Don’t end presentations with “Any questions?” or “Thank you”

9th July 2024

Communications are supposed to cause something to happen.

That’s the point of them.

And, if we want to cause something to happen, we have to ask for it to happen.

Using something that Corporate People call a “Call To Action”.

Which means communications should include a Call To Action.

But most don’t, do they?

For example, take presentations. Most of them have final slides which say one of:

  • Any questions?
  • Thank you
  • Summary
  • Legal disclaimer

None of these are a call to action. So, none of these will cause people to take an action. Which is why most presentations don’t cause anything to happen.

The solution?

Instead, our final slide should direct people to what we want them to do next. Here are three options for how to do this…

When we know exactly what we want someone to do…

… title the last slide something like “Our immediate next steps”. On it, state what you want them to do. And then also what you’ll do as a result of them doing it – “You send me this month’s figures… and I’ll include them in next week’s Board Presentation” etc

When we know we want them to choose to do one of, say, three actions…

… title the final slide something like “Three options for how we progress this”. And then give them three options. Once you’ve shared these, facilitate a discussion, to agree which the best one is.

When we don’t know what action we want, because we’ll have to agree it during the presentation…

… simply put the words “Our next actions?” in big letters on the final slide. The question mark shows that you’re now going to have a chat, to agree what the next steps are.

This is an easy, quick win. You could do it right now. And it makes a huge difference.

And, because I love ending with a call to action, here’s today’s for you…

Action Point

For your next presentation, ensure your final slide contains one of the above three formats.

And, when it works – when they do the action you want them to – keep doing this for all future presentations!

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