Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

Walt Disney once said… — How effective quotations can spice up your speech [Speak on the Shoulders of Giants]

June 17, 2020

Sometimes, it’s hard for an audience to pay attention to everything a speaker says.

When they’re not interested in one part of a speech or presentation, their minds tend to wander.

When they hear something they’re familiar with like pop culture, current events, or famous people, their focus shifts back.

What can you use in your presentations to make sure your audience stays engaged?


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

A number of speakers use quotations as their opening and closing statements; some even use quotes in the middle of their speech.

Speakers look for different ways to keep an audience interested.

Using a Power Quote is one of those ways.

John F. Kennedy often used quotes in his speeches.

He was the first United States president who created quotation-filled campaigns to address the public.

“If not us, who? If not now, when?”

This is a popular example of a quote he used.

Although this quote isn’t his creation, he delivered it in such a significant way that until today, people think the quote originated from him.

His Power Quote.

This was an effective move and it made a deep impression on those who heard him speak.

Here are some tips in delivering a quotation:

Tip #1: Be Comfortable with the Quote

Do not use a quote that you’re not familiar with.

Pick something you understand enough to convey, so that you don’t end up sharing the wrong information or idea to the audience.

Tip #2: Be Prominent and Pithy

Keep it concise. There is no need to mention a quote word for word if it were in paragraph form.

Only bring up the main points needed to convey the message you want to send. Take these quotes for example:

From: “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

To: “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

From: “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney

To: “Curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney

Although these quotes have been shortened, the message is still evident and easy to understand.

How can you use quotes in your speech effectively?

  • Frame it and Stage it

    In citing quotes, especially by unknown authors, make a gimmick out of it. Pause before saying the quoteuse power gestures, or even use simple props like a pen.

    Add your own touch so that the quote surely sticks to the minds of your audience.
  • Cross Quotmanship

    Quote someone unexpected. Choose one that not everyone would expect you to use.

    It can be a quote of someone you’re least likely to agree with. Just make sure it still supports the ideas you want to convey.
  • Dramatize to Emphasize

    Use a bit of drama. Add a dramatic effect to your delivery to help you emphasize your chosen quote. Try using just one at most, per speech.

    Picking one quote to elaborate on and add some drama into can keep the audience at the edge of their seats. This method can also imply how serious your message is.
  • Produce, Present, and Perform Your Quote

    Make sure you choose or create a quote that’s in line with the content of your speech. This will help you present the quote with confidence and use the proper tone.

    It doesn’t only catch your audience’s attention, but also gives you the opportunity to discuss your point thoroughly without compromising creativity.

Consider all these factors in picking a quote for your speech. Most importantly, pay attention to the message it portrays.

Don’t settle for less. Maximize the use of a good quote to spice up your presentation.

Try taking these notes into consideration.

This might just be the one that takes your public speaking skills to the next level!

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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