Think About “PIE” Before You Write

Alec Zaffiro
3 min readJan 22, 2022
A nice little picture of a little piece of pie. You like pie don’t you. I can tell. Because you’re reading a story about pie!!!

Early in life, as a college freshman, I took a communications course.

Introduction to Public Speaking.

I remember this class exactly. I didn’t fear public speaking the way I do now. I saw speaking as a skill you could hone and cultivate.

I wanted to get good at it.

During the class, each student gave a separate speech with the intention to persuade, inform, and entertain. By semester end, our professor elected one exceptional guy and one exceptional girl to partake in an advanced public speaking competition.

Apparently I had done well..

I received the offer.

But I didn’t go. I didn’t go because it just seemed like extra, unnecessary work. Also, the competition fell on the weekend of Halloween — when you’re a freshman in college, you think that matters.

I don’t regret not going, but I wish I recognized the opportunity it was.

Nonetheless, I found “PIE” useful during that class. It helped me formulate my ideas in a productive, intentional way.

What is “PIE”?

“PIE” is an acronym for the overall intention, tone, and objective in speech: persuade, inform, entertain. It defines your aim when speaking or writing.

What type is best?

This is a trick question. All three are useful to an effective body of words.

The three types are interchangeable at the level of sentence. You can be informative in one sentence and entertaining in the next. A presentation characterized as “informative” is just predominately informative statements.

Learn to use the three voices interchangeably.

Persuasion is good, trust me.

Persuasion is the art of changing someone’s mind to a point of view after sustained effort. It’s done through reason and argument and persuasion is important for explaining a benefit or defending a position.

Persuasion has a negative connotation. It appears threatening. Cajoling. Done under uncomfortable pretenses. But persuasion has most reward in learning. You can teach someone something very quickly by…

Alec Zaffiro

I write to think and organize my ideas. I like psychology, philosophy, and self-improvement—em dashes are my specialty. Not an expert.*