Thursday, June 12, 2008

The importance of finding the benefit for your audience

I spent a few hours this morning with my Dad talking about a new corkscrew collection software that he has designed and my brother has programmed ( The wider launch of the software is coming soon and he has seen how I've used video effectively in my business. He wanted my help in shooting a video to post on their web site that explains why someone would want to buy the software.

Like so many people who are deeply involved with a topic, he is too close to it to see it from the potential buyer's perspective. He showed me all the features of the software, but what the potential buyers need to know is how it will solve their biggest problems. It is the classic problem of features over benefits.

Chip and Dan Heath in their book "Made To Stick" call it "the curse of knowledge". It refers to the problem that you know so much about a subject and believe that everyone else wants to know that much as well. The reality is that they only want to know what it means to them.

For every point in your presentation, make sure that you focus on what the audience needs to know. This is difficult because we tend to focus on all the work and analysis we have done, but your presentation will be much better if you look at it from their perspective. As I discuss in my book "The Visual Slide Revolution", this is the first step in creating persuasive visuals. Turn the audience focused thought into the headline of your slide, add an appropriate visual and you have come a long way.


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