Sunday, 8 December 2013

How to quote in your speech or quotes count

Hi All,
Today I am focusing on the positive effect on your speech of quoting.
You can start with a quote, finish with a quote and even use one or two in the body of your speech. They enhance your own words in several ways.If some people in the audience know the quite it increases their attentiveness. They could be curious to know how you are going to use it. They could pay more attention because they like the quote. If the audience does not know the quote, they may be keen to learn something new. Most quotes rhyme or have some alliteration and so they are just enjoyable to listen to. Of course, they should be relevant to your topic. They can be from someone famous, or even from a relative or friend of yours.

Here are some ideas for incorporating quotes into a speech. You could start off a speech about communication with the famous words of John Donne.
" According to John Donne, "No man is an island." What he meant is that we all need each other and we need to live with each other.Today I will share with you the five steps to better communication...."

You could start off with a poem.
""The furrow followed free.
And we were the first
Who ever burst
Into the silent sea."
Samuel Taylor Coleridge in this poem "The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner" is extolling the virtues  of the sea. I am about to extol the virtues of sea travel...."

You could quote a relative:
"My late dad always said farewell with the words, "G-d bless you." Although he died five years ago, his words still ring in my ears when I say good bye to my family."

Most famous lines come from dead, white men. "There is nothing to fear, but fear itself." "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." "I have nothing to offer you but my blood, tears, toil and sweat."

Quoting Shakespeare is a favourite of most people. He's very memorable and often suitable. "To thine own self be true and it must follow as the night the day, thou'st then cannot be false to any man." Unfortunately he gave the lines to Polonious, a doddering old fool in Hamlet. Even the most famous "To be or not to be." could make a great quote in a speech about suicide or euthanasia.

Finishing with a quote, especially one that rhymes can be very memorable. It can even be a quote from an ad.
"Use water wisely." is an example.

The thing is that finding quotes on any subject is as easy as Googling the idea and the word quote. You will be amazed at how many quotes there are. The trick is to think of quoting in the first place.
So let me finish today's post with a quote from a poem "Be Specific".
 "For every idea there is a word.
 Don't say it was a bird. Say it was a swallow."

That wedding speech

Hi all,
As it's December and loads of people get married in December (we did), I thought I'd give some tips on how to write that wedding speech. Many of the tips can apply to a birthday or anniversary speech as well.

The first thing is to avoid clichés. You want to avoid saying things like "This is the happiest day of my life."or "You look so beautiful,Darling." These expressions are vague and can apply to anyone and mean very little.
Instead, you could say something like, "When I saw you coming down that isle in that flowing white dress, your hair in ringlets, your face beaming, my heart skipped. Wow, I thought, I am so lucky to be marrying you."

The second thing is that you do need to tell specific stories. Instead of saying, "I love you because you have always been there for me." which is sooooo over used, you could say something like, "I'll never forget the day you came into town to pick me up when the trains stopped running. You really drove in the rain and waited outside my office and took me all the way home. That's just typical of the way you put yourself out for me." Or tell the story of how you met or how she/he comes to watch you play your sport.

Avoid thanking the same people. Yes it's great when people come from interstate and overseas for your wedding. Decide who is going to thank them. Just get one person to do it. Make sure their names are pronounced correctly and the person does not have to be you. Grooms-man can do that job. You have enough people to thank.

Thanking the parents and in-laws.  This is usually the bride/groom's job. It's very hard to thanks your parents in a few words. Again, think f a story about the wedding arrangements or a time when your mum and dad have put themselves out for you and tell it briefly. With the in-laws, don't just say they have accepted you. Be specific about the time they invited you for that  late supper or the time they told you how much their daughter loves you because....." Keep the stories clean and short.

Thanking for presents. Often there is a wedding list and you could make a point of thanking those people who went to the trouble of choosing those list gifts. You could also mention how you are looking forward to using them in your new home after the honey moon.

About jokes. There are loads of wedding jokes on websites. Avoid them. They can be clichéd and inappropriate. Do not embarrass anyone or any guests. If you are good at humour, just be yourself and tell a self deprecating joke. Avoid any jokes at your fiancée's expense. It may take years to live down.

Keep it short. No one wants a long speech. keep it to 5 to 10 minutes at the most. Less is more.

What if you get emotional? There's nothing wrong with showing some emotion. Have a hankie and water on hand to blow the nose and sip some water. If you have practised as if you are at the reception at least 13 times, you should be fine. Also if the two of you go up together, you can take turns. It gives you a breather and the other one can take over if you cry.

Finally, a wedding is a joyous occasion, let the joy and passion carry you along. If you want help writing your speech, just email me to and I can help.

Good luck and my next blog will probably be next year. Enjoy the Silly Season and be safe.