Examples of the Rule of Three

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The rule of threeA good presentation technique is the rule of three.

The rule of three is based on the technique that people tend to remember three things. In oratory it comes up all the time.

Good speeches are peppered with lists with three items

1. “Friends, Romans, Countrymen” – William Shakespeare in Julius Caesar
2. “Blood, sweat and tears” – General Patton
3. Our priorities are “Education, Education, Education” – Prime Minister, Tony Blair

They are used in religion…

1. “Father, Son and Holy Spirit”
2. “Faith, Hope and Charity”

… in Public Safety

1. “Stop, Look and Listen”

… and in the film industry

1. “The good, the bad and the ugly”
2. “Sex, lies and videotape”

Putting it simply if you want your message to be remembered put it into a list of three.

Think about – if there are only three points that I would like to leave my audience with, what would they be? And then use no more than three themes per slide.
Here are more examples of the rule of three.

“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”
- the American Declaration of Independence

“Government of the people, by the people, for the people”
- the Gettysburg Address

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics”
- Benjamin Disraeli

“This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning”
- Sir Winston Churchill

“Never before in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many, to so few”
- – Sir Winston Churchill

“There are three principal ways to lose money: wine, women, and engineers. While the first two are more pleasant, the third is by far the more certain.
Baron Rothschild”

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

“Unwept, unhonored, unsung”
- Sir Walter Scott

“Duty – Honor – Country. Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, and what you will be”
- Gen. Douglas MacArthur

“The rule is: jam tomorrow, and jam yesterday, but never jam today”
- Lewis Carroll. Through the Looking Glass

Do you have any other examples? Please add them into the comments box below.

Views 114,594

11 August 2006

Filed under Presentations ,

Comments on: Examples of the Rule of Three

How about:

Positive, negative, neutral

Liberte, fraternite, egalite (sorry about the acutes)

Australia had a sunscreen cream campaign to prevent skin cancer:

Slip (on a shirt)
Slop (on some cream)
Slap (on a hat)



Posted by Bill — 31 Aug @ 12:06 am

There are three types of people: the ones who know how to count, and the ones who do not.

Posted by Anil — 17 Oct @ 11:23 pm

the common one is: me, myself and I.

The one bank has changed their logo from simpler,better, faster

Posted by Mpho — 20 Oct @ 3:49 pm

Citius. altius, fortius

Posted by BPA — 29 Oct @ 10:44 pm

3 bases in Baseball
3 bears
3 Musketeers
3 Stooges
Able, Baker, Charlie
animal, vegetable, mineral
Appetizer, Main Course, Desert
Bach, Beethoven, Brahms
Blood, Sweat, Tears
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Democrat, Republican, Independent
Duty, Honor, Country
English, Irish, Scotch
Ethos, Logos, Pathos       Aristotle’s three types of speeches)
Faster, Higher, Stronger
Father, Son, Holy Ghost
Friends, Romans, Countrymen
Go Fight, Win
Good, Bad, Ugly
Government of the people, by the people, for the people
Hear no evil, See no evil, Speak no Evil
Homes have been lost, jobs shed, Businesses shuttered
I came, I saw, I conquered
Inky, Blinky, Clyde
Legislative, Judicial, and Executive,
Liberty Equality, Fraternity
Life, Liberty, Pursuit of Happiness
Location Location, Location
Long, Long, Ago
Mayo 3 Shields ,,
Morning, Afternoon, Evening
Old, New, Benefits,
Open, Body, Close,,
Past, Present Future,
Sex, Lies, Videotape
Stop, Drop, and Run
Stop, Look, Listen
Superman: Truth, Justice, American Way
Three Wise Men–three gifts gold, frankinsense and myrth
Three-color flags
Trilogies of fiction
Tobacco, Alchol, and Guns
Tom, Dick, Harry
Verbal, Vocal, Visual             (parts of a talk)
We can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground
We must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the Wine, Women, and Song
Work of remaking America
Work, Rest, Play
You’re the ones who feed us, who wipe our tears, who hold our hands or hug us when we need it.

Posted by Joe Sharp — 10 Nov @ 5:03 am

shake, rattle and roll

Posted by han — 13 Nov @ 6:50 pm

stand up, speak up, shut up

Posted by nige — 1 Dec @ 6:27 pm

yesterday, today & tomorrow

Posted by Roisin O'Donovan — 2 Dec @ 3:01 pm

ding ding dong

Posted by stb — 3 Dec @ 11:33 am

Time, Effort, Money

Posted by Stewart Smith, Head of English — 6 Dec @ 8:21 am

one, two, three

Posted by ARH — 4 Jan @ 8:57 am

A – B – C

Do – re – mi

Posted by Anonymous — 5 Jan @ 5:15 pm

stop, drop, roll

Posted by Anonymous — 24 Jan @ 11:29 pm

en – to – tre

Posted by Mette — 4 Mar @ 11:28 pm

rock, paper, scissors
time, money and environment

Posted by Lauren — 9 Mar @ 8:57 pm

yes, no, maybe

Posted by Lauren — 9 Mar @ 8:59 pm

DOn’t like “English, Irish, Scotch” in Joe Sharp’s lonmg list – “English, Irish, and Scots” would be OK, as would be “American, Irish and Scotch”, but English whiskey?

Posted by Tom — 13 Mar @ 9:38 pm

The Few, the Proud, the Marines.

Posted by Dave — 18 Mar @ 2:19 pm

College, job, family.

Posted by Nellie — 3 Apr @ 3:30 am

“Honor, Courage, Commitment” – a motto in the US Navy

“Heat, Fuel, Oxygen” – to stop a fire, remove one of the three.

Posted by CogitoErgoCogitoSum — 13 Apr @ 9:15 pm

Safety – Think it, talk it, work it!

Posted by Anonymous — 4 May @ 5:52 am

Would “Lights, Camara, Action” work?

Posted by Alyssa R. — 4 May @ 9:03 pm

“Love, Hate, Loneliness”

“Adherence, Lament, Comply!”

Posted by DnGr — 3 Jun @ 11:17 pm

Shandrach, Meshach & Abednego

hi lilly, hi lilly, hi lo

Posted by James Roads — 13 Jul @ 8:02 pm

Glory Honour and Power

Posted by Pst Oluseyi Alakija — 20 Jul @ 4:16 pm

There are three kinds of people: those who make it happen; those who watch it happen; and those who wonder what happened

– Brian Tracey (I think)

Posted by Anonymous — 22 Jul @ 3:55 pm

Cut Copy Paste [Computers]
Amar Akbar Anthony [Film]
Pati Patni or Woh [Husband Wife & HER: The Love Triangle]

Posted by Vividh Pawaskar — 13 Aug @ 6:22 pm

Past Present Future
Good Better Best
… and so on

Posted by Yaqoob — 15 Sep @ 2:17 pm

Sola, perduta, abbandonata…

(Alone, lost, abandoned…)
Manon Lescaut, lost in the Louisiana desert in Puccini’s opera of the same name.

Posted by Willem — 7 Oct @ 5:48 pm

3 little pigs
3 billy goats gruff
goldilocks and the tree bears
3 blind mice
england flag-has three lions

Posted by lucyyy :) — 29 Oct @ 3:59 pm

up, up and away

Posted by meme — 10 Nov @ 1:30 am

Ho Ho Ho

Posted by Zohe — 10 Nov @ 1:31 am

have we had “hook, line & sinker”

Posted by Barb — 17 Nov @ 4:47 am

the past is history, the future is a mystery and the present is a gift

Posted by lol — 27 Nov @ 3:28 pm

up down left

Posted by me — 17 Jan @ 12:25 pm

candle, book and bell

Posted by captrick56 — 22 Jan @ 4:14 am

sit up,shut up and belt up

Posted by Anonymous — 1 Feb @ 4:47 pm

Hung, drawn & quartered

Posted by Lucianne Kidd — 7 Feb @ 9:55 pm

Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha
Brahma Vishnu, Eshwara
Vision Mission Action
The impossible trinity in economics
Left, Right and the Middle
Solid, Liquid and Air
Sun, Moon and the Stars
Past, present and Future
Positive, Zero and Negative
Electron, Proton and Nutron
Average, above average and below average
Yes, No, and Undecided
For, against and nutral
Like, dislike and indifferent
Length, breadth and depth
X-axis, Y-axis and Z-axis

Posted by Srinath — 22 Feb @ 1:09 pm

In the stock market: Hope, greed and fear control all.

Posted by Ben Gan — 7 Mar @ 7:03 am

It wasn’t Patton who talked about “blood, sweat and tears;” it was Churchill:
“I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined the government: ‘I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.’” 1940

Posted by Jonny H — 13 Apr @ 12:16 am

Beanz Meanz Heinz

Posted by Jack Rowland — 24 Apr @ 9:13 pm

Hip! Hip!! Hurrah!!
Going, Going, Gone!

Posted by TO — 6 Jun @ 1:40 pm

Ready, Steady, Go.
Hop, Step and Jump

Posted by TO — 6 Jun @ 2:16 pm

Arise , Awake and Stop not till goal is achieved _ Swami Vivekanand

Posted by riya rathore — 20 Jun @ 3:37 pm

See it, Say it, Do it

Posted by Anonymous — 23 Jun @ 7:33 pm

Yes, No, Maybe so

Posted by Anonymous — 23 Jun @ 7:34 pm


Posted by Justm3 — 12 Sep @ 3:23 am

tom dick and harry

Posted by uday — 24 Sep @ 2:55 pm

ave attque vale (hail and fairwell) …i think

Posted by anonymous — 25 Oct @ 5:14 pm

this, that and the other

Posted by Anonymous — 29 Dec @ 12:16 am

going, going, gone!

Posted by Anonymous — 29 Jan @ 3:34 pm

Shades on, scarf on, attitude on….

Posted by Anonymous — 19 Feb @ 3:58 pm

what was the middle one, again?

Posted by frodo — 29 Apr @ 9:16 pm

Hi why not look at the presentation skills: rule of three page http://www.presentationmagazine.com/presentation-skills-3-the-rule-of-three-7283.htm

Posted by rboynton — 30 Apr @ 10:50 am

sex, drugs, rock n roll
see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil

Posted by ruccus — 25 May @ 8:40 pm


Posted by Shalini — 5 Aug @ 3:51 pm

Seen it, done it, got the T shirt!!

Posted by Deborah — 27 Oct @ 3:51 pm

In the Big Bang Theory (tv show) Sheldon knocks on Penny’s door three times and each time says “Penny!”

Posted by Nicole — 27 Nov @ 12:35 am

the people now a days want three things:
entertainment, entertainment and entertainment

Posted by Anonymous — 29 Apr @ 10:28 am

Time to kill
Money to burn
Life to waste

Posted by Anonymous — 14 Feb @ 6:37 am

bacon lettuce and tomato

Posted by eric — 12 Mar @ 11:02 pm

red white and blue

Posted by eric — 12 Mar @ 11:03 pm

etcetera, etcetera,etcetera. The King and I.

Posted by Antony — 8 Jul @ 10:54 am

One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready now go cat go!

Flip, Flop, Fly.

Three withches of Macbeth.

Three wishes


Knock three times on the window if you want me.

Three steps to heaven

Three’s a crowd

Three times a lady

You, me and baby makes three

Del, Rodney and Grandad

What now, what next, where to?

3 a.m. The witching hr

Scrooge’s visitation by three ghosts.

Three Corn Patches

Three strikes and you’re out!

One is fluke, two is coincidence, three is proof.

Three musical chords, A,D,E C,F,G etc


The first odd prime number is 3

The rule of three

Posted by Antony — 8 Jul @ 11:07 am

Money, Money, Money

Sex, drugs and Rock’n’Roll

Mary, Mungo and Midge

Father, Son and Holy Ghost

Peter, Paul and Mary

Posted by Antony — 8 Jul @ 11:52 am

Martin Luther King’s speech

Posted by Anonymous — 6 Oct @ 9:49 am

Lead, Follow or get the hell out of the way

Posted by Daniel — 5 Nov @ 6:27 pm

red yellow green

Posted by ryan — 13 Jan @ 10:45 am

Turn on, Tune in, Drop out.

Posted by Corky Ringspot — 17 Feb @ 12:36 am

Get in, Get out, Get Paid.

Posted by Jim Lad — 19 Apr @ 1:39 am

Good, fast, cheap – pick any two (a project management rule)

Posted by Lactobacillus Acidophilus — 23 Apr @ 10:51 pm

“Drown me! Roast me! Hang me! Do whatever you please,” said Brer Rabbit. “Only please, Brer Fox, please don’t throw me into the briar patch.”

It’s delightful, it’s delicious, it’s de-lovely.

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod

Then close your eyes and tap your heels together three times. And think to yourself, There’s no place like home.

Posted by Sapientissimus — 24 Apr @ 1:34 am

Faster, stronger, higher.
(It’s the Olympics motto)

Posted by shay — 8 Jun @ 6:43 am

Alif, Baa, Thaa
arabic letters

Posted by aik — 22 Jul @ 6:03 am

Sugar Spice and Everything nice
these were the ingredient to make the perfect girls.

Posted by leevan — 22 Jul @ 6:05 am

Blossoms Bubbles Buttercup

Posted by Meekail — 22 Jul @ 6:06 am

Ready, Set, Go.

Posted by Sullivan — 23 Oct @ 10:59 am

The good, the bad and the ugly….

One, two, buckle my shoe
Three, four, knock on the door
Five, six, pick up sticks
Seven, eight, close the gate
Nine, ten, a big fat hen…….

Posted by jo — 1 Nov @ 9:52 pm

Here, there, everywhere. Beatles

Posted by Tom M — 5 Nov @ 5:34 am

Ready, Steady, Bake

Posted by Bill — 29 Nov @ 12:40 pm

Lead, Follow, or get the hell out of the way!

Posted by John V — 31 Jan @ 8:49 pm

Bigger better brighter

Posted by esther — 22 Feb @ 3:47 pm

Liberté, égalité, fraternité

Posted by cici — 14 Mar @ 1:36 pm

Destruction, death and doom

Posted by Anonymous — 15 Mar @ 9:52 pm

Love, life, lust

Posted by Anonymous — 15 Mar @ 9:53 pm

ein reich, ein volk, ein fuhrer. [Not one I believe in but one I remember from doing history at school!]

Posted by Athene — 1 Apr @ 12:45 am

Engage, Aspire, excel

Posted by Fred — 17 May @ 6:24 am

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