The most important guiding questions to prepare your presentation

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The correct preparation of your presentation is just as important as the presentation topic, the design of the contents and the performance of the presenter. In a small series we want to deal with the essential guiding questions that you should answer if you want to give a successful presentation.

Questions are sometimes more important for a project than answers. Questions give us the direction in which we think, analyse and work. With the right questions you can solve problems better, develop strategies and prevent mistakes to a certain extent. Have you ever heard of the seven journalistic W questions? I don’t know what it looks like now, but in the past the W questions were part of the tools of every serious journalist’s trade.
They are:

  • Who (did something)
  • what (did he do)
  • where (did he do it)
  • when (did he do it)
  • how (did he do it)
  • why (did he do it)
  • from where (is the information)

By applying these questions, journalists can gather the information necessary to write an informed article. What applies to the writing guild is very similar in other industries. In almost every profession it is important to ask the right questions. Especially for the preparation of presentations, we have compiled nine guiding questions that you can use to prepare and subsequently elaborate your presentation.

1. Who? (Presenter/s)

The point here is to identify which type of presenter is giving the presentation:

  • Who will present?
  • What personality does the presenter have?
  • Are rhetoric, voice, language and body language convincing for the target group?

Is the intended presenter the right choice for the topic and the target group? Could there perhaps be a candidate who would be more suitable? Sometimes it can also make sense to have two presenters, for example a salesperson and a technician or a product manager and a product developer. In this way the different personalities and competences can complement each other in a meaningful way. This increases the credibility and persuasiveness of the presentation. A team presentation can positively enhance the effect. It also symbolizes an appreciation towards the audience.

Please consider the following points:

  • Who gives the presentation? You alone?
  • What kind of person are you?

What for? (Targets)

The more clearly you have formulated your concrete goals, the more focused you can work on your presentation. What goal(s) are you pursuing with your presentation? What should be different after your presentation than before? What do you want to achieve with your presentation in the short, medium and long term? It may also be a very important question: What is the goal of your client? Is your presentation a persuasive or informative presentation?

The immediate goal of your presentation can be:

  • to inform (information presentation)
  • trainings (information presentation)
  • training (information presentation)
  • push, for example decisions, processes (presentation of convictions)
  • change feelings and attitudes, for example (presentation of convictions)
  • implement, for example projects (solution presentation)
  • motivate, inspire, convince (persuasion presentation)
  • sell (presentation of conviction)

Higher-level goals could be for you:

  • impress with professional competence
  • establish or consolidate expert status
  • be remembered as a thought leader, influencer or admonisher

The presentation goals can be formulated very specifically: After the presentation should/should:

  • the interested party should be convinced that I/we are the right partner.
  • the project should be approved in the amount of 4.000.000 €.
  • the audience changes its opinion in my/our favour.
  • the client grant the timeout for the project.
  • the team members have all the information they need to continue working.
  • the majority of the decision makers support the project.

The presentation goals can also be less concrete. For example, the wish that after the presentation:

  • the board receives all important information about the project.
  • the audience to inform themselves in more detail on our homepage.
  • the listeners have become aware of the project’s purpose.
  • the participants have learned something.


Clear objectives have the advantage that you can more easily separate the unimportant from the important, the relevant from the irrelevant and concentrate on the essential.

Think very specifically about what you want to achieve with your presentation.
Further important guiding questions for your next presentation will be discussed in the second part.


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