Spoken language is the most powerful communication tool we possess. Unfortunately, many of us use it like amateurs. While we may all have worked away at our written English, few of us learn how to craft outstanding spoken language.
Using just a few simple rhetorical tricks, you can quickly bring your talks and presentations to life.
Try these out today. To show the tricks in action, we have highlighted how President Obama used them in his Inauguration Address, further down the page.
Yes, yes and yes. The brain likes to listen in threes. Try starting three phrases the same way, ending three sentences the same way, or finding a third phrase that completes the first two. See examples in red in the speech below.
A phrase is either balanced or it’s not balanced. You’ll agree or not agree. Contrasting pairs create tension between two opposites, and tension keeps your audience attentive. See examples in green in the speech below.
Why do questions work so well? What is it that gets people thinking as you want? How can you ask questions that bring your talks to life?
Imagine if your audience could see what you are saying. Imagery is the pinnacle of spoken language. It helps you to grab your audience by the ears and drag them to where you want them to be. See examples in blue in the speech below.
Geoffrey Crowther, editor of The Economist, advised his young writers to “simplify, then exaggerate”. This is sound advice for speaking in public too. If it feels like you are going too far by using the techniques above, you are probably getting it right. See examples in orange in the speech below.
These few simple tools can help transform a caterpillar of a talk into a butterfly. You can use them to shape your words and phrases; to shape your stories and structure; and to shape your presentation and your performance.
Snippets of the talk are colour-coded to show how the above spoken language techniques have been applied:
Each time we gather to inaugurate a president, we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution. We affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional – what makes us American – is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Today we continue a never-ending journey, to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a Republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed.
For more than two hundred years, we have.
Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together.
Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce; schools and colleges to train our workers.
Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play.
Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune.
If you want help to brighten your talks and presentations into powerful persuasive communications that you can deliver confidently, then get in touch. We’ll help you look, sound and feel impressive so that you grab your audience’s attention. In just a few, short hours we’ll coach you to deliver clearly, confidently and with impact.
Speak to Louise on 020 7018 0922 or email email@example.com to discuss how we can help you become an impressive public speaker.
Download our free ebook: Five Steps to Improve your Leadership Talks. It’s full of practical tips and insightful quotes that will help you make immediate improvements to your communication skills, including:
Fundraising presentations are hard work. You're bombarded with challenging questions from investors, worn out by long days, and struggling to...
Investment decision-making is not totally rational. Are you using all the tools at your disposal to create and deliver persuasive...
Do your public speaking skills enable you to inspire, motivate and influence others? Many leaders in the corporate world are...
A great investor pitch book is at the heart of successful fundraising. It should capture the essence of your business...
Better Body Language We all know that body language is important in business. But how important? And does is really...
How can you be seen as a top 1% fund by investors? At SuperReturn Emerging Markets in Amsterdam, experienced LPs...
A great elevator pitch is an essential part of your toolkit Last month I chaired the Quickfire Showcase at Berlin’s...
Better Media Interviews The excruciating Newsnight interview with Treasury Minister Chloe Smith this summer is just one example of how poor preparation...
These days, we are writing more than ever. That means it’s harder than ever to grab attention. Your readers have...
When an investor questions how you calculated your Private Equity fund's performance, how do you react? If an investor asks...
How do you choose a public speaking coach? When selecting a public speaking coach or presentation trainer, you want to work...
How To Harness Powerful Language For Leadership Communications Great leaders use Power Language to add interest and colour to even...
When you put your talk or presentation together, how do you decide what to include and what to leave out? Use...
What do LPs want from private equity funds at first investor meetings? That's the question I put to the panel...
While we wrote this piece with our Private Equity clients in mind, there are good lessons here for anyone pitching...
Do you want to give high impact talks and presentations? Do you want to engage your audience? And do you want...
Leaders use storytelling so that audiences listen, remember and act on what they say. In fact, stories are “the single...
How do you make your investment pitch more memorable? It's a real challenge these days. Investors have more opportunities than ever...
Your leadership talks need to be persuasive As a leader, every talk or presentation you give is an exercise in persuasion....
A well-crafted private equity pitch book can make the difference between securing a first meeting with investors and getting a...
Review our top coaching, advice and training programmes.
“The new presentation properly represents the institutional quality of our fund. It has been a step change of us.”
Erwin de Kleijn Head of IR, Saemor Capital
“This training has contributed directly to new business – including a new FTSE100 client.”
Michelle Elstein Head of Business Development, Olswang LLP
“BBA transformed our pitch into a compelling investment narrative. They undoubtedly helped us secure Sky TV as an investor.”
Gerry Bastable Director, Blast Films