Harness the “Power of 3” to make unforgettable presentations!

Rule of 3 in Presentations

“Friends, Romans, Countrymen. Lend me your ears.”

What’s the first definition that comes to your mind when I say democracy? Is it Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg address: “A government of the people, by the people and for the people”? 

What makes this address so memorable, powerful and simple? Let me tell you the “truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

It’s called the POWER OF THREE!

It has existed since the time of Aristotle, the wise philosopher who gave us the rule of threes “Pathos, logos and ethos.”  It’s as old as the Bible that gave us the Holy Trinity: The Son, the Father and the Holy Spirit.

What’s so magical about this number? Put simply, we humans tend to remember only three things. Add one more to that, our brain will filter it out. No wonder, Winston Churchill’s famous speech, “I can promise you Blood, Sweat, Toil and Tears” is today famously remembered as “Blood, Sweat and Tears” speech.

Here are some more examples of the rule of threes:

  • Three Blind Mice
  • The Three Musketeers
  • Veni, vidi, vici (I came, I saw, I conquered) – Julius Caesar
  • There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics- Benjamin Disraeli
  • Our priorities are Education, Education, Education” – Tony Blair
  • Stop, look and listen – Public safety announcement

Are you using the “Power of 3” in your presentations? You don’t have to be Aristotle or Shakespeare to use the power of 3. You can start practicing it right away in presentations. It’s pretty simple:

  • Focus on 3 key messages: First of all, make sure that your presentation has just 3 key messages. Because that is all what the audience is going to remember.
  • Use the 3 course meal structure: Scott Schwertly, the founder of Ethos3, in his authorSTREAM webinar, “How to be a Presentation God” told presenters to think of their presentation as a delicious 3 course entree. The opening should be like the appetizer making audience hungry for more. Then give them the meat- the crux of the matter (remember, not more than 3 key messages) and finally the dessert; the ending should be inspiring and motivating enough so that the audience takes the desired action.
  • Don’t use more than 3 fonts or colors: This rule is simple but often overlooked. You do not want your presentation to look like a rainbow. Nor should the audience get lost in a maze of fonts.

Follow this and see how powerful and memorable your presentations are going to be.

What are you waiting for? Ready, Steady, Go!

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About Author
Anuj Malhotra

A potter maniac, I live in a world inhabited by wizards and Marvel's superheroes. Writing is my defence mechanism (Mr. Freud, analyze this). Presentations are my new found love.

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