Fit Focus Flair

Great quotations make stuff interesting and help people to remember your key points

One way to help us become more interesting to our audiences is to understand what they find interesting. Quotations are one of those things that can help you to become more interesting, and better remembered when you get up to speak.  Why?

Because quotations are like little golden nuggets of cleverness that people will pass on to their friends, kids and families if they hear one that makes an impact.  Three rules apply to using  quotations in a business speech-

  1. Relevance- Is is really right for the audience or have you just used a quotation that needs stretching to fit?
  2. Resonance- Does the person you’re quoting have credibility for the audience  you’re talking to (Hint- Madonna’s thoughts on business ethics might not work brilliantly in Bangladesh, and Adolf Hitler is NEVER  right for any occasion!).
  3. Repeatability- Will people find it interesting enough to write it down and pass it on to their friends?

If this makes sense to you then I think it’s really important for you as a regular speaker, to have  a collection of 20 or so quotations that you love and understand; that you can use at the start of a session or help you emphasise a key point you want the audience to remember.  But where might you get them from?

It’s easy to find great sayings and quotes.  There are great free on-line quotation dictionaries- just type -‘frustration quotations’, into your fave search engine, for example and see what comes up.  Google even has a great little widget that will deliver the best quotations to your email in-box every day if you ask it nicely,   so there’s no excuse for not having them.  Here’s a great saying that I saw on the BBC website this morning-

“All skill is in vain when an angel pees in the touchhole of your musket.” GERMAN PROVERB


This is a part of my Fit, Focus & Flair model. To be great, a presentation must be a perfect FIT for the situation; the content must have complete FOCUS on it’s purpose and message; and it must have enough FLAIR to stand out on the day, and in our memories. Learn more about developing your Fit, Focus and Flair.

Jim Harvey

Jim Harvey

Managing Director at The Message Business
Jim is the MD of The Message Business, a company which helps FTSE 100 companies to sell themselves, and their products better. Speech writer, Prezi trainer and designer, coach and consultant, Jim also finds time to be a proud father and husband.
Jim Harvey


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