Welcome to International Ideas Month, "dedicated to all ideas—large, small, great, not-so-great, past and current as well as ideas yet to come. Without constant new ideas, progress and people stagnate." This is the second in a series of posts on ideas. Read the first here.

Here's another strategy for sharing your ideas: The What-Why-How™. It's especially helpful when you want or need to provide a lot of rationale or support. It's the best strategy I know for creating a logical framework for my ideas. Here's how it looks:

An annotated version of the What-Why-How© Strategy by Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc.

And here's how you use it:

  1. Start at the bottom in the audience block. This is where you define your audience as specifically as possible. Then, based on your audience, determine a personality for you, the writer. Think about the kind of person and tone of voice that will resonate best with your audience. Who do they want to hear from and who will they trust?
  2. WHAT: Write down your big idea, that one most important thing you want people to know.
  3. WHY: Now move to the center column and jot down your rationale. Why do you think what you think? Write as many reasons as possible--or write down one and move over to the proof points. The only "right" order is the order that works best for you.
  4. HOW: Finish each thought or the whole strategy by providing the proof points that support your idea. What are the examples, evidence and explanations necessary to get your audience to come around to your way of thinking?

Here's one I built to write a bio for someone, sans the personality info:

An example of the What-Why-How Strategy in action

Download a blank What-Why-How organizer. You can whip one of these out in 15 minutes or less to clarify your thinking and even share it with others to get input or approvals before you start writing (which is a real time-saver). Good luck!

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