Call to Action

The second transition, the call to action, clearly defines what you’re asking the audience to do. Successful persuasion leads to action, and it is important to clearly state exactly how you want the audience to take action. This step in the presentation gives the audience discrete tasks that will help bring the ideas you convey in your presentation to fruition. Once this line is crossed, the audience needs to decide if they are with you or not—so make it clear what needs to be accomplished.

Whether a presentation is political, corporate, or academic, the audience consists of four distinct types of people capable of taking action:

Doers, Suppliers, Influencers, and Innovators.

People have different temperaments, but all the audience members will have a tendency to prefer one type of action over another. Offering each audience member at least one action that suits their temperament lets them choose the action that makes them most comfortable. When they see ways to help that are appropriate to their type, it builds momentum and speeds the way to results. Virtually everybody in your audience will be able to effectively perform one of the four types of actions. A truly passionate revolutionary who supports the ideas you present could very possibly perform all four.

four temperaments of a presentation audience

You can ask the audience to take more than one action per category—but make sure to identify actions that are simple, straightforward, and easily executed. The audience should be able to mentally connect their actions with a positive outcome for themselves, or for the greater good. Present all the necessary actions and make sure the most critical tasks for success are highlighted.

Many presentations end with the call to action; however, ending a presentation with a long to-do list for the audience is not inspirational. Neither is asking the audience to act on small, seemingly trivial tasks. So it’s important to follow up the call to action with a vivid picture of the potential reward.

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