June 2014 Meeting Discussion: What’s In It For Me?

Presented by Liz Fraley, and reviewed by Eri Funada

Getting What You Want In Life

The presentation was meant for any professional situation, but the method itself is applicable to everyone’s personal and professional life. We live in a society, and people’s lives, especially when they live in a city, people’s lives consistently intersect with other people’s lives. If you have an idea that you want to implement in your real life that can’t be accomplishing by yourself, Fraley’s method is a great way to convince and get them involved in your idea. After all, not everything goes your way, but if you think your idea is a win-win solution, it’s better for everyone to benefit.


The keyword Fraley stated was What’s In It For Me (WIIFM). She gave an example of us coming to the meeting, and the reason we came was that there was something beneficial for all of us. WIIFM describes the idea that everyone is willing to do things that are beneficial for them. The key point is that when convincing someone to do things for you, you should talk in THEIR language, not your language. Great ways to do this are to:

  • Avoid focusing too much on the feature
    No matter how great the features are, your listener probably won’t care about what it does.
  • Avoid using highly technical vocabulary
    WIIFM for them is not the same as what it is for you.
  • Changing your perspective
    Your great idea may be great for you. But maybe what your listener is looking for is something that’s NOT what you care about. How is it going to affect the team’s finances? How about the team’s weekly schedule? Be specific and try to look in every direction.
  • Get someone to help think this out
    Some people are better at some things than you are. In Fraley’s case, her husband helps her out when she needs to persuade someone. It may be your coworker, your family, or your friends. Try talking with someone next time you’re working on a situation.
  • Try some techniques used by innovators
    There are strange online advertisements about making your life better, but not all things are suspicious and questionable material. Some people are experts and they can identify opportunities, problems, relationships, motivations, connections, and associations.

A Bad Customer Can Hurt You, but a Bad Team Can Hurt You Faster

Fraley says that authority does not help you to get people on your side, even if it’s the CEO of the company. An unwilling team in worst case can even lead to sabotage, which will reduce the efficiency of the workforce. This is not what you want. Investing in time beforehand and telling your workers how they will benefit are things everyone in your team will like. Take the time to honestly speak out about how they will benefit, and everyone in your workplace will be happy.

Eri Funada is a Technical Communication student at San Francisco State University.


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