A good presentation technique is the rule of three.
The rule of three is based on the technique that people tend to remember three things. In oratory it comes up all the time.
Good speeches are peppered with lists with three items
1. “Friends, Romans, Countrymen” – William Shakespeare in Julius Caesar
2. “Blood, sweat and tears” – General Patton
3. Our priorities are “Education, Education, Education” – Prime Minister, Tony Blair
They are used in religion…
1. “Father, Son and Holy Spirit”
2. “Faith, Hope and Charity”
… in Public Safety
1. “Stop, Look and Listen”
… and in the film industry
1. “The good, the bad and the ugly”
2. “Sex, lies and videotape”
Putting it simply if you want your message to be remembered put it into a list of three.
Think about – if there are only three points that I would like to leave my audience with, what would they be? And then use no more than three themes per slide.
Here are more examples of the rule of three.
“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”
- the American Declaration of Independence
“Government of the people, by the people, for the people”
- the Gettysburg Address
“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics”
- Benjamin Disraeli
“This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning”
- Sir Winston Churchill
“Never before in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many, to so few”
- – Sir Winston Churchill
“There are three principal ways to lose money: wine, women, and engineers. While the first two are more pleasant, the third is by far the more certain.
“Veni, vidi, vici” (I came, I saw, I conquered) – Julius Caesar
“Unwept, unhonored, unsung”
- Sir Walter Scott
“Duty – Honor – Country. Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, and what you will be”
- Gen. Douglas MacArthur
“The rule is: jam tomorrow, and jam yesterday, but never jam today”
- Lewis Carroll. Through the Looking Glass
Do you have any other examples? Please add them into the comments box below.