How to add action to your words doesn’t have to be complicated. I was having dinner and drinks with a few friends last week when one of the group discussed completing her first class as a teacher. She had recently retired from journalism (do journalist ever really retire?) and was teaching a writing class at a local university. My friend wasn’t content with only sharing her knowledge; she wanted her students to take action. So she gave them actionable assignments. She wanted to add action to her words.

For the last few years, I’ve added action plans to most training sessions and presentations I’ve given. Whether presenting on How to Stay Ahead of Your Business Blog Forever or working with a management team on leadership development, The New Manager’s Workbook, I add action to my words.

How to Add Action to Your Words

I’ve made mistakes when designing action plans but I’ve learned a few things that I can share.


Begin every meeting with an action goal

Start your meeting sharing your goal that every participant commit to an action. Let them know you’ll ask for their actionable commitments at the end of the meeting.

Share ideas

Give examples of actions, and then allow each person to choose one or create their own.

End every meeting with a call to action

Any meeting you conduct should conclude with an action plan and commitment from the attendees.

Write it down

Note the actions each has committed to and be ready to review them.

Follow up

Don’t wait until the next meeting and then embarrass attendees because they forgot the action they planned to take, check between meetings. Send an email or stop for a quick chat to remind them of their commitment.

Review the action

Begin the next meeting by asking what was learned. Let each person share their story.


I construct nearly all of my presentations like workshops. I’ll ask people to participate, and pass out an action plan sheet. When I present I usually have three to five participation activities throughout the talk. I finish by asking attendees for commitments to take action. I co-hosted a twitter chat (#DigiBlogChat every Tuesday at 4:00 ET, it’s a great chat) and even included two actions in the chat.


I use some of the above in training, but also explain how important it is to their career to complete the activities.

Are You Ready for Some Action?

If so, here’s your action plan

  • Your next meeting, presentation, or training topic is ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • List 3 to 5 potential actions attendees could commit to, but allow each to create his or her own as well ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • Note each team members action commitment
  • Set a time to follow up
  • Review the action plans

It’s Time to Take Action

Too much time is wasted in talk without action. “Today’s office professionals not only hate meetings–46 percent think at least some of the meetings they attend are a waste of time.” — : It’s Official Half of Your Meetings are a Waste of Time  And it’s not only meetings, but presentations, seminars, and training. Be the exception by putting your words to action. You can start today. Go back to the bullet points above and create an action plan for your next meeting. What are you waiting for? Add action.

From weekly updates to companywide mission statements, businesses fail when there is too much talk and not enough action. My workbook, You Can’t Talk Shit Done  provides frameworks for getting the most out of business interactions, from meetings and training sessions, to conferences and seminars.

Photo by Mason Kimbarovsky on Unsplash