The key to great presentations

From Every presentation worth doing has just one purpose by Seth Godin:

Every presentation worth doing has just one purpose: To make a change happen.

No change, no point. A presentation that doesn’t seek to make change is a waste of time and energy.

Before you start working on your presentation, the two-part question to answer is, “who will be changed by this work, and what is the change I seek?


Every element of your presentation (the room, the attendees, the length, the tone) exists for just one reason: to make it more likely that you will achieve the change you seek. If it doesn’t do that, replace it with something that does.

And of course, you can’t change everyone the same way at the same time. One more reason to carefully curate your audience with your intent in mind.

4 thoughts on “The key to great presentations

  1. Having spent much time over past 20 years editing and coaching on presentations, The question I ask of every presenter is “what’s this presentation supposed to do?”.

    FIRST TRY at the answer and they usually tell me everything they’ve been doing to get ready for the deck. Gathering data, interviewing experts, etc.

    SECOND try typically tells me about the resistance they’ve had or expect.

    THIRD try gets to the purpose.

    It’s not about what YOU have to say; it’s about what your audience needs to hear in order to do, to believe, to act. Doesn’t matter if the audience is a group of delivery truck drivers hauling your product every day or potential investors on Sand Hill Road.

    • Your comment really resonates, Robert. In my experience, reaching clarity about the most basic questions, in this case what your goal is, takes a lot of work. From what you wrote, it takes at least three tries.

  2. Pingback: How to keep presentations tight | A Founder's Notebook

  3. Pingback: How to make your talk or presentation gripping and memorable | A Founder's Notebook

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