Three rules for effective communication

In communication they recognize the “rule of three”. It is the concept that Humans can only effectively remember three pieces of information. You may all be familiar with this rule. This could be the reason for the saying that something is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Another communication guideline is to tell people important information three times. In a presentation they often refer to it as:

  • Tell them what you will tell them,
  • Then tell them,
  • Then tell them what you have told them

There is yet another rule of three; You also need to tell people your information in three different ways.

You could present important information to your employees, for example, by having an all hands meeting, sending a bulletin to their homes and having a webpage with again the same information.

The rule of three is everywhere; think about: “Pursuit of life, Liberty and Happiness” or the French motto liberty, equality and fraternity. Phone numbers get presented in three chunks, social security numbers get presented in three parts. The government has three parts, the legislative branch (congress), the executive branch (the President) and the judiciary (the courts). In sports we recognize first, second and third place and don’t worry about the others too much. Even your email is One@Two.Three. So you see, the rule of three is old and seems to work throughout our society.

If you think your information is so broad, it cannot possibly be summarized in three bullet points, remember the quote from Einstein: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough”. Also the Germans have a proverb: “In der beschränkung zeigt sich der Meister”.

So with that said, it all comes down to……….. three rules:

The young woman to speak at a meeting


  1. Tell them no more than three points
  2. Tell them three times
  3. Tell them in three different ways


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