How to Apply the Rule of Three for More Effective Communication
Originally published: 14/05/2018 12:11
Publication number: ELQ-38972-1
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How to Apply the Rule of Three for More Effective Communication

The Rule of Three is a tool that you can use to force yourself to think better and communicate more effectively.


Think better: Rule of three

Tl;dr: Always provide three reasons to something. Apply the rule of three for more effective communication

I’ve been studying ways of thinking more clearly and structured lately. I spend so much time analysing business models that it made sense to allocate some dedicated learning to think better and communicate more effectively.

A great way to clarify your thinking is to teach other things you learn. So I’m going to start easy with something I have mentioned in at least 5 blogs over the years. It’s called the ‘rule of three.’

  • Step n°1 |

    What is the rule of three?

    The rule of three was taught to me by my MD at Lazard when I was an Associate writing a strategic review of a private equity investment trust. He explained to me that there are always three reasons for something and that clients like 3. So always structure up your answers into three. I can remember having the conversation, but I can’t remember exactly how it played out. Regardless it was a profound and simple lesson I have taken to heart.

    I read somewhere that a management consultant was so au fait with the rule of three that he would say ‘there are three reasons for’ before even having an answer. He would then proceed to figure out the answers (the three of them!).

    In Wikipedia, it says that
    The rule of three is a writing principle that suggests that events or characters introduced in threes are more humorous, satisfying, or effective in execution of the story and engaging the reader.

    For nerds, there is a Latin phrase “omne trium perfectum” which translates to everything that comes in threes is perfect.

    The three elements together are known as a triad.

    If you are pitching a client or prospect your conversation could go a few ways.

    How to Apply the Rule of Three for More Effective Communication image
  • Step n°2 |

    Poor example

    Client: Why should we use your product?

    You: Um. Well, I guess theres a bunch of reasons!

    Client: Which are?

    You: Hm. Well, let me tell you a few. We are cheaper. We offer great support and everyone tells us so. Our dashboard reporting is really nice. We integrate with lots of systems. Bla bla bla

    Client: Wow, that’s a lot.

    How to Apply the Rule of Three for More Effective Communication image

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