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Unpacking the value of your offering-through “three what’s.”

A colleague and friend of mine was a prolific public speaker and author, having written 16 books. The last of these was “When the going gets tough, the tough get creative”

Although no longer alive, Charles Gordon’s unique humour, ability to relate to people in an extra-ordinary way and depth of wisdom will live on though his legacy, talks and books.

I recall arranging and attending a writers conference where he shared a powerful principle that I still use in most contexts when sharing with others, whether one on one or larger groups.

Charles shared that whenever you are speaking or writing, your audience is asking themselves three “what’s”, that you would do well to think through.

They are:-

What are you saying? What is the main point or essence of what you are presenting?

So what? What is the value of what you have shared? Why is it important; or in the language of business, “What is the problem this is addressing?”

Now what? How do I take what you have shared and apply it or benefit from it?

Let me use an example to illustrate the use of these 3 what’s.

One of my major focuses in terms of market linkages is linking potential suppliers (beneficiaries) to medium/large businesses within enterprise and supplier development.

So my conversation could go something like this……

The CFE/RI raises sustainable businesses, led by resilient entrepreneurs who may be able to add value to your companies becoming compliant with their BBBEE codes. (What?)

Recent changes to the BBBEE codes has resulted in many businesses dropping in their status from 4 to 6 or lower. (So what?)

Exploring a partnership with the CFE/RI could provide a predictable and consistent way to regain these points. (Now what)

By keeping these three what’s in mind, I can keep focus on the main thing.

I think this principle is one you can use whether you are pitching your business; communicating with staff or working through opportunities and challenges.

Here’s to building strong businesses and resilient entrepreneurs!


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