The Rule of Three


According to Wikipedia, The Rule of Three “is a principle that suggests that a trio of events or characters is more humorous, satisfying or effective than other numbers”. It is used effectively in writing, music, comedy, art, design, advertising and numerous other pursuits. We, at d.trio, are especially big fans of the number three – for obvious reasons. Having our company founded by three people has led us to discover other ways three can be valuable.

Therefore, I would propose the notion that this rule can also apply to the effective number people to send when delivering a sales presentation. Let’s call these three the Oracle, the Facilitator and the Scribe.

The Oracle:

This is the leader of the pack. The one who will make the introductions, set expectations for what is to come and deliver the bulk of the presentation material. They are the subject matter expert and set the all-important cadence of the meeting. They should be primarily focused on understanding and delivering flawless, coherent, engaging content.

The Facilitator:

This person’s role is to be the eyes and ears of the meeting. They should scan the room to detect engagement levels, hierarchy of decision-making, proponents and opponents.  They add nuance to the main presentation when needed, based on what they are seeing and ensure the primary points of the presentation get adequate emphasis. This person should also know what each of the people in the room is responsible for and what is most important to each of them to make the presentation more customized to the audience.

The Scribe:

The above two players are too focused on effective delivery to be taking good notes. Enter the Scribe. This person should be recording key comments, questions and other useful background information that will be critical for meeting evaluation and follow-up. The scribe has the luxury of listening to the entire interaction so they will have insights and capture information the other two might not remember. The accuracy of information is invaluable for engaging and relevant follow up.

The rule of three can apply to other meetings too – such as brainstorming meetings. In this case, you need someone leading the meeting, someone helping the group build on the ideas to keep the group engaged and someone scribing the ideas to share afterwards.

Splitting roles using the Rule of Three will ensure the material is presented effectively, individual needs are recognized and addressed, and critical intelligence is recorded for future use. Please note that this rule should be used for larger groups where the three presenters won’t outnumber the participants. Try it out, and let us know how it works for you.

Author Fred Driver

Fred is one of the founding partners of d.trio.

More posts by Fred Driver

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