The Rule of Three- Best tip in Public speaking

The Rule of Three- Best tip in Public speaking

I still remember my first speech I gave at Toastmasters, which was about introducing myself. The question running in my head was: what can I say and what cannot?

I ended up writing a 600 word speech that contained all the information about myself. The feedback I was given was, “Too many details, as a result, nothing sticks.”

This scenario was brought to light at work when I saw that my coworkers and I were going into great depth when presenting a topic. The results were the same; too many details, thus nothing sticks.

But how do you decide what to leave out when every point is important and relevant?

I got the answer to the question in 2014. I call it the “Rule of Three”. 

What is this “Rule of Three”? It’s a magic trick. Always choose 3 main things to focus on when presenting or speaking. Why 3? Because more than 3 is too much and less than 3 is too little.

3 is the golden number that creates the right impact, recalls value, and gives you room to be creative. Let’s see how we can do that.

  1. Make it Memorable: The “Rule of Three” is the one element that all well-known speakers and leaders have in common when it comes to their talks. 

When you can use word play in the message, it becomes memorable and helps the message stick. “The Rule of Three” helps you with this. Do you remember the famous saying, “Of the people, by the people, and for the people”? 

  1. Make it Impactful: There is a trick in the “Rule of Three” to make your point more impactful. Always try to use this format: Good-Better-Best. Make the last point the strongest argument. This is the point people or the audience will remember. 
  2. Make it Humorous: The last trick is to use the “Rule of Three” to create humour. By adding a surprise element, you can make your audience chuckle. Use the “Good-Better-Twist” format to do that. 

The third point is a surprise twist that no one anticipated, and your audience will laugh at it. For example, “all good things on earth are either illegal, unhealthy or married to somebody else.”

My own favourite “Rule of Three”, used in my humorous speech, was, “The Netherlands gave 3 things to every expat, Cheese, Bitterballen and a friend called Jan”.

The “Rule of Three” makes your speech and you memorable, funny, and impactful. Try using this and let me know what changes it brings to your speaking or presentation. 


Leave a Comment

What’s New

Lithuania calling this October. Really happy that I will be speaking at the PMI Congress in Lithuania on how to survive adversity. In my talk, I will share my idea on why we need a plan B and how to choose and make your Plan B.