We’d all like to sound (and feel!) cool, calm, collected, and prepared when we’re called on to speak off-the-cuff or to answer an unexpected question.
The Public Speaking Rule of 3 is a great technique for accomplishing that goal… and here are three examples of how:
1. Media Interviews: Use the Rule of 3 to Transition to What You Want to Say
The first rule of media training (after sitting up straight and being well groomed) is to answer the question or comment on the topic that you want to discuss, not the one that’s posed to you.
Use the Rule of 3 (in this case, three steps) to make that transition:
- Step One: Acknowledge the question or comment — Say something like, “That’s an interesting point,” or “I understand your concern.”
- Step Two: Transition back to your turf — Politely signal that you’re going to change the focus, with transitional comments like, “Let me expand the lens a little,” or “To understand that, you have to know the following,” or “That’s not my area of expertise, but I do know that…”
- Step Three: Firmly and clearly state your point — “The impact of Facebook on 10-year-olds is stronger than on 20-year-olds,” or “What counts is your relationship with an audience, not your authority over them.”
2. For Off-the-Cuff Remarks, Use the Rule of 3 to Make an Instant Speech
Just because you don’t have time to write, research and practice a speech doesn’t mean that you can’t make meaningful and highly professional impromptu remarks.
- Start by asking yourself, “What’s the most important thing I want to say on this topic.” That statement is your “key message.”
- Now support your key message with three relevant facts, figures, examples, questions, or related comments.
- Repeat your key message, this time as a conclusion.
You might have noticed that the Instant Speech format uses the Rule of 3 twice!
- It has three parts (key message / supporting points / key message); and
- It has three supporting points.
Maybe that’s what makes it so powerful! (Learn more about Instant Speeches.)
3. Make The Rule of 3 Your Fallback for Everything
The habit of speaking in groups of 3 is an easy one to cultivate, and can make all your public speaking sound more authoritative:
Why use The Rule of 3? It’s simple, elegant, and effective.
- What am I working on lately? A business book, 6 workshops, and lots of private coaching.
- What do I love about my business? Variety, challenge, and most of all, my clients!
I could give another example (or three), but you’ve already got the point, and the Rule of 3 helps me quit while I’m ahead.
Which may be it’s biggest benefit of all!