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A Better Beach Angel – Creating a Repeatable Phrase with Meaning for Your Presentation


Over the 4th of July weekend, we took a family vacation to surprise my mother-in-law by having all of her five children and most of her grandchildren all in one place.


Now let me explain something about my husband Rich and his siblings.  They’re loud.


The last time they were together several years ago the frenzy was all about loudly quoting lines from the Austin Powers movies and the Shrek.  This time, it was the “beach angel” commercial.


(Here’s the original commercial if you’ve not seen it. )


Here’s how it went (all weekend long).  One sibling or a spouse would do something spectacular, like sink a shot in the yard game of “Bags” (which the family affectionately calls “Cornholes”) and it would start, “You’re amazing.”  “You’re a beach angel, ahhhhhhhhhhhaaaaahhhhhhaaaa.”   Before you knew it, less and less spectacular accomplishments would kick off another round, “You’re a beach angel, AHHHHHHHAAAAAAAHHHHHHHAAAAAA!”  What must the neighbors have thought?!


In the world of advertising, getting a saying to stick like the beach angel expression must seem wonderful.  But none of us could remember what product was being advertised.  Has that ever happened to you?  You remember the commercial but can’t for the life of you come up with the product?  My guess was a lottery commercial… turns out, it was Travelocity.



What Beach Angels and Speakers Have in Common


As a speaker, if we can find a phrase that sticks with our audience that too may seem like a good thing.  But my contention is that the sticky phrase is only good if it helps our audiences remember and apply what they’ve learned.


So what are some examples that worked?


“I have a dream” – Martin Luther King

“It’s the economy, stupid” – Bill Clinton

“Tear down this wall” – Ronald Reagan

“Yes we can” – Barrack Obama



As a professional speaker, I’ve been searching for a phrase that would stick with my audiences.  A phrase that people would be repeating when they came out of a program and which would help them remember some important point about effective presentations.


I’m still looking.


But I have some ideas about ways of finding a phrase that works for you.



Let It Happen Spontaneously


Either as you’re preparing your speech or as you’re delivering your presentation, sometimes something magical happens.  Call it a “God wink.”  Call it luck.  Call it a sign of your brilliance.  Sometimes we come up with a phrase that just sings.  When that happens, write it down!  Repeat it!  Don’t let that great notion get away!



Stick Around after the Speech


Early in my speaking career, I accompanied an experienced speaker to a presentation where he spoke in the morning and then stuck around and facilitated more meetings during the day.  I was fascinated by the phrase within the speech that resonated with his client.  They kept repeating it throughout the day.  It’s not a phrase that I would have guessed having heard the speech before.  But it was clearly a phrase that really spoke to them.


If after you present you skedaddle on your way, you’ll miss the opportunity to hear what the audience is repeating from your presentation.  Stick around.  Listen to what is resonating.  Chances are it will be significant to future audiences as well.  And it may not be the phrase you think would stick!



Watch the Twitter Stream


If you’re in a meeting with a hashtag, check the Twitter conversation and see what people are talking about out of your presentation.  If people have tweeted, or more significantly retweeted something you said, then you may be on to something.  Keep listening and see if you have your version of a beach angel… but with a meaning that will stick around for your audience!




What Have You Seen Work?




Let’s hear about other successes!


What have you’ve said that you know has stuck with your audience?  How did you know?   How did you come up with your effective “beach angel”?



What have you heard that stuck with you?  What about that phrase made it relevant?  How has the phrase helped you remember a lesson?


Tell us your experience in the comments!