Managing expectations: What's your objective?

In sales and marketing presentations I am always asking the parties involved in the presentation, "What's your objective?  What is the primary result you want to have happen when this session is done?"  It is critical you ask that question of all the key stakeholders in a presentation since agendas and expectations vary so much from person to person as well as group to group.

When asking a sales person, the answer may be, "to make the sale."  That's not actionable.  There are multiple steps still needing to take place before you can meet that particular expectation.  If it's an informational presentation, the objective may be to "increase familiarity with the topic."  A fairly wishy-washy objective when it comes to measuring success.

Plan your presentations around the objectives you and your team agree upon that are actionable, achievable, and measurable.  Make it part of your plan, and know what to do if you're straying away from those objectives as your presentation progresses.

Presentations should have specific objectives and should contribute to moving whatever process is taking place forward.  If your presentation doesn't focus on the expectations of the key stakeholders, then you're not likely to have a successful session.