PodiumWise | Tips for advanced presentation skills

In his book Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches in History, William Safire says that “a good speech has a beat, a sense of movement that gets the audience tapping its mind’s foot.”  He calls this quality “pulse.”

He goes on to say that one tried and true way to establish pulse is to use the technique called anaphora.  You may not be familiar with the term but you are familiar with the technique.  It involves repeating a beginning, such as Martin Luther King did when he led into one future hope after another with “I have a dream that . . .”

This technique is rare in the business world but I once had a workshop participant show that it can be done.  She was a sales manager who had taken a sales team thru a difficult period in which sales plummeted due to bad press.

She went through a series of ways this team was exceptional, leading into each distinction with the words “Other teams would have…”  She added additional pulse by repeatedly ending with “but not this team.”

Other teams would have given up, (pause) but not this team.  Other teams would have developed a bad attitude, (pause) but not this team.  Other teams would have played the blame game, (pause) but not this team.

Her use of anaphora helped make her speech one of the most inspiring speeches I have ever heard in a business setting.  I suspect her team members run through walls for her.

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