How to deliver a clear, strong call to action

Don’t fail to tell your audience what you want them to do. Follow this advice.

Ragan Insider Premium Content
Ragan Insider Content

Many public speakers are reluctant to offer an overt “call to action” at the end of their speeches. For whatever reason, they feel uncomfortable telling the audience precisely what they want them to do after their speeches end.

I’ve heard people tell me that they don’t want to come across as an overly aggressive salesperson, while others insist they don’t need to offer a call to action, since they’re confident that the audience will be able to infer what they should do next.

That’s a mistake.

Some estimates suggest that the average person is exposed to as many as 3,000 marketing messages per day. If you don’t tell people exactly what you want them to do, you can safely assume they won’t do it. So lose your self-consciousness about being overt. You can be assured that your competitors or opponents aren’t being shy about issuing calls to action, meaning you’ll lose if you insist upon subtlety.

Below are a few examples of calls to action. You might ask your audience to:

Good calls to action are framed in the context of the audience’s needs, fears, hopes, and desires—not yours.

A bad (speaker-focused) call to action might be:

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.