Make It Happen Tipsheet
Translating Knowledge to Action

The Rule of Three

Have you ever read a blog post or listened to a presentation, only to find yourself unable recall what was written or said? Have you ever found yourself frustrated when your own ideas are so quickly forgotten?

There are many possible reasons for this, but often the culprit is a lack of focus in the message itself. Consider these ideas:

1) Keep your post, email, or presentation to one key topic. If a second topic is equally important, then create a second post, email or presentation.

2) Personalize your message, in order to help the reader or listener understand the relevance to them.

3) The Rule of Three: strengthen your key message with three supporting pillars. They can be examples, implications, stories, statistics, or just about anything. Beyond the reinforcing benefit, your audience may identify with these pillars better... which leads to better recall of your key point.

You probably noticed that this post itself is self-referential: it models the very advice that it gives. The key topic is how to improve recall. The personalization happens in the first paragraph, where I tie into the frustration that many of us feel, either as communicators or as readers/listeners. And the three supporting pillars are obvious: key topic, personalize, and Rule of Three.

This week's action plan: Use the Rule of Three in your next presentation, email, or blog post. You'll be more focused and your audience will have more recall... resulting in a far greater impact.


Randall Craig is an expert on Social Media Strategy and Social Media Policy; to find out how his workshops, webinars, and keynotes can help your team or add to your event, contact him through, or by email at

Make It Happen Tipsheet
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Copyright © 2010 Knowledge to Action Press and Randall Craig. All rights reserved.
Publication Date: Dec 7, 2010

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