I want you to think about your childhood.
Specifically, I want you to think of the books your parents and grandparents read to you.
I recall Three Blind Mice, The Three Musketeers, Three Wise Men and Three Men in a Boat.
Moreover, the characters in these stories also come in threes, like Cinderella and her two evil stepsisters.
In politics, Winston Churchill’s blood, sweat, and tears speech moved the British to take arms during the second world war.
Even religion is not immune to the number three.
Christianity has the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Plays and films have a three-act structure — the beginning, middle, and the end.
So, why is this magical number three so important?
The reason is, since childhood, we are primed to expect concepts and ideas to arrive in groups of three.
Communication experts say if you want to stick something in someone’s head, put it in a sequence of three.
Scientifically speaking, three is the minimum number of items you need to create a pattern.
Also, research shows that we can recall just three to four items from our short-term memory.
And, less is more in this context.
This power has culminated in the Rule of Three.
The Rule of Three is a powerful technique in written, oral and visual communication.
According to this technique, presenting ideas in threes makes the messages are more effective and memorable.
A Latin saying, Omne trium perfectum literally means everything that comes in threes is perfect.
For example, the national motto of France goes: liberty, equality, and fraternity.
The US Declaration of Independence proudly proclaims: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Historical speeches are full of such triads.
Roman Emperor Julius Caesar said, Veni, Vidi, Vici.
I came, I saw, I conquered.
Abraham Lincoln‘s Gettysburg Address is memorable for advocating democracy as government of the people, by the people, for the people.
As Toastmasters and professionals, you can easily enhance the clarity of your communication with the Rule of Three.
For example, in your PowerPoint presentations, use three bullet points to convey your message more effectively than using two or four bullet points.
So, here’s my recommended next steps.
You’ll be impressed with the clarity, sharpness and reach you achieve with the Rule of Three.