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Applying the Rule of Three to Your Presentations

May 5, 2014 / Blog, Creative, Lessons, Tips & Tricks presentation, Rule of Three

Applying the Rule of Three to Your Presentations

It is said that everything that comes in threes is perfect. The ability of the number three to be both brief but rhythmic in nature adds to its appeal to the general reader. It’s not too long, but at the same time, it still has substance.

This explains why many people are fascinated with The Rule of Three.

Grouping into Three

Stop, look, and listen; mind, body, and spirit; lights, camera, action; ready, set, go – these sets are just some samples of how we put this rule into use. Generally, you can find The Rule of Three in many stories, anecdotes, speeches, songs, and even jokes.

Basically, this so-called rule makes narratives more engaging and better presented. In telling a joke, for example, you can rely on a series of three points to help you create anticipation. The first two points are the parts that build up the joke while the third one releases the punchline. If you have heard about the one with three men (usually of different nationalities) entering a bar, you have been exposed to the Rule of Three.

The same principle applies to other aspects.

Thinking in Patterns

Have you noticed that when presented in patterns of threes, concepts and ideas somehow become more interesting and memorable? We may not always be aware of it but our mind prefers to view and process things in terms of patterns.

Whatever we do, we tend to look for patterns because, more often than not, they can help simplify things for us. And once we have simplified something, we become better at understanding or applying it into our everyday life.

Applying the Rule

You can apply the Rule of Three to your presentations. As the presenter, it can help you remember your key points as you speak.

Grouping your points into three’s will also let your audience understand and remember them better. Maximize the Rule of Three by dividing your topic into three parts. Naturally, your presentation will have a beginning, middle, and an end.

The beginning gives you the opportunity to break the ice. The middle part is where you expound on your topic. As for the end, wrap things up with an inspiring closing statement.

You can also apply the rule in a different way. If you are promoting a service, highlight its three benefits. If you are introducing a product, draw attention to its three features.

Regardless of your goal, the Rule of Three should be present in your presentation. It allows you to introduce your topic, emphasize it, and make it unforgettable. Furthermore, clustering a train of thought into threes is a great way to simplify things in a way that doesn’t just look good, but also highly effective in making an impact.



“Brain Seeks Patterns Where None Exist.” Scientific American Global. October 3, 2008. Accessed May 5, 2014.