Several years ago, I sat in a conference where Craig Valentine (www.craigvalentine.com) spoke. While I don’t remember everything he said, there was a rhyme that he used that has stuck with me. While talking about goals and achieving them, he said “If you can view it, you can do it”. His point was that you have to visualize the goal, see yourself actually doing what you want and then you will accomplish it.
I’ve studied with Craig since then and today I realize that he used a couple of great speaking techniques to make me remember his point. First, he summarized his point of visualizing a goal by using something that he calls a “foundational phrase”. It’s used to make your point memorable. He suggests having a foundational phrase for each point you want to make in your speech.
This technique is useful for all speakers but especially technical speakers. It helps your audience remember something very easily. In creating the phrase there are some rules that should be followed.
An ideal length for a foundational phrase is 10 words or less. If it’s longer than that, it will probably be hard to remember. By keeping it short, you are able to distill your message into only what’s necessary. I’ve been in marketing positions before and this idea of making your message succinct is key. Whether marketing or speaking, by having a foundational phrase that is short, your point will be remembered.
This gets back to the power of the word “you”. The more we use “you” in our speaking, the more the audience pays attention.
The phrase should be easy to say and use simple language. By doing this, then the phrase becomes easier to remember as well. Craig even suggests running the phrase by a young child. If it can be repeated by a 6-year-old, then it’s simple and repeatable.
The second technique that Craig used to make the foundational phrase repeatable is to make it rhyme. While that’s not the easiest thing to do, if it can be done then chances are that it will be remembered more easily. When I think about this, famous rhymes come immediately to my head. Do you remember phrases like, “The phrase that pays”, “How now brown cow”, “Your attitude determines your altitude”, “Do you like green eggs and ham? I do not like them Sam-I-am.” (Ok, I just had to quote Dr. Seuss for once)
If you want to try this and you have difficulties coming up with rhyming words, there’s a great website to try. It’s located at www.rhymezone.com and it can help you with all kinds of rhyming words. It not only gives you words and phrases that rhyme but it also gives you words and phrases that almost rhyme as well.
So to end with a rhyme I will say: “Your rhyming phrase will stay for days!”