Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

Something powerful… How do you get an audience’s attention using keywords? [Speak on the Shoulders of Giants]

July 15, 2020





When we decide to go on stage, grab a mic, and stand in front of a spotlight and crowd, we want to be heard.

We want people to listen.

In speeches and presentations, we prepare powerful discussions to inspire, connect, and educate people.


… in the middle of a speech or presentation, we could lose some of the audience’s attention.

We need to make sure that that doesn’t happen.

What can we do so the audience is focused on what we’re saying all throughout?


— This is just one of the powerful secrets featured in James C. Humes’ book, “Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln.”

Great speakers usually keep their speeches pithy and to the point. Though they may want to express several important points, they know their goal is to thoughtfully inform and not simply to display how much they know.

Great speakers understand this. They also understand it can be a little overwhelming to try to summarize all these points into a few sentences and still keep the audience engaged.

This is where keywords come in.

As a speaker, you want the audience to focus on what’s important. To do that, you need to emphasize certain words or phrases to help your audience understand and follow the discussion.

How can you turn your keywords into power words?

Shouting it out loud is not the answer.

On the contrary, staying silent is.

Use a power pause before saying the word you want to stress.

Edward Murrow, a prominent journalist during World War II, used this strategy in his radio show to make his listeners focus on words or phrases that he wants to highlight:

“This is [pause] London.”

“This [pause] is the news.”

With a similar approach, General MacArthur in 1942, as he left the Philippines during World War II, said his famous line:

“I shall [pause] return.”

These great speakers are known for incorporating attention-grabbing pauses that lead listeners to focus on the next words or phrases they’re going to utter.

Try using uncommonly used words.

Winston Churchill, a British statesman, orator, and author who became a prime minister twice and led his country through World War II, also used power pauses to introduce compelling or unusual words.

When he spoke in the U.S. Lend-Lease program in 1941, he said:

“This act is a most [pause] unsordid act.”

Another example…

“Perhaps I have been guilty of a [pause] terminological inexactitude.”

Using words like these in your speech or presentation sparks the audience’s curiosity and captures their attention.

How many times should you use this effective tip?

You can use it as often as you like. Just make sure you use it during the appropriate parts of your discussion.

A power word in every sentence, partnered with a power pause every time, would be very odd.

Emphasizing too many words would be funny and awkward for your audience. It also defeats the purpose of emphasis.

As the examples from famous speakers in history showed us, this tip is effective in driving important points home.

Try turning your keywords to power words when you need to get up on stage.

You’ll surely get everyone’s attention!

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Wednesdays: Speak on the Shoulders of Giants”

In a meeting with one person

…a boardroom with five people

…or a huge venue with hundreds of people

—whatever the situation or setting, it’s very important to learn and eventually master the art of public speaking.

No matter what, you always need to effectively get your message across.

What good is a presentation with awesome content if you don’t deliver it properly?

Every Wednesday, we publish different tips, insights, and secrets on how you can improve your presentation skills to captivate your audience and lead interesting discussions.

The need for great presentation skills applies EVERYWHERE.

(Small meetings with your team, big meetings with your boss, an important marketing pitch, speaking engagements for events with a big audience, etc.)

Learning these skills is not just for the corporate world. Being in other industries such as the Arts, Information Technology, Medicine, and Education while knowing how to present well will definitely give you an edge.

Have that advantage.

Hope you’ve found this week’s public speaking tip interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Wednesday’s Speak on the Shoulders of Giants!


Kyle Yu
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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