Public Speaking and the Power of Three

We have three coaches, who focus on three specialist areas – Mind, Body, and Voice, to triple an orator’s public speaking confidence. 

When crafting a speech, a script is split into three parts – beginning, middle, and end. Stories always have three sections – the set-up, the confrontation, and the resolution. And the stage is set into three parts – Back, front, and middle or stage left, stage right, and stage center. 

The great orators of time gone by understood the power of three, using the tricolon rhetoric device to persuade, influence, and manipulate. 

Three is the magic number. Three offers a feeling of completeness, two isn’t quite enough and four or five is too much. Three clauses, three phrases, or three simple words, have a nice ring to it. 

Julia Shakespear wrote “I came, I saw, I concurred” and in 2004 Barak Obama said, “Tonight, we gather to affirm the greatness of our nation – not because of the height of our skyscrapers, or the power of our military, or the sie of our economy.”

In fact, tricolons are a constant of life, everywhere, every day, for every age group: The three little pigs, Goldilocks and the three bears, the three musketeers. Snack, crackle, and pop. Just-do-it, Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Toni Blaire won an election with ‘education, education, education.’  Ebenezer Scrooge was visited by three ghosts, and have you heard the joke about ‘an Englishman, a Scotsman, and an Irishman.’ 

Famous triplets include Winstons Churchills ‘blood, toil, and tears.’ In fact, Churchill said, ‘blood, toils, tears, and sweat’. but, due to the power of three, most people remember only the triplet. Martin Luther King Jr said: ‘Justice, goodwill and brotherhood.’ And Elizabeth Gilbert wrote ‘Eat, Pray, Love’. 

 

Reread this article to see how many tricolons you can find, I have added many; the good, the bad, and the ugly. Ok, the last one was easy, peasy, lemon-squeezy.

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How to use the power of three in your next speech.

When speech writing, first think about the three stages of a speech: beginning, middle, and end. 

The three stages could include:

Basic Speech

Stage 1: Explain the speech message

Stage 2: Reference three ways to convince the audience of the message 

Stage 3: Summarise the speech

Medium Speech:

Stage 1: State authority on the subject

Stage 2: Storytelling; set-up, confrontation, and the resolution

Stage 3: Call to Action

Advanced Speech:

Stage 1: Create intrigue 

Stage 2: Explain the message three times with Facts and logic, storytelling, and a metaphor 

Stage 3: End with an audience interaction (call to action)

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With a structure in mind, the next stage is to add meat to the bone. Write and re-write the speech. Rehearse and re-write the speech. Deliver and re-write the speech. 

 

Within the re-writes, review the language and sentence structure. Do some sentences drag on, become boring and create disinterest? Could it be shorter, snapper, and more engaging? 

 

Think three: three words, three sentences, three repetitions. 

 

Rhythm works well ‘tinkle, tinkle, little star..’ Ending with a longer third sentence can be memorable ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’ Or add alliteration to the tricolon ‘veni, vidi, vici’ (Julia Caesar)

 

Tricolons emphasise a point, create a sense of completeness, and, well, sound nice. President Franklin D. Roosevelt agrees, saying: “be sincere, be brief, be seated.”

 

Finally, remember the advice from Benjamin Franklin “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” 

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Public Speaking and The Power of Three

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Chris

Over the past 15 years, Chris has built up a reputation as a successful therapist, helping clients to overcome their fears and to achieve their goals. Chris empowers his clients to take control of their own life. Chris’s client led style of therapy is friendly, professional and confidential, and he has developed his own version of phobia therapy which he calls 'fast therapy', which has revolutionised the therapeutic landscape. This technique can allow massive changes in and during one of our sessions, no matter how big your blocks may be.
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