Great communicators are remembered and repeated. To make your message more memorable, pay close attention to how you order your words and phrases, even within a single sentence. Thoughtful choices in word order, give you the opportunity to highlight your most significant information and deliver this as “impact phrases.”
Audiences engage when we present information in a natural progression. It helps them “see” what we’re trying to convey. Like a miniature story, a single well-crafted sentence draws your audience in; they connect both intellectually and emotionally and follow your narrative to its conclusion.
Scene-setting information, such as a date, time, and place, should always come at the beginning of a sentence as a “setup phrase.” This helps the audience visualize what you are saying. Save the end of your sentence for the most significant piece of information you intend to deliver, your “impact phrase.” If your impact phrase is at the beginning of your sentence, you and your audience may gloss over it, throwing away your opportunity to make your idea or point “stick” with your audience.
For example, if we turn on the news, we might hear a sentence that sounds like this, “Bill Gates delivered a speech on creative capitalism at Harvard University yesterday.”
If this sentence were used in your presentation, I would recommend that you say, “Yesterday…. (Immediately establishes the context of recent history.) …at Harvard University… (Sets the place. I imagine beautiful grounds, nice buildings.) …Bill Gates… (We easily recognize who that is.) …delivered a speech on creative capitalism.”
You might say, “Your company had its best sales year ever in 1956.”
But, you would have more impact on your audience if you said, “In 1956… (Let your audience slip into the time frame; they can almost see the tail fins on the Chevys.) ….your company had its best sales year ever.”
Before… “…to celebrate your accomplishments in 2018.”
Fripped… “…to celebrate your 2018 accomplishments.”
Before… “This will be our focus for the next two days.”
Fripped… “For the next two days, this will be our focus.”
Small changes can make a big difference. Consider how you might rearrange words within your presentation for a greater impact on your audience.
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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.