A pracical example of how to say 3 points instead of 17

 In Delivery, Meetings

At a client lunch in December last year, a client relayed the following challenge:

‘My direct reports, say a lot about our brand to customers, but don’t get our key messages across. They say 17 things, instead of repeating 3 things.

Here is a way to address this challenge.

Practice conveying your ideas, in threes.

Why three things? Some of you will know of/heard of the power of three. We are programmed in our life to remember and repeat things in threes. One famous example of threes is: ‘He came, He saw, He conquered.’  (‘Veni, vidi, vici’).

When you have umpteen things to convey, you need to be brutal in choosing the three most important things*, points etc.

For most of you, chiseling your ideas to three things is not easy to do.

Recently a colleague asked for a ‘learning context’ for introducing me to people in his network.

I know I had a lot to say. Below is the stream of mind writing I came up with. As you’ll see, after reviewing the paragraph, I noted it was long winded.

At first I was convinced that I needed to convey all the information in the paragraph. Then, somehow without much thinking, I came up with a one sentence summary.

That sentence resonated best with my colleague.


Here is the learning context or premise as a basis for the introduction.
Top performing executives I work with, want to improve if only they knew how. They realise that talent is overrated They realise that talent will only take you so far.
Therefore, they seek out feedback (from other people, video and audio recordings) about how they are perceived. They are eager to take any feedback and trial it to see if it results in better performance.
They believe their careers will largely be defined by how well they present themselves and their ideas in important meetings.
With the above in mind, I’m sure your associates, are top performers.
Now, there are many consultants that have expertise to help your associates improve their personal communication.
What separates me from other consultants is this:
Through the use of my face to face coaching technologies, aided by video and audio recordings – there is not a consultant with my depth of insight into how the best executives listen, speak, present, handle, carry and conduct themselves in any situation, with any audience – 
and who can take that insight and transform it into powerful techniques and ideas that help executives get better in their personal communication.
I’ve gone on a bit here, haven’t I? 🙂
Here is a sum of the above in one sentence:
I give executives – who are top performers who want to keep getting better in how they communicate – best in class, fresh, practical ideas and techniques for ‘owning’ any communication event, in any situation with any audience, no matter the level of their expertise.’


Now that one sentence is still too long for my liking, but it was easier to digest for the audience than the paragraph. And With the help of my digital strategist, Vernon Song, I’ve since revised it to the following:

‘I transform top performing executives into extraordinary communicators who can engage, persuade and inspire.’

Own the conversation

In the next seven days – in safe conversations – practice ‘speaking in threes’. Here are some examples to adapt.

  • To a colleague: ‘x  – my view is that we need to focus on the scope, cost and downtime of the x project’.
  • In a boardroom presentation: Open your presentation with three ‘hook’ words.: ‘Mistakes – make – money’. (this is an example used by a client of mine. The three words, were delivered paired with three sequential slides displaying the words. The key message of the presentation was, that by examining mistakes made in the operation, money making opportunities could be found).
  • In a 1:1 with your boss you might say: ‘Sure, let me share where we’re at with x. It’s all green except for a budgeting issue with supplier p. That’s where I need your help.’

*a caveat here is that saying three things is not the magic number. Say even less words/things if you can still get your message across.

p.s. This article, There are no such things as Introversion and Extr0version, reflects thoughts I’ve had for a number of years regarding the topic of Introversion/Extroverson. It might interest you.

p.p.s. At an AmCham Access Series, networking event in North Sydney, on 29 March, hosted by Shadforth Financial Group, I’ll be delivering a presentation entitled. Own the conversation. I’d love to see you there.

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