The Power of Three for Effective Communication



“Effective communication is 20% what you know and 80% how you feel about what you know.” — Jim Rohn

The secret of effective communication is The Power of 3.   We find things easier to follow when we can break it down and remember three key things.

Three Blind Mice, The Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, etc.

How often do you find yourself breaking things down into three things to remember?  How often do other people break things down into three things for you?  (If you’ve read Getting Results the Agile Way, you’ll know that I use The Rule of Three to simplify taking action and avoid information overload.)

In Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less, Joseph McCormack explains how the Power of Three helps us simplify our message and demonstrate more effective communication.

Why Use the Power of Three?

When you use the Power of Three you simplify, provide balance, and keep people engaged.

Via Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less:

  1. Establish logic and simplicity.  It makes it easier for both you and the audience to stay on track.
  2. Provide balance and order.  There is a clear expectation of how much they need to listen and how you are progressing.
  3. Keep them connected.  The audience stays engaged because they know where they are, like chapters in a book.

People Take Notice

When you “flag” your message, people pay attention.  It signals that something memorable is coming.

Via Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less:

“Earlier in my career, one of my mentors was a highly accomplished and humble retired journalist — a wonderful combination for learning.  While we were preparing a client for an important East Coast media tour, he and I gathered to advice her on back-to-back interviews with major news outlets.  One of his key recommendations to her was that any reporter would start taking notes or take notice if you ‘flagged’ your message.”

Call Out the Number of Key Ideas

Simply call out that you have 3 things you want people to know or remember.

Via Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less:

“Flagging simply involved calling out the number of key ideas you want to share.  My mentor told the client how magical it was to see a reporter engage as soon as she said, ‘The three most important things to know are …‘  This is a powerful way to grab and hold people’s attention: organize and deliver information filtered down to a short list.”

It’s surprisingly simple, but if you want more effective communication, then try using The Power of Three to simplify, clarify, and make your message stick.

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Image by LollyKnit.