In the world of storytelling and comedy, there’s a powerful technique known as the “Rule of Three.” It’s a timeless approach used by speakers and comedians to captivate audiences, deliver memorable messages, and infuse humor into their narratives.
So, what is the Rule of Three, and why does it work so well?
It’s simple, the Rule of Three relies on the power of patterns and surprise. It involves presenting a series of three related elements in quick succession. The first two elements establish a pattern or expectation, and the third element disrupts that pattern in a clever or humorous way.
The Rule of Three in Action
To illustrate, let’s look at a classic example from President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address:
The Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they’re in freshwater, but the Commerce Department handles them when they’re in saltwater.
And I hear it gets even more complicated once they’re smoked.”
In this clever use of the Rule of Three, President Obama takes a seemingly mundane topic—government departments—and infuses it with humor by establishing a pattern and then playfully subverting it with the humorous twist about smoked salmon.
The Rule of Three works because it plays with our anticipation and surprise. It gives the audience a sense of familiarity, only to then defy their expectations with a humorous twist.
The Rule of Three is not just a tool for comedians; it’s invaluable in business and communication. Whether you’re giving a presentation, crafting a speech, or enhancing your storytelling skills, this technique can help you engage your audience, make your message memorable, and even add a touch of humor to serious topics.
So, the next time you’re communicating an idea or sharing a story, keep the Rule of Three in mind. It’s a powerful tool that can transform your communication game!