Thursday, April 27, 2017

Rule of three

Have you heard about the rule of three?  It applies to several aspects in life, and certainly works well in business too.

I remember when I first started writing, my mentor told me that starting a sentence with the same words, three times in a row, helps to make a point.  It makes a powerful statement and I often use this strategy in my writing today.

The other week we heard from a speaker who was emphasizing the rule of three when you are making a presentation.  

As you are developing your talk, it helps to come up with three key messages as more than that, and it starts to get confusing for your audience.

And in working with authors, I also have them work through a template where they have to come up with three key messages.  In this instance, it helps you focus and keep true to what you want to say. 

But the rule of three expands beyond the written and verbal word.  In decorating for example, designers advise that you group objects in threes.  And I seem to recall doing an one-two-three countdown with my kids when I wanted something done or they were in trouble.

So what is the impact from a business perspective?  Good question. 

Jeremy Anderberg wrote about the rule of three in terms of productivity.  He quotes author Chris Bailey when he suggests that at the beginning of each day, before you start working, decide what three things you want to accomplish by the end of the day.  It’s a simple, but game changing concept.

If you only have three priorities to focus on, you are more likely to get the work done.  And maybe if you’ve tried three times to start something and haven’t, your procrastination is telling you that you really don’t want to do it.

Here’s some other interesting facts about the number three, according to Eric Walters in The Rule of Three:-
  •     you can last three minutes without air.
  •    you can go three days with water.
  •    you can last three weeks without food. 
It seems to be a pretty important number, and of course there is the fact that I was born on the 3rd month, March!  But I digress. 

Getting back to the rule of three, here's my three key points - 
  • pick three key messages when you have to make a presentation or write a book
  • select three priorities a day to focus your attention on. 
  • if you’ve tried to do something three times and not managed to do it, maybe you're not that interested. Take it off your list.
Try it.  You may find that it takes the pressure off, and helps you focus your energy and time. 

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