Updated: Jan 31
The best examples of presentation objectives start with thinking about the goal of the presentation. When you watch excellent TED Talks, you don't have to think about why it was good, you just know. This is achieved because excellent presenters spend the time to develop a clear, concise, and compelling objective.
Before opening a PowerPoint deck or creating a presentation outline, identify your learning objectives, then craft your presentation objective by responding to these three questions:
What do you want the audience to KNOW?
What do you want the audience to FEEL?
What do you want the audience to DO?
Write down the answers and create a simple presentation objective statement that describes these outcomes. Here are a few examples:
Get approval to spend $25,000 for additional software licenses to increase customer engagement
Convince lab partners to voluntarily clean up the lab after each use
Have Marketing agree to have new product literature ready one month before the product launches to ensure strong launch results.
Your Objective Must Connect Logically and Emotionally
It does no good to knock the knowledge objective out of the park if the audience does not care or relate to the topic. There are three common faults at this stage of creating your presentation objectives:
Presenting too much data. Overwhelming the audience with facts, terrific logic, and amazing content is not an objective and it will not help you accomplish your overall presentation objective.
The audience leaves not knowing what to do or lacking belief that their actions can make a difference. It is of little value to do an excellent job playing on emotions and generating depth of feeling if you do not provide a believable set of actions the audience can do.
The audience knows the actions they need to take but does not have an emotional commitment to do them. If the audience has no emotional draws to your objective and you fail to convince them that they do, the presentation will fail.
Based on these common faults, our recommendation is to keep it simple. It cannot be so far beyond the starting point for the audience's understanding that they are immediately lost. In fact, the opposite is true, you must start where the audience has some comfort level and can quickly grasp what you want them to know, feel, and do.
Your objective also needs to be realistic in scope. Better to narrow the scope and accomplish your objective rather than trying to take on too much. An overly broad scope often leads to an over-stuffed, confusing presentation. If you can’t state your objective concisely, consider paring it down.
Start And End with Your Know, Feel, Do Objective
Be direct about sharing your objective with your audience right from the beginning. Let them know why your topic is of interest. Address the what’s in it for me question your audience naturally is thinking.
You’ve no doubt noticed that great presenters often ask a provocative question or tell a short, hard-hitting story. They do that to accomplish a vital first step: break audience preoccupation with everything else. The audience is preoccupied with their own interests and problems.
The first step for excellent presenters is to break through this barrier to listening and get their attention. Sharing your audience-specific objective will get attention and bring your audience along to engage with you during the body of the presentation.
Finally, finish your presentation strong by going back to where you started your presentation. Remind the audience of your objective, connecting with the know, feel, and do statements. Drive it home by reminding them how your topic benefits them, solves a significant problem they have, provides insight, creates a competitive advantage, etc.
Your investment of time and thought to create a strong, audience-specific objective will pay off. Developing a presentation around a clear, concise and compelling objective will help you stand out as a presenter. It is hard work and it is the most common area where presenters fail. Apply these principles and you can reach your potential as an excellent presenter.