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WIIFY: What’s in it for you?

January 27, 2012

person with speech bubble and person with question markWhat’s in it for you? WIIFY is a topic I’ve blogged about before and probably will again because it’s really that important.

I can remember being in far too many presentations and thinking, “Okay, but why do I care?” or walking out of one mumbling some variation on that. To say the least, it’s very bad if your audience is left that way. It happens because presenters get so lost in their data, or in what they’re saying that they forget that the audience wants and needs to hear what it means and, especially, why they should care.

Jerry Weissman (Presenting to Win) calls it Audience Advocacy–taking the view of the audience and going beyond just presenting the information you’ve got by carefully and explicitly telling them why they should care. He makes the point strongly several times; here’s one of them:

The key building block for Audience Advocacy, and a way to focus on benefits rather than features, is to constantly ask the key question: What ’s in it for you? There are six key phrases that can trigger a WIIFY.  They are designed to remind presenters about the necessity of linking every element of their presentation to a clear audience benefit, or a WIIFY.

When I coach my clients ’ presentations and I hear an idea, fact, story, or detail without a clear audience benefit, I interrupt to call out one of these WIIF Y triggers:

  1. “This is important to you because…_. ” (The presenter fills in the blank with a WIIFY)
  2. “What does this mean to you?” (The presenter explains with a WIIFY)
  3. “Why am I telling you this?” (The presenter explains.)
  4. “Who cares?” (“You should care, because ….” )
  5. “So what? ” (“Here ’s what … “)
  6. “And. .. ?” (“Here’s the WIIFY.. . _ .”)

Weissman’s experience (and mine) is that this a common issue with presentations of all kinds and that even experienced presenters can easily fall into this trap. We won’t have Jerry as a coach, so we need to make a conscious effort to watch for his WIIFY triggers and ask ourselves his questions.

Remember, the goal of your presentation is to create change, and your job is to motivate the change by telling the audience what’s in it for them !

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