25 Ways to Make a Point

One of the many public speaking resources that I consult regularly is an email newsletter from J. A. Gamache, an internationally acclaimed bilingual (French and English) speaker who finished 3rd in the 2001 Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking. 

In a recent email, J. A. compiled a list of 25 ways in which to get our point across, whatever the objective of our speech or presentation. As speakers, we want our messages to be understood, credible and remembered. Finding creative ways in which to do so is key. 

J. A. suggests that we first decide what our core message is. Then, we should brainstorm 
about all the ways that could be used to support that message. Finally, we should sort the items on the list and decide which ones to use. Here is his list:


  2. Quote
  3. Historical fact
  4. Scientific research / statistic
  5. Joke / humour
  6. Story / tale
  7. Comparison / analogy / metaphor
  8. Personal anecdote
  9. Third party anecdote
  10. Third party testimonial
  11. Case study / role play (with another person)
  12. Object / prop
  13. Audiovisual support (e.g., picture / video / music / song)
  14. Repeating / recalling the message
  15. Playing devil’s advocate
  16. Plain statement / thought-provoking statement
  17. Catchy saying / slogan / recurring theme
  18. Hypothesis that you defend or attack
  19. Common objection and rebuttal
  20. Rhetorical question
  21. Method / tips / steps to follow
  22. Moving or miming
  23. Acronym (e.g., the SPA method: Seize it, Plan it 
and Act on it)
  24. Audience participation
  25. Call to action

J. A.’s list is certainly comprehensive and it might prompt you to think of other ways in which to get your message across. Of course, we would not likely use all of these ideas in a single speech or presentation (unless, for example, we were leading a multi-day workshop). And, not every idea will be appropriate for every audience or occasion.

Still, I like the list because it is a useful way to get us to think creatively about our speeches and presentations.

The idea for this post came from “Speaking in Public with 
J.A.”, a FREE electronic magazine authored by J.A. Gamache, 
International Inspirational Speaker. To subscribe to his 
FREE e-zine or to find out more about his presentations, 
visit: http://www.jagamache.com.

About John Zimmer

International speaker, presentation skills expert, lawyer, improv performer
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8 Responses to 25 Ways to Make a Point

  1. You made your point, John.


  2. Keith Davis says:

    Hi John
    I’d like to think that I could have come up with this list of 25, but I don’t think so. LOL
    That is some list – should be quoted in every book on Public Speaking.

    Got a great video over on my blog – would love to hear your thoughts.

  3. florian says:

    Hey John. I would like to add one item: SILENCE. I remember your speech at the district conference in the Hague when you paused those 7-8 seconds after that shoe story – that made the point!

    • John Zimmer says:

      Hi Florian. Thanks for the comment. You are absolutely right about the power of silence through pauses. An excellent way to make a point.



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