Home / Resources / They may not be apple or key lime, but Ted Pies can really help your communication skills

They may not be apple or key lime, but Ted Pies can really help your communication skills

In this article, we include a visual illustrating what the acronym Ted Pies stands for and look at how it can be used to benefit workplace wellbeing.

Ted Pies is an acronym many find helpful to remember and use as a technique for better personal and professional communication. It can also be useful for coaching purposes.


In a different context Ted Pies sounds edible, what actually is it?

The Ted Pies acronym is a questioning technique that can be used within or alongside open questions to help develop a conversation, enabling views to be shared with increased learning and understanding.


What does the acronym stand for?


A diagram of the TED PIES acronym with boxes spelling out Ted and entitled Tell Me, Explain and Describe on the left hand side. And boxes spelling out Pies for Precisely, In detail, Exactly and Specifically on right hand side.


How do you use Ted Pies?

One way that may be helpful to remember the inter-changeability of the Ted Pies acronym is to liken it to the homemade fruit pies so many of us find comfort in.

Think of 3 fruits which can be eaten on their own or used for pie fillings e.g. apple, rhubarb, and cherry. Then think of 4 pie crusts e.g. flaky, puff, suet and shortcrust.

Any of the fruits could be eaten on their own or combined with any of the crusts to result in a good pudding. What you choose will depend on your personal preferences, who you are serving the pie to, and various other considerations like the effect you are trying to achieve or the time of day you’ll be serving it.

In the same way, becoming familiar with using the Ted Pies acronym will result in the ability to use the Ted elements on their own or to use them in conjunction with any of the constituents of the Pies to achieve the effect you are seeking when engaging in a constructive conversation.

Two specific advantages of using Ted Pies when having a constructive conversation:

  1. Using the formula:
    a Ted + a 5W or H* + a Pies
    to create open questions is a great blueprint when you are seeking more detailed information but wanting to achieve it within a conversational rather than confrontational style.
    * who, what, when, where, why and how
  2. The Ted Pies acronym provides flexibility for effectively asking the same question whilst allowing it to sound different if you feel the full details that you are seeking have not been forthcoming first-time round.


Benefits for workplace wellbeing

Constructive conversations are a necessary part of workplace communication and may be needed to help improve relationships or processes. They can be planned or unplanned and initiated by many parties including employees, managers, colleagues, customers, or suppliers.

However, they are often shied away from as they can be envisaged to result in a battle ground with winners and losers. And many will avoid confronting an issue for a variety of other reasons, including a lack of confidence, the fear of upsetting someone, hurting another’s feelings, increasing stress, instigating conflict, or reducing morale.

Becoming accustomed to using the Ted Pies acronym is one technique amongst many to assist engaging in a conversation constructively. This may help to iron out difficulties, move things forward, or engender more trusting and understanding relationships in the workplace for the benefit of everyone’s wellbeing.

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