Presentation Objectives That Give You the Edge

A Compelling Presentation Begins with a Clear Objective


A compelling presentation takes the audience on a fascinating journey from where they are now to your ultimate destination—your presentation objective. Your objective identifies what you want to accomplish with your presentation in one or two sentences. This is harder than you think. Too many presenters simply open a PowerPoint deck and start creating a presentation before they identify the objective.


To help you create your objective, answer these questions before creating your presentation:


What is the “why” of your presentation?

Why is this presentation important to your audience? Why will investing time in attending your presentation benefit those who experience it? Why is your content important to the organization? To you? To your manager? Customers? Others?


Take the time to respond to these questions. Be specific. Your responses will help you create a clear, concise and compelling presentation objective.


What do you want the audience to know, feel and do?

There is so much to know! It is important to be specific about what exactly you will include so you resist over-stuffing your presentation and confusing your audience.

A few examples might help:

  • Know that without additional funding of $22,000, the project will fail.

  • Know that one of our biggest customers is meeting with a competitor because they need lower pricing.

  • Know that new FDA regulations require an increase of 20% in time for current lab protocols.


After you identify your "know," think through how you want your audience to feel and what you want them to do about this. For example (A) you may want them to feel anxious so that they are willing to commit the additional funding. For (B), you may want the audience to feel nervous about losing a customer so that they will agree to providing lower pricing options. For (C), you may want the audience to feel supportive and so they will agree to hiring an intern.


Create your objective

Review your answers to the questions above, and then capture your objective in writing. Here are possible objectives for each of the earlier scenarios:


  • Get commitment for $22,000 in incremental funding by the end of the quarter to keep project Optimus on track.

  • Get commitment from director of sales to a three-tier pricing proposal for customer Prime.

  • Get commitment from lab manager to hire an intern by May 15 to handle new workload created by recent FDA regulation changes.


Don’t simply think about your objective: write it down! Your objective is your North Star. Put this on the top of the page where you create your presentation outline. Include your objective in the introduction section in your slide deck. Review each main point to be sure it supports your objective.


Put in the time to answer these questions so that your next presentation will be clear, concise and compelling.


This article comes from a new series of presentation coaching from author Susan Garrity Bish's new book, Clear, Concise & Compelling: How to Present to Change Minds and Influence Outcomes. You can learn more about the book here, or purchase it directly from Amazon here.

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