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Anchor Your Presentation



by Bob Goodyear

Have you ever sat in on a presentation or speech and couldn’t remember the points the speaker was making just 10 minutes after it was done? Maybe you remember that you felt good about what was being said but you just couldn’t talk about specifics to anyone afterwards. That is incredibly frustrating to me as an audience member. It’s even MORE frustrating, however, to me as the speaker because that tells me that I didn’t do a good job making my points memorable.

How can we make a presentation more memorable? What can we do to help our audience remember our points, or maybe just one? When I think about the speeches that I remember the most, I almost always remember something that the speaker used that helps explain the point. This is called an anchor in the speaking world.

An anchor helps your audience remember a point. I like to use anchors that fall into 1 of 4 different categories. They are:

  1. Anecdote or story
  2. Analogy
  3. Acronym
  4. Activity

Anecdotes or stories are the most commonly used anchors in speeches. A well constructed story is memorable and when the audience remembers it, they will generally remember the point that was made with it.

Analogies compare one thing that might be difficult to understand with something else more easily understood. In the technical world, I could use a filing cabinet analogy to explain a computer file system.

Acronyms are made up from the first letters from another series of words that you might want your audience to remember. To really make an effective point in a presentation, I learned the following acronym from Craig Valentine. The acronym is PARTS which stands for:






An activity can also be used to help your audience remember a point. This is audience participation to get the audience engaged. I sat in a presentation where the speaker was explaining the importance of getting rid of the negative habits in our life. There was a sheet of paper on each seat along with a pen. We were asked to write down one negative habit that we wanted to get rid of. After we wrote it down, the speaker asked us to crumple the paper into a ball and throw it at him. Over 100 different paper balls were thrown at him. That presentation was done over 2 years ago and I still remember the activity and his point.

There are other types of anchors that you can use in your presentations. Anchor your points in some way and your speeches will be remembered longer than 10 minutes.




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 their presentation.

Reach Bob by email or by phone at 678.447.7272