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Count from 1 to 5: A Quick Guide to Great Presentations

Planning for presentations is like teaching math to a child. That is, according to keynote speaker Stephen Boyd, it begins with counting numbers. If a child knows how to count from one to ten before starting formal education, speakers can also use these basic numbers as a guide in making their business talks count.

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Let’s focus first on the first five.

One Main Idea

For a presentation to be effective, it must have one main idea, and, at least, one idea per slide.

Focusing on a central idea allows your audience to easily understand your purpose and follow your discussion flow. When this main point is communicated seamlessly, it’ll be easy for you to create lead-ins to your supporting details.

Two: Compare and Contrast

Comparison and contrast are convincing techniques that explain two distinct topics or subjects.

They are useful when stressing your edge over your competitors or when relating your product’s importance to something your audience members can better understand. Express your creativity with figurative language like metaphors, similes and personification to make a bigger impact and persuade them to do business with you.

Rule of Three

A presentation is divided into three important parts: the beginning, middle, and end. The rule of three streamlines your discussion with an interesting and memorable structure.

Most stories are crafted with these three parts. Take advantage of this framework to strip down all of your arguments, pieces of evidence, statement of facts, and takeaways into easily digestible and explainable information.

Four: Forethought

It’s possible to deliver your speech alone without needing four allies to save you from life-threatening situations like in action movies.

The key is forethought.

Planning ahead prevents common mistakes and formulates potential solutions whenever problems arise. Practice and preparation keeps you from using short-cuts, ensuring that you convey your message sincerely.

Last Five Minutes

The last five minutes of your talk are as important as your introduction.

Bad endings undermine your credibility and negatively reinforce ideas to your audience. Think of powerful ways to make an effective close. Cite a quote, use videos, or crack a humorous statement.

Conclusion

Numbers are not only great pieces of evidence but are also useful guides for making successful presentations. Keep the aforementioned big five in mind as you prepare your materials.

Looking for PowerPoint experts to help you on your presentation needs? Give us a call at 1-858-217-5144 or request for a free quote from SlideGenius today.

 

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References

Applying the Rule of Three to Your Presentations.SlideGenius, Inc. May 5, 2014. Accessed July 23, 2015.
Great PowerPoint Presentations Need Great Main Ideas.SlideGenius, Inc. April 30, 2015. Accessed July 23, 2015.
Public Speaking By Numbers.Public Speaking Tips. August 17, 2011. Accessed July 23, 2015.

 

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Maximize the Rule of Three: Brand-Building for Presentations

Effective business presenters limit their topics to three simple subjects because the human brain can only remember up to seven pieces of information.

The late Steve Jobs limited almost all of his presentations to three subjects for easier recall. This could be seen in his introduction of the iPhone in 2007 as Apple’s “third product category” (with the Macintosh and iPod as the first two).

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This rule goes beyond stating three facts and expounding on them. Think of your pitch as the brand you’ll advertise to your clients. According to InterBrand group chief executive Chuck Brymer, before you can even begin to establish the three subjects, you need to fulfill three requirements among the notable qualities of great brands:

A Compelling Idea

Successful brands capture a customer’s attention and loyalty because they fill a need that people struggle with.

In the 2007 iPhone introduction, Steve Jobs announced that his company was reinventing the phone. Putting the iPod with the dial-wheel image aside, it was a compelling idea that immediately hooked everyone. According to Jobs, all smartphones at that time had fixed keypads and relied on a stylus. The iPhone only needed a touch screen to operate and had the competitors’ enhanced capabilities.

This was the reinvention that he pitched and elaborated. From a presenter’s perspective, having this kind of idea will form a foundation for your three points to build themselves later on.

A Core Purpose and Supporting Points

What does your brand promise and how will it deliver? The Apple iPhone was made as a reinvention, but it was also supported by three distinct capabilities: those of the iPod, the phone, and an internet communicator, all with an easy-to-use interface.

Regardless of the product and the intended customers, this second attribute remains consistent. Once you establish these factors, use your supporting points as your information for the three-subject rule.

An Organizational Principle

How do you organize your PowerPoint to deliver your pitch? While brands use this attribute as levers for their business decisions, it allows presenters determine two things:

  1. If the presentation techniques are in line with their idea’s purpose or not
  2. If the presentation style will leave a positive impression on their audience

These will determine whether your pitch will sell or not. The trick is to maintain an appropriate speech tone and keep your PowerPoint’s content and design consistent.

Planning your pitch can spell the difference between an approved proposal and a rejected one. Clients need to remember enough of your presentations to consider investing in it. Define what your idea is, what you want to do with it and how you want to show it. Use these three attributes to stay consistent with your topic.

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References:

Applying the Rule of Three to Your Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. May 5, 2014. Accessed May 12, 2015.
Brymer, Chuck. “WHAT MAKES BRANDS GREAT?Marketing Magazine. Accessed May 12, 2015.
Steve Jobs introduces iPhone in 2007YouTube. Accessed May 12, 2015.

The Secret Rule Behind Apple Presentations

By now, Apple has probably sold millions of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus units. In fact, Forbes is reporting that they might have reached the 20 million mark already. This comes as no surprise after all the hype surrounding the new releases. For months, blogs churned out theories on the specs of the new iPhone models.The excitement became even more palpable after CEO Tim Cook divulged details during the Apple keynote presentation last September 9.

Apple is obviously a well-loved brand. Because of that, people will keep an ear out for news on their products and innovations. Still, their keynotes always have an extraordinary quality. Apple presentations are famous for being memorable, engaging, and easy to understand. It won’t be an overstatement to say that they’ve become a benchmark for effective delivery.

Presentation expert Carmine Gallo recently wrote about the secret behind this success, and you’ll be surprised to learn that it’s a simple rule we’ve already talked about in the past. The secret is the “rule of three.”

What is the rule of three?

According to Gallo, the rule of three is among the most “profound concepts in communication theory.” Basically, it states that information presented in 3 parts are inherently more interesting and memorable. Considering our short attention spans, presenting ideas in three’s allow for better understanding and comprehension.

If you think about it, you’ll notice the rule of three everywhere. From advertisements to nursery rhymes, plenty of the things we read and listen to follow this simple structure. Here are a few examples, as listed by Presentation Magazine:

Good speeches are peppered with lists with three items

1. “Friends, Romans, Countrymen” – William Shakespeare in Julius Caesar
2. “Blood, sweat and tears” – General Patton
3. Our priorities are “Education, Education, Education” – Prime Minister, Tony Blair

They are used in religion…

1. “Father, Son and Holy Spirit”
2. “Faith, Hope and Charity”

… in Public Safety

1. “Stop, Look and Listen”

… and in the film industry

1. “The good, the bad and the ugly”
2. “Sex, lies and videotape”

Another presentation expert, Sarah B. Marshall, offers this definition:

My improv coach, Kristin Schier, explained the rule of three this way. She said, “The first time you say something, it’s an incident, the second time you say something, it’s a co-incidence, but the third time you say something, it becomes a pattern”. In fact, she’s right, three is the smallest number of elements you need to create a pattern (or break a pattern).

The rule of three in Apple presentations

In the September 9 presentation, Tim Cook structured his speech into three main parts. First, he discussed the details of the new iPhone 6. Next, he talked about Apple Pay. Lastly, he announced the upcoming Apple Watch. Steve Jobs used to do the same thing. In the keynote he delivered in 2010, he talked about three main things: the iPad, the App Store, and the iPhone 4.

Gallo also pointed out that Cook’s application of the rule of three doesn’t stop there. After introducing Apple’s latest innovations, Cook and the other speakers grouped discussed new features into 3 parts as well.

On the iPhone 6 camera:

“Three things make your photos great. The lens, the imaging sensor, and the brains behind it all, the processor.”

On Apple Pay:

“Apple Pay is easy, secure, and private….Cashiers don’t see your name, your card number, or your security code.”

On the Apple Watch:

“The activity app measures three separate aspects of movement with the goal of helping you sit less, move more, and get some exercise.”

While these new products are certainly technologically complex, Cook and his team were able to communicate their ideas in an accessible manner. By using the rule of three, they allowed their customers to follow along without feeling confused. Best of all, they made it easier for journalists and bloggers to share sound bites all over social media.

Apple presentations teach us that even the most complicated concepts can be condensed into something that won’t scare your audience away. At the same time, they show that simplicity can also be thought provoking. As Gallo puts it, “complexity demands a simple explanation if you hope to capture the imagination of your audience.” The best way to do that is by following the rule of three.

 

READ MORE: One Simple Rule That Makes Apple Presentations ‘Apple-Esque’ – Carmine Gallo | Forbes

 

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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.

 

References

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

Carmine Gallo’s Rule of Three: Incorporating the Most Persuasive Number in Communications

When we take a look at how information is presented to us, we can see that the number three is everywhere. The “Rule of Three” is an age-old public speaking technique commonly used by politicians to give their arguments and oration more gravity, but it’s also a great lesson in presenting information in a professional setting.

2012 Republican Presidential Candidate Herman Cain made use of the "Rule of Three" in his hyper-simplified 9-9-9 plan.
2012 Republican Presidential Candidate Herman Cain made use of the “Rule of Three” in his hyper-simplified 9-9-9 plan.

Communications expert, speech coach, and regular Forbes contributor Carmine Gallo asserts that three is “the most persuasive number in communications.” In his post, he cites several historic examples, such as the famous credo of our founding fathers, “…life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Simplicity is key if we want our audience to retain the information we present; our audience will likely only remember a handful of points we make in our presentation (somewhere between 3 and 9 things).

If you want your message to be both impactful and memorable, keep all details to their most simplified form. For this, “The Rule of 3” is an effective guideline for an easy-to-comprehend presentation.

Though useful, bullet points should be condensed as much as possible, and aren't exactly a beacon of creativity.
Though useful, bullet points should be condensed as much as possible, and aren’t exactly a beacon of creativity.

When presenting, a common technique is to list out our thoughts or arguments as bullet points. There’s nothing inherently wrong with presenting information in this manner–although it’s by no means innovative It’s easy to get carried away when doing so because when your bullet point list grows too long, it will cause your audience to tune out.

“The Rule of Three” is more than just a way to impact your audience; it’s a cautionary reminder to not overload your audience. If you have a slide with a long list of bullet points, it is most likely time to condense this information into separate slides. Our brains have a tendency to automatically tune out when facing a daunting amount of information.


Below is an intriguing example of “The Rule of Three” used in a presentation. Apple visionary and business world demigod Steve Jobs cleverly introduced the iPhone as three separate devices before revealing all to be one device, all while using well-orchestrated repetition to hammer his point home.

In this manner, Jobs shows how “The Rule of Three” is more than just a reminder to not overload your audience with information; it’s a way to produce an aesthetic harmony within a presentation.

“The Rule of Three” is also a concept that it’s not what you say; it’s how you say it. So even though you’ve done your research and you’ve become an expert on the topic you’re presenting, you’ve still only fought half the battle.