We have been busily working on a proposal all week for a big National Sales Meeting in a few months. As we work on theme, creative ideas and staging options I always get back to the feeling that that audience will be undoubtedly amazed by our production and creative as they walk into the room and the lights dim. (shameless plug) BUT it is up to the executives to keep that amazement ok excitement going high. I know sometimes talking about drugs, software or sales numbers is an excitement challenge. But I was reading this post from Chris Brogan today and I think they are a couple of great tips to keep that audience engaged.
What’s In It For Me? (WIIFM?)
Here’s one way to help your audience understand what’s in it for them: start by asking them a question that sounds like it came from right out of their head. If you’re giving a session on how the communications industry will be changed by audio podcasting, ask something like, “Do you think people REALLY believe that podcasting will change the world?”
This is actually two tips in one. It relates to the “what’s in it for me” (WIIFM) issue, but it also does something I love to do in presenting: take away their sword. This means, start by making sure your audience (especially if they’re skeptics) knows that you’re on their side.
So, ask a question that might come from your audience’s head, such that it sets them in the right frame of mind to absorb the brilliance you’re about to bestow upon them.
This is something I learned to do better after working with Stephen Saber at CrossTech Media. He stresses that every presentation I do for the company have five takeaway points: things people can do with the information I’ve given them during the presentation. That’s the whole “next steps” stuff that people seem to crave at events.
Since I started adding “takeaways” to my presentations, in one form or another, I’ve found that people have started to rate my speeches much more useful. I score high on entertainment, but now, with making sure people know what comes next, they also get scored pretty high on usefulness.
Takeaways should be very actionable. If you’ve finished up your speech on how podcasting changes communication, give people an assignment to find five podcasts on iTunes and subscribe for a month. Take notes on the ways each show introduces information, etc. Review your current corporate communications documents. Do any lend themselves to a potential audio format as well?
By starting with WIIFM and ending with 5 takeaways – even if you do it in a creative way that breaks the mold a bit, people will feel like they better understand and appreciate your efforts to educate and entertain them.
So if our executives can add WIIFM and Takeaways they can keep those audiences excited and moved to some sort of desired action the speakers/company want them to leave with. It also makes our staging and creative look better. 🙂