The Magic Three

Why is the number three magic and how can you use it to have more impact in English?

Three is the smallest number that the mind considers as a pattern. The number two is used to express contrast or comparison. When we express things in threes, there is a sense of completeness and satisfaction that is not created by the number four, which is more like a list.

So, if you want to have more impact in English, use the number three whenever you can.

Here are some examples:

There are three good reasons why I feel we should go ahead with this project.

I am committed, passionate and totally convinced by this idea.
There are three explanations for the decrease in sales…
In this presentation, I would like to offer you three essential keys to increasing our impact in the market.
First, secondly and finally..
I am your leader, your believer and your inspirer.
Go out and engage, discover and create.

Using the magic three will give your speaking more impact, more conviction and more persuasion.
Using the magic three will captivate, enchant and focus your listeners.
Using the magic three brings clarity, power and concision to your message.

When you give your opinion on a subject, make a clear statement of your position, say why you believe what you do and then give an example.
Say your opinion, acknowledge an opposing point of view and return to your original viewpoint.

Here are some excellent examples of how Obama and Steve jobs have used the magic three to increase their impact. Notice how it is perfectly admissible to repeat an auxiliary verb, a preposition or the same verb to hammer home your point.

“ Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered.”
“..we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection or Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.”
“..because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.” Barack Obama’s Inaugural Speech

“Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.” Steve Job’s Stanford commencement speech.

So remember, the magic three is simple, catchy and easy to remember!

If you would like to practice using the magic three to have more impact in your next meeting, in an interview or when speaking to a client, contact me at Cambridge Express. Fill in the contact form, send me a mail, or give me a call!

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