Ryan Foland is a communications strategist. He coaches leaders on the art of simplifying spoken and written messaging for greater impact. He is the inventor of 3-1-3 Theory, a process whereby pitches begin as three sentences, condense into one sentence and then boil down to three words. An entertaining speaker, toastmaster, and emcee, he serves as a public speaking mentor for a variety of thought leaders. Hon. Pauline Truong recently had discussions with him regarding his 3-1-3 and Face-Dancing Theories.


How and why did you develop the 3-1-3 Pitch Method?
My 3-1-3 theory was developed over a number of years in response to the need for a system that allowed entrepreneurs to shorten their pitch. When I meet with entrepreneurs, no matter if they were beginners or advanced, a simple question of asking them to explain their business turned into a 5-10 minute monologue. Conversely, when meeting entrepreneurs in networking environments, the disingenuous and rehearsed elevator pitches that I would hear did not resonate well or spark much interest. Elevator pitches are one way conversations leaving no room for interaction with the person who is being pitched to.
After thousands of interactions, I started to find myself asking the same 3 questions over and over: 1. What is the problem you’re solving? 2. What is your solution? 3. Who is your target market? The 3-1-3 theory stands for a process I developed that helps any entrepreneur explain their idea in 3 sentences, 1 sentence, and ultimately 3 words. No matter how brilliant or revolutionary an idea is, if people cannot quickly explain their idea and spark interest, the value of an idea is exponentially diminished.
What are the unique features of your ‘Face-Dancing’ theory?
People ask how they can become a better public speaker, as most people have a fear of public speaking. My advice is if you want to become a better speaker, you have to speak more. The uniqueness of my Face-dancing theory is that it teaches people simple skills that help them realize that they are not as bad at public speaking as they think. Once people gain even the slightest confidence, their fears start to dissipate, empowering them with the courage to engage with their audience.
I have created a number of specific Face-dancing moves which instantly make individuals better public speakers. An example of face-dancing moves are smiling (your body speaks even before you are speaking if you smile), the copy cat (the more similar that your mannerisms are to someone else, the more you will feel comfortable), and go with the flow (be a better storyteller).
People can get lost within the many techniques of speaking. Face-dancing de-mystifies the speaking process and allows people to have a voice. In fact, the idea that everyone has a voice inspired me to launch a Pre- TEDxLA City Experiment called The City of Speakers – a research experiment that seeks to uncover the core voice of Los Angeles.
How will the public benefit from the practical applications of your theories?
The 3-1-3 has very practical applications for entrepreneurs and individuals trying to build their personal brand. It gives the guidelines and tools for people to explain their business in a very short amount of time, which allows for more interaction than an elevator pitch. The way to determine if the 3-1-3 would be valuable to you is to ask yourself the simple questions: Can you explain your idea in 3 sentences? Can you explain your idea in 1 sentence? Can you explain your idea in 3 words? If you cannot do this, then the 3-1-3 will help you learn how.
As for my Face-Dancing Theory, I believe it holds many practical applications. Glossophobia, or the fear of public speaking, is one of the largest and most common of fears out there. Research has found that 75% of individuals (including extraverts), suffer from speech anxiety. My Face-dancing  theory is formulated to help alleviate that fear.
Innovation is rooted in ideas that solve problems, but those ideas have to gain traction to come to life. Face-Dancing can help people become less fearful of speaking in public, have their voices heard and help them communicate their concept in a way that sparks action.
How do you ‘own’ and expand the 3-1-3 Pitch Method and ‘Face Dancing’ theories?
I have taken steps to own and protect the 3-1-3 and Face-dancing along with 23 other communications theories. All are in various trademark processes and I both write and speak about them nationally and globally. I’m never afraid of anyone stealing my ideas because I have developed them to be shared with the world. By actively sharing online and on Social Media what these theories are and how they can add value to people’s lives, I am pouring the cement for my long term ownership. I have also incorporated both the 3-1-3 and Face-dancing theories into my personal branding curriculum offered by InfluenceTree, a brand accelerator that I developed with my business partner.
I have been writing the 3-1-3 book for the past 3 years and hope to be nearing the end of the process with a goal to finish and publish January 2017. I like to say that there is value in giving value, and based on feedback and testimonials, these theories have high value for people who want to become better communicators. My ownership of these ideas is rooted in my passion for sharing them to add value to as many people as I can. If everyone was confident to share their voices with the world, the world would be a better place.
What is your advice for @GlobePreneurs who want to develop and commercialize their own theories?
My advice is simple, and if I had to break it down into steps, here is what I would suggest.
  1. Solve a problem: Theories should try to solve problems – real, big problems. If you root your theories in trying to solve problems, they will have more potential.
  2. Take risks: There are so many ideas and theories out there that it can make your head spin. To develop a disruptive theory of your own, you must take risks, think outside of the box, and not be afraid to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
  3. Document the process: I found that my theories develop over a couple of months, even years. Get yourself an ideas notebook and start to document theories as they emerge. This also helps you to keep track of how many ideas you have.
  4. Come up with a creative name: I believe that just like a headline in an article, the name of your theory is almost as important as the theory itself. You want it to spark interest and intrigue. Be creative and make it stand out. Then you can grab Social Media handles or url’s for this name to establish early ownership on the web.
  5. Share: If you think that someone will steal your idea, think again. If you keep your ideas to yourself, they will never advance.
  6. Test: Once your theory has legs, you should be able to communicate it in a presentation format that can be presented in a workshop, and then more people. It’s only through testing that you can gather feedback, and it’s only through feedback that you can really grow.
  7. Write a book about it: I like to say that your book is your new business card. If you have documented the process, have shared your theory, and tested it, you should have good fodder for a book. You can also share your theories as blogs. Then you can take those blogs and patch them together into a longer format.
  8. Keep creating: I tell people that the only thing more important than your first idea is your next idea. Do not stay complacent, and keep trying to come up with new theories. Re-evaluate old ideas and give them new angles based on your new life experiences.

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