Your Presentation Objective is Critical

There is nothing more critical in developing a persuasive presentation than developing (and writing down) the objective.

The clarity of your objective will determine your success.

Another way of looking at the objective is to call it the “result.” What result do you want from your presentation? But the key here (and what makes it truly an “objective”), is that the result must involve the audience. Otherwise, it’s just a goal.

OK … what?

Good point. Let’s look at the distinction between a goal and an objective a little more closely.

A goal is something you want to accomplish. It has to have a date to be measurable. And it has to be measurable for you to know whether you’ve accomplished it or not – and in many cases, to provide the motivation to get started on it in the first place! It typically involves you and only you.  For example: “By September 30, I will get the boss to commit to purchasing a new colour printer.” This is a goal. It’s from your perspective and it doesn’t tell you what you have to do to achieve it.

An objective, on the other hand, involves your audience. To write it, you have to put yourself in the shoes of your audience – to understand what you have to provide for your audience in order for them to grant your request … which will then allow you to reach your goal.

For example: “If I can prove to my boss that a colour printer will make our sales materials more appealing and help increase sales, then she will give me the authority to research appropriate printers for purchase.”

That’s a lot more specific that the original goal. It tells you what your presentation is actually about – it’s about providing proof that a colour printer will help increase sales. You’ll have to do some research into how the use of colour increases the effectiveness of sales materials. You might also have to run some tests in conjunction with the sales department – again, as proof.

The final element of an objective is the practicality aspect. How realistic is it to ask your boss to give you approval to purchase of a printer at the end of the first presentation? And do you want to do all the work to research printers without having approval to purchase one in the first place? I wouldn’t. So in this case, it’s likely more practical to split the presentation in two.

It’s an important concept – the difference between a goal and an objective. A well-written objective will help you be much more focused, which should save you lots of time and make you much more effective.