When telling stories or constructing breaks on the air, the storytelling Rule of 3 can be a great tool. Not many personalities use the technique. Or if they do, they don’t do it intentionally. But once you know about it and work at it a little, it will sharpen breaks, content and stories.

The “Rule of Three” is a common marketing and writing technique. It’s a strategy to attract attention in media and public relation. It also works in writing and content creation.

  • It applies to comedy (a priest, a rabbi and a horse walk into a bar…).
  • Pastors and preachers use it to deliver a three-point sermon.
  • It’s in movies building toward a dramatic payoff.

There’s a cadence that attracts and compels audiences.

You hear the principle in effective advertising messages as well:

  • Snap! Crackle! Pop! (Rice Krispies)
  • Life Is Good (LG)
  • Real. Comfortable. Jeans. (Wranglers)

Three is a magic number. You see it in all walks of life:

  • Three branches of government.
  • Strength of a three sided object (a triangle).
  • In religion: The Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
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If you pay attention, you’ll recognize the pattern everywhere. For example, knock-knock jokes apply the rule of three and principle of 1-2-3 bam:

  1. Knock Knock (premise).  Who’s there?
  2. Canoe (Advance it).   Canoe who?
  3. (Pay Off) Canoe help me with my homework?

The Rule of 3 works because humans are conditioned to respond to a rhythmic pattern of three things. That’s why pastors are taught to deliver a three-point sermon. Or a public speaker is coached to deliver three main points in a presentation. Audiences have a hard time remembering more than three things.

But the Rule of 3 goes deeper than that.

The Rule of 3 Is Everywhere

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