Many speakers have learned about the "rule of three" involved in message development, the idea that three key points are easier for the speaker --and the audience--to remember. It's a great organizing principle that allows you, with practice, to speak without notes, and to structure your talk, your slides and your performance. But how do you put the public speaking rule of three it into action? Whether you're using the rule of three for the first time or trying to perfect the form, seeing a good example of a speaker in action using this principle can help you make the leap to using it yourself.
A recent example I like is Melinda French Gates's TEDxChange talk on what nonprofits can learn from Coca-Cola. She takes a surprising conclusion and walks us through it with three clear points that teach you about both Coca-Cola and nonprofit efforts in the developing world. Here's what she does with those three points that you should emulate:
- She sets up the three points briefly, and cogently: Just rattling off your three points isn't enough. You need to give us context for them, and a point of view--briefly. Gates takes just two paragraphs of her speech to set up her three points, and she uses them to share the broad sweep of her work in developing countries, the ubiquity of Coke in those locations, and why Coke inspired her to take a look at the connection between the two. By the time she lays out the three points, we're focused where she wants us to be focused--even though the concept is, at first hearing, improbable.
- She gives us the three points, together, early in the talk as an outline for what's to come--then launches right in: After she sets the context, Gates says, "
Related posts: How to develop a message with three key points
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