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Get Creative with Quotes for More Powerful Presentations
Patricia Fripp - Persuasive Presentation Expert Patricia Fripp - Persuasive Presentation Expert
San Francisco, CA
Thursday, August 6, 2015

Executive Speech Coach, Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE

When you deliver a speech or presentation, you have just 30 seconds to command your audience's attention. Don't waste them! Opening with a well-chosen quote can be one of the most effective ways to begin your presentation. General Dwight D. Eisenhower said, "Leadership is the ability to decide what has to be done and then to get people to want to do it." When I speak on leadership, I sometimes open with that quote. Although, I also believe in quoting from a wide array of people, not just dead white men - not that they can't also be a source of brilliant and pithy insights.

Consider that living people generate new quotable material every day. When I give a talk on getting and keeping customers, I like to say, "As Bill Gates said, 'When you lose a customer, you lose two ways. First, you don't get their money. And second, your competitor does.'" I will sometimes pantomime stabbing myself in the heart as I say this, since it's a painful realization.

Use quotes that support your message and enhance your connection with your audience. These can be strategically sprinkled throughout your talk. It's common to fall into the trap of always drawing from over-quoted sports personalities or other popular sources with whom the audience is already very familiar. Instead, be creative. If you select quotes your audience members haven't heard before, your entire message will be more original and interesting.

Quotes are often most appealing, when they both surprise and inform. The great philosopher Raquel Welch once said, "Style is being yourself…but on purpose." When I talk about public speaking, I share this and add, "Every time you stand up to address an audience, you have to be yourself, but slightly larger than life, in other words…on purpose."

Don't overlook the very audience you are addressing as a source for great quotes. At a four-day Texas Instruments conference, I told the audience, "I'm here to tell you how to future-proof your careers." Two days earlier, I had heard their chairman say that the TI strategy was "to future-proof the shareholders' investment." I borrowed his words to connect with the audience, though it was made up of technology users, not investors. This phrase already had the company stamp of approval.  The engagement was much more successful because I was able to work a quote in from every single person who had spoken before of me in the preceding days.

Gather powerful quotes just by doing your homework. An important or recent quote related to the industry or organization you are addressing will get immediate attention and establish a connection between you and your listeners. I often quote something from my client's most recent corporate report. Clients tell me, "We're so glad you quoted our chairman. We always send the report to our associates, but we don't think they ever read it."

To discover original quotes you can use, first, make a list of significant people in your own life. Then, think about where you might draw from their unique wit and wisdom. You might quote from:

  • Your father, mother, siblings, grandmother, or grandfather
  • A teacher or coach
  • Your first boss, a colleague, or a manager who inspired you
  • Your brilliant or successful clients
  • Yourself

Here are some original quotes from my own sources I use in my speaking and writing. You may use them if you wish; just be sure to credit me.

My father, A.H. Fripp said, "Don't concentrate on making a lot of money, but rather concentrate on becoming the type of person people want to do business with, and you most likely will make a lot of money."

My mother, Edie Fripp said,  "Of course, it is the inner you that counts, but dress up and look good so you can attract people so they can find out how nice you are, how smart you are, and how valuable you can be to them."

My brother Robert Fripp, the legendary guitarist and one of Rolling Stone magazine's "100 Greatest Guitarists," says, "Discipline is not an end in itself, but a means to an end."

My brilliant hairstyling client, Manny Lozano would say… Just in case you did not know, long before I became an award winning professional speaker and executive speech coach, I was a men's hairstylist for 15 years… "Keep promoting even when your appointment calendar is full. You need to resell the clients you have on the idea that this is still the place they want to come."

I always say, "The only thing I ever wanted in business is an unfair advantage." The ability to speak well in public will always give you an unfair advantage.  Use quotes creatively, thoughtfully, and strategically to make your presentations come to life.

Executive Speech Coach and Hall of Fame Keynote Speaker Patricia Fripp works with individuals and companies who realize that powerful, persuasive presentation skills give them a competitive edge. Patricia is now virtually everywhere with FrippVT.com, her interactive, learn-at-your-own-pace, virtual presentation skills training. Take advantage of your complimentary trial: http://FrippVT.com

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Name: Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE
Title: President
Group: A Speaker For All Reasons
Dateline: San Francisco, CA United States
Direct Phone: (415)753-6556
Cell Phone: 415-637-4281
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