3 Is The Key To Effective Presentations
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3 Is The Key To Effective Presentations

March 17, 2023

by Tony Vidler  CFP logo   CLU logo  ChFC logo

3 is the magic presentation number. Effective presentations are structured in “threes”.

It is a well established principle that people absorb information best when it is presented in 3 points…and while listing your best 3 features or benefits is more effective than listing your top 10 to most consumers, applying a bit of structure to the 3 points is even more effective.

The structure – which will be very easy for financial advisers in particular to remember – is C.P.D.  (We are not talking bout “continuing professional development” of course.)

The structure for the most effective presentation to clients is:




The first point is the key concept you want the client to grasp. It is the “big idea” where you want the focus to be…the main argument or recommendation.

The principle is the supporting reason for the concept, or why it makes sense.

The detail is the element providing validation, or logic of the argument.

A Simple Example:

  • It is recommended you begin saving for retirement (concept)
  • Saving now, and sacrificing a little lifestyle today, means that you don’t have to make a huge sacrifice and seriously step down in lifestyle when you do retire and your work income stops. (principle)
  • We have worked out that if you do not save now then your drop in income at retirement will be 70% – that’s a huge paycut as you will go from today’s income of $xxxx to $XXXX.  (detail)
  • However, taking an 8% paycut now and saving that money means that you will only be looking at a 25% drop in income in todays terms – and we can fine tune that as we go to reduce the gap even further.  So making a move on the saving now means your adjustment at retirement will only be a reduction to $XXXX (detail)
  • If you delay doing this for another year – but make take this same advice next year and start saving 8% then – the cost to you will be $XXXX each year in retirement…. (detail)

If you have a highly complex presentation or topic to speak to, then the same formula can be extended and still be highly effective.  The key concept is supported by 3 principles, and they in turn are supported by groups of 3 details, as follows:

C.P.D. Structure

Whether it is presenting at a seminar and using powerpoint, or presenting 3 options for a client to consider as potential solutions, or providing written recommendations on specific actions that you want a client to follow, you will find that presenting the information in series of “three’s” that are structured this way will be far more effective.

Clients will grasp each key reason or argument readily, understand the all important “why”, and have the key detail to support it.  If they “get it“, then they are likely to “do it“.  If they don’t “do it“…then you probably missed the mark and they didn’t “get it“.

So “3’s” are the keys to really effective client presentations, because it makes you focus on the critical elements, and helps the client to “get it”, and remember it.

You might also be interested in this related article:
Describe Your Services In Practical Terms To Get More Buy-In
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