Just about everyone involved in business will eventually have to deliver PowerPoint presentations to colleagues, customers, partners or employees. You will be asking your listeners to give you their time, and they'll want to know if it will be worth their while; that is, what will they get out of their investment in your presentation? Content objectives are your way of providing the answer to that question. When you concisely state your goals from the outset, you help your audience members develop interest and retain the substance of your presentation.

Review your presentation material to cull the primary elements you want your audience members to remember. Prioritization is extremely important, because they will not be able to retain every bit of your message, and saying everything is important is the same as saying nothing is especially important.

Frame your primary points in "How to" language. Your presentation audience is goal-oriented; they want to know how your presentation will help them achieve specific learning objectives. Avoid general phrasing like "learn about import regulations." Your objectives should be framed more along the lines of "how to expedite technology imports."

State your objectives concisely. There's a reason PowerPoint slides are called "visual aids." They are supposed to help your presentation, rather than define your presentation. Short, precise statements will reinforce your statements, frame them in a different way, and increase interest and attentiveness among your audience members.


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Lay out your slides in a visually appealing manner. The primary rule is to keep the slide uncluttered. A good rule is the "4 by 5" rule – no more than four lines or bullet points, and no more than five words per line. If you have a visual image that reinforces your message, that's even better, as you create another path in the audience members' minds — another way for them to remember your material.

Provide a single "unifying objectives" slide that will state how your audience will benefit from your presentation. For example, if you wish to tell your audience that by the end of a presentation they'll know to how perform a few specific tasks, the top line of your unifying objectives slide should be "How to," followed by objectives like "operate our accounting software / produce daily sales reports / calculate margins."


Although you may think your presentation material is appropriate to post on a website or print and distribute, resist the urge to design your presentation material to be read. PowerPoint is a program intended to help you convey a message you are presenting. If you must make it available without your physical presentation, make the information in your slides considerably more detailed.