Don’t use the tell them three times mantra

Three mantra

When I started making my first presentations I was often told that I should ‘Tell them what I was going to tell them. Tell them it. Then tell them what I have told them.’ No doubt there are times when this mantra will work but I find that they are few and far between. Let me tell you why.


  • Giving away your punch lines too early in a stale format will not draw people in. It would be difficult to provide the ‘So what’ in the introduction as you have not set the context and unfolded the storyline
  • Whilst repetition is sometimes very helpful, the third time you hear something can be very off putting and the audience may get the feeling that you thInk they are dumb. Indeed as you start to sum up saying the same things again you will see people shuffling papers and thinking about what is coming next. With a more informal presentation you may well get interrupted with a call that you have already said that.
  • Given the limited time that you will probably have to present you will be better to ask for questions or go into a little more detail in one are or other.

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