Effective Communication – It’s Not That Difficult, When You Know How

So why is it difficult for many people?

We operate in very fast paced, challenging times that are constantly changing, so effective communication is imperative. However, we find that people don’t understand that the people they are trying to communicate with process information in a unique way and it feels to them like you are talking a different language.

What’s the answer?

Practical behavioural profiling tools for businesses and the professionals that operate within them.

The suite of four Compass indicators (TFK, Pace, ELM and Risk) provide valuable insights about workplace productivity and behaviour. They deepen individual and team awareness, bringing respect and adaptability for everyone’s different styles and skill sets.

What’s an indicator?

Instead of focusing on underlying personality traits, Compass focuses on behaviours, relationships and outcomes, helping people understand their own – and other people’s – behaviours. Once you’ve completed an indicator you receive a report explaining your results and access to a library of articles and videos to help you apply your learnings.

Let’s focus on Think Feel Know (TFK), a communication behavioural tool.

Why is effective communication so challenging?

Imagine you are lost in a remote part of the world with no mobile coverage and no one speaks English. Challenging? Yes. You may well get by with hand signals, a few words, drawings and body language, but it can be tough. While some might consider it an adventure, others find it incredibly frustrating and stressful. And, that’s the point, we are all different.

How often do you feel no one speaks your language?  Miscommunication or misunderstanding is the number one reason why so many tough conversations escalate to uncomfortable levels of tension, resentment, and lack of trust.

To achieve increased respect and unity we need to recognise that we all have different ways we prefer to process information, communicate, and make decisions:


Data driven, linear, has to go through a process before making a decision. Makes a decision from pure practicality.


Needs stories and drawings to illustrate the situation but can miss out on gathering all the facts. It has to “feel right” before a decision is made.  Note this is not emotion, it is about energy.


Makes quick “gut” decisions. Needs little data, loves the bottom line, and is just as happy to make another decision immediately.

Importantly, everyone uses all three styles. 

There is no right or wrong, and each of us has a primary and secondary style that we tend to rely on.

To bring this tool to life and give some real-life applications, here are a few examples of how TFK has been utilised in the workplace.

Example 1

A very successful manager sometimes let his client/co-worker relationships get the better of him. While he was really liked by clients and colleagues alike, this manager would easily get upset. Why? Because the manager is high Feel and while great at building strong relationships he neglected to get all the necessary Think (data, facts, and deadlines) aspects answered for his team. Once he understood the need to take care of Think, Feel and Know during the ‘fact find’ of any engagement and/or relationship, all that stress went away, and the manager became much more effective.

Example 2

TFK can be employed in many situations, especially sales. By analysing whether their clients and prospects gave lots of data (Think), told stories (Feel) or gave more short answers (Know), they were able to pair them with someone who had the same predominate style, resulting in improved communication.

Example 3

Did you know that those who are predominantly Think tend to look up and to the right when they are processing information? Now what if your boss thought that every time you were doing this you were rolling your eyes! Once aware of this behaviour, this very simple misunderstanding is quickly resolved when both parties understand some of the body language elements of Think Feel Know.

Example 4

Within a management team the CEO was a strong Know and the head of operations was a strong Feel. By learning about the challenges that a strong Feel might have communicating to a strong Know (which could result in miscommunication, confusion and, ultimately, stress), you are able to improve communication methods leading to less stress in the workplace.

These very simple examples demonstrate in practical terms that communication does not have to be as challenging as we make it. The real power is in not only understanding ourselves but in understanding how the person we are communicating with likes to receive and process information.

To learn more about how to use TFK to achieve effective communication for you, your teams or even your whole organisation, visit Training by Shirlaws to view our range of courses.

Nigel Hartley
Nigel Hartley

Business Advisor
Helping businesses adapt and pivot

By identifying blockages and blind spots, the Risk indicator helps improve communication and decision-making. The indicator uses a simple 0 to 10 scale that provides an overall personal score. In a…
I would recommend Think Feel Know to any company that wants a fast and simple way to first understand and then improve communication across the business.
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Karen Finucane, Captain of Logistics, Next Evolution Performance
The Risk indicator was truly eye opening. It revealed how each of us makes decisions and enabled us to address some underlying frustrations in our team.
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Now I know my Risk profile and my team’s Risk profile, I know we have the right team to implement our strategic plan. I think it’s an incredibly powerful exercise to do.
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