Rule of Three

The Rule of Three is the Key

The Three Musketeers. Sex, drugs and rock n roll. The Star Wars trilogy.

Ever notice that throughout literature, pop culture and film, three is a magic number? Beyoncé and her R&B group Destiny’s Child know this well. They started as a quartet but only hit it big as a trio.

Three also shows up in religion: Father, Son and Holy Ghost; in politics: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; and in real estate: location, location, location.

It works in business communications, too.

A powerful writing technique dating back to Aristotle and his book Rhetoric, the rule of three groups concepts or ideas in threes.

It will make your pitches, messages and presentations clearer and more memorable.

How do you make your content pop? Here are a few tips. Well, three actually.

1. Have a beginning, middle and an end. Start off with a SHARP to grab your audience’s attention for a powerful first impression. Make your case in the body. Bring it home with a strong close and final SHARP.

2. State three key points in your Grid. It’s always helpful for your listener if you can connect the dots with a theme: the past, present and future, for example; or the situation, complication and resolution; or 3 key stakeholder insights from the last design review.

3. Pack a punch with three. Giving examples of something? Rattling off a list? Describing a person, idea or product? Consider using three words:

Attributes: Confident, credible, compelling
Campaign: Just Do It
Tech Specs: Increased speed, size and storage

If you use these three tips, you will be more prepared, more persuasive and more powerful in your next communication experience.

How have you seen the rule of three used?

Think back to the last time you got video feedback. What was the camera mounted on?

A tri-pod, no less.

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