That’s the question every person in your audience is asking—“what’s in it for me?” Too often, we construct our presentation content around what we think is important, what we believe needs to be covered and why. We develop key points, find data and examples, and create visual aids to support our viewpoint and recommendations. But we often forget what our listeners most want to know – What does it mean to them?
What is this going to cost in terms of time, money, effort, or resources? Or what is it going to save? Is this going to benefit the organization, the company, them personally? If you fail to articulate this, you fail to make your content relevant to them.
“…And you’ll see that the cost savings will be significant, over $40,000.”
“…And if you agree to the 3-point plan I’m going to lay out, you’ll see bigger bonuses as a result.”
“You’ll be able to experience a 25% reduction in man hours.”
“Doing it this way will help the company expand into other markets in record time.”
If we mention the W.I.I.F.M. at all, it’s usually at the end of the presentation. But I’d like to suggest that we share the relevance sooner, in the opening remarks. When we do it up front, we get their mental buy-in to continue listening to us. They’ll be thinking, “I like the sound of that, tell me more!” You’ll get more heads-up-and-off-their-phones-and-handouts listeners. Plus, they may even hold their questions and interruptions because they don’t have to force this very one into your content.
Think there’s no good W.I.I.F.M. to share? It’s going to cost a boatload of money or make everyone work overtime? Spin the W.I.I.F.M. until you find the silver lining: “It will cost $1.6 million upfront to implement, but the cost savings long term will be significant.”
Clear, concise presentations and reports should always be the objective. Developing key points, support, and a logical structure are good starting points. But also take time to craft a compelling “what’s in it for me”. If you don’t know what it is, no one else will either—and your presentation will end up being a nice-to-know instead of a need-to-know. Articulate the relevance to your audience and you’ll have an easier time selling your ideas!
® Jill Bremer 2016