4i Newsletter Masthead 429

The Rule of 3.

Four i 429 Ruleof3

What do Murray Walker, Steve Jobs, and Martin Luther King all have in common?

Last week, our Future Leaders Group, (comprising 50 up and coming superstars), attended the first of a three part masterclass series on presentation skills.

Our first expert, former journalist and newsreader, Arti Halai, shared her top tips learned over many years in TV studios, conferences and pitches, and also having coached hundreds of executives on how to communicate like the top pros.
One of the many techniques she passionately believes in, chimed with all of our members, and once you know it, you’ll see it everywhere.

I bet everyone of you know what the X is in these examples:

Goldilocks and the X bears
The X little pigs
A, B, X
The X wise men
The X Musketeers
Friends, Romans, X
Blood, Sweat and X
Stop, Look and X
Lies, damned lies, and X
(Never before in the field of human conflict) was so much owed by so many, to so X

A pattern needs at least three elements, and we recall patterns and short sequences much more easily.

It crops up everywhere:

In Physics – Newton’s three laws of motion
In art – the rules of thirds
In most literature, plays and films – the beginning, middle and end

In all his major speeches, Martin Luther King used the rule of three, for example:
“When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state, and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Commercially, Steve Jobs mastered the rule on all Apple’s product launches, take the iPhone for example:
“We will reveal three revolutionary products, a MP3 player, a phone and an internet communication device.” (Of course, the 3 were wrapped up in one product)

And even Murray Walker used the rule of 3. Not so much that I recall in his many years in the F1 commentary box, but prior during his career in advertising. You see, it’s largely acknowledged that Murray penned perhaps the most easily recalled advertising line of all time: “A Mars a day helps you work, rest and X.”

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