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It’s all about the DO

Over the years, working as an internal communications advisor, I have found that the best results happen when conversations begin with ‘what do we want people to do?’ It’s a message that is at the heart of the training that I deliver with the PRCA. 

Too often, colleagues come asking us to produce a specific piece of content or collateral. They have already decided that an all-staff email, a Yammer campaign or a TikTok-style video is what they need. 

Or at some point, they thought that sending employees a 10,000-word manual was a good idea.And they just want communications to sprinkle some ‘comms magic’ to make it interesting. 

It’s been my experience that asking about the desired results can add massive value – and stop the communications team from having murderous thoughts about their colleagues or clients. If you start by helping people think about the behaviours that are needed, it opens up a range of interesting conversations. 

First up it leads to confirming the business value of the initiative in question; it never ceases to amaze me how many projects which seem to need communication have unclear results or outcomes. Is there an intended result such as happier customers, safer working, lower costs, and greater collaboration? 

Only if the end business value is clear, can we start to discuss the actions which the team will take to deliver it. 

Second, the ‘DO’ question shakes out audience segmentation. In any organisation, we want different things from different people. A new digital tool may need some people to help with designing and building it, others may be needed to input data whilst another group might just have to stop using an old process. Different outcomes mean different communication approaches. 

Finally, when you know what you want people to do, you have the foundations of a proper evaluation approach.  

In the PRCA training, we have the opportunity to debate with delegates from a variety of sectors about how ‘DO’ applies to their experiences.  

And it’s always interesting talking through the questions: 

“In order for people to take action, what do they need to BELIEVE or FEEL?”  


“What INFORMATION do people need to KNOW in order to believe or feel as we wish?” 

Start with DO, end with KNOW 

By thinking about the communication process as DO | FEEL | KNOW you avoid the danger of being trapped into producing materials which have no impact beyond keeping the design studio busy. 

On the PRCA training courses, we bring together people from a cross-section of the profession and from a range of sectors. A typical workshop might have attendees from Government, charity, agency or the wider private sector. As far as possible we get participants to share their tips and challenges so that, as well as learning the theory, everyone can see how it works in practice. 

Leading courses with the PRCA is always one of the highlights of my year and I am looking forward to meeting more people in 2023. 


Liam FitzPatrick leads the PRCA’s training on Employee Communication and on Change Communications. Liam is a change and transformation consultant and uses practical real-life examples from around the world in his training sessions. He is also the co-author of the best-sellingSuccessful Employee Communications published by Kogan Page. Now in its second edition, it contains over 30 practical case studies and advice sections from leading practitioners across the globe.

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