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Sound Bites: the Key to Engage People in a Motivational Speech

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Thu, Jun 27, 2013 @ 05:38 PM

motivational speakerWhen I have become bored listening to speakers, it seems that the big mistake the speakers make is they aren't emphasizing the important points.

Throughout the motivational speech they are wasting sentences and syllables by blabbing on and on about unimportant, unrelated information.

When you boil it down, they are faulty all the way up to the structure of the sentence. A boring speech will waste words on poor sentence structure. Speaking is different from writing; speaking requires an active voice.

Sound bites are the key to good writing and the best way to illustrate it is with comedy. A good joke is the perfect sound bite. It has a set up and a punchline where the funniest word is the very last word.

As a motivational speaker, I sometimes tell this joke to illustrate:

Set Up: I was speaking in Reno Nevada where I lost $400 playing blackjack.

Punchline: Luckily, I won it back at the ATM machine.

The power word is ATM machine because it is unexpected and it makes the joke make sense.  Everything that is said before this builds up the joke and creates anticipation.

In all business communication, but especially if delivering a speech, sentence structure is important. I suggest that every speaker cut out useless analogies and words and focus a listener on sound bites.

Well written comedy, just like well written lines in movies, are sound bites that generate a response from the audience. These impactful pieces of dialogue are usually very memorable. They capture the essence of what a speaker wants to say.

Sound bites are brief and overshadow the larger context of the material. This is how stories and analogies can be used to build up the point. The sound bite drives the point home and makes it memorable.

For a motivational speaker, even if you're not funny, these irresistable one liners make the audience want to keep listening.

Some sound bites from movies:

"If I'm not back in 5 minutes, just wait longer." Jim Carey in Ace Ventura

Sell crazy someplace else. We're all stocked up here." Jack Nicholson in As Good as it Gets

Woman: "How do you write women so well?"
Jack Nicholson: "I think of a man... and I take away reason and accountability." As good as it Gets

Jane: "Hi Mr. Reede. Like the new dress?"
Fletcher: "Whatever takes the focus off of your head." Jim Carey in Liar Liar

In each of these sound bites, the important word is last. This is the word that makes sense of the dialogue before it and draws a reaction from the audience.

For any motivational speaker - for anyone giving a speech - to be more compelling, they must consider the way they craft the important lines of their speech. The structure of important information should build up to the final word - the memorable one.

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Tags: motivational speaker, motivational speech, sound bites

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