3 Take Aways


“3 take aways” is one of my favorite ways to chop information down to size.  I also use it to make the most of a meeting or training session.  All I do, is ask myself, "what are 3 take aways?"   Does it sound simple?  That’s the idea.  It helps you avoid becoming overwhelmed.  It also forces you to focus and prioritize.  It’s a great way to turn insight into action.

For example, from my Crucial Conversations training, my 3 take aways were:

From my Influencer training, my 3 take aways were;

By using “3 take aways,” I remember to use these skills during crucial conversations, or when I’m analyzing an influence challenge.  You can apply the practice of “3 take aways” to just about anything: books, movies, mentoring, … you name it.  It’s another way to put the rule of 3 into practice.

Photo by zedzap.


  1. Great stuff! I like the simplicity of it. Takeaways are something I need to work more on when writing my own blog. Through the results of the survey I’m offering today I can see already that my posts are too long and I need to think of ways to make the takeaways more clear and easy for readers to access. Great post and a great reminder for me!

  2. Hi J.D., You are certainly a master at pulling the key points out of complicated ideas. I have found that in meetings or training where you can’t ‘chop’ down to a few key take aways the value of the time is compromised. Not that my notes can’t keep track of complicated subjects, but our ability to act is limited when concepts are unfocused. The topline points act as markers that draw you back down into the details.

  3. J.D., your takeaways make this blog very interesting. It’s like getting three best ideas from every book you write about without us even reading it (how convenient :))

    Takeaways work well to keep communication clear and avoid misunderstandings as well. When you summarize everything in just points, you really can’t go wrong.

    I follow a one takeaway rule – i.e. from each book, at one time, if one good idea stays with me, then book gave full value. The idea that sticks is the one that matters the most at that point of time in life.

  4. I like that 3 take aways, keeping it simple and easy to understand. You are a great teacher and trainer.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Giovanna Garcia
    Imperfect Action is better than No Action

  5. The rule 3 has been very beneficial to me as a speaker and a writer. It is a great rule to follow.

    Wonderful article J.D.~

  6. This is a very cool tool!

    Keeping it simple like this makes it very practicable.

    Great advice, and I thank you for it! 🙂

  7. @ Positively Present

    Thank you.

    Blogging is a tough gaugage for writing but 3 things helped me:
    1. distillation vs. stream of consciousness.
    2. lead with the juice vs. lead up to the point.
    3. Summarize and then elaborate.

    This helps me whether it’s a short post or a long one.

    I also keep in mind I can’t make everybody happy, so I focus on trying to solve some basic problems with insight and action, as crisply as I can.

    @ Fred

    Thank you. Interestingly, it’s probably one of the handfful of skills I’ve worked at over the last 10 years.

    You put it well, the topline points are markers back to the depth.

    @ Avani Mehta

    Thank you. I try to hone in on the gems of insight I find in various books. The act of sharing the ah-has for me, helps me refine the insight, but also connect people to some great sources (the stand on the shoulders of giants idea.) I try to help create a map of insights so people know where to look for the gold. One thing I need to do more of here is show how I apply the larger sets of practices at work (I frequently test ideas from books with my teams at work.)

    I like the one take away rule. It helps boil down a book into its essence.

    @ Giovanna

    Thank you. I like when I can connect people to ah-has that make a difference.

    @ BunnygotBlog

    Thank you. It reinforces the idea that good things come in small packages, or that packaging great things into small packages makes a difference.

    @ Keith

    Thank you. It’s served me well time and again. When I forget to use it, I tend to find myself disengaged. It’s very focusing.

  8. Clarity is a skill that I am currently working on. I get so excited that I will start in the middle instead of the beginning.

    To get the results I need I’ve been keeping more detailed notes. It’s helped me stay more focused.

  9. Very good guideline. When I do teleseminars where I am educating the attendees about a particular topic, I always structure it around 3 main points. Once I have the 3 points defined, it becomes much easier to come up with the rest of the content to fill a one-hour call. That’s exactly what I want people to walk away with–3 takeaways that will help them better understand the topic as well as help them improve their business.

  10. @ Karl

    I’m with you. Taking detailed notes helps me stay focused. I basically end up with a very long set of bulleted points. I then summarize my 3 take aways at the top.

    @ Christine

    It sounds like a great, repeatable approach for structuring your calls.

  11. Thumbs up to the idea of 3 take aways! I would like to apply that to the reading of books or even programs that I have bought. You are right about the information overload. It is also impossible to apply all that I have learned but simplifying to three main ideas makes things more digestible!

  12. @ Evelyn

    Thank you. Yes, information overload is everywhere. I have a ton of books I’m still making my way through and the rule of 3 really helps.

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