“Begin with the end in mind” is one of Stephen Covey’s seven habits of highly effective people. This is also the principle adopted when taking a car journey using a sat nav device.
What is the destination for your journey? When you set off to drive to somewhere whether it is to the shops or to Devon for the weekend, you decide where you want to end up before you get into the car. Then you can decide what route to take. Even if you are using your sat nav and therefore don’t have to study the map, you still have to tell the sat nav where you want it to take you.
This principle also holds true when you are making presentations and yet so many presenters do not follow it. Many people start with the topic and then put their slides together – the content – and then wonder why they can’t engage the audience as much as they would like, why they get asked some awkward questions and why nothing different happens as a result.
The objective, or destination, for you presentation is what you want your audience to think, do, know or feel, as a result of your presentation? For example, if this was a presentation rather than a blog my objective might be: I want the audience to leave understanding the importance of setting a clear objective for a presentation and to have experienced how easy it is to do.
Having a clear objective enables you to:
- Identify your key messages
- Work out the best way to convey these
- Stick to the point and avoid detours and waffle
- Get back on track if you lose your way
- Engage the audience in the topic
At the end of your presentation, your internal satellite navigation can then tell you “You have reached your destination”.