A Call to Adventure

The first turning point to occur in a presentation is the call to adventure, which triggers a significant shift in the content. The call to adventure asks the audience to jump into a situation that, unbeknownst to them, requires their attention and action. This moment sets the presentation in motion.

A bad beginning makes a bad ending.

– Euripides

The call to adventure should present your big idea of what could be in a way that’s clear and memorable. This is the first time the audience will see the glaring contrast between what is and what could be—and it’s imperative that the gap is clear.

the gap between what is and what could be

The call to adventure in a presentation plays a role similar to the inciting incident in a movie. Story author Robert McKee says, “The inciting incident first throws the protagonist’s life out of balance, then arouses in him the desire to restore that balance.”9 That imbalance is what elicits the audience’s desire for a reality different from the current one. Pose an intriguing insight that your audience will want the presentation to address. It should stir them up enough (positively or negatively) so that they want to listen intently as you explain what is at stake and what it takes to resolve the gap.

This turning point should be explicit, not muddled or vague. The remainder of the presentation should be about filling that gap and drawing the audience toward your unique perspective of what could be.

Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps; for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are and what they ought to be.

– William Hazlitt

Contact Duarte