“Successful persuasion leads to action” –Nancy Duarte, Resonate
The Call to Action is arguably the most crucial part of your presentation. It encapsulates the main purpose of your presentation through a bold statement that urges your audience to act on the ideas you shared with them. After having made your case, the Call to Action puts the ball into their court.
The Wall Street Journal‘s Brian Steinberg explains that CTAs can be extremely helpful in the context of marketing and advertising. But at the same time, a Call to Action is also useful for different kinds of presentations. Whether you’re giving a seminar, lecture, an investor pitch, or annual report, it’s important that you engage your audience with an objective they can act on.
Here are two things to remember when applying CTAs to your pitch:
1. Before you design a Call to Action slide, you need to work on its content.
Keep your message consistent
Think about the main goal of your presentation and refer back to your storyboard. Is this goal clear and present in the rest of your presentation deck?
Your Call to Action will feel out-of-place if you haven’t been subtly pushing your goal throughout your presentation. Highlight your presentation end-goal with key points throughout your deck.
Be brief and straight to the point
After reviewing your presentation, start writing your Call to Action by following the KISS rule: Keep it Simple, Silly. Short, simple sentences are easier to remember. Being brief will also encourage you to be as specific as possible. The message you leave with your audience should be straight to the point.
Tell them exactly what you want from them in a language that is direct, active and urgent. Make use of verbs that invoke a sense of command, and show how their action can lead to a positive effect. For example, if you’re giving a healthcare presentation on dehydration, you might say: “Drink eight glasses of water a day and your body will thank you for it.”
Provide tools for concrete action
Follow the statement with proper tools that the audience can refer to after the presentation. Offer up a website, Facebook page, contact information, and the like.
Aside from food for thought, give them something concrete to takeaway.
2. Work on a design that adds impact to your statement.
Be big and bold
Translate your Call to Action statement into visuals that are eye-catching and memorable. Draw the attention of your audience immediately by using large font sizes. Your statement should have the largest font size. We won’t give you hard-and-fast rules, but make sure it can be easily read until the very back of the room. You can follow up with your links and other tools below in a smaller font size, but still no less than 30 points.
You can then begin illustrating your Call to Action slide. Use images that are cohesive with your statement and the rest of the PowerPoint deck. Be mindful of the color scheme you’ve been using, and be wise about when to use accent colors.
Be mindful of white space
While aiming for impact, make sure your Call to Action slide isn’t too overwhelming. Maintain a balanced aesthetic by being mindful of white space.
Make sure there’s still enough room in your slide to give your content focus and impact. As you’re designing your Call to Action slide, step back every once in a while to check if there’s too much going on. You can also ask someone to check your work after you’re done.
The Final Word
Don’t say “thank you” without showing your audience a Call to Action slide. It’s important that you end your presentation with a strong statement that urges for direct and urgent action.
When done correctly, the Call to Action slide will lead your audience to reflect and decide on a positive response.
Steinberg, Brian. “‘Call to Action’ Ads Give Clients Results They Can Measure.” WSJ. Accessed July 15, 2014.
Featured Image: Horia Varlan via Flickr