Have you noticed that most of my posts contain three principles or take away points? I am not lazy; I do it because our brain has a difficult time processing more than that. Though I would love to provide more, I hold my tongue—or my keyboard—for another post.
Take a look around you and you will notice that most impactful messages are broken up into three points. “I want to talk about where we were, where we are today, and where we plan to go in the future,” is something you might hear from management in your company. Further, we instinctively expect that a good story will have a beginning, middle, and an end.
Do these points seem too rudimentary? Well, maybe. However, let’s consider the following, which may not be as obvious:
- “Location, Location, Location.” (Finding Real Estate)
- Legislative, Executive, and Judicial (U.S Governmental Branches)
- “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” (Three Wise Monkeys)
Further, you might hear “Eat, drink, and be merry” regarding life fulfillment. I could go on forever, but I trust you get the idea.
Surely we shouldn’t say three words to our audience and leave, right? Correct. All you have to remember is to organize your speech into three parts instead of attempting to say everything you believe to be necessary. Here are a few reasons why it is so effective:
- It feels logical- I do not intend for this to sound like an oxymoron. Organizing your points into three parts makes the message feel clear and carefully planned out to your audience. Our viewers have a much easier time following us because of this, as opposed to when we ramble incessantly.
- Builds Anticipation- if the audience has an idea of what is coming next, they are more likely to sit through the presentation to hear it addressed. For this reason, you should think about expressing your three points during the first few seconds of your speech.
- Indicates Progression- No one likes to feel stagnated; your audience is no exception. A question you want to prevent them from asking is, “Where is this going?” Your listeners get lost by that point. Having three talking points allows the audience to walk with you on your journey together.
Okay—the power of three works—but how do I do it? It’s simple. If I wanted to encourage you to take your communication skills seriously, I might talk about how it increases personal confidence, enhances your career, and allows you to make extra money. I would expound upon those points only, rather than trying to fill the time with 20 or 30 additional benefits.
Are you proposing new software at work? Let’s hear about how it will save the company money, time, and eliminate frustration. There are many ways to do this.
If you get in the habit of carefully selecting three talking points, you will slowly start to feel more in control and your audience will love you for it.
As always, try it out and let me know how it works. :)