The Call To Action – how to get your audience motivated

Yes, you’ll provide information. Ultimately, you want your audience to DO something with that information.

Even if it’s only that they think about what you’ve said and…. smile.

So many great presentations go off the rails because the speaker concentrates on WHAT they’ll say, without having spent sufficient time on WHY.

Answer that question before anything else. Then build everything in your presentation from that base.

For instance, you might want your audience to:

* Know more about health and safety in the workplace, (you inform) so that they create a better environment for everyone working there (they act);

* Understand Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) better (you inform) so that they can support their family or friend who has recently been diagnosed (they act);

* Gain a better understanding of the wonderful work done by your charity (you inform), so that they donate to your organisation (they act);

* Understand a film better (you inform) so that they can better answer questions about it on an exam (they act);

* Be very clear about your Party’s policy platform on Aged healthcare, (you inform) so that your audience of elderly people vote for you or your Party in the next election (they act).


(1)Is your role to inform, persuade or entertain – or all three?

(2)What is the key objective of your talk? Write down that main objective of your talk in a few words. For example, you might write:

I’m giving this talk about _________ to _________ because I want them to:___________________ .

In that last, very important, part of the sentence you must know what it is you want people to do.

Two examples from many given in my e-program Public Speaking Success e-Program are:

1. I’m giving this talk about AIDS to the local Rotary Club because I want to raise money for a new hospice program.

2. I’m giving this talk about the new Occupational Health and Safety legislation to senior hospital administrators because I want them to develop appropriate programs to protect Nurses’ safety, state-wide.

Once you know what you want people to do, and why, it will be much easier for you to brainstorm the content of your talk. Once you know what you want people to do, and why, it’ll be easier to brainstorm the content of your talk. Your next step is to spell out clearly what you want the audience to do, HOW and in what timeframe.

For example, if you’re keen to recruit more volunteers to help your organisation, instead of saying: “we desperately need more volunteers”, provide information about a definite task, a time and a place where they can help with that task. That can be much more motivating to your audience than an anaemic reference to the fact that you need volunteers. Why? People can easily see themselves cleaning up one beach on one Sunday morning with lots of other people. So spell it out.

If you want their money. Say so. Tell people about your amazing achievements, all done with minimal government help. Then spell it out very clearly that the new building renovations will cost $120,800 because you’ve secured a special in-kind donation from Company X – valued at $Y. Then be very explicit. You need to raise that amount in three months. Ideally, you and your group will have organised raffle tickets or some tangible means to raise money. If not, it might be that you’re looking for sponsors whose names will be placed on a special plaque.

If your talk has been about passing on knowledge – how to set up a small business – you need to be very clear and specific about how your listeners can:

Learn more: have some hand-out material for them as a follow up guide to more study, books (preferably yours) and multi media resources.
Apply what you’ve told them in your talk: if you gave people an outline of the planning process, you could tell them to “start this very day with the first part of my plan.” Then, because you’re a lovely person, you’ll tell them again what the first three steps were.

Finally, let people know that you are available by e-mail or at a particular organisation to work with them through any point that wasn’t clear. Not everything in life is about marketing. Please don’t finish your presentation by blatantly ‘selling’ your advanced courses and your books and so on. By all means, include that sort of information as part of your introduction and as part of hand-out material. To your continued happiness and success.