Organizational Development Consultant and Leadership Coach

20 Techniques to Improve Meeting Productivity: #8 Three P Statements

January 13, 2014

“Even though I think I’ve been clear, my meeting participants often question me about the specific function and value of group activities. They certainly have every right to know what is going on and why. Is there a technique I can use to better explain what will happen, how it will happen, and why it will happen?”


What Are the Three P Statements?

The THREE P STATEMENTS productivity technique explains the focus, methodology, and value of a given upcoming agenda item. It informs your meeting group of what to expect and what will be accomplished from the start.

THREE P STATEMENTS are used to help a meeting group adequately prepare for the meeting itself, a presentation, new agenda item, or discussion topic. Three P is an acronym of sorts that translates into purpose, process, and payoff, and the technique involves answering three basic and critical questions in statement form: What will we do? How will we do it? Why is it important?

Purpose states what you plan to accomplish. Stating this intention or purpose answers some fundamental questions. Why are we here? What is the goal? How will the information be used?

Process describes how the meeting will address the topic under consideration and answers additional important questions. How will we proceed? What techniques will we use? What steps will we take? How long will this last? What is expected of me? What is expected of the group?

Payoff informs your participants of the benefit, or what they will get from the discussion, and resolves the following questions. Why bother? What is in it for me to participate? What are the real benefits? How will this affect our group’s goals?

Not only does the THREE P STATEMENTS technique provide essential information to your meeting group, it also provides you as the facilitator with critical planning information. If you can’t identify the purpose, process, and payoff for any given topic of discussion, do not proceed. If you do, the likelihood of failure will be high.


  • When you are planning the agenda for your meeting
  • When you are starting your meeting
  • When you are beginning a new agenda item in your meeting
  • When you are making a formal presentation


1. When you are planning for your meeting, apply the three P statements template to the proposed topics of your agenda:

a. What is the purpose of this topic?

b. What process will we use to discuss it?

c. What is the anticipated payoff (benefit or result) from the discussion?

Consider using this template to organize your THREE P STATEMENTS:

In order to (purpose), we will (process), so that (payoff).

NOTE: Modify this template to meet your specific situation.

An example using this format is: “In order to decide how to best meet our customers’ needs, we will conduct a focus group with our key customers. This will give us information on what they see as the top priorities for improvement in the next fiscal year.”

2. Use the THREE P STATEMENTS as planned.

NOTE: Remember that THREE P STATEMENTS can be used to help you plan your meeting agendas, open your meetings, introduce new agenda items during your meetings, or make formal presentations or suggestions. They are also helpful if the group becomes unfocused or confused about what you are doing and why.


THREE P STATEMENTS is a technique to articulate the purpose, process, and payoff of the proposed topics on your meeting agenda.

1. When planning for your meetings, apply the THREE P STATEMENTS template to each issue of your agenda: In order to (purpose), we will (process), so that (payoff).

2. Use the THREE P STATEMENTS to help plan your agenda, open your meetings, introduce new agenda items, or make formal presentations or suggestions.

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