Three Piece Communications

“Three Piece Communications simplify discussion, briefings, and reports by adopting a uniform message format that can be easily understood and  transmitted if needed.”
Concept Summary

Countless approaches have been developed to make communication more efficient and clear. From meetings to emails the ongoing challenge is to deliver the message while keeping the audience engaged, and delivering to the audience through those communications the desired value. Three Piece Communication is where the communicator breaks down the message that needs to be delivered into three pieces. This process is done to take and deliver only what adds value for the listener within the basic structure of Situation, Response, and How. A completed communication will have all three parts even if the “Situation” must be followed up later by the “Response” and “How”. This will allow the listener to question or debate any one part while agreeing with the other parts which lead to effective value added discussion and communication.

Complexity– Organizational communication tends to be overly complex. Often this can be the fault of the originator as they may relate the complexity of a  communication to that of a higher degree of intelligence. Complexity within communications are a major cause of inefficiency within organizational communication systems.

Diminishing Time Value of Communications –The larger the size a communication  is in reference to its structure and content the more likely the value of that communication will be reduced during transmission. Emphasis on shorter communications increases their impact as value is packed into a “smaller” space.

Efficiency– Efficiency, within the context of communications, is defined as the speed at which a communication with intended purpose intact  is transmitted from the originator to the intended recipient.

Streamlined Thinking Process– This is defined within the context of  SOLVE Communications as the conversion of an intended communication to a uniform format and structure that is easily and effectively understood throughout an organization.

Value Added Discussion– Value added discussion is defined as discussions or debates where information is freely shared and analyzed. Value Added Discussion emphasizes the reduction of hidden agendas and any other forms of resistance. This encourages employees to add value by encouraging them to give real and impartial feedback or suggestions.
Widespread UnderstandingThe format, structure, and delivery method is widely understood throughout an organization. For example one should be able to easily share a message with a coworker, and then that coworker should be able to deliver it along to others with its original message and purpose intact.
The Situation
With every organization comes a wide array of personalities which in turn means a wide variety of communication styles are to be found. These varying styles of communication can lead to inefficiency and  a lack of clarity which diminish their value to the intended recipient.  The risk for inefficiency varies depending on the level of difference in communication styles between the exchangers. It is simply unrealistic to assume everyone will adapt to each individuals method of communication regardless of how many classes are taught or trainers are brought in with the goal of improving exchanges.
Communication styles are influenced by a number of cultural, social, and ethnic factors. This mix of factors leads to an almost infinite number of hybrid communication styles that occur within a large organization. Managers around the world are in agreement when they say that miscommunication and  lack of effective communication  skills are a huge challenge for their organizations.
Further cementing this challenge is the growing diversity of organizations as globalization continues its relentless drive and breaches the cultural boundaries that previously acted as a form of informal quarantine for trade and commerce.
When a person mixes messages together when communicating to another person or group, the clarity of the intended message diminishes with the attention of the listeners.
The Concept
The key issue with the development of solutions to problems in communications is that those solutions attempt to address the difference  between the exchangers in terms of culture and style, rather than the message itself. Three Piece Communication does not attempt to bridge the differences between these various of communication styles, but rather focuses on the creation of a uniform style everyone can understand within a given organization.
It is unrealistic to assume that one can be trained to learn how to communicate with 100 different types of people; however it is entirely feasible that 100 different types of people can  learn to utilize one format in order to communicate with each other. Three Piece Communication is a format where the clarity and understanding of a message is vital for the intended recipient. By organizing what needs to be said or communicated into one of the three parts, users can simplify their messages and reduce the amount of time needed to communicate them. If information is not essential to clear understanding of the situation then it does not need to be included. Further information can be asked of a originator but for the purposes of fluidity the initial communication should be kept simple and value added.
The first part is the situation being addressed. This is the Who, What, Where, When, Why that provides the basis of the situation. This immediately allows the recipient to mentally or physically access any knowledge or background they have on the situation. The situation can be in one of two formats. It can be a question or it can be a statement. With a question you are asking with the expectation of a response. With a statement you may  already have developed a response which will be important as we go to the next part of the Three Piece Communication.
The second part is the response. This is either asked of the recipient if the first part was stated as a question, or it is stated by the originator if the first part was a statement. At this point depending on whether the situation was communicated as a question or statement, either the originator or the recipient of the first part will continue or respond.
The final part is the how. This is dependent on the second part. If the originator already knows how the response will be carried out or executed they simply state the last part as well. If the originator does not know the response then they will surely not know the how either. If the recipient provided the response they may not always know the how. Therefore it is possible that this part is left incomplete during a communication.
By utilizing the Three Piece Communication tool before meeting with others you can ensure that the message you wish to communicate is developed for a quick, informed, and effective transmission.
Clear Communication of a Situation = Value Added
Clear Understanding of Response = Value Added
Clear Understanding of How a Response is executed = Value Added
Three Piece Communications maximizes the value of communications by
recognizing this limited attention span, by formatting communications
so that they provide maximum value within those limited attention spans.
1.     This can be implemented on an individual or organizational scale. Individuals and organizations can adopt it at an appropriate pace since the steps taken would remain the same.
2.     The user or users should divide a sheet of paper into three columns. Situation, Response, and How should be the title of each column.
3.     Take situations that need to be communicated and title each of them in the first column.
4.     Divide the information you wish to communicate into the three columns. Information can relate to the situation, the response, or the how.
5.     Now reorder your communication into the Three Piece Communication format.
6.     Read the response and do a final check to extract any information that will not add value in the communication to the recipient. By keeping the initial communication as concise and value added as possible one can keep the attention of the recipient and increase the likelihood of retention.
7.     Convert your finished communication to the format that will be used for delivery to the recipient. This may be typing up an email, writing on a notepad before going to a meeting, or clearing up your thoughts before a verbal discussion with the recipient.
Luffy Notes
A.   Each individual component of a Three Piece Communication can be easily isolated from the others in the case of a discussion or a debate. The user has a clear understanding of what he/she communicated and the specific components of that communication and  will be able to clearly identify what a recipient is referring to during discussion.
B.    It is important to realize that verbal communications are often distorted based on subtle feedback from the recipients which are interpreted during a discussion. Therefore originators may add or leave out information that wasn’t the original developed Three Piece Communication. This potentially lowers value since the originator has already filtered the message, to change it would be to alter the original intention of that message. Therefore I always suggests keeping your communications in a written format during every meeting that you can refer to as necessary.
C.    When implementing or utilizing this tool within an organization ask questions that force employees to recognize the situation they are trying to convey. Follow up with clear questions that reveal the response and the how. This subtle tactic guides others as to how to communicate with you in future discussions.

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