The Rule of three: The simplest Pattern
Whether you realise it or not, humans naturally and subconsciously use the rule of three in everyday life. But at its core, what is the rule of three and why do we use it? Let’s take a look!
What is the rule of three?
The rule of three is everywhere! It is in speech, in music, in art, in writing, and so much more. Anything curated in line with the rule of three is generally more interesting, more captivating, and more memorable! (See what I did there?)
Even though the rule of three seems to be quite a simple pattern, that is the benefit! It is simple to use and can transform complex communication into an easier format that can be received and understood easily. The human brain searches for patterns to create an ease of comprehension, and therefore the brain naturally is drawn to the rule of three.
The rule of three is used in many aspects of life, communication, and visualisation, it is also extremely valuable in business and deep performance. Business and deep performance are all about communicating with the right people in the right way. What better way to communicate than in a pattern that is more attractive and memorable to every human? Now that we know what this valuable tool is, let’s find out how we can use it to optimise our communication!
Using it effectively
The first commonplace area that this rule is used every day is speech. We have all experienced conversations that just don’t make sense or jump around all over the place and in the end, we can’t remember the point of the conversation. Implementing the rule of three creates a bridge between confusion and comprehension and will ensure everyone gets the main meaning of the message! Repeating the main point three times at different points in the conversation drives the point you want to get across home!
In business, leaders and employees alike will often have to present a project, a speech or give an address. Dale Carnegie said, “Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them”. Giving a speech can be harder to get your point across in a memorable way, as the audience can’t read your notes, they’re hearing it for the first time! So, it is essential that your point is clear, and you do exactly as Carnegie said and summarise what you are going to say, say what you want to say and then revise what you said!
Writing in business is essential! Emails are written every day, as are written policies, and notes are being taken on what can be done better after a failed mission. Writing is everywhere, but it’s not done well everywhere! When writing anything, keep it simple! Present your key points you want to get across, and don’t convolute it with unnecessary points! Break the body of what you want to say into your three points and trust that it will be best received in this format! While your entire success may not be hinged upon one email, one speech, or one written policy, a large chunk of success is communication; with those that we work with and those that we are trying to influence with our work.
Easy as 1, 2, 3!
As we can see, so much of human interaction and brain processing is based upon patterns and specifically this rule of three-technique. Learning the art of the rule of three is critical to clear communication, success and achieving deep performance goals in business!
It is important to note that there is an art to this communication technique! And I am certain that there are bad examples of this technique being used. It will take time, it will take perseverance and it will take trial and error!
It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3! Never forget the power of simplicity, the persuasiveness of effective communication and the strategies to achieve these things!
Harappa. (2020). How to communicate better with the rule of three. Harappa. https://harappa.education/harappa-diaries/the-rule-of-three/
IQ Doodle School. (n.d.). Rule of three: Thinking visually in threes. IQ Doodle School. https://school.iqdoodle.com/framework/core-principles/rule-of-three/
Marshall, L. B. (2013). How to communicate better using the rule of three. Quick and Dirty Tips. https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/business-career/public-speaking/how-to-communicate-better-using-the-rule-of-three
Ready, K. (2014). Success and the rule of three. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinready/2014/05/19/success-and-the-rule-of-three/?sh=14a8a48e2814