Presentation Skills: Your Call To Action

By Morag Barrett on May 29, 2012

Posted by Morag Barrett | May 29, 2012Presentation Skills: Your Call To ActionYou have a stunning opening for your presentation, your content is written, and I am sure that you have written the closing words for your presentation.  Go back and read it.  Does it have ’punch’? Does it include a clear ‘call to action’?  I have had the opportunity to observe and coach hundreds of leaders and speakers in their public speaking skills as they prepare to deliver a presentation to internal and external audiences.  Their confidence in public speaking and presentation skills varied considerably.In my experience, one of the key elements that differentiates an average speaker from a great speaker, is how they bring their presentation to an end.  A poor ending really can undermine what was otherwise an informative and excellent presentation, I recently listened to one confident leader, who had resisted the coaching and dress rehearsal practice that his colleagues and I were working through, because ‘he’d done this before and knew what he was going to say’.  To give this leader credit, he is outgoing, he knows how to entertain, he can be an engaging, passionate and effective communicator – when talking to small groups.  However his self confidence, on this occasion, was misplaced.  When he stood up to deliver to 500 leaders from his organization this ‘sparkle’ vanished.  He did OK (just OK) until he got to his close… nearly 7 ‘and finally’ or ‘to close’ comments later he finally sat down.  Not only was he disappointed with his performance, so were his colleagues and the audience.There are three key rules to remember when reviewing your summary and ending.1) Clearly signal that you are at the end “To summarize…”, “In closing…”  But do it for real. Do it ONCE.  How many presentations have you listened to where there were 3 or 4 “and finally…”?  The importance of the signal is that if your audience has been distracted then they will sit up and listen to your conclusion.2) Do not include NEW information.  Your summary should be just that, a summary of the key points within your presentation.  What were the key messages that your audience needed to take away with them and what is the purpose / objective that they helped to achieve.3) Include a call to action.  Either direct (where you audience needs to go do something) or indirect (where you audience needs to consider how they might use the information you shared).Think of your presentation as a firework display.  Make sure you go out with a bang and not a damp squib!Related ArticlesTags »communicationPresentation Skills Share
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