Break This Rule: #1 – Your Purpose Is to Give a Good Presentation

Good is to a presentation as fine is to a compliment. Your purpose is to make something happen!

Let me guess you hate giving presentations? Or some boss told you once that you mess up all the rules you learned in Presentation 101? And you think youre a bad presenter, even though you do have something important to share? If only you could just stop shaking and sweating


You have more potential to be an authentically engaging and impressive presenter than any polished fake does. The key is to break the rules that keep you hamstrung and reconsider what’s important. In this blog series, were going to do just that! Well get you to the passionate, effective presenter I know you can be.

Rule #1 is mired in technicality. There you stand, waiting to give a presentation, and youre obsessed with all the wrong things: Your slides show every number in existence, you stand up straight behind the podium, you say everything in order, you dont cross the beam of the projector in other words, you try to give a good presentation.

Lets reconsider why you are there. What is your true purpose? Decide what the audience should walk away and do after you stood there and made a difference. Your purpose is the destination. Its the so what? for the audience. Consider how much stronger a presentation would be if you walked in with a singular purpose to:

  • Entertain the youth club so much they enter the go-kart competition.
  • Convince the budget committee to raise your departmental budget by 10%.
  • Anger the community council so they enact restrictions to limit toxic dumping.

Purpose helps you focus. When you have a clear goal, you can great rid of the extraneous slides, unrelated facts and useless details. If you want your budget to be increased by 10%, dont review all department budgets, the marketing plan and the company picnic. Talk about your success and map out how you would leverage the extra dollars for the benefit of the company.

So keep it simple. Its best to walk in with one clear purpose, accomplish that and move on to another at another time. Ive seen presenters walk in with three, four or five goals, and guess what? Nothing happens. The audience walks out not knowing what to do.

As a last note, apply this to your meetings as well. A strong, singular purpose can drive a really impressive sit-down meeting, not just a formal presentation. Purpose is the ace in the hole.

Want some help clarifying your purpose? Visit ImprovEdge today for more advice and information.

Photo credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center via Flickr