I have earlier covered the topic of how to properly answer executive questions and how to best structure one’s answers. Today’s discussion will not be so much about the top-down approach.

Instead, we will talk about the “rule of three”. You may have noticed that, in my workshops, I always present ideas as a triangle with the three main arguments as the key line. This allows focusing further discussion around the three key domains. But this works in presentations and other printed documents.

Now, let’s imagine a common situation: say, you bump into your boss in the lobby or go into the elevator with them. The CEO greets you and casually asks you how the project is progressing. What would you say? I won’t be surprised if you said that everything was fine, no problems. But the truth is: a completely different answer is expected from you — and you must be able to give it in 30 to 60 seconds (ideally).

Imagine that you are working on a project where you need to study a new market that your company intends to launch its new product in. You have assessed the entry possibilities, interviewed a lot of experts, checked with the finance and marketing teams, and came up with the hypothesis that the most suitable market for the new product launch was UK.