Executive Speaking Weblog

Communication – the future of business

What’s in it for Me???

Posted by Presentation Skills on October 4, 2007

Have you ever stopped and wondered why people should listen to you when you speak?

Do people listen to you because they have too, because it is part of their job or because you will be able to sack them if they don’t.  Or do they listen to you because they want too?

You might ask, “What’s the difference if they listen?”  Well there is a big difference.  The difference relates to whether your audience will accept and internalise your message and adopt it as their own.  If they are listening because they want too, then there is a greater chance that they will adopt your message.

So how do you get them to want to listen to you? 

Well you need to find out what your WIIFM is.  Anyone who has ever been involved in selling will know that WIIFM stand for ‘What’s in it for me?’  It is the question a buyer will ask while they listen to the sales pitch.  If there is nothing in the sales pitch for them, they will not buy.  It is the same for any audience.  While they may not be able to physically move away from your presentation, mentally they will be elsewhere and your message will be lost.

Understanding this is important in so many situations.  It is not just public speaking.  Consider the e-mails that you send, the letters you write, and the ‘phone calls you make.  If the person at the other end of your message cannot see any value in your message, you may as well not send the message.

So remember, before starting to speak, write or present, ask yourself, “What is my WIIFM?”  Once you know that, your audience will start to want to listen to you!

 ‘Til next time,


Darren Fleming

Australia’s Public Speaking Coach


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