Presentations: What Matters to Your Audience?

It doesn’t matter how generous, caring, giving, altruistic, or even saintly your individual audience members may be. Chances are the question on their minds as they walk into your presentation is, “What’s in it for me?” It’s human nature.

The “What’s In It For Me?” factor is so pronounced and widespread, it has its own acronym: WIIFM. By keeping in mind your audience’s WIIFM needs, especially as you answer the questions in the “Define Your Audience” checklist, you tremendously improve your chances of making a winning presentation.

Think about what your audience really wants. Do they care that your business is growing fast and that you are a fabulously talented entrepreneur? Or are they going to be turned off by hearing you just talk in superlatives about your company and yourself?

Can you make it clear exactly how your presentation is going to offer a take-home benefit to your audience? If so, send a signal to your audience as early as possible that the benefit is coming, so they have a good reason to stay “tuned in.”

Is the audience dying to hear your every word? Are you a celebrity they’ve waited in line outside all night to hear? If not, you’d better make it really clear what’s in it for them. Will it be take-away value? Will it be really interesting? Will it be entertaining?

Has this audience heard several similar presentations recently? If so, how can you break it up and make it more interesting?

Finally, does your audience even want to be there at all? If they’d really rather be somewhere else, you’d better be entertaining and interesting as never before because you’ve already lost them before you’ve even started. You have to begin by reeling them back in and then fight to keep them on the hook.

At the End of the Day, Your Audience is Only Human

Your presentation is much more likely to succeed if you try to think about all of your audiences’ wants and desires, including their emotional ones, rather than just trying to make the most logical argument possible.

Don’t just think about your audience but think about where they are, where they are coming from and where they are going.

Is the presentation going to be the last thing they do before a long weekend? Will their minds have already drifted to the beach or the golf course? If so, put in that extra effort to reel them back in.

Will your presentation be the last of six on the same topic? If so, you should ideally try to find out specifically what ground the other presentations will have covered.

Have some members of your audience already heard much of the material but some of them still need to hear it again? If so, you’ll need a strategy to deal with this.

In summary, your strategy for thinking about “What’s In It For Me?” can be one of the most important elements in making a great and impactful presentation.

About Bob Adams

Bob Adams is a Harvard MBA serial entrepreneur. He has started over a dozen businesses including one that he launched with $1500 and sold for $40 million. He has written 17 books and created 52 online courses for entrepreneurs. Bob also founded BusinessTown, the go-to learning platform for starting and running a business.