What is the Rule of 27?
The Rule of 27 states that for a message to be received there is a 1 in 3 chance that you will be successful, and it must be repeated 9 times to be retained. Hence the rule of 27 (9×3=27).
It has origins in Marketing, but I think it applies to all sorts of communication, whether your boss, your peers, or your teams…So, I started to use it in trainings with managers and leaders and pretty soon people would stop me in the corridor and say: “Hey, thanks for the Rule of 27…I tried talking to them a a different way and it worked”.
It is so easy to think that you say it once and it should be understood. However, that is not how our brains work. Whether you are a professional, manager or leader, communication is key to success. In every company or project communication is attributed as the most important thing to get right, and most blamed when things go wrong.
Think of Children. If we only had to say things once, parents would have a very quiet life. Kids need to hear things many, many times, before they can understand it, and in fact younger children need you to demonstrate the behaviour to replicate it, so shouting at them for not cleaning their room just teaches them to repeat how-to shout. In fact, if you want your children to tidy their room it is better to show them how to pick up a toy and put it in their toy box. Then ask them to do it. Then reward them for success, or repeat the demonstration until they can replicate with ease without any more input…but that is by-the-by.
So, this thinking will allow you to accept some really useful information about yourself, others and your effectiveness as a communicator. It would after-all be very strange indeed if someone was able to do exactly what you wanted in the exact way you wanted it first time around. Has that ever happened to you?