How to have a clear goal for your next presentation

When I coach leaders and CEOs on presentation skills, they usually get these three things wrong:

  1. They don’t have a goal
  2. They wing it by going on auto-pilot.
  3. They struggle with confidence and feel anxious and overwhelmed

Most of the people that I meet with that want to do presentations have no clear goal on what they want to achieve with their presentation.

And then so many people just try to wing it. They go on autopilot; they take a presentation from an old marketing department. They try to put three different presentations together, and they never try to customize or prepare for that specific day and that specific audience.

Here is a short snippet of a keynote that I delivered to the Smart Procurement World Indaba on Stepping into your power, acing the most important presentation of your life.

In this article, I want to address having a clear goal for your next presentation.

What I want you to think about, and if you have a piece of paper, this could be your opportunity actually to write this down. If you could design this, what do you want the audience to think, feel, and do? So if I’m talking about thinking, what do you want them to think about?

If you want them to think that you are professional, what would the evidence be? Would you have to arrive before the agreed time? Would you have your slideshow prepared? Would you have a backup in place? What would a professional person do? In that specific situation?

2. How do you want to make them feel:

People will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel

Maya Angelou

So what is the feeling that you want to convey when you’re speaking to that audience?

Do you want to take them on an emotional journey? Do you want to convict them? Do you want to make them stress out? Do you want to inspire them? Do you want to motivate them? What is the emotional journey that you want to take them on?

If you remember Simon Sinek’s very first presentation, on Starting with Why. He explained that when we ask the “Why” questions, those have to do with our core values and our purpose, and that activates our emotional brain, the Amygdala.

This is the area where we make decisions from.

So when you present to an audience, it’s crucial that you make them feel something.

The short clip above was a keynote that I did on Stepping into the spotlight,

acing the most important presentation of your life.

I wanted the audience to feel:

  • A little bit convicted about not preparing enough.
  • I want them to feel encouraged and motivated to take some of the lessons and use them.
  • And I wanted a feeling of accountability that the person would do something about it.

3. Lastly, in preparing your goal for your presentation: What do you want them to do?

So after you’ve done, let’s say you’re going to be doing a massive presentation to a bank.

  • Do you want them to have a follow-up meeting with you?
  • Do you want them to go and write a review on your website?
  • Do you want a person that you’ve pitched to doing your elevator pitch at a networking event to come and talk to you afterward and ask you some questions?
  • So what are some of the core outcomes that you want the audience to think, feel and do? And how can you actually design the evidence that you’re going to give them?

Can you add a call to action to your presentation and make it easy for them to do this?

If you want more helps with presentation skills for you and your team.

  1. Subscribe to me on YouTube
  2. Watch this playlist on Public speaking skills

What is one small thing you can try out to help you have a clear goal for your next presentation?

Written by Yoke van Dam