On the third day of Christmas…

On the third day of Christmas…

…my true love gave to me three key points.

third day of Christmas

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me three key points. Structure in a presentation is essential and three is a magic number. The best presentation ever should have one message, supported by three key points.

Structure in a presentation is essential. One of the major failings of the standard readingoutalistofbulletpoints is that even with the superfluous use of titles on slides the presentation becomes a uniform blur of information. This is not effective communication. Structure aids engagement, facilitates more effective delivery and ultimately retention of the message.

It is unclear why three is such a magical number but is a most effective rhetorical device, the tricolon. Think of many famous quotes and the structure of three is prominent. Two certainly aren’t enough, four are too many and whilst five works, it feels cumbersome. (Have a closer look at that sentence.) Three is perfect.

The use, expansion and repetition of the three points within the key message is a most effective tool. “Paediatric trauma is different: the numbers are different, the outcome is different and so we should manage it differently.” The three can be aliteration, obstacles or even three stories unified around a theme. The best presentation doesn’t necessarily have three points, but it should.

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