Stop asking your audience to “join the conversation.” Honestly, shouldn’t you be the one joining? Sure, sometimes you’re the one to highlight the issue or the one to uncover something that your tribe needs to talk about. But asking someone to join the conversation only alludes to social proof, plus it implies that they aren’t already a part of it. It suggests that they didn’t already find it important but that they should now. That’s not really what you were trying to get across, was it?
Instead, shouldn’t we as authors, teachers, thought leaders be the one who’s joining the conversation? Should we be the one who’s paying attention to the problems and issues our audience/tribe is dealing with/thinking about/concerned about?
Asking someone to “join the conversation” is a call to action, but it’s a pathetic one. Asking someone to take action by merely talking about an issue or idea is the absolute lowest common denominator one can find. That’s like wrapping up an enthusiastic presentation and saying to your audience “Thank you for your time, for your attention, and for making a difference. Stick around and let’s chat.” Sure, one or two people might want to talk, but you missed the opportunity to have a much bigger impact. The debate hungry audience members/readers will “join the conversation,” but I doubt creating debate was your ultimate goal. It may be something you enjoy but none of us are ultimately satisfied with debate, we want action. We want our audience to buy a product, get involved in an issue, or even make a decision to change their life.
We don’t mind if debate is a rest stop on the way to taking action, but it can’t be the end of the journey!
So in your next speech, presentation, blog post or article, commit to a stronger call to action. In fact start there, commit to knowing what you want your audience to do before your even start. Ask yourself: “Why am I writing this? What do I want my audience to do after reading/listening?” Define your destination before you start. If their is something worth debating, it’s going to happen all by itself. You might as well take a deep breath and ask for something bigger!
Now, if you enjoyed this article, go ahead and sign up for my newsletter. I'll be sure to send you some helpful content from time to time.
Article originally appeared on Medium.com @stevenjbarker