The 3-1-3 Method – Innovation in Communicating your Big Idea

The 3-1-3 Method is designed to help you get better at communicating your idea, faster. It is a process whereby ideas begin as three (3) sentences, condense into one (1) sentence and then boil down to three (3) words. Get it, the 3-1-3?!

How to Create Your 3 Sentence Pitch

Step 1: State the problem you solve in 1 sentence

Step 2: Say what your solution is in 1 sentence

Step 3: Communicate your market in 1 sentence

You now should be able to explain your business in three sentences:

  1. The problem you solve, in one sentence.
  2. Your solution, in one sentence.
  3. The target market, in one sentence.

How to Craft Your 1 Sentence Pitch

Now condense these three sentences into one brain-dead simple but astonishingly powerful sentence. After all, time is money. Our customers, investors, the press/media, and everyone else, are going to expect you to cut to the chase in one sentence. Then, if they are curious about anything (and they will be if you do this right) they’ll let you know. That’s how this game is played. Let’s proceed.

The “1” in 3-1-3 stands for “one sentence.” This one sentence needs to convey the problem, solution, and market, in one gulp. It’s meant to spark intrigue, and encourage your audience to ask questions.

When you construct this sentence, you can put the problem, solution, and market in any order that feels natural to you. It will prevent you from rambling, will make you sound intriguing and confident, and will plant the seeds for an engaging conversation.


Experiment with the various ways to construct your sentence. Keep in mind that Problem (P), Solution (S), and Market (M) can appear in any order. Try them all out and see which one feels the best.

PMS: I am solving this problem for this market by offering this solution.

PSM: For the problem that this market has, my product/service helps them by doing X.

SMP: I’m offering this market this solution for this problem.

SPM: I’m offering this solution to solve this problem for this market.

MPS: To help these people, I’m solving x by offering y.

MSP: To help these people, I’m offering y in order to solve x.

Creating Your Pitch in 3 Words

Communicating your idea in three words is no easy task. But it can have tremendous value. In a matter of seconds, you can take your listener to the white-hot center of what makes your idea exciting. Talk about power!

But how do you do it? The key is in something called relational terms. A relational term is a word that speaks volumes because it relates to a widely-known concept.

If I am thinking of a movie, and it was “Romeo and Juliet on a Boat,” what movie do you think I have in mind.

Yep, you guessed it. (Titanic)

When you introduce your idea to a potential investor, you have a tiny window of time to get them intrigued. References speak volumes in a heartbeat.

To hammer this point home, let’s take a look at a few great examples of relational terms.

  • If I say Nike, you think of high-performance athletic gear, cachet and brand loyalty.
  • If I say Netflix, you think of streaming videos that disrupted Blockbuster out of a business. You may also associate Netflix with innovation. They continue to evolve, e.g. offer original programming, etc.  
  • If you go on a game show and the clue is “board game everyone has played,” you’re going to say Monopoly.

Most of us have set ideas of what Nike, Netflix and Monopoly connotate and imply. These brands have become signifiers that speak volumes in a heartbeat. Something cool happens when you connect two relational terms in a way nobody else has. It means you’ve come up with a unique idea.

The way to connect two relational terms is with relational connectors like of, meets, for, etc. Examples of relational terms joined by relational connectors, like of, meets and for.

This of Ryan as the “Craftsman of Communication” or the “Black Belt of Branding.”

Try to come up with three words (two things connected by a relational term), that captures the essence of your idea. It is not as easy, but when you get it, you know it.

Want to work with Ryan and have him help you through his 3-1-3 Method?

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