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Do You Close for Action or Just Fade Away?

Malcolm Forbes once said, "Why is it listeners always know when the speaker should stop and yet they seldom do?" They should know the exact moment you are finished not because you said, "That's all I've got folks. ", but because you said those two delicious words, "Thank you. " But, before you say "Thank you", you need to let your audience know what you want them to do with the information you have shared with them. After all, the purpose of any presentation should be to move your audience to action. Let's talk about the essential steps framing your call to action.

1. As much as we'd like to believe our audiences remember every word we say, they don't. That means we must summarize our key points for them. Keep it short. Just the highlights, please.

2. Now you're ready for your final call to action. Final? Yes, you planted the seed of what you wanted them to do with the information when you when opened your presentation. Your final call to action needs to be behavioral and more specific. For example, "If you see the benefit to this e-marketing strategy, let's meet next week to finalize an agreement and to begin the implementation of the plan. "Or, "If you agree with our path forward on this project, we need your approval to hire two new staff members by the end of next month. "

3. Next you need to create a captivating close that ties back to your opening remarks. For example, if you opened with a quote, you might tie your close back to it.  For example, "The rabbit said to Alice, 'If you don't know where you're going, any path will take you there. 'Now you can see exactly which path we're on and how we're going to get there. "

4. If appropriate, transition to a formal question and answer period to address any unanswered concerns. For example you could say, "Before my concluding remarks, what questions do I need to address in order to move forward?"

5. End on your own terms.  Don't conclude your presentation with the answer to someone's question.  Instead, design a succinct one line closing statement that summarizes your core message.  For example, "This new strategy is on target to meet your goals for this upcoming year. "

Now you can say "THANK YOU. "Now they know you are finished.  Now they can take action on your proposals.


Please contact Red Cup Presentations when you're ready to create presentations that move your audiences to action.

Next time, the answer to the question, "What do I do with my hands?"


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