Partners in Performance Blog

Presentation Structure: The Rule of Three


Do you struggle with how to organize all the details and points of your presentation? If so, you’ll feel overwhelmed and confused when you deliver your presentation. And if you come across as confused, don’t expect your audience to make a decision and act based on your presentation..

If you want to be clear, concise and compelling, start with presentation structure. Knowing how to organize your information in the right sequence will lead your audience to be persuaded about what you want them to do.

Basic Structure for All Presentations

We emphasized the importance of having 1) a beginning, 2) a middle and 3) an end in our post, Presentation Structure: Have Your Presentations Wandered Off Track? The rule of three is the fundamental technique used for structuring any presentation overall.

The Rule of Three

The rule of three also works for the middle of your presentation which is where you put the meat on the bones and bring your presentation to life. Instead of having 30 different points in your presentation, organize the middle or body of your presentation into three buckets.

The rule of three is based on the idea that there is something about the way our brain is wired where four is too much and crowds our thinking and two is not enough and leaves us wanting for more. If you want something to stick, three is the optimum number. It shows up all the time in oratory and everyday life. Here are some examples:

“I came, I saw, I conquered”

“The good, the bad, the ugly”

“Location, location, location”

Think about how you can logically organize the points you want to make into your buckets and these will be your three key points.  Don’t worry about eliminating all your other points. If they are relevant, use them as sub-points to support your key point. All that’s left is to bring each point to life with stories, examples and evidence.

When you start using the rule of three to come up with your three buckets, you’ll be amazed at the impact and your audience will thank you for your clarity.

In our next post I will provide a few different approaches to organizing your presentation into three buckets. 


This entry was posted by TanjaParsley on December 5, 2012 in Presentation Skills, Presentation Structure, UPFRONT Persuasion™. Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback.

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