Know Your Audience and Your WIIFY

Today I am reflecting back on a tried and true lesson I’ve learned through the years. One that is important to any person in a marketing role within any size company, big or small.

When you are selling an idea to an audience, know who’s out there. Know who your audience is. Know what they are thinking, and where they are coming from.

Why is this critical? Because it is critical when preparing an important pitch or presentation that you must focus on a WIIFY – What’s in it for you (the audience.) I learned this lesson from a book that I have relied on time and time again in my career – titled Presenting to Win and written by Jerry Weissman.

By understanding your WIIFY, and understanding where your audience is when they enter the room (Point A), and understanding where you want them to be at the end of your pitch (Point B) you can create and deliver an outstanding presentation.

A few important take-aways from this book:

  • Only include topics in your presentation that are mandatory to get your audience to Point B. For example, there are times when you’ve done a lot of background work to prepare for your presentation or recommendation. While this work was critical to you (and sometimes painful and sometimes veryyyyy time consuming), the details of this work may not need to be included in your actual report-out or presentation.
  • To get the audience to act, the motivation must be from their perspective – not yours (the presenter).
  • Continously bring your audience back to the WIIFY by using WIIFY triggers such as “why am I telling you this” and “this is important to you because”.
  • Grab them from the first slide and the first words out of your mouth.  Use a question, a fact, an anecdote, a famous quote or whatever else can capture their attention and get them focused on moving from Point A to Point B.
  • Schedule time to practice.  Even if it’s a presentation to be used internally within your company, plan time to practice your pitch, what you will say on each slide, which WIIFY triggers you will use, etc.

Know your audience. Know what’s in it for them. And stay laser focused on moving them from Point A to Point B. Happy presenting!

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