Rule of Three

2,500 years ago, the Roman senate based their speeches on this maxim: "Omne trium perfectum," or everything that comes in threes is perfect. President Thomas Jefferson understood this concept when he penned the phrase, "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness," a memorable cornerstone of our Constitution.

By applying the same principle, today's speakers can shorten their prep time and make their presentations memorable. After determining your single intention, or what you most want to achieve, employ the Rule of Three to make your ideas stick and engage the listener. Three concepts or ideas also make the speaker appear clear, knowledgeable and organized.

No matter how long your presentation, assemble your content into no more than three buckets or talking points. Listeners can hold three chunks of information (in short-term or working memory) for about thirty seconds. But true retention needs meter, rhythm and a pattern. Include specific, visual details. Complete each bucket and deliver a clear transition to the next one. There's no better way to ensure your content is embedded into the listener's long-term memory.

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