Jackie Kellso

Your Audience Always Wants to Know, “What’s in it for me?”

In business relationships, career, coaching, communicating, communication, communication skills, executive coaching, executives, leadership, managing, people skills, presentation skills, presentations, presenting, professional development training, public speaking, public speaking fear, sales, selling, training, Uncategorized on January 3, 2015 at 6:04 pm

WIIFM.  You know, the radio station, what’s in it for me?  That’s precisely what audiences are thinking when they have to listen to a presentation. One of my most trusted mentors once said, “No one comes to hear a presentation wondering if the speaker slept well the night before, had an easy commute and a good cup of coffee. Audiences are thinking about themselves.  Not you.  So stop thinking, worrying and focusing on yourself.” I repeat his words with great compassion for you!

To effectively sell your idea, concept, product, or service, you must get buy-in — and that only happens when your audience understands how your point relates to them. With this in mind, be careful not to stand in the way of communicating your point.

A. Don’t Seek Sympathy

Listen to how often speakers stand before audiences and introduce their presentations with a self-deprecating remark, such as, “My computer was down all last week and I didn’t have the chance to practice as much as I’d hoped so I’m not as sharp as I’d wish to be,” or “I’ve just gotten over a cold and am not fully myself yet,”  etc…. NEVER APOLOGIZE to an audience before you start you presentation, folks!  1. You are calling attention to you and away from them.  2. You are giving them permission to look for your flaws.  3. You are asking for sympathy:  they are not going to give you the latitude to be less informative and entertaining. So, please, NEVER APOLOGIZE before, during or after a presentation. Remember: they are thinking of themselves, not you.

B. Take Yourself Out of the Equation

Your point has to benefit your audience, so every time you insert yourself, your needs, your wishes, you lose a connection.  Every word and concept is on behalf of their interests. I have heard many presenters make statements that are ‘me’ based and not ‘you’ based, like:  I want your attention, I need you to follow my direction, my goal is for everyone of you to buy my product.  You get the idea.  Your goals are irrelevant and what you want is pointless.  (The only time a speaker can state what he wants is when he is in a leadership role and has already gotten buy-in and approval.  What he really means is, ‘what we all want.’)  No speaker is spared the burden of proving a benefit. The reasons people are texting, snoring, looking at the floor, whispering to the person sitting next to them, and pretending to listen (you know, eyes are fixed on you the whole time but are unresponsive) is because:  1. They are thinking of themselves. 2. The speaker has failed to prove the ability to meet their objectives, or solve their problems.  3.  The point to them has been lost or hasn’t been made clear.   So, think you vs. me when you speak.

C. Don’t Let Fear or Pride Isolate You

Please don’t let the fear of looking silly stop you from using a wide emotional range that can be playful, humorous, mournful, soulful — whatever makes sense — it reveals the essence and humanity of who you are.  An audience’s quest for WIIFM is the command they have on the speaker to be entertaining as well as informative.  As a trainer and coach I know that the people who do not improve on their presentations are ones that refuse to budge on this; they remain uninteresting, unapproachable and isolated from their listeners. People don’t trust emotionally withholding speakers. Dare to put your own brand of sparkle into it! Dramatic execution helps people understand the point and see its worth.  When you insert natural, human emotion into your presentations people appreciate you and relate to you.  That’s how you build value. If you can look at yourself as the delivery system for your presentation, it might make it easier to realize that your personal needs can not be packaged into your material. This might be hard, especially if you’re already a bit stressed or worried about your presentation skills. You are more likely to get the result you want if you think solely about benefitting your audience than making it more comfortable for yourself.

Happy presenting!


Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc.,  with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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