Using quotations can be complex. When, where, and how to
effectively incorporate them into your speech can be tough. When it
becomes tough, try to determine whether you are forcing it for the
sake of a quotation that you like. Ask yourself a few questions: Will the
audience like it as much as I do? Does it have a connection to the message
I am sending? Is it simple enough to say in a couple of sentences?
I have seen too many speeches in which a quotation was too complex
for the simple message being delivered. In some cases, I have
heard quotations that were hard for the audience to keep up with. One
of my favorite quotations is, “Change is inevitable, growth is optional,”
by John C. Maxwell. I first saw it taped up in my office. This quotation
has stuck with me for many years. It resonates as a strong business
quote, especially in an ever-evolving corporate environment. It is
simple and easily relatable to many audiences. The impact can be felt
in so many places.
The most effective quotations seem to be the most straightforward.
“Many people die with the music still in them,” by Oliver Wendell
Holmes has its own effortlessness that can be applied in multiple
scenarios. Take the audience on a journey with you by using quotations.
Make the message memorable and simple—simply make sure
the timing is right and that your quotation fits just so. Recognize that
quotations should be used to set the tone or reinforce your message.
You should try not to jam them into a presentation because you feel
obligated. Keep a list of attention-grabbing quotes. Keep a folder of
your favorites for future presentations. When you are looking for the
right words, go back and reference the folder, to see how a favorite
quotation can spice up your presentation.
Note: Whether you are using a quotation, comic strip, music, or anything
else that is not your own material, be sure to cite the source
and originator for appropriate credit. Please also ensure you are not
infringing on copyrights or protected material.
Thomas B. Dowd III’s books available in softcover, eBook, and audiobook (From Fear to Success only):
- Now What? The Ultimate Graduation Gift for Professional Success
- Time Management Manifesto: Expert Strategies to Create an Effective Work/Life Balance
- Displacement Day: When My Job was Looking for a Job…A Reference Guide to Finding Work
- The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World
- From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide received the Gold Medal at the 2013 Axiom Business Book Awards in Business Reference
- The Unofficial Guide to Fatherhood
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