Examples of the Rule of Three
A 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 oratoration it comes up all the time. So by repeating something three times or using the alliteration with three words, a quite ordinary speech becomes quite emotive.
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.
“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
Here are some other classic combinations:
Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato
Education, Education, Education
Liberty, Equality, Fraternity
Bigger, Better, Stronger
Engage, Aspire, Excel
Love, Life, Lust
Do you have any other examples? Please add them into the comments box below.
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)
There are three types of people: the ones who know how to count, and the ones who do not.
the common one is: me, myself and I.
The one bank has changed their logo from simpler,better, faster
Citius. altius, fortius
3 bases in Baseball
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
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.
shake, rattle and roll
stand up, speak up, shut up
yesterday, today & tomorrow
ding ding dong
Time, Effort, Money
one, two, three
A – B – C
Do – re – mi
stop, drop, roll
en – to – tre
rock, paper, scissors
time, money and environment
yes, no, maybe
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?
The Few, the Proud, the Marines.
College, job, family.
“Honor, Courage, Commitment” – a motto in the US Navy
“Heat, Fuel, Oxygen” – to stop a fire, remove one of the three.
Safety – Think it, talk it, work it!
Would “Lights, Camara, Action” work?
“Love, Hate, Loneliness”
“Adherence, Lament, Comply!”
Shandrach, Meshach & Abednego
hi lilly, hi lilly, hi lo
Glory Honour and Power
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)
Cut Copy Paste [Computers]
Amar Akbar Anthony [Film]
Pati Patni or Woh [Husband Wife & HER: The Love Triangle]
Past Present Future
Good Better Best
… and so on
Sola, perduta, abbandonata…
(Alone, lost, abandoned…)
Manon Lescaut, lost in the Louisiana desert in Puccini’s opera of the same name.
3 little pigs
3 billy goats gruff
goldilocks and the tree bears
3 blind mice
england flag-has three lions
up, up and away
Ho Ho Ho
have we had “hook, line & sinker”
the past is history, the future is a mystery and the present is a gift
up down left
candle, book and bell
sit up,shut up and belt up
Hung, drawn & quartered
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
In the stock market: Hope, greed and fear control all.
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
Beanz Meanz Heinz
Hip! Hip!! Hurrah!!
Going, Going, Gone!
Ready, Steady, Go.
Hop, Step and Jump
Arise , Awake and Stop not till goal is achieved _ Swami Vivekanand
See it, Say it, Do it
Yes, No, Maybe so
tom dick and harry
ave attque vale (hail and fairwell) …i think
this, that and the other
going, going, gone!
Shades on, scarf on, attitude on….
what was the middle one, again?
sex, drugs, rock n roll
see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil
Seen it, done it, got the T shirt!!
In the Big Bang Theory (tv show) Sheldon knocks on Penny’s door three times and each time says “Penny!”
the people now a days want three things:
entertainment, entertainment and entertainment
Time to kill
Money to burn
Life to waste
bacon lettuce and tomato
red white and blue
etcetera, etcetera,etcetera. The King and I.
One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready now go cat go!
Flip, Flop, Fly.
Three withches of Macbeth.
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
Money, Money, Money
Sex, drugs and Rock’n’Roll
Mary, Mungo and Midge
Father, Son and Holy Ghost
Peter, Paul and Mary
Martin Luther King’s speech
Lead, Follow or get the hell out of the way
red yellow green
Turn on, Tune in, Drop out.
Get in, Get out, Get Paid.
Good, fast, cheap – pick any two (a project management rule)
“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.
Faster, stronger, higher.
(It’s the Olympics motto)
Alif, Baa, Thaa
Sugar Spice and Everything nice
these were the ingredient to make the perfect girls.
Blossoms Bubbles Buttercup
Ready, Set, Go.
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…….
Here, there, everywhere. Beatles
Ready, Steady, Bake
Lead, Follow, or get the hell out of the way!
Bigger better brighter
Liberté, égalité, fraternité
Destruction, death and doom
ein reich, ein volk, ein fuhrer. [Not one I believe in but one I remember from doing history at school!]
In Gremlins there are three rules. No bright light, Don’t get them wet, and don’t feed them after midnight.
You and me and a dog named Boo
Mother, maiden, crone
Sun, moon and stars
Get up, dress up, show up
Bad things come in threes
Bacon, bacon, bacon! Lol
Run, hide, fight. From terrorist training. ☹️
Location, Location, Location.. (a key to business success)
And my three favorite:
Me, myself and I
Business Family Friends
diligence dexterity determination
Good afternoon good evening and goodnight
iPad iPod iPhone
Lights, camera, action!
Fidelity, bravery, integrity.
Chemistry, biology, physics.
Heat, fuel, oxygen= fire
Protons, neutrons, electrons.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Good, better, best, never let it rest ’till the good is better and the better is the best.
Peace, Land and Bread
As a dentist, I can see the rule of three so often. For example when I present to the patient a condition in their mouth, when I explain the consequences and then the resolution. Thanks for the thoughtful article.