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WIIFM …. in 4 specific steps

Updated: Mar 8

In my last presentation class, when we discussed the idea of WIIFM, a learner asked:


‘I am responsible for updating the Relationship Managers (“RMs”) with the latest credit policies. We need the RMs to comprehend them in order to better protect the bank’s interest. However, as you can understand, they often see the policies as the boring stuff. After all, the policies are full of dry and detailed facts. The RMs did come to my presentation but without paying much attention. They showed up late (if they did show up at all) and got bored very quickly. I sometimes doubt whether it is a waste of time for them and myself….’


The above is a common and real challenge faced by our internal presenters. They need to present to the ‘prisoners’ – the kind of audience who attends the presentation simply because they have to. In addition, their content is often full of dry and detailed facts as we are in the banking industry.


The above question prompted me to think how exactly one should apply the WIIFM concept. On the plane from Beijing back to Shanghai, I come up with the following 4 specific steps to tackle the above challenge:


Step 1 Why care (personally)?

Let’s be frank. Most people listen better for personal reason. In the above case, the RMs will pay better attention if they realize that their own interests are strongly related to the presentation content. Rather than attending the presentation because their bosses ask them to do so. Spotting such strongly-related personal interest (SRPI) is important but not easy. Sometimes, it seems that personal interest does not exist at all, unless you think hard. Here is a thinking approach I suggest – Think Basic. Genuine personal interests are basically Money, Opportunity, Time, Face, Risk and Hassle. If we look at these from the RMs’ perspective, they would mean:


Genuine interest, and for the RMs, it means:

MONEY = Bonus

OPPORTUNITY = Promotion opportunity – ‘Do my bosses think I am good?’

TIME = Time – ‘When can I finish work and go home?’

FACE = Reputation – ‘How do the others think about me?’

RISK = Job security

HASSLE = Workload, Pressure


This approach helps us to think comprehensively. For the ‘credit policies’ example, it is unlikely that the policies will help the bonus. However, comprehending the policies helps the RMs save TIME. It helps the RMs to complete the formality more efficiently and avoid spending time with clients not allowed by the policies.


You should be able to find the SRPI. Well, if you try hard and still could not find one, perhaps really there is no reason for you to do the presentation. You may have to change the content or even create the SRPI yourself e.g. audience has to pass a test on the content in order to get their bonus!!


Will continue the next 3 steps in my next posts…

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