May 04, 2021

The rule of three

The “Rule of Three” is simply getting the other person to agree to something three times in the same conversation.

You have no doubt experienced a situation where someone said “yes” to something that later turned out to be a “no”. People have become so accustomed to pushy salesmen that they have gotten very good at saying “yes” in the moment without any intention of following through. 

To avoid this trap and to be sure you’re getting a genuine “yes”, you want to get three confirmations. While people are good at giving a fake “yes” in the moment, it is difficult for most people to repeatedly lie. The trick to this tactic is being able to do this without seeming pushy. 

In order to do it without seeming like you’re repeating yourself, you want to switch up your tactics of getting a confirmation. After they first agree to something, you might follow up with labels and summaries of what they’re saying to get a “That’s right.” Then you might use some calibrated questions about implementation so they can explain to you how you’re going to move forward together. That would be the third confirmation.

No matter how you do it, seek three confirmations to be sure negotiations aren’t going to fall through when you’re done meeting with the other person.