Make Your Quotes … Quotable!

Readers of this blog know that I frequently post quotes for public speakers to ponder. Today’s post is about how to make your own quotes memorable. It’s also a guest post by my friend and fellow public speaker, Fred Miller. Fred is a straight-talking, coffee-drinking public speaker, author and serial entrepreneur.

His website, No Sweat Public Speaking, is loaded with useful information. And Fred has recently published a book on public speaking by the same name. Fred coaches, speaks and writes about public speaking and presentation skills.

Fred Miller


Make Your Quotes … Quotable!

by Fred Miller

Wouldn’t you like to be the person who is “quoted”? How cool would it be to have people repeating your words to others, and crediting you?
Well, coming up with a memorable line that people will repeat is not as hard as it might seem.

Here are some tips:

  1. Google “quotable quotes” and read a bunch of them so that you have a good benchmark.
  1. Be clear and brief. A quote must be easily understood and easy to repeat.
  1. Say it a bit differently if it’s been said before. Different is memorable.
  1. Use metaphors. A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase denoting an object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them.

“The sun was smiling on her.”

“It’s raining cats and dogs.”

“He’s rolling in dough!”

  1. Rhyming feels good to say, and can be memorable.

“Use these tools to gain and retain clients.” (The word tools is a metaphor. Gain and retain rhyme.)

“We’ll discuss the components, parts, and elements of a speech.  I’ll name them, explain them, and give some examples.”

  1. Alliteration is the repetition of the initial sounds in neighboring words or syllables.

Martin Luther King looked to a day when people “will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of the character.”

An alliteration that I use in concluding one of my talks is, “Do that and my prediction is this! …”

  1. Contrasts can make quotes memorable.

Fat – Thin

Black – White

Full – Empty

John Kennedy said, “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.”

“During the break at my first Toastmasters meeting, Paul and Mitch came over and introduced themselves. Instantly, these new people in my life were like old friends.”

  1. Set up the quote. If your quote is not set up it will not have the desired impact.

“Let me leave you with this final thought . . .”

“As you go to your warm homes this evening, I’d like you to think about . . .

  1. Pause before delivering the quotable quote.

Use these tips in crafting your “quotable quote” and my prediction is this:

Your quote will be absolutely, positively … quotable!

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  1. Fred:
    An excellent post, except that John Kennedy said that in his inagural speech back on January 20, 1961. Where did your October 20, 2006 date come from? John Kennedy died on November 22, 1963 and his son died on July 16, 1999.

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John delivered a keynote address about the importance of public speaking to 80 senior members of Gore’s Medical Device Europe team at an important sales event. He was informative, engaging and inspirational. Everyone was motivated to improve their public speaking skills. Following his keynote, John has led public speaking workshops for Gore in Barcelona and Munich. He is an outstanding speaker who thinks carefully about the needs of his audience well before he steps on stage.

Karsta Goetze

TA Leader, Gore and Associates

I first got in touch with John while preparing to speak at TED Global about my work on ProtonMail. John helped me to sharpen the presentation and get on point faster, making the talk more focused and impactful. My speech was very well received, has since reached almost 1.8 million people and was successful in explaining a complex subject (email encryption) to a general audience.

Andy Yen

CEO, Proton Technologies

John gave the opening keynote on the second day of our unit’s recent offsite in Geneva, addressing an audience of 100+ attendees with a wealth of tips and techniques to deliver powerful, memorable presentations. I applied some of these techniques the very next week in an internal presentation, and I’ve been asked to give that presentation again to senior management, which has NEVER happened before. John is one of the greatest speakers I know and I can recommend his services without reservation.

David Lindelöf

Senior Data Scientist, Expedia Group

After a morning of team building activities using improvisation as the conduit, John came on stage to close the staff event which was organised in Chamonix, France. His energy and presence were immediately felt by all the members of staff. The work put into the preparation of his speech was evident and by sharing some his own stories, he was able to conduct a closing inspirational speech which was relevant, powerful and impactful for all at IRU. The whole team left feeling engaged and motivated to tackle the 2019 objectives ahead. Thank you, John.

Umberto de Pretto

Secretary General, World Road Transport Organization

I was expecting a few speaking tips and tricks and a few fun exercises, but you went above and beyond – and sideways. You taught me to stand tall. You taught me to anchor myself. You taught me to breathe. You taught me to open up. You taught me to look people in the eye. You taught me to tell the truth. You taught me to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. I got more than I bargained for in the best possible way.

Thuy Khoc-Bilon

World Cancer Day Campaign Manager, Union for International Cancer Control

John gave a brilliant presentation on public speaking during the UN EMERGE programme in Geneva (a two days workshop on leadership development for a group of female staff members working in the UN organizations in Geneva). His talk was inspirational and practical, thanks to the many techniques and tips he shared with the audience. His teaching can dramatically change our public speaking performance and enable us as presenters to have a real and powerful impact. Thank you, John, for your great contribution!

Sara Canna

HR Specialist, World Health Organization

John is a genuine communication innovator. His seminars on gamification of public speaking learning and his interactive Rhetoric game at our conference set the tone for change and improvement in our organisation. The quality of his input, the impact he made with his audience and his effortlessly engaging style made it easy to get on board with his core messages and won over some delegates who were extremely skeptical as to the efficacy of games for learning. I simply cannot recommend him highly enough.

Thomas Scott

National Education Director, Association of Speakers Clubs UK

John joined our Global Sales Meeting in Segovia, Spain and we all participated in his "Improv(e) your Work!" session. I say “all” because it really was all interactive, participatory, learning and enjoyable. The session surprised everybody and was a fresh-air activity that brought a lot of self-reflection and insights to improve trust and confidence in each other inside our team. It´s all about communication and a good manner of speaking!"

Jon Lopez

General Manager Europe, Hayward Industries

Thank you very much for the excellent presentation skills session. The feedback I received was very positive. Everyone enjoyed the good mix of listening to your speech, co-developing a concrete take-away and the personal learning experience. We all feel more devoted to the task ahead, more able to succeed and an elevated team spirit. Delivering this in a short time, both in session and in preparation, is outstanding!

Henning Dehler

CFO European Dairy Supply Chain & Operations, Danone

Thanks to John’s excellent workshop, I have learned many important tips and techniques to become an effective public speaker. John is a fantastic speaker and teacher, with extensive knowledge of the field. His workshop was a great experience and has proven extremely useful for me in my professional and personal life.

Eric Thuillard

Senior Sales Manager, Sunrise Communications

John’s presentation skills training was a terrific investment of my time. I increased my skills in this important area and feel more comfortable when speaking to an audience. John provided the right mix between theory and practice.

Diego Brait

Director of the Jura Region, BKW Energie AG

Be BOLD. Those two words got stuck in my head and in the heads of all those ADP leaders and associates that had the privilege to see John on stage. He was our keynote speaker at our annual convention in Barcelona, and his message still remains! John puts his heart in every word. Few speakers are so credible, humble and yet super strong with large audiences!

Guadalupe Garcia

Senior Director and Talent Partner, ADP International