LESSON 4.3
Create the What Statement

Starting everything we do with a simple plan helps keep us from making mistakes and having to do things over again.

Task 4.3.1 – Individual

We will pretend that “Canaan seeing-eye dog” won the subject selection process in the previous chapter. Your What Statement looks like this:

LH

VP

RH

Narrator

Verb Phrase

Nonfiction Idea

 

 

 

Place the word I in the LH slot of the What Statement.  Place your chosen idea in the RH slot.

LH

VP

RH

Narrator

Verb Phrase

Nonfiction Idea

I

 

Canaan seeing-eye dog

The What Statement and Communication Barbell are the same thing:

The Word Favorite

If you see the word favorite in a prompt, then insert like or its synonym:

LH

VP

RH

Narrator

Verb Phrase

Nonfiction Idea

I

like

?

Not like this:

LH

VP

RH

Narrator

Verb Phrase

Nonfiction Idea

My favorite ?

is

a(n)

Creating the What Statement the second way means having the same variable twice in the statement.  “My favorite pet” and “a Canaan seeing-eye dog” are the same thing.

Wrong: What is your favorite pet?

Tie Line

If the prompt has extra language, such as a statement beginning with if, then make sure you tie the What Statement to the prompt.  For example:

Prompt: If you could be any wild animal, what would you be?

If I could be any wild animal, I would be a Canaan seeing-eye dog.

Task 4.3.2 – Individual

Create a What Statement for your idea.

Assessing What Statements

To see if a What Statement is worth discussing, answer these questions:

  1. Is the What Statement a sentence?
  2. Are there two variables?
  3. Is one variable New? (Use the Old/New formula to determine this.)

Sentence

A sentence is something you can say and it sounds okay. If it sounds strange, then it is usually a fragment. A sentence rarely starts with—

although/though
as/as if
because/since
if
in order to/so that
when/while
where/whereas

Variables

A variable is a central idea expressed in the What Statement.  They are the ends of the Barbell of Communication Some variables are hidden. We will cover those later.

Old Variable

Old Variables are ones the intended audience likely knows about or does not care about.

New Variable

New Variables are ones the intended audience does not know much about and are likely to interest the intended audience.

Expressed as a flowchart:

Is the What Statement a sentence?

Rewrite.

Are there two variables?

Re-determine the variables.

Is at least one variable (or their relationship) New information?

Funnel one or both variables or their relationship, or start over

The Formula

As you learned in the previous chapter, you can express the effectiveness of a What Statement with this formula:

O + O =   poor subject
O + N =   good subject
N + O =   good subject

Task 4.3.3 – Small Group

Determine if the following What Statements are worth discussing.

    1. I like ski-joring
    2. I like collecting stamps
    3. I like collecting stamps from Pitcairn Island
    4. I like collecting stamps from Pitcairn Island, home of the Bounty mutineers
    5. I like basketball
    6. I like sleeping
    7. I like making Athabascan slippers
    8. I like shooting around
    9. I like shooting free throws
    10. 10.I like playing HORSE in basketball
    11. 11.I like sleeping at the sleep disorders center
    12. 12.I like sleeping beneath the stars.