This article was originally published in 2015 and has been completely updated in 2020.
Calls to action are vital to make in your internal and external business presentations because they are the key moments to persuade decision-makers to take action to support your case. If you don’t include a call to action in each presentation, your results will fall short of their potential.
The most vital moments in your business presentations are at the start and finish. The first points in a presentation tend to be remembered comparatively well (primacy effect) and are transferred into longer-term memory.
Points at the end of the presentation are the most recent and therefore are likely to still remain in the short-term memory (recency effect). These are the most important of all because they are the points people are the most likely to remember and act upon. Therefore, the close in your business presentation is the key time to persuade them to make a decision to support your case.
All communication is now acknowledged by experts as influencing rather than merely informing, even if the intention is just to inform, like in a progress report. Communication – including presentations – always influences the minds of the audience. Therefore, make the most of the opportunity in every presentation to influence your audience to take action. At the end of your presentation, prompt your audience to follow up on your words.
A call to action (CTA) is what it says, intended to persuade people to do what you ask them at the end of your presentation. It is intended to offer your audience a clear choice, a strong reason to act, such as making a decision or going away from the event to get something happening.
A call to action is a vital part of written material as well – in marketing emails, blogs, advertising and website content.
There are four types of calls to action: change, stop, discourage, and continue:
Only use one type of CTA for each presentation. Otherwise, your message will get watered down. Therefore, assess your audience and decide which CTA applies best to them overall.
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