The Rule of Three in humour and public speaking

The Rule of Three in humour and speaking

Humour and public speaking are a powerful combo, if used effectively. The Rule of Three allows your audience to understand your message and follow on easily. If you have a single message and 3 points to support that message, it becomes substantially more powerful. The rule of three can also make a message sticky or memorable. The Rule of Three allows a speaker to express a concept, emphasise it, and make it memorable.

I came, I saw, I conquered.

Life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

In humour and public speaking the rule of three works by setting up a train of thought, then derailing it in an unusual way. The first two items in the sequence set the pattern (the train running straight) and the third item breaks the pattern (the twist or derailment). An example would be a phone message like “I am unable to answer the phone right now as I’m speaking to thousands of people, appearing on Ellen …or taking a nap. Please leave a message after the tone and I’ll return your call when I wake up.” Same, Same then derail.

What can I say about our next speaker … Have you seen Oprah? Have you seen Larry King? Well … So has he.

An airline billboard listing world-class cities: Fly with us to Paris, New York and Poffadder.

Sam is pretty, Sam is shapely, Sam is a man. (Remember the pause between items)

Experiment and you’ll find it’s true. A series of three almost always works better than two or four. You’ll find you are funnier; you connect better with your audiences; and in only twenty years you’ll become an overnight success.

when it comes to humour and public speaking make sure the humour relates to the point you are making. Humour and stories must augment your message, if not they can be distracting. Even if you think they are hilarious, if they do not support your message … cut them!

humour and public speaking we love stories not lectures - torok

Using humour and public speaking together makes your message more powerful and memorable.

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Richard Riche

Change Communication and Employee Engagement specialist at One Clear Message Consulting
Richard specialises in helping you build real human communication skills. Employee Engagement / Experience, Emotional Intelligence skills, building high performance teams and a great place you want to work. TED style speaking and presentation skills. Training, consulting and coaching.
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