Life Design

What?, So What?, Now What? Activity for Group Presentations

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What?, So What?, Now What? is a popular reflection activity. This post takes you through how I applied the What?, So What?, Now What? activity for group presentations

What is the What?, So What?, Now What? Activity?

What?, So What?, Now What? is an activity that provides structured reflection about a given topic, experience, process, etc. The activity was introduced by Gary Rolfe, Dawn Freshwater, and Melanie Jasper in their book, Critical Reflection for Nursing and the Helping Professions: A User’s Guide.

There can be numerous prompts for each element and this is how I interpreted them in the context of group presentations:

  • What?: The initiative. What we did.
  • So What?: The significance. Why we did it and why it’s important.
  • Now What?: Next steps. What happens now.

What?, So What?, Now What? For Group Presentations


Last year, I used rose, thorn, bud to structure our group presentation, Engaging Students Through Life Design, for 2020 Maryland Career Consortium Professional Development Conference.

For the 2021 conference, I decided to use What?, So What?, Now What? for our presentation, Life Design in the Virtual Environment. My co-authors were Tessa McKenzie, Nadine Goldberg, Aleanairis Nunez, and Ciara Flowers.

The title slide of our presentation.
Special thanks to my co-presenters: Tessa McKenzie, Nadine Goldberg, Aleanairis Nunez, and Ciara Flowers

Using What?, So What?, Now What? for Our Group Presentation

COVID-19 brought about significant changes across higher education. In our case, we need to adapt our life design approach to the virtual environment. We wanted to give audience members concrete examples of what we tried out to engage various stakeholders.

Since we were a group, it was important that the presentation was cohesive. I started the presentation with a quick overview of what to expect. Tessa gave a quick overview of life design and a ‘What the Heck’ chat to acknowledge our current circumstances. Then, each presenter used the What?, So What?, Now What? framework to present their activity in roughly 5 minutes.

The presentation took roughly 30 minutes. We then had Nadine facilitate an engaging discussion with our audience for another 30 minutes.

Accessing Presentation

The citation and slides for our presentation can be found here:


Closing Thoughts

What?, So What? Now What? provides consistency for our audience as we presented a diversity of initiatives across. Furthermore, this particular spoke to the moment we were in. Many of the initiatives were relatively new. Some were even still being executed as the presentation was happening. The Now What? what component was especially pertinent because we were able to clearly communicate our future plans.

This approach also helped streamline my co-authors’ preparation efforts. They could focus on a succinct reflection and messaging instead of figuring out on their own how to present their work, formatting slides, and overlapping with presenters, etc.

I would definitely consider using What?, So What?, Now What? again for a group presentation.

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