Know, Believe, and Do


One of the most helpful frames we’ve found at work for focusing meetings or presentations is:

  1. KnowWhat do you want them to know?
  2. BelieveWhat do you want them to believe?
  3. DoWhat do you want them to do?

For example, when our patterns & practices team at Microsoft would prepare to give a business review, the team building the slides would brainstorm on the 3 questions above.

I’m a fan of question-driven approaches, and the technique above has proven very effective for focusing a room of passionate people.  Really, you can think of it as creating “shared goals”, just with more precision and focus.  The goal of course, in our case, was “tell an effective story” about what our group does and why execs or business leaders should care.

Personally, I found the simple frame to work for just about any meeting where I need to “sell” an idea or get folks on board.

Photo by Reinante El Pintor de Fuego.


  1. This resonates with similar approach which is KFD based (know, feel, do).
    I used it but I adopted another one, which you shared with some time ago and I like better. It is OMA – objectives, messages, action.
    I think all approaches share some sort of influence that targeted to make the audience make an action in the end.

  2. Hi J.D.,

    very helpful and easy to remember approach. Thanks.
    I agree that effective story telling is very important and I think it is on of the most underestimated skill in today’s world.

    HR people should be asking on interviews candidates to share with them story on certain message, not listing their educational achievements;-)


    P.S.: you might be getting some traffic from Slovakia on your site, and my latest post explains why;-)

  3. @ Dror

    I find it way easier to figure out the answer, once I have the right questions.

    @ Alik

    I forgot about OMA and that’s a useful frame too. In both cases, it’s about getting clarity and getting intentional.

    @ Ivana

    Stories really putt things in context, and I agree, stories would say more than just a list of educational achievements.

    Thank you!

  4. JD,
    That really is a great strategy for selling others on your ideas/products/concepts/etc. These three questions – if this is done intentionally – show real conviction.

  5. @ Lance

    I like the fact it’s so simple and consistent. It’s helped me every time I was under the gun.

    @ Cheryl

    It’s funny how the right questions nudge us in the right direction.

  6. What a great approach to developing motivation. The more information people have the more they can become engaged.

    I also like what Alex wrote – objectives, messages, action. Basically the same concept, but helps put it into perspective.

  7. 3 simple words, but powerful beyond belief! And I just LOVE how these apply to writing a song. Know what I am trying to say. Believe it — believing I think is my most important aspect of putting together a new song. And well, just DO IT — which is what the past week has been for me, getting down to the action of making it happen!


  8. @ Hilary

    3 sure is sticky and I see why it helps for simplifying and sharing.

    @ Karl

    I think a key to success with a lot of knowledge work, is having the right frame, and perspective really does play a key role.

    @ Jannie

    Beautiful move applying to song writing. I think that’s perfect and a great way to apply what you know. That’s genuine know-how in action.

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