Friday, October 16, 2009

The Effectiveness of Odd Numbers of Bullet Items

A colleague commented that people appear to better absorb and remember lists when they are in groups of odd numbers (as opposed to even numbers). This includes bulleted PowerPoint slides, verbalized lists, and lists developed on whiteboards and other media.

I’ve noted, personally, that there appears to be a “power of three” effect – that people remember lists of three items very well. Conversely, we certainly know that a list of 10 words is very tough to remember…!

As a self-test, it would be interesting to read and compare/contrast your own marketing literature’s bulleted lists of features/benefits with that of your competition or related third parties…

Does anyone have feedback, comments or data regarding the effectiveness of remembering odd-numbered lists vs. even?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


The Power of Three is a well-known and well-understood concept going back to ancient times.

- Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness
- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
- Tinker to Evers to Chance
- Stop, Drop, and Roll

We remember things much better in threes, so I always find 3 main points to make in my presentations for my audience to remember.

Here's a good website on the topic: