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A Rhyme is Sublime


By Bob Goodyear

Several years ago, I sat in a conference where Craig Valentine (www.craigvalentine.com) spoke. While I don’t remember everything he said, he used a phrase 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.” This phrase is something that can be used to make your point memorable. He suggests having a foundational phrase for each point you want to make in your speech.

In creating the phrase there are some rules that should be followed.

  1. Make it short or brief. 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, a short foundational phrase is sure to be remembered.
  2. Make it you-focused. This gets back to the power of the word “you.” The more we use “you” in our speaking, the more the audience pays attention.
  3. Make it repeatable. The phrase should be easy to say and in simple language, making the phrase easier to remember. Craig even suggests running your idea by a young child. If it can be repeated by a 6-year-old, then it’s simple and repeatable.

Another great way to make your foundational phrase repeatable is to make it rhyme. While that’s not the easiest thing to do, if it can be done the chances are that it will be remembered more easily. When I think about this concept, 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.” (Okay, I just had to quote Dr. Seuss for once.)

If you want to try this but have difficulties coming up with rhyming words, go to www.rhymezone.com for help 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.

So to end with a rhyme I will say: “A rhyming phrase will stay for days!”

Bob Goodyear is a veteran speaker on technology who understands the communications challenges that technical professionals face. Find out how Bob can help your organization with its presentation. Reach Bob by email or by phone at 678.447.7272.