Give them a call to action to get them
marching in step.

In parts one and two of this series, we talked about the two main types of presentations in networking and a few techniques on how to make our speeches more enjoyable and memorable for our audiences. Now, the question is: What do you get out of it? Now you have to let them know what you want.

Here’s where the call to action comes in.

If your speech is about your company, as you might give to a “closed” networking group, one of the goals is to help your audience become familiar enough with your business that they can bring you business. So, since you’ve helped them become knowledgeable about what you do, now is the time to tell them about who you serve. Remember to be as specific as possible. If you’ve done it well, they’ll be walking up to you after you are done and offering to introduce you to someone in their network.

If your presentation is more of an educational piece based on your topic of expertise (for example, an IT support person talking about computer maintenance tips), then the call to action is a little trickier. Remember, this type of speech works best as a gift to your audience. You are providing value with no expectation of return. Of course, you will be establishing yourself as an expert in their eyes — and that’s important. So when our IT expert tells the crowd that they should get together with their IT person to review their security and maintenance procedures, many of them are going to realize that they don’t actually have an IT person. Fortunately, the speaker is sitting right there and has already established themselves as an expert.

One other mechanism that I’ve seen done is something I call the “QRS Business Card“. This is a neat way to keep some of the responsibility in your hands instead of waiting for someone to contact you. What you do is this: After you’ve taken questions, but before you tell your final story, tell your audience that you would love to continue talking with them. Ask them to take out their business cards and write the letters “QRS” on the back.  If they have a question about what you presented, have them circle the “Q”. If they are completely comfortable with what you’ve presented, but maybe they know someone who could use your help, circle the “R” for “referral”. Finally, if they are members of another group which brings in outside speakers and they would like to talk with you about such a possibility, have them circle “S”.

Of course, if they don’t want you calling them, ask them to just hold on to their card. Everyone else can pass them to you.

Then, call every person who passes you a card.

Speaking before an audience can be a great way to present yourself to a large group all at once. They can get to know you and start to trust that you are an expert in what you do. If you don’t want them to forget about you by the time they drive back to the office, be sure to include some call to action in your presentation. The results may lead to new connections, new business, or both.

Photo credit: Mike Vam