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Symptom of a sick message strategy: Weak Call to Action

It is critical to end a presentation with a clear, compelling Call to Action. But how many presentations have you sat through where the last thing the presenter says is "Do you have any questions?" Have YOU ended a presentation that way?

If so, you may be suffering from a sick message strategy.

Symptom: Weak Call to Action

Why it's a problem:

  • Sale or decision process stalls

  • Audience / client may feel the presentation was a waste of time


  • There is no clear 'next step' for the audience (BTW: another meeting on the same topic with the same audience isn't a 'next step'... it's the same freaking step)

  • There was no Call to Action (where the audience is asked to decide or do something)

  • The audience asks "What do we do next?" (this is a good thing... but it's because the audience took the initiative and threw a lifeline to the presenter)

  • The Call to Action is long, unclear, and/or passive ("I would like you to potentially consider, if that's okay, assessing if this is something you might be interested in looking further into at some point. Is that okay?")

Potential cause(s):

  • Presenter has no clear objective for their presentation (other than something weak like "inform the client" or "client understands the value of our offering")

  • Presenter has an unrealistic objective ("buy our product" or "change your processes" during the first meeting) for the presentation

  • Presenter has little confidence in the offering

  • Presenter had an objective... but audience objections scared the presenter from giving a Call to Action


  • Have a message strategy - including having a clear objective that advances the decision or sales process - before working on the message (and WAY before touching slides)

  • Give a clear, compelling, active Call to Action at the end that reflects your objective

  • Practice the Call the Action when practicing the presentation

  • As a manager, ask the presenter about their objective and Call to Action - an be prepared to coach them if either one is missing or weak

  • Use tools (like the Storyboard and the Message Strategy Exercise) to develop and execute your message strategy

  • Give me a shout - I'm always happy to discuss

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