HowTo CCR (Cannibal Caveman Roots)
The ‘Rule of Three’ is arguably one of the most important techniques when it comes to speech-writing and press release writing in public relations. Whether you have to present for one of your PR classes or have to write a press release, CCR comes to mind. To further demonstrate this, this article will follow the CCR guidelines.
It is typically called “The Rule of Three” but we here at studyPR have decided to go deeper into what the rule of three pertains to and explore more about the psychological side of things, thus naming it “Cannibal Caveman Roots”. The logic behind it is that people are guided by their primal instincts. At least that is what we here at studyPR have come up with. And this is no accident. Throughout human history, the number three has dominated popular public speeches and even some of our greatest fairy tales and myths. William Shakespeare in “Julius Caesar” wrote “Friends, Romans, Countrymen” and in recent times, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair stated “Our priorities are … Education, Education, Education … “. Even statements such as the public safety: “Stop, Think and Listen” has at its core CCR.
To put it in simpler terms, it all comes down to how people perceive information. As humans, we have improved our ability to understand pattern recognition and arguably by necessity. Three is the smallest number of elements required to create a pattern.
2. SPEECH WRITING CCR.
Forbes gave a short account by stating: “It is well established that we can only hold a small amount of information in short term, or ‘active,’ memory. In 1956, Bell Labs reached out to Harvard professor George Miller who published a classic paper titled, “The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two.” Miller argued that we have a hard time retaining more than seven to nine digits in short-term memory. Now you know why a phone number is 7 digits. Contemporary scientists, however, have put the number of items we can easily recall in short-term memory closer to three or four “chunks” of information. Think about it. When someone leaves a phone number on a voice message, you’re more likely to recall the first 3 digits before having to listen to the message again for the remainder of the number. Since three is easier to remember than four, or seven, I suggest sticking to the Rule of 3 whenever possible. If your listener will only remember about three things from your conversation, presentation, or email, why overwhelm them with twenty-two key messages? Longer lists are complex, confusing, and convoluted” (1)
Here are some examples from famous speeches:
“Obama’s Inaugural Speech, 2009: “Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered” (2)
The late Steve Jobs at Stanford Commencement Address, 2005: “It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes” (2).
Steve Jobs applied the Rule of Three in nearly every presentation and product launch and that is why his presentations were regarded as some of the best and still are to this day.
3. PRESS RELEASE AND CCR.
One of our PR Professors at the University of Westminster famously once said to us: “tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them and then tell them what you told them”. This saying applies as much as it does to speech writing as it does to press release writing. In “PR Today” by Simon Goldsworthy and Trevor Morris, they state that one of the best ways to approach writing a story/press release is to use “Problem, Solution Benefit” or “Victim, Villain, Hero”.
For example: “PROBLEM: People are dying unnecessarily because motorists are speeding in built-up areas”
“SOLUTION: The government is introducing 25mkh speed limits in all built-up areas”
“BENEFIT: It is predicted that this will save 2000 lives a year” (3)
Try to apply the rule of three to all PR work which you are currently undertaking or will in the future. Divide your presentation into three points, introduce the benefits of your campaign or project’ as three elements and write your press release using CCR concept.
“It worked for Steve Jobs, it worked for studyPR, it will work for you!”
1. Forbes, 2012. Thomas Jefferson, Steve Jobs and the rule of Three. [online] Available at: <http://www.forbes.com/sites/carminegallo/2012/07/02/thomas-jefferson-steve-jobs-and-the-rule-of-3/> [Accessed 02 October 2012].2. Six Minutes, 2009. How to use the Rule of Three in your Speeches. [online] Available at: <http://sixminutes.dlugan.com/rule-of-three-speeches-public-speaking/> [Accesed 01 October 2012].
3. Morris, Trevor. , Goldsworthy, Simon. , 2012. PR Today: The authoritative guide to public relations, London: Palgrave Macmillan.