The “Do, Say, Think, Feel” Approach to Communication

The “Do, Say, Think, Feel” Approach to Communication

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Last updated on July 29, 2021 at 01:38 pm

To learn more about the Do, Say, Think, Feel Approach and other communications fundamentals, check out the Thinkcurity Webinar Internal Communication 101: Best Practices for Security Teams.


Every piece of communication should have an objective tied to it. You can help everyone within your organization identify that objective and then measure the result of that communication that’s happening. 

If somebody says, “Oh, I want to send out this message about our benefits open enrollment,” and there’s no objective, there’s nothing that you want employees to do with that piece of information, don’t send it or don’t send it yet. Wait until you know what that objective is so that when it gets to employees it’s meaningful. If you send out too much information that doesn’t have an objective, it becomes noise. And when employees see noise, they start to tune it out. And when they start to tune out, they’re going to miss something critical when it finally comes to them.

So, when you start with that objective, then that helps you understand when, how, where you want to communicate, who you want to target it to, then you’re communicating with impact. Then you can measure your success. And one of the models that I really love is this do, say, think, and feel.

And you don’t necessarily have to have all four of these within every message that you’re creating, or every communications campaign that you’re getting ready to launch. But you want to be able to identify as you’re putting that message together, what do I want my employees to do with this information when they receive it?

What do I want them to be able to say about it? That could be as a manager. What do I want to be able to say to my employees to help them understand the importance of following this? Or that could be, what do I want them to be able to say externally?

What do I want them to think? What do I want them to walk away with this message thinking about us as an organization? About me as a leader? Or about our role within the industry?

And then finally, how do I want them to feel after they read this? And sometimes these are very tactical communications, so it might just feel confident. I want them to be able to read this message and go, “Got it, execute.”

So, not everything has to be warm and fuzzy on the inside. Sometimes it is really tactical in nature. It’s about making sure they have a message they need when they need it, and they can act on it.

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