So what’s the “So What?” Factor?

By: Dr. Diane Govern

I’m a novice at blogging.  I’m skeptical others are interested in what I have to say.  For instance, even though I can’t resist reading the Facebook posts and blogs of my family and friends, I rarely post anything myself.  Even though I’m much more informed about minor (and sometimes major) details of important people in my life, after reading posts, I often ask myself, “so what?” Judgmental as this may be, I think it offers insight into effective communication.  So I am excited to stretch myself, to go outside my comfort zone and to “blog” about a concept that almost anyone in any audience can utilize.  It is the “so what” factor.

My traditional methods of sharing information and concepts are perhaps the reason I was drawn to consulting in the first place.  To a certain degree we all put on a consulting hat when we come to work (virtual or not), regardless of our role.  Our employer is paying for some expertise that we possess that will serve a particular purpose:  customer satisfaction, company profits, employee engagement, to name a few.  I have always liked the face-to-face interaction of consulting and knowing that my audience is interested in the information I have to share.

So how do we add value when we come to work?  The most meaningful conversations I have had with clients have all had a high degree of what we call the “so what?” factor.  What is the “so what” factor you ask?  It is the extent to which I can make a connection between the information that I am sharing and a meaningful outcome for the person(s) receiving the message.  The audience needs to walk away knowing exactly “what’s in it for me?”  This is the ingredient that many training professionals so often incorporate into their curricula.

When a consultant is engaged to solve a problem for a client, the client will inevitably ask “so what?” A good consultant will be able to answer the question with specifics related to the business outcome.  The next time you are preparing for a conversation with a client, boss, child, signification other, give it the “so what” test.  Then go ahead and reward yourself with some mindless Facebook time.