Tip from the Presenter’s Toolbox of Technique: Clearly Ask for what You Want

Audiences feel cheated if, at the conclusion of a presentation, they don’t know exactly what it was about or, specifically, what you want from them.  They might not agree with you, and might not give you what they want, but if you don’t include a specific call to action, your listeners will:

  1. be confused and frustrated, and worse, from your perspective…
  2. NEVER give you what you want because they don’t know what it is.

Do you want their vote?  Give them good reasons to vote for you and then ask.  Do you want them to join you in supporting a cause?  Tell them why they should and ask.

Do you want their help in achieving a goal?  Professional speaker Brian Tracy uses this example of a call to action at the end of a speech:

“We have great challenges and great opportunities, and with your help, we will meet them and make this next year the best year in our history!” 

Imagine an exclamation point at the end of your call to action, pick up your tempo and energy as you approach it, and drive the final point home.  “Regardless of whether the audience participants agree with you or are willing to do what you ask,” Tracy writes, “it should be perfectly clear to them what you are requesting. [i]


[i] Brian Tracy, “Nine Tips to End Your Speech with a Bang,” accessed July 12, 2016, http://www.briantracy.com/blog/public-speaking/how-to-end-a-speech-the-right-way/


Author: admin

Carl Hausman is Professor of Journalism at Rowan University, the author of several books about media, and a commentator about the role of media and ethics in civic life.

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