Great presentations flow because they have a structured argument designed to take you from your current perspective to a new one. The entire talk is tailored to carry your thoughts, opinions and judgements to a different place or point of reflection. Every phrase has a purpose.

This change in perspective is only possible with a clearly defined outcome or intention where each point or section leads logically to another, without hesitation. There is a subtle but vital difference between the task of giving a talk and the communication objective that underpins it.

Clarity of outcome is key to achieving new perspectives in the minds of the audience – assuming that the content is pitched appropriately (imagine the difference between the content of a talk about ‘the value of space travel to the human race’ delivered to a) pre-school kids and b) NASA astronauts. Confusion, distraction or boredom will only occur if an audience is unable to follow the logic of the presenter either because it is poorly pitched or because it lacks focus and intent.

A communication objective should provoke a response in thought, word or deed. Effective communication will provoke the response you intend. Never forget that communication without purpose is just noise

Do this one thing: next time you do a talk, set yourself a measurable objective and ask your audience for feedback. It will make you a better communicator, I promise.


I help engineers, scientists and technologists to be more effective communicators because I think they are awesome and want them to get the understanding and recognition they deserve. Sign up today for the next Presentation Skills & Networking workshop being delivered at RINA headquarters in London on October 19th 2016.