Power Presentations Tip 18: The Power of Three

Power Presentations Tip 18:

Harness the Power of Three

Three is the magic number for communicating.

When we hear a list of three things it resonates well in our brain. Like three legs of a stool there is synergistic strength in three of something.

  • Bacon, lettuce and tomato
  • Friends, Romans, countrymen
  • On your mark, get set, go

There are three aspects to the number three that you can use in your presentations.

1. Digest information
To help people digest your information dice it into three groups. When you tell your listeners that there are three points they will not feel intimidated. And they can immediately create three "files" in their brain to store your information.

For example:
When you are explaining features of a product, group it into three categories.When you are outlining a plan or process, break it into three phases.When supporting a decision, give three reasons.

2. Remember information
To help people remember your key points give them three.
The easiest number to remember is one. That is why we tend to remember either the first or last name of a person we just met. The next easiest is three things. If you are introduced to a person with three names you will tend to remember the full three names better than just first and last name. It's hard to forget James Earl Jones.

3. Remember information better
To help people remember your key message, state it at least three times during your presentation.

The first time listeners hear your message it might be new and strange. By the third time they hear your message it starts to feel familiar. We remember best that which seems familiar. You can see this in action when you try to remember a name. You will probably repeat it to yourself a few times to burn it into your brain.

In giving presentations this is referred to as "the three tells". First you tell them what you are going to tell them. Then you tell them. Then you tell them what you told them.
Harness the power of three in your presentation. You'll present more like the Three Musketeers instead of the Three Stooges.

George Torok

PS: Tell me how this tip helps you.
PPS: Thanks for your comments and feedback.

"I thought this was an excellent group of tips! As a teacher of public speaking, I've seen how students need 3 or 4 particular bits of information on how to get started so that they will look and feel confident AND be effective. Your tips on 'Open with Pizzazzz' hit the mark!"

Professor Evangeline Mourelatos, The American College of Greece, Deree College


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Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.



Anonymous said...

Three is such a powerful grouping that we've even shortened Churchill's four points (what was he thinking?) of "blood, sweat, toil, and tears" to "blood, sweat, and tears." (I actually think he was thinking of cadence. The four words build in a way that three don't.)

I'm absolutely with you on this one. Good stuff.


Anonymous said...

This was a great posting - it really is so important to make sure your audience internalizes what you are presenting. Another efficient way I've found to gauge if the audience is understanding and how they are responding, is using interactive technology - I've found http://www.audience-response.ca/ that has a system that enables you to use polls and trivia questions during your presentation.