The Power of 3

Posted on Jan 23

I can often be found saying the same words over and over again (e.g. chocolate, chocolate, chocolate!) but history is also littered with famous speeches in which the speaker repeats certain words or phrases three times.

Using the Power of Three, sometimes called The Rule of Three, allows you to express your ideas more completely, emphasize the key points, and make your message presentation more memorable. It’s a powerful presentation technique that you should learn, practice, and master if you want to be great at presenting.

That’s the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. See what I mean?

So what is the Power of Three?

What are some famous examples?

And how do you use it in your presentations? Read on!

Examples of the Rule of Three can be found in some of the most famous presentations ever delivered:

Julius Caesar : “Veni, vidi, vici” (I came, I saw, I conquered)

Shakespeare’s Mark Anthony : “Friends, Romans, Countrymen. Lend me your ears.

Tony Blair :  “Education, Education, Education”

Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address: “Government of the people, by the people, for the people

Barack Obama, Inaugural Speech: “we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America

This technique is obviously a bit risky and you should be careful not to overuse it but when you plan it, practise it, and use it can really make a difference to the response that you get.

You’ve got to be sincere and your pitch, tone and body language have to be congruent each time you repeat the words otherwise they will lose their impact.

Gordon Brown is a great example of someone who used the repetition technique with zero impact.

One of the best ever at using it was Martin Luther King Jnr.

On the 28th August 1963, the Rev. King rose to speak to over a quarter of a million people in Washington DC. Famed for the phrase ‘ I have a dream’ which he said 7 times, King also said ‘100 years later’ on 4 occasions, ‘Now is the time’ on another 4 occasions and the captivated crowd heard him say ‘Let freedom reign’ no less than 11 times.

I think this is one of the finest speeches ever made.

Watch how he uses repetition of the same phrases to whip the crowd up into a complete frenzy, especially as he slowly gets into the zone and begins preaching.

Listen to how his pitch and tone get stronger and stronger as he runs through his marathon ‘let freedom reign’.

If you want to see how it’s done by a master then grab a cup of coffee, sit back and watch this clip.  Notice the facial expressions of the crowd. They are completely captivated – this really was a genius at work.

Now you don’t have to be world famous to try this technique – everyone can do it with a bit of practice.

So, the next time you have to deliver a presentation that requires a key message, or one that requires massive impact then why not step out of your comfort zone and give it a try, step out of your comfort zone and take a gamble, step out of your comfort zone and take a leap of faith.

This works in writing too and you might want to read back over this and see if you can find how many times I’ve used it in this post……

Until next time,

With best wishes for your success,


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Cath Daley Ltd.

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Posted on Jan 23 in Business Pitching, Business Presentations, Coaching, Communication skills, Presentation Skills, Public Speaking

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