2. Objectives

Set specific objectives for what you want your audience to think and do differently after your presentation


The main thing here is to be very specific about how you want the minds and actions of your audience to change as a result of your presentation.  What are they thinking before your presentation? What will they be thinking after it? What are they doing, or not doing, before your presentation?  What will they start doing, or stop doing, after your presentation?  The From-To Think-Do matrix is a useful way to capture this information.

You need to specify both the attitudinal and the behavioral changes you are looking for in your audience. Because if they are not going to change either their thoughts or their actions as a result of your presentation, then why are you wasting your time – or theirs?!

When you are satisfied that you have clearly described your objective for your audience, then go to step 3: Problem/solution.


Be wary of a common mistake that presenters make: setting objectives in terms of what you intend to do in your presentation.

For details on the following questions, see Advanced Presentations by Design.

  • Why the typical approach to setting presentation objectives is flawed (p. 29)
  • How to develop an effective presentation objective, with some examples (p. 31)
  • Why an “update” presentation is generally a bad idea (p. 32)
  • How to check if you’ve set the right objectives for your presentation (p. 33)