Building a More Effective Communication Framework

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Building a more effective communication framework benefits your accounting and finance team. Prioritizing what to say and how to say it helps your team understand and act on your ideas, suggestions, and feedback.

You can use the “What, So What, Now What” framework outlined in a Harvard Business Review article to effectively communicate your message. This versatile, reliable communication framework can be used in diverse situations.

The Value of Structured Communication

Structured communication logically connects ideas between the communicator and their audience. These connections provide many benefits:

  • Confidence: Plan what to say and how to say it.
  • Efficiency: Break down complex ideas into small, actionable points.
  • Persuasion: Share a logical, point-by-point progression of your viewpoint.
  • Clarity: Ensure your message is easily understood and followed.
  • Retention: Impactfully share your message so it is easily remembered.

The “What, So What, Now What” Framework

Answer the following three questions to build a more effective communication framework:

  • What: Clarify the facts, situation, idea, or other relevant details.
  • So What: Share the importance or impact of the “what.”
  • Now What: Highlight the next steps, such as answering questions or scheduling a meeting.

Use this communication framework to organize your thoughts and help your audience understand and act on the information.

Examples of the “What, So What, Now What” Framework

The following examples demonstrate the “What, So What, Now What” framework in practice:

Introducing someone

You can use the “What, So What, Now What” framework when introducing someone:

  • What: I am honored to introduce Ms. Smith, who is here to share information about automation in accounting and finance processes.
  • So What: Her work is helping Winnipeg accounting and finance teams implement automation to increase efficiency in business processes.
  • Now What: Please join me in welcoming Ms. Smith.

Providing constructive feedback

You can use the “What, So What, Now What” framework when providing constructive feedback:

  • What: I saw that your report was not submitted by the deadline.
  • So What: Not submitting the report on time can decrease the company’s profits.
  • Now What: Your next report is due tomorrow by 5 pm. Please let me know how I can support you in completing it.

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