Power Presentations Tip 45: Spice Up Your Presentation with Quotations

The Right Quotation Can Spice Up Your Presentation

Add one or a few quotations to your presentation to make it more entertaining and insightful. Your quotation might spur your listeners to think or laugh. Sprinkle lightly like pepper. Use a quotation that emphasizes or clarifies your message.

Here are three sources you can search for quotations:

Quote a Famous Person

This is the most common method. Be sure to quote from a person who is well known and well liked by your audience. That ensures that the quotation lends more weight to your message.

Name the person who said it. Don't pretend to be the source of that phrase and don't make your audience guess. An appropriate quotation helps you tap into the credibility of the person who first spoke that piece of wisdom. The right quotation can sound as if Einstein agrees with you.

Avoid the overused quotes. Instead, search for a quotation that is not well known.

"I went to the gym on the days that I felt like it and I went to the gym on the days that I didn't feel like it." Muhammad Ali


Quote a Client, Colleague or Industry Expert

Another source of valuable quotations could be your clients - especially if you are talking to your staff or company colleagues. You could use praise or complaints.

The company or association founder can be a source of colorful insights. A little research can lead you to simple words from the guy on the loading dock.

"We hurry to ship it out and it comes back on the next truck. Why not get it right the first time?" Truck Driver


The Twist

A third variation is to take a common phrase or quotation and twist it. This technique can add an engaging element of surprise and humor to what might have been a dull presentation

"He who laughs - lasts."

Children will offer you useful twists as they rephrase the words they hear and describe the world as they see it.

"And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us some email." 4 year old girl

How to Deliver the Quotation

Pause just before you deliver the line and just after. While you are stating the quotation, shift your stance so you look slightly different and alter your voice a bit. All those changes help to position the quotation as originating from someone else. Then resume your previous stance and voice to demonstrate that you are back to your own words.

One or a few powerful quotations can make your presentation more engaging, insightful and memorable.

"All we have to fear - is being boring."

George Torok

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