3 Tips for Writing Compelling Presentation Content

December 7, 2015

presentation content slideshareWIIFM may be one of the most important acronyms you need to keep in mind as you create a presentation. After all, it’s what audiences are constantly thinking when determining if your content is helpful. In other words: What’s in it for me?

Taking inspiration from WIIFM, my personal mantra – and one you should also keep in mind when creating presentations -- is the question, So what? Every time I create a slide or write a blog post, I return to my mantra and ask, So what?, which forces me to question why that idea is important for my audience. Is it entertaining, informative, inspiring, or is it simply fluff?

To answer the question So what? or What’s in it for me? with your presentation content, embrace these three simple tips:

  • Focus

To ensure your presentation leads to takeaways that clearly answer WIIFM? for the audience, build your presentation on an easy-to-identify central topic.

To define the core concept that will serve as the foundation for your presentation, write a one-sentence summary of your presentation topic before launching into the development of your content. When you define your presentation in a succinct sentence, you force yourself to focus your thoughts and minimize fluff.

  • Reduce

Develop your central idea by providing no more than three supporting concepts.

If you provide more than three supporting ideas in your presentation, your audience will likely forget the logic and flow of your content, and as a result, your takeaways will be meaningless to the audience when they try to recall your presentation in the future.

  • Structure

Structured presentations are 40% easier to retain than freeform presentations, according to Matt Abrahams, Stanford lecturer and public speaking expert.

There are many structures you can follow to develop your presentation content. However, this structure will ensure the WIIFM factor is clearly addressed: 1) What? 2) So what? 3) Now what?

presentation content

As you can see by the structure shown above, your presentation should end with a clear call-to-action, and answer the question, Now what?

In addition to structuring your presentation content around WIIFM, you should also take this technique one step further and try to structure your language around WIIFM. The easiest way to construct your presentation language for the So what? factor is to replace any I, me, or they language with you, we, or us language to keep the focus on the audience. The slides below can be referenced for inspiration when attempting to revise presentation language.

wiifm presentation content

wiifm slideshare content


To be successful as a presenter, ask yourself So what? when you develop all aspects of your presentation. Cut any excess content that does not add value for the audience by clearly defining the overall message of your presentation and providing no more than three supporting points. Lastly, develop a structure for your content to ensure your presentation answers So what? and concludes by answering What now? for the audience.

About the Author

Leslie Belknap is the Senior Content Strategist for Ethos3, as well as a board member and speakers’ coach for TEDxNashville. Say hi to Leslie on Twitter; she manages tweets for Ethos3.