Ethan Rotman

The Less You Give, The More Your Audience Will Remember

In Attracting New Clients, BNI or other Networking Groups, Credibility, Delivery, Public Speaking on March 5, 2010 at 12:51 pm

The Rule of Three

The Less You Give, The More Your Audience Will Remember 

Simplicity and repetition are effective tools for helping your audience to understand your point. 

An example of this is race for Governor in California. Meg Whitman, the Republican candidate has been running a series of campaign on the radio. The beauty and effectiveness of these ads is in how they are structured. Meg Whitman, is able to take something as complex as the economic crisis in California and boil it down to three simple issues. For each issue she offers one solution. 

The rule of three. We can all remember three. Almost everything she says is in sets of three. The problems, the solutions, even her experience. Listen to her ads and count. 

Jerry Brown seems to have taken note of this as well. When he announced his candidacy, he also listed three major issues facing California. 

Regardless of your political views, the ads are brilliant. Brown and Whitman have taken very complicated issues with very complicated solutions and made them understandable and memorable. Listen to the ads and you will know their political platform. Chances are you will remember it as well. After all, we can all remember three. 

What is it that Brown and Whitman know? That psychologists and learning specialist long ago figured out there is a limit to how much new information people can take in at one time. They know that complex issues must be marketed in simple terms. They know that their audience does not want (or need) to know all the details – they just want to know what it means. While the ads are simple, they are very effective. 

We often are lured into saying far more about our topic than our audience both cares to know and have the ability to remember. The more we give our audiences, the less they remember. The less we give them, the more they remember. 

The next time you speak, divide your topic into three facts, and talk about those. Just three – the rest are overkill and probably irrelevant. If Whitman and Brown can simplify the problems of the most populated state in the US into three issues, it should be possible for you to present your ideas with three facts as well. 

(This is a re-write of a previously published article. It seems Jerry Brown took notice of the effective techniques used by Meg Whitman and adopted them into his campaign.)  


© 2010 iSpeakEASY. All rights reserved – This speaking tip is one in a series provided by iSpeakEASY. We help people profit from their words. Call for information on individual coaching or group workshops. More tips can be found at  

  1. “They know that their audience does not want (or need) to know all the details – they just want to know what it means.”

    Very true, great share.

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