Everybody does “it” so why shouldn’t you? What’s “it?” Well, “quotes.” Specifically quotes from famous or well-respected personalities to drum up speeches and presentations. Quotes certainly add the zing in everything especially when it comes to presenting to an audience. However, you must consider these rules when it comes to using quotes in speeches and presentations.
- Adapt the quote to the speech or presentation. You have to use the appropriate quotes that will tie-in perfectly with the message of your speech or presentation. Otherwise, you’ll lose your audience just minutes into the speech or presentation. Additionally, an aspect of adaptation is to know when to introduce your quotes: opening, middle, and end.
- Attribute the quote to the right personality. When using quotes, doing background research about who gave it and what made it important rolling off that person’s tongue means that you place emphasis on the name of that person. Some quotes are even so iconic that the moment you say it, your audience will know whose mouth it came out of, ergo, the importance of really getting that person’s name right the first time. For example, “Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Who said this quote? The answer is “Confucius.” You can also use pictures to show who said which quote to make it more relatable.
- Make sure it’s someone people know to belong in your industry. If you’re hyping quotes in your speech or presentation, it’s also wise to mouth quotes from someone that your audience shares a commonality with. For example, if your speech is about making a difference in this world by sharing your vast fortune or doing philanthropic work, you can refer to the speeches made by Bill Gates and lift direct quotes from it. If it’s about education, get the speech delivered by JK Rowling during the 2008 commencement exercise at Harvard University.
- Make sure it’s funny but also aspirational at the same time. This is a wee bit tough to achieve but you can do this if you are willing to research about quotes that hit the spot and make people laugh at the same time. You don’t even need to highroad it to the public library, just get online and research about quotes that fall under this category.
- Use appropriate but colorful language. It’s tempting isn’t it to inject a bit of edge into your speech or presentation by using shocking language? Hold back and don’t give in. Even when your audience seems open to it, you must not denigrate your speech or presentation this way. Instead, use colorful quotes that tickle, not titillate.
- Try not to use quotes to proselytize. If they want to be preached to, they could get that in church. Inspire people through your quotes but don’t go overboard.
- Keep it short. Short quotes are best delivered verbally as a sort of power punch to your speech. Leave the lengthy quotes to the presentation slides for people to read during lulls.
- Don’t pepper your speech and presentation with quotes. Otherwise, you’ll just be someone’s mouthpiece. Remember this is your speech and your presentation so make it your own and not a shadow of someone famous.
Remember the rule of thumb: Use these quotes to open your speech or presentation, to wake your audience up in the middle of it, and to close with a resounding bang at the end of it all!