steps to get there.
Let’s say you’re pitching a project to your senior executives, and you’re asking for half a million dollars in funding.
You can start your presentation by discussing the major challenges or major opportunities for the company.
Remind the audience of the larger goals or mission of the company, especially objectives that your senior leadership has articulated.
From there, gradually build a case throughout the course of the presentation.
And that can inexorably lead to a specific call to action.
Find Their Emotional Hotspots
Go back to your research on your audience and think: what are their pain points?
What are ideas that speak to their daily experience?
What resonates with them?
If you can integrate those emotions into your presentations, your calls to action will be much more impactful.
Emotional hotspots don’t have to be only positive. They can be negative as well, like the fear of missing out (FOMO).
The audience might be afraid that “we’re going to lose market share if we don’t go through with this.”
Nobody wants to miss out on an opportunity if they can avoid it.
That creates urgency and a seriousness around the specific action that you’re trying to get your audience to do.
Tangibles and Physical Items
These can be great for facilitating a specific action immediately.
For in-person presentations, you can use worksheets, brochures or handouts.
Can you incorporate physical items like that into the experience that you’re creating in the meeting?
When you’re giving a presentation, you have the audience’s undivided attention. So while you have their attention in the room, what can you do with that attention?
Can you get them to start filling out a signup form?
Can you give them a worksheet so they can start working through the problem?
Leverage Their Cell Phones
Think about their cell phones. Can you give them a link to an asset they can download to their phone?
Some speakers give the audience a number to text, to download something right away.
Others provide a QR code for the audience to scan and get access to more information.
Quick Actions in Zoom Meetings
How about a remote presentation or webinar?
You can insert a link to a URL in the chat. Put a link to a downloadable asset, PDF, video or infographic for example.
And as the speaker or organizer, you may be able to get a record of the phone numbers or emails of the audience members who engaged with that link.
Above all, think creatively about how you can use different tools and techniques to make your call to action enticing.
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