So What? How to Communicate What Really Matters to Your Audience: A Book Review


How do you sell something? Do you start with “I want to tell you about _____?” Do you introduce yourself by your job description, then try your best to keep eye contact as your audience’s attention wanders?

If you do, stop. The people you’re addressing don’t care about you or your offerings. Until you revamp your way of thinking, planning, and communicating, they’ll continue to ignore you. In “So What,” Mark Magnacca shows you how to communicate with your audience in an efficient, effective way.

The key, as the book’s title suggests, is addressing the so what? factor. According to Magnacca, a sales expert and business building coach, your audience—whether they’re prospects, existing clients, colleagues, or acquaintances–need to know how your product or service benefits them. Without knowing what’s in it for them, your audience won’t truly listen to you. You waste time and energy on sales tactics that don’t work.

In his brief, useful book, Magnacca coaches readers through the process of solidifying a So What? mentality. You finish the book knowing how to make a pitch resonate, regardless of audience. The end result? Better returns, a bigger customer base, and improved communication skills.

Magnacca outlines 3-4 simple lessons in each chapter. Chapter 1 tells you to adapt a new (So What?) way of thinking. Chapter 2 describes how you need to put the needs of your audience first. Subsequent chapters cover how to find out what’s most important to your audience, how to structure a presentation around that, how to properly prepare for a presentation, how to position yourself, how to present yourself, and how to keep yourself relevant. Although some lessons seem tangential—for example, “be authentic” seems like a superfluous reminder—the overall techniques in the book are helpful.

The author crafts each chapter in a way that convinces you the techniques work. Each chapter starts with a story, covering movies, sports stars, companies, politicians, Magnacca’s own experience, and other scenarios. The stories illustrate why the lesson in the chapter is effective. Magnacca also infuses chapters with additional examples of how So What techniques have made real-life business communications more effective. The end of each chapter summarizes a list of key points, and how you can apply them to your situation.

The book is written to teach. It’s simple and useful. You can breeze through it, but if you want to let Magnacca’s sales techniques gain traction, you need to put some time and practice into his lessons. If you need a sales boost, a new perspective, or just new ideas, grab a copy.

For more on “So What?”, go here.

Full disclosure: We were sent a copy of the book to review.

Written by Drea Knufken

Drea Knufken

Currently, I create and execute content- and PR strategies for clients, including thought leadership and messaging. I also ghostwrite and produce press releases, white papers, case studies and other collateral.