The 3 second rule

Lisa Thal

3 seconds can change the direction of your business

Growing up, most of us experienced the five-second Rule. If you dropped your food on the floor, eating it after 5 seconds was okay. I think that may still apply today.

What about the 3 Second Rule?

It’s hard to imagine that 3 seconds can shape the outcome of our future. I wanted to share my experience from this week as I was coaching new sales talent on how to use this principle to their advantage.

What is The 3-Second Rule?

It’s a strategy to apply when you need to get something done but find it challenging to start. For example, do you have difficulty waking up in the morning, starting your exercise, or calling on new clients? Regardless of what it may be, the 3 Second Rule is great and can be incorporated into our lives immediately. You take action in 3 seconds or follow three steps to get started.

How does it work?
Identify the first three steps in each activity you have difficulty starting. For example, the first three steps for getting up in the morning are A. Take off the cover or blanket; B. Move to the edge of the bed; C. Get up to walk out of the room

The same strategy applies to our business. A. Identify the client you want to call; B. Identify the benefit you can offer; C. Make the call—no hesitation. 3,2,1 Call! No hesitation!

Use the three-second Rule to your advantage by being decisive and acting quickly.
I was coaching our team on setting meaningful appointments with new prospects. We reviewed the list of targets they created, and they identified the decision maker and why they felt they should have a conversation with them. What’s next? Count to three and start dialing. No hesitation or self-talk with all the reasons you shouldn’t call.

We don’t want that if we don’t call and have zero opportunity and open the door for another vendor to connect.

The three-second Rule is a great way to improve productivity and make quick decisions without hesitation. Taking advantage of the three-second Rule means understanding that the window of opportunity won’t be open forever, so it’s essential not to let those moments slip away. Developing an instinctive ability to act or decide within three seconds ultimately results in faster outcomes and better decision-making. Being decisive in this way increases efficiency through completing tasks quickly, reducing time spent on making decisions, and overall setting yourself up for success.

Pause for three seconds for better outcomes.
There are times we need to pause. Pausing three seconds gives us time to reflect vs. react. I know many times over my career that I could have used the three-second Rule to pause and reflect on what a customer or co-worker shared versus reacting without a filter and answering their question.

According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, sitting silently for at least three seconds during a difficult moment in a negotiation, confrontation, or even conversation makes both people more deliberative — and leads to better outcomes.

When asking or answering clients’ questions, pause for three seconds to allow them the space to think about what you asked them. Conversely, when replying, wait 3 seconds to show that you are being thoughtful in your response.

You’re trying to find a way that works for both of you.

The three-second Rule is a great tool to have in your life. It can help you quickly make decisions and be decisive. Just one simple second of hesitation can cost you a lot, but being brave and taking action will always pay off. So, don’t waste another opportunity: implement the three-second Rule today. You’ll find that you’ll start making much better decisions with less regret.

Disclaimer: Of course, there are some areas where it’s not always wise to rush into things such as job interviews or investments; for those situations, though, the three-second Rule can still help by guiding the thought process to make again well-informed decisions more quickly.

The three-second Rule is versatile enough to be applicable in different life scenarios, so why put it on hold? Immediately take control of your life today by implementing the three-second Rule; do things more efficiently while still making mindful choices. Taking initiative yields great results, so why wait? Implement the three-second Rule to live a life full of promising outcomes!

Get started, ready? 3, 2, 1, GO!

Learn more at and start getting creative with your next sales meeting!

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