I am a lifelong learner! I discovered a love of learning over 40 years ago when I first started college. I envision I’ll be learning and growing the rest of my life. Along the way, there have been key concepts that I’ve added to my “personal toolbox” that assist me in how I interact with the world. One of those concepts is culling a complex topic down to three essential points when I have to present the subject to others.
Around 20 years ago, I was a mid-level manager stationed in Denver with the Medicare program and had developed a reputation within the organization as being a forward thinker on how our agency could improve its public messaging and customer service. This reputation led to my being placed on a small work group formed to develop and implement ways in which the agency’s regional offices could better coordinate their activities nationally. My good friend and counterpart in the Kansas City office, Carl Hawkins, and I were sent to Medicare’s headquarters in Baltimore to put a plan together. Overseeing our effort was Carl’s boss in Kansas City, Joe Tilghman.
There was much interest in our project and frequently I would attend meetings where Joe had to outline for others what we were recommending and why. I can still remember Carl leaning over to me before one meeting began and whispering in my ear, “watch this – whenever Joe speaks to a group, he always starts by saying he has three points. We kid him about this back in Kansas City.” As we sat in these endless series of meetings, Carl and I would exchange humorous glances when time and again Joe would start with his “three points”.
It may have been funny, but it was also meaningful to me. I learned that Joe’s approach worked and I began co-opting it for myself. Whenever I had to do a public presentation, I began by asking myself “what are the three key points I want to make?” My answer always guided the development of my presentation.
I also found that the listeners benefited from the process. By listing the three points at the beginning of my presentation then discussing them and closing by summarizing them, I found that people remembered the content better. It was the old “tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you just told them” method frequently taught in educational and public speaking classes. Yet, the three points idea led you to the maximum amount of what most people could remember from your presentation anyway.
Throughout the rest of my federal career which was highlighted by a great number of public and media presentations, the concept of the three points frequently guided me. Later, in my career as a Science of Mind minister doing many Sunday messages, most of them began with the three points!
Although I hope that this idea is useful to you in some way, my real reason for bringing it up here relates to our last article about creating and updating your personal manifesto. At the conclusion of that article, I mentioned that I felt that my current manifesto could be briefer. I reflected upon my intentions for the Conscious Bridge website, my books and public presentations asking myself this – what are the three key points of my manifesto? What are the three key points I am trying to teach?
Here’s my current synthesis:
One – contrary to much of our sensory input, everything is connected.
Two – evolution is serving to remind us of our connectedness.
Three – our acting based on knowing we are connected will create a world that allows everyone to thrive.
So what you think? Is this clear? Do you agree or disagree? Would love to hear your comments – post them below!
Check out all of Mark Gilbert’s books—available at Amazon. Click here to visit his Author Page. This includes his recent one Our Spiritual Rights and Responsibilities. In this book, he offers what he suggests are the 5 basic rights we all possess by virtue of our being these spiritual beings on planet Earth — and our 2 responsibilities we all hold in relation to one another! Check it out!
Photo credit: Horia Varlan / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)