Threes and Thirds

Isn’t it funny how similar ideas come to you from different angles so often around the same time?

Recently I was pondering the merits of available profiling intel with a new business team. Typical deals for them average out at a quarter of a million “SOV” (sales order value) a year. With dozens of potential attributes to find for each suspect, the drive was very much to home in on the key few that tend to betray someone more likely to become a client.

When discussing this with the team’s boss, he thought it’d be good to narrow them down to just a trio of traits.

He then shared how a former boss of his, now the head of a multi-billion dollar colossus, always used to say to him

people take in things better in threes, so think in threes to best get points across

In other words, whenever you speak, pitch or answer, use a structure that breaks it down into three component parts. And the chap in question can apparently be heard doing just this on soundbites all the time.

When presenting especially, I like to keep each slide to a single message wherever I can. But having three points that contribute to a central thread is also a winner.

When training the same salesforce later, I realised a fundamental approach to storytelling also follows this triple-hit law. I was getting quite deep into this when I then came across the photographer’s Rule of Thirds.

I love to pepper slideshows with memorable pictures. Lately, I’ve been searching for striking imagery to back up or remind me of a point, only to crop or move it around so that the main focal part is central, or so that there’s enough room for my accompanying text headline.

It was when looking for ideas from how the photo pros approach this that I discovered the rule of thirds. Here’s a useful tutorial from the web, and this is an example from the wikipedia page by way of demo:


So, you use the lines from a 3×3 grid and where they intersect. Nice. The pic on the right is way better to look at and leaves plenty of scope for text positioning that doesn’t detract from the visual impact.

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