- 10 Powerful Ways to Force Your Audience to Take Action
- Re-define Action
- Use Universal Stories to Connect With Your Audience
- Get More…by Asking For Less
- Talk about A Specific Problem Your Idea Will Solve
- Mention All the Actions You Took to Get Your Idea Where It Is
- Mention All the Specific Actions You Will Take to Further the Idea
- Challenge Your Idea Publicly
- Leave Room for Questions
- Use Best Practices
- Remember That It’s Not Only the Last Slide
- Are You Ready for Action?
10 Powerful Ways to Force Your Audience to Take Action
We all know that making people do things we want is hard – especially in the workplace. But we also know that it’s usually necessary in order for our ideas to be realized. It doesn’t matter if you’re an entrepreneur with a start-up, or an employee looking for a promotion, the secrets to making your audience take the action you want are always the same. In this article, I will show you 10 powerful ways to force your audience to take action and have everyone on your side by the time your presentation is done.
A call to action (or CTA) is a well-known term in marketing. And, if you’re trying to sell an idea, marketing is the perfect place to look for inspiration, no matter what your particular area of expertise happens to be. In marketing, a CTA is usually a button that leads people to the webpage where they can subscribe to a mailing list, buy a product, give information etc. Basically – it pushes them to perform an action that you want.
When we talk about some powerful ways to force your audience to take action, we need to really sit down and think about what that action is. In a PowerPoint presentation, the action might be many different things. You might want an investment, a promotion or a partnership. But all those things are secondary actions that you only get if you manage to do one thing: make your idea stick long after the presentation is over.
Use Universal Stories to Connect With Your Audience
The first presentation technique you should try in order to create the most actionable PowerPoint presentation is to make the people listening feel as if they came up with the idea. In order to achieve this, you need nothing more than the good, old power of relatability. Tell them a story of how you came up with the idea. What were the problems you were facing? And how did you come to realize that what you’re pitching is the solution? Enrich the story with human emotions everyone can relate to. Tell them, with example stories, exactly how many problems can occur in a specific situation. Use the power of words and gestures to walk them through the emotions they feel when the problem you’re trying to solve occurs, and then tell them how you can solve it.
Get More…by Asking For Less
Another great thing to do is to think about everything you want to get from the audience… and then – ask for less. The best way to make people know you’re serious is to let them know that you’ll achieve it – even without their help. This will make them want to help you even more. Confidence attracts people, and everyone wants to be on the winning team. So if you give the impression you’re going to win, with or without them, they’ll often be more eager to join you.
So, if you want an investment, tell them how much it would cost and then ask them for less. Proceed to some ideas on how you’ll get the rest of your money yourself – the hard way. But make sure to let them know that they are the easier way. In doing this, you’re not only showing how much of the action you’re ready to take on yourself, but also how much value they’d be providing if they decided to give you the full amount. Suggest that you can do it yourself, and then explain, in precise steps, how it would be easier if you had their help. Your idea is a constant that doesn’t change, regardless of what the outcome is. This should be your attitude through and through. You’re going for it – no matter what!
Talk about A Specific Problem Your Idea Will Solve
They need to hear it from you. Why did you think of this? Why did you choose this particular topic? If you didn’t think it through yourself, it will be hard to convince the audience to give it a minute of thinking after the presentation is over. Simon Sinek is a leadership expert and the author of ‘Start with Why’ and ‘Leaders Eat Last. In a recent speech for TEDx he explained that you need to know the very core of why you’re doing what you’re doing. You need to have a deep connection with a problem you’re offering the solution to. And it’s not your job to sell to everyone. Your job is to do the research and sell to those who want what you have, and believe what you believe. This is a subject you care about. Give it justice.
The first and most obvious way to do this is to think the idea through before the presentation. If you’re developing an app for, say, team management, talk to your friends in various industries. Ask what their problems are in that particular industry. Make sure to pack in a handful of stories to tell. Then, use some of those stories in your PowerPoint presentation. Don’t only mention the main thing your app will solve. Apart from team management, what are some other things that will improve once people start implementing your app? Mention the money it could save, how the productivity will improve etc. Just make sure to tell them every little thing that will get better in the workplace once your app is implemented, apart from its main and obvious purpose. Showcase the aspects of your product that aren’t so easy to see.
Mention All the Actions You Took to Get Your Idea Where It Is
What are the actions that you took to actualize your idea? It really doesn’t matter what your presentation is about or who’s it for, passion is something you can’t fake. But if it’s not there – everyone in the room will feel it. Try to put yourself in the position of someone in the audience: they need to be bought. And sometimes, the best we can do this is to follow the oldest writing advice in the book: show, don’t tell. Well-executed words and nice slides are fine, but actions speak so much louder than all of that.
Whatever you do remember that you’re the fire starter in that room. It is your actionable attitude that needs to reflect on them. Make sure to mention all the specific steps you took to get your idea this far. Tell a story about a problem that occurred, and how you solved it. Include pictures that showcases either you or your team taking action and/or what that idea looks like currently. Feel free to be creative with this – everything you decide to use is fine, as long as it paints a clear picture of your hands-on approach. This will give your audience the confidence that you are a do-er. Not just a talker.
Mention All the Specific Actions You Will Take to Further the Idea
What are you ready to do after the audience takes the action that you want them to take? Mention concrete examples of what you’ll do, step by step, to do all that needs to be done in order for everyone depending on this idea to gain. Even if your audience knows that you have a killer idea, they still aren’t aware of how you fit into the picture. If they choose you, if they decide to help you – how will you behave? If they take the action you want them to take – will you keep trying as much? Once you have what you need, will you keep making the same exact effort? You need to let them know that you have a plan of action to start working straight away, without delay, once they give you what you want.
Challenge Your Idea Publicly
One of the most powerful ways to force your audience to take action is to make them know you thought this through. A good way to do that is to make sure they know you’re aware of the challenges that exist, and that you have concrete and actionable solutions to all of them if they occur. Challenge all the hard things you didn’t want to hear. Prepare beforehand. Tell all your friends about it and make them challenge you. Ask them to tell you why this is the worst idea ever and prove them wrong. Ask the questions that are on top of their lips and then answer them. They might be worried about the money, the difficulty, the importance of what you’re suggesting. Mention all the possible negative aspects, and then challenge them head-on.
In her speech, Nancy Duarte, one of the world’s leading presentation experts, says that you should look at your audience as the hero of your idea. You’re the mentor, supposed to jump-start them on the adventure. Make them feel like the action you want them to take is just the adventure they’re seeking. You do this by ‘capturing the resistance’- showing them how a real adventure has ups and downs, and how you are ready to see it all through.
Leave Room for Questions
No matter how hard you prepare and how much you challenge your idea yourself, you never know what people you want to incite action in will think and feel. Leaving room for questions and even discussions makes your audience know that you’re not afraid of anything which, in turn, makes them know that you’re ready to accept the hard-hitting questions and work on the problems. This makes them know that they will not regret working with you or investing in your idea. Remember – you’re not presenting just the idea. You’re presenting yourself. Let them know how great you are to work with! Let them know how cooperative you’ll be when they take the action, and how actionable you yourself will be if they decide to listen to you.
Use Best Practices
Your last slide should contain nothing but a regular CTA, stating exactly what you’d like your audience to do. Use the present tense and actionable words. The more specific they are to your cause the better. Nobody gets excited over generic suggestions like: subscribe today, or join our cause. For example, if your goal is to make the entire company use your digitalization app, write something like: Connect your workspace today, or: Complete your team, etc. It is also important that your slide looks presentable. Remember: Your CTA should always take up the whole slide. But even with that – make your font bigger than usual, according to best practices, and use a background photo which gives context to what you’re offering. You might also like these 17 Best Practices for Crazy-Effective Call-To-Action Buttons.
Another great thing about the Slideshare CTA examples is that they incentivize action. If you’re selling something – tell them the trial is for free. If you’re presenting an idea – tell them why they won’t regret it. Give them a promise that they’ll get the money back if anything goes astray. Anything you can think of that gives them security and makes them feel safe in taking this big action for you should be an option.
Remember That It’s Not Only the Last Slide
From the very first slide and the very first sentence, you need to make people take an action. And that action is to listen to you. One of the most essential and powerful ways to force your audience to take action is to do it all the time. If you pick up a book that doesn’t make you read on from the very first page, will it matter that it becomes interesting halfway? Probably not, because you won’t get that far. You need to put yourself in the shoes of your audience and always have in mind that people can drift off if you’re not doing everything you can to keep them invested. Find out some of our favorite techniques to make your presentation memorable to listeners.
Your presentation needs to scream action through. Don’t think that you can just slap a button at the end and your job is done. Every word you say, every image you choose to use, make sure that it calls to action. Even your public speaking skills are involved in this: If you’re speaking without conviction, the most beautiful and well-designed CTA won’t be able to help you.
Are You Ready for Action?
Now you know 10 powerful ways to force your audience to take action. You’re ready to go out into the world and sweep the prospects off their feet. Just remember to tell a fair share of stories and anecdotes, and balance it all by mentioning all the steps you’re willing to take. It is all about that equilibrium between information and story. Make sure to find that sweet spot, and keep practicing it. And remember: If you come across as a person of action, you stand a fair chance of inciting it in others.
You might also find this interesting: Lessons in Presenting from 3 Award-Winning Movie Speeches