Martin Waxman

Spin Sucks AMA: Deirdre Breakenridge on Communicating with the FEEL Model

By: Martin Waxman | January 8, 2020 | 
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Spin Sucks AMA: Communicating Using the FEEL Model

How do you feel?

No really, we want to know.

Too often, this question is used as a conversational throwaway.

But the answer can often yield a better understanding of the person we’re talking to, and lead us to more effective and authentic two-way communication.

Deidre Breakenridge believes the way we feel is a strong indication of the quality of our relationships.

That’s why she developed the FEEL Model to help organizations communicate with audiences in a way that demonstrates both passion and an understanding of their needs.

Begin 2020 by Learning How to FEEL

Mark your calendars: our first #SpinSucksAMA of 2020 is on Wednesday, January 22 at 1 pm ET.

We’re featuring author, podcaster, LinkedIn Learning instructor, and marketing strategist, Deirdre Breakenridge, who will introduce and explain the new FEEL model for communications.

Deirdre will answer questions about how to implement FEEL, and use it to develop communication strategies that engender stronger relationships and trust.

Meet Deirdre Breakenridge

If you’re already part of the Spin Sucks community, Deirdre needs no introduction.

She’s one of the most talented and giving PR pros around!

Deirdre is CEO at Pure Performance Communications, and a career-long storyteller and relationship agent.

For three decades, Deirdre’s been working with leaders to create award-winning PR and marketing programs, as well as, building relationships based on loyalty and advocacy.

Deirdre takes a proprietary approach to communications with her FEEL model that encompasses the findings of more than a year-long research project.

She’s the author of six business books sharing stories about her communications journey.

Her most recent book, Answers for Modern Communicators—a must-read for PR professionals—was named among the Top 100 Storytelling Books in 2019 by Book Authority. 

And Deirdre has taught PR and social media courses, online and in the classroom, for NYU, UMASS at Amherst, Rutgers University, and Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Deirdre has been blogging at PR Expanded for more than 10 years and is also creator and host of the Women Worldwide podcast, which has nearly two million downloads.

What is the FEEL Model and Why Did You Develop It?

After a devastating family tragedy in September 2018, Deirdre embarked on a year-long passion project/research journey:

I started to speak with millennials every week about communication preferences.

My goal was to learn how millennials showed up to their conversations: Were they being authentic? What did they value? And what did they expect and prefer from the important people in their lives, including mentors, professors, and business leaders?

I wondered whether the characteristics they preferred was drawing them closer to these influential people or pushing them farther away.

My research revealed millennials are asking leaders to be more human and genuine.

They want leaders to show up with emotional intelligence when they answer questions or to interact more with them in person and online.

The smartest leaders will take this information and work on how they communicate through all channels and in-person interactions.

One way to close the gap between what millennials expect and how their leaders currently communicate is to FEEL first.

Describe What You Mean by FEEL First

Feel Model

According to Deirdre, the Feel model has four key elements:

  1. Face Fears—By becoming more open to different perspectives and reacting with less knee-jerk communication.
  2. Engage with Empathy—Learning how to actively listen and ask questions; understanding people so they know you care. You’re thinking less about your messages or agenda and moving toward compassion and actions that can help others.
  3. Use Your Ethics (and Good Judgment)–Striving for accuracy, truthfulness, and fairness in your interactions; also showing up as your authentic and transparent self.
  4. Unleash the Love–Showing your passion, energy, and enthusiasm so people want to join your cause.

Why Did You Launch the FEEL Model and FEEL First Test?

We asked Deirdre what she learned from the data she collected and how she applied it to PR:

The answer is simple. We want to help business professionals understand the major components that build trust in communication. And we want to move from connections and simple transactions to genuine and meaningful relationships.

The data we collected from the research and survey participants gave us an indication of FEEL by age, generation, and profession.

The research passion project began with millennials, however, FEEL is about all generations and people.

What advantage do we have over robots in an age of automation and artificial intelligence … it’s our ability to FEEL.

#SpinSucksAMA on Implementing the FEEL Model—How to Sign Up

If you want to learn how to use emotional intelligence to build deeper, more authentic and trusted relationships, join us for our next #SpinSucksAMA.

In order to take part, you need to be a member of our free Spin Sucks community.

That’s where you go to RSVP to the webinar, find out more details, and submit your questions for Deirdre Breakenridge.

So what are you waiting for?

We know this will be a feel-good session.

About Martin Waxman


Martin Waxman, MCM, APR, is senior advisor to Spin Sucks and runs a consultancy, Martin Waxman Communications. He leads digital and social media training workshops, conducts AI research, and is a LinkedIn Learning author, and one of the hosts of the Inside PR podcast. Martin teaches social media at McMaster University, UToronto SCS and Seneca College and regularly speaks at conferences and events across North America. Find him on Twitter @martinwaxman.