Communicate Like a Fourth Grader

April 8, 2015

Last month the world met a 9 year old girl, Sydney Smoot, who took on the Florida school board voicing her concerns about standardized testing (FSA). She absolutely killed it and she’s making headlines left and right.

In the battle for effective communication, age is completely irrelevant. We’ve seen countless CEO and intellectual types crash and burn because they can’t get out of their own way. They feel compelled to pummel you with charts and endless details about their product—when really all they have to do is tell us WHY it’s important and how we can help.

[bctt tweet=”In the battle for effective communication, age is completely irrelevant. #SydneySmoot”]

So, why is she getting all this attention? Yes, a little bit of it is simply because she’s 9 years old; but if she blew it, would the whole world be sharing her story?

Sydney didn’t give us scientific stats on how the FSA was negatively effecting student growth. She didn’t bombard us with a series of example questions from the test. She simply used a little method we like to call Know, Feel, Do (K-F-D).

It works in every form of communication. From speeches to first dates, the KFD Methodology is a simple, proven and effective way to layout your message to the world.

The KFD Methodology


This is the nuts and bolts of the presentation. This is the thing most people give us without even trying. It’s the how-this-works or the what-this-is portion. What do you want your audience to know?

Sydney’s use: The FSA inaccurately measures my abilities.


This is how you empathize with your audience. It’s what makes you human and relatable. It’s the reason why people think about aligning themselves with you. How do you want your audience to feel?

Sydney’s use: This test is extremely stressful and unfair to students.


This is your call to action. It’s your ASK of your audience at the end. What do you what them to do with the information you just shared?

Sydney’s use: Write your governor and put a STOP to this testing immediately.

Sydney did all this without even realizing it. She packed every punch a good speech can contain, and she did it with confidence and passion. Even if you didn’t agree with what she said, you probably still found a way to relate to her and her mission. She was moving, powerful, and effective.

Sydney’s mom, Jennifer, touched on something else we hold near-and-dear at SquarePlanet: “You can be brave and you can speak up for what you believe in. If one 9-year-old child can, than so can all these others and parents.”  We like your style, Mom.

Sydney, you have a job at SquarePlanet in about 10 years if you’re willing. Keep shouting what you believe and who knows—maybe you will become president one day!


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