presentation basics purpose and audience

Presentation Basics the Purpose and the Audience

Presentation Basics, the Purpose and the Audience – just so it’s clear this is part of the basics

Of course, there is more to presentation basics than the purpose and the audience. However, you should start with these two points before you do anything else.

Before going on, I need to tell you this post will be shorter than the others for two reasons:

  1. Yvette and I have broken down presentation basics into three parts and this is part one. 
  2. I wanted this post to be a short, useful and a doable guide, without any overwhelm.


Next week, I’ll cover the next two points of presentation basics. By the way, you can download all points as a PDF document to help you prepare for your next presentation here.


Let’s start with the first point:


The Purpose

Finding both your own and your audience’s “why” is the first step for establishing common ground. It will make your life a lot easier. Then you will be able to build a relationship with your audience. If your listeners feel you understand them and you know what their needs and struggles are, they will be interested in what you have to offer.


The purpose of your presentation has to be clear from the very beginning, otherwise your presentation will not be successful.


An effective way of finding the purpose of your presentation is to ask yourself a few simple questions. These are the same questions I ask myself before my presentations to ensure that my audience benefits from them. Honestly, even a training session is a presentation.

  • What do you want to achieve?
  • What’s your goal?
  • What is your benefit from the presentation? How do you benefit from the presentation?


Take your time thinking about these questions and finding the answers. Don’t worry if it’s the same one for all three. I recommend writing down the answers, as this will help you to keep them in mind and to focus on them.

After finding your “why”, it’s time to focus on your audience’s “why”.


  • How will your listeners benefit from your presentation?
  • What should your audience’s benefit be?
  • Which reaction would you want your audience to have after your presentation?


By answering these questions you should find the common ground you’ll need. I’ll give you an example. Just think of commercial ads on television or YouTube. They are small presentations. Many show a customer’s problem or struggle in the first few scenes. In the end, somehow magically the same problem has been solved because of the presented product or service, which is the solution.

Do you get my point?


Finally, let’s move on to the second point:


The Audience

If you’ve ever had anything to do with marketing, you’ll know why this point is a game changer. Being able to put yourself in your audience’s shoes is not only helpful, it’s crucial. By that I mean you should really change your viewpoint and consider your audience’s needs, struggles and challenges, their current mood, their cultural background and their level of expertise. Of course, finding out how many listeners you will be addressing is just as important. This information you’ll need for another point, which I’m covering in part three of presentation basics. Below are a few guiding questions I use to help myself understand my audience.


  • Who are they? Are they team members / suppliers / customers / founders?
  • What do they do? Are they engineers / trainers / doctors?
  • What is their cultural background?
  • What mood will they be in?
  • Where will they listen to you and see your presentation?
  • Are they experts or non-experts concerning the topic and the language?

Here again, please take your time to consider the answers to these questions and write them down. Think of the example I mentioned before.

Good commercials (presentations) always consider their audience. Otherwise, they’re not good.


That just about wraps it up for today


One more thing though, Yvette and I have set up an early interest page for an upcoming course about presentations. Check out all the information about it here.


Please join me again next week, when I cover part two of the presentation basics to help you communicate successfully in English and get your point across.

Have a wonderful time and take care



PS Last week’s post might be interesting for you too. Read it here.

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