The triple-filter test for effective communication

Picture representing the three filters of communication, Truth, Goodness and usefulness.

The very first time that I was told about the Triple-filter test, I was a student. A coach and trainer was teaching communication to Master’s students.

What is the triple-filter test?

The Triple-filter test aims at having an effective conversation with a person, when answering a question or talking to someone. It is a method to step back and think before saying anything. It is also powerful when interacting on social media.

Its origin is not proven : it was most probably inspired by Socrates, classical philosopher (469-399 BC) in the ancient Greece.

Before you answer a question or tell something with which you are not 100% confident, consider taking the following test.

How can this test lead to better communication?

Filter 1 : TRUTH

Is what you are about to say true ? Is it a rumor, a gossip, a hoax or is it true ?

If it passes the first filter, then go to the next one.

Filter 2 : GOODNESS

Is what you are about to say good ? positive, constructive, empathetic ? Is this something that you would like to be told yourself ?

Again, if it passes the second filter, then go to the third and last one.


Is what you are about to say useful ? Is it necessary to communicate what you have in mind ?

If your sentence or answer passes those three filters, you are safe to speak up. If not, you might want to re-frame it and be tactful when delivering it. Else, consider keeping it to yourself !

I have been applying this Triple-filter test for many years. It helps to have constructive personal and professional relationships.

When applied to social media, this test would certainly reduce the noise online and in the meantime, increases dramatically the quality of the contents.

If you feel like elaborating further about effective communication in your current position, contact Anne for a free discovery one-to-one session.

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