Does Your Presentation Have an Objective?
“First, have a definite, clear, practical ideal; a goal, an objective. Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends; wisdom, money, materials, and methods. Third, adjust all your means to that end.”– Aristotle, Greek Philosopher
Have you ever listened to a presentation and wondered what the speaker’s objective is? Why is this important to you?
This is important to you because you are spending your time listening to the speaker, time you will not get back.
Your audience wants to use the information from your presentation to improve their personal and professional lives. Don’t disappoint them by making them hunt for your presentation objective. Tell them upfront and throughout your presentation.
Read below to discover how you can make your presentation objective clear, supported by your main points and sub-points, and repeated throughout your presentation.
Is Your Objective Clear?
Is your presentation objective clear to you? It will not be apparent to your audience if it is unclear to you.
Take the time to practice delivering your presentation to trusted friends or colleagues. Ask them at the end of your presentation to write on a piece of paper what they thought your speech objective was. Then, collect the pieces of paper and recite what your audience thinks is your presentation objective.
Suppose the pieces of paper say the same thing, okay. Your presentation objective is getting through. If the pieces of paper say something different, you must make your presentation clearer. Rethink how you present your presentation objective and then deliver your presentation again before the same audience. Ask them again what is your presentation objective. My guess is more pieces of paper will say the same thing.
You must establish a clear objective if you want your audience to take the information you deliver and apply it to their lives.
You should also state your objective for the first time at the beginning of your presentation and say it several more times.
You are not home-free yet. Ask yourself, “Is my presentation objective supported by my presentation’s main points and sub-points?
Is Your Objective Supported?
It distracts your audience if your main and supporting points do not support your objective.
It is still distracting for your audience if your main points support your presentation objective but your supporting points do not.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your presentation will not be built in a day.
You must be honest with yourself. Do your main points support your objective? If they don’t, you need to change your objective or main points.
Assuming you have main points that support your presentation objective, do your supporting points support your main points?
here is no easy formula for determining this. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to leave your presentation development for a few hours or a day. When you return, I can almost guarantee your fresh eyes and thoughts will discover things you can do to improve your presentation.
So, you now know your presentation objective must be clear and supported by your presentation’s main points and sub-points.
However, are you repeating your presentation objective often enough during your presentation?
Is Your Objective Repeated?
People remember what they hear repeatedly. Therefore, you should state your presentation objective at the beginning, after each main point, at the end, and at other appropriate times.
You must use the exact words each time you state your objective. Your audience will become confused if you use different words for your objective. Confused audiences are distracted. Distracted audiences miss the speaker’s message.
Your audience will want to see the relevancy of your main points and sub-points to your presentation objective. Therefore, relate your main points and sub-points to your objective when you mention them. Remember, your audience will want everything to support your presentation objective.
So, your presentation objective must be clear, supported by my presentation’s main points and sub-points, and often repeated during your presentation.
Your presentation objective – don’t begin speaking without it!
Call to Action
Make your presentation objective clear by testing it with a practice audience
Make your presentation’s main points and sub-points all support your objective.
State your presentation objective at the beginning of your presentation, after each main point, at the end of your presentation, and at other times appropriate in your presentation.
“Objectives are not fate; they are direction. They are not commands; they are commitments. They do not determine the future; they are a means to mobilize resources and energies of the business for the making of the future.”Peter Drucker, Management Consultant, Educator, and Author
Frank DiBartolomeo is a retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and award-winning speaker, presentation and interview skills coach, and Professional Member of the National Speakers Association. He was awarded Toastmasters International’s highest individual award, Distinguished Toastmaster because of his outstanding work in public speaking and leadership.
Frank formed DiBartolomeo Consulting International (DCI), LLC (www.speakleadandsucceed.com) in 2007. The mission of DCI is to help technical professionals to inspire, motivate, and influence their colleagues and other technical professionals by improving their presentation skills, communication, and personal presence. Reach Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org and (703) 509-4424.
Don’t miss Frank DiBartolomeo’s latest book!
“Speak Well and Prosper: Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Better Presentations”