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.


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:

  • Google “quotable quotes” and read a bunch of them so that you have a good benchmark.
  • Be clear and brief.
    • A quote must be easily understood and easy to repeat.
  • Say it a bit differently if it’s been said before.
    • Different is memorable.
  • 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.
    • Examples:
      • “The sun was smiling on her.”
      • “It’s raining cats and dogs.”
      • “He’s rolling in dough!”
  • Rhyming feels good to say, and can be memorable.
    • Examples:
      • “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.”
  • Alliteration is the repetition of the initial sounds in neighboring words or syllables.
    • Examples:
      • In his speech at the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963, Dr. 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! …”
  • Contrasts can make quotes memorable.
    • Fat – Thin
    • Black – White
    • Full – Empty
    • Examples:
      • On January 20, 1961, 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.”
  • Set up the quote. If your quote is not set up it will not have the desired impact.
    • Examples:
      • “Let me leave you with this final thought . . .”
      • “And as you go to your warm homes this evening, I’d like you to think about . . .
  • 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!

Fred Miller


About John Zimmer

International speaker, presentation skills expert, lawyer, improv performer
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3 Responses to Make Your Quotes … Quotable!

  1. Pingback: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton: An analysis of their speeches | Manner of Speaking

  2. 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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