Over the past three decades, I’ve learned that a well-structured presentation is in many ways like a well-constructed house. I’m no builder, but I have done a little remodeling on parts of my house and it became clear to me that the foundation is integral in keeping a house stable. Similarly, the correct ‘foundation’ can support your message, anchor your presentation, and help to make it unforgettable.
My fellow World Champion of Public Speaking Darren LaCroix and I have been teaching our speaking students about one such foundation…the FOUNDATIONAL PHRASE. It’s a statement that’s repeated in a presentation, containing 10 words or fewer, sometimes rhymes, and is often rhythmic. Here are a few examples.
“STAGE TIME, STAGE TIME, STAGE TIME!” – Darren LaCroix.
“YOUR ROLE IS INVALUABLE; YOU MUST BE RELIABLE!” – Me 😁
The key is that the phrase is repeated, on average used 3 times in the presentation. It’s used as a reminder to the audience, hence the repetition. An effective FOUNDATIONAL PHRASE also evokes an emotion in the audience. Used well, a FOUNDATIONAL PHRASE can anchor your message in the minds of the audience.
Recently, I’ve come to appreciate that there are two additional presentation foundations that can enhance your audience’s experience. They are the FOUNDATIONAL GESTURE and FOUNDATIONAL SOUND. Both these concepts were used with powerful effect by my friend Nitay-Yair Levi when he was competing in the 2021 Toastmasters International Speech Contest. You can see the video HERE.
He was not the first to do so. Back in 2005, Lance Miller used the sound of a validation stamp AND the motion of validating a parking ticket creatively and effectively…so much so that he got the audience to participate at the conclusion of his speech.
See the speech HERE
I encourage you to take another look at your latest…or next…presentation and ask, “Is there a specific movement that I make that can serve as the FOUNDATION to my presentation?” Also ask, Is there a sound that I use that can also serve as the FOUNDATION to my presentation?” Finally, “Can I combine them to give my audience an unforgettable experience?”
As you pursue excellence on the physical and virtual platform, expand the foundations you use in your presentations and you will be memorable.
DREAM BIG; WORK BIGGER; PURSUE EXCELLENCE!