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The Magic of the Rule of Three: Read It – Understand It – Use It!

Updated: May 29

Rule of Three

Three has always been Magical!

•  The Three Wise Men. •  Three Strikes You’re out! •  Rock, Paper, Scissors.

It is also one of the best techniques presenters can use for ensuring their audience GETS IT!

Andrew Dlugan sums the Rule of Three up like this:

“Using the Rule of Three allows you to express concepts more completely, emphasize your points, and increase the memorability of your message.”

In his book, Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer, Roy Peter Clark provides insights to the Magic of the Number Three:

  1. Use One for power.

  2. Use Two for comparison, contrast (right – wrong, black – white, up – down, hot – cold)

  3. Use Three for completeness, wholeness, roundness.

  4. Use Four or more to list, inventory, compile, and expand.

Make use of the Rule of Three in your presentations with the proper, inflection, cadence, and pauses, and I guarantee better speaking!

I’ve taken Dugan’s and Clark’s advice to heart and incorporated it into my presentations.  What follows are examples from my Keynote Presentation, “No Sweat Public Speaking!”

Read them with the Rule of Three in mind.  You’ll understand and remember more than if I had written them without using the Rule of Three!

  1. I’ll talk about the

    1. Components,

    2. Parts and

    3. Elements of a Speech.

  2. I’ll

    1. Name them,

    2. Explain them, and

    3. Give some examples.

  3. The ability to speak in front of a group will improve:

    1. Your career

    2. Your one-on-one conversations and

    3. Your self-confidence

  4. Speaking Opportunities are:

    1. Business,

    2. Career and

    3. Leadership Opportunities.

  5. In order for the audience to GET IT!I need to do three things.

    1. Educate

    2. Entertain

    3. Explain

  6. The Communication Pyramid consists of:

    1. Physiology – Body Language – 55%

    2. Tonality – How you use your voice – 38%

    3. Words – 7%

  7. Your Introduction should answer three questions.

    1. Why this subject?

    2. Why this speaker?

    3. Why now?

  8. Eye Contact conveys

    1. Honesty

    2. Sincerity

    3. Self Confidence

  9. The Fear of Public Speaking is an Equal Opportunity Fear.  It doesn’t care about your

    1. Age

    2. Education or

    3. Occupation

  10. Do serious athletes just “show up” for the important

    1. Game

    2. Match or

    3. Meet?

      1. (Perhaps they Practice a bit!)

  11. How about

    1. Great Musicians

    2. Singers and

    3. Actors?

      1. Do they just “show up”for the

    4. Concert,

    5. Show or

    6. Play?

      1. (NO! They Rehearse/Practice a lot!)

  12. My single best piece of advice for becoming a better speaker

    1. Speak! 

    2. Speak! 

    3. Speak!

  13. Here's another:

    1. When, 

    2. Where and

    3. Why

      1. As we’re growing up, do we make the decision that if we “fall down” we won’t get right back up?

  14. One great Formula for Success is:

    1. Fail Early

    2. Fail Often

    3. Sometimes, Fail BIG!

  15. There are Three Ways to help people remember your message.

    1. The Law of Primacy and Recency

    2. Something unusual

    3. Repetition

  16. Text on a PowerPoint Slide does not reinforce the message.  It

    1. Confuses

    2. Competes and

    3. Complicates it.

Now that you know about the Rule of Three, it’s magic and benefits, I challenge you to understand it, practice it and use it in your presentations!  (I just used it again, didn’t I?)

Post a comment, if you wish, and give me and others your examples.


Pausing is a key component of presenting.

About the Author

Fred E. Miller is a speaker, an international coach, and the author of the books, “NO SWEAT Public Speaking!” and “NO SWEAT Elevator Speech!”

Businesses, Individuals, and Organizations hire him because they want to improve their Networking, Public Speaking, andPresentation Skills.

They do this because they know:"Speaking Opportunities are Business, Career, and Leadership Opportunities."

They also know:We perceive really great speakers to be Experts. We like to work with Experts.

He shows them how to: Develop, Practice, and Deliver Fantastic Presentations! with – NO SWEAT!


  1. Keynote Speaker

  2. Workshop Facilitator

  3. Breakout Sessions

  4. Personal and Group Public Speaking and Presentation Coaching

  1. Lessening The Fear of Public Speaking with – NO SWEAT!

  2. Crafting Your Elevator Speech, Floor by Floor with – NO SWEAT!

  3. Speaking Opportunities are Business, Career, and Leadership Opportunities.

  4. We are All Self-Employed!

Subscribe to my YouTube ChannelPodcast Channel, and connect with me on LinkedIn and Facebook.

If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions about this post or other posts please contact me:

Thank  you for your continued support. It is greatly appreciated!


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