Have you ever wondered… what do The Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and The Three Stooges have in common? Why is the three-act structure the imperative approach to screenwriting in Hollywood? Even the rule of three is evident in religion, as illustrated by the Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
The reason for the rule of three is simple. The brain finds it easy to grasp threes because it’s a deep-rooted psychological trigger embedded in our subconscious since we were young. Our minds automatically tend to categorize, respond favorably, and remember things presented in threes. This is why the cornerstone of effective communication lies in the power of three. The next question is, how can you apply this magical rule to create persuasive presentations, or captivate people with your communication in everyday life? There are many ways of incorporating the power of three into daily conversations and dynamic results.
Firstly, the rule of three can be applied to story-telling so that your stories become more engaging and resonate with your audience. The Rule of Three works in stories because it’s a natural and instinctive pattern. Think in terms of three when you craft your content, and you’ll end up with a winning outcome. Secondly, when you are presenting people with choices, always stick to three. As human beings, our brains have evolved in a way that protects us from harm. As part of this innate protection mechanism, we like to have choices. We presume that if we don’t have a choice in a threatening situation, we may not find a way out of it. On the other hand, we also know when we are given too many alternatives, we can get confused or overwhelmed. This puts us at risk in making the wrong choice, which may cause us potential harm. Therefore, our minds like to be presented with options – however, not too many! Three choices enable us to avoid the wrong decisions, and select the one that is just right. And finally, the rule of three is found in art and music. Presentations are often comprised of art and music, and you can build a strong foundation by implementing the rule of three. For example, experienced photographers place the horizon line of their photograph one-third from the top or one-third from the bottom, but never in the middle.
Painters position the main objects in their paintings at one of the four intersection points, or hot spots, which are placed one-third from the right and left, and top and bottom of the canvas. When we consider colour, it is no surprise there are three primary colours: red, blue, and yellow. Even in music, the third note of every scale provides the most fundamental harmony that human ears find gratifying. These are all rules to remember when you organize visuals and illustrations into your presentation.It appears that the rule of “3” is simply a magic number when it comes to pleasing the human brain. Understanding the rule of three is a good way of incorporating it into every aspect of communication. The result is a winning formula bound to increase your success rate significantly!