John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States, once said, “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.” In other words, the best time to fix things or change the way you do things is when you're not in crisis mode. By that logic, it's a good idea to learn how to use quotes to enhance your presentation before you try to use them!
Quotes are a great way to punch up what might otherwise be a dry presentation.
Quotes lend credibility to your thoughts and ideas. While many people use quotations attributed to famous people, the context and meaning of a quote may be more important than its source. A choice quote from someone well-known only to your audience, for example, may carry more weight with that audience.
There are many sources of good quotes online. A few of my favorites include:
- http://thoughts.forbes.com/quotes/ (Forbes is especially good for business presentations or speeches.)
To use quotes effectively in written or spoken communications, follow these 3 easy steps:
Attribute the quote you are about to deliver.
Tell your audience the name of the person being quoted and possibly some additional relevant information about them. An additional option is to give the audience some context in which the quote was made and/or tell them the position the person holds.
Deliver the quote.
When writing the quote, make sure you've quoted it correctly. When speaking the quote again, make sure you say it slowly and clearly enough, so that everyone can easily hear it. It may be a good idea to write the quote out on an index card and read it to the audience so you can ensure you get it right. Make sure you put the index card down or in a pocket when done reading it. Keep quotes short—one or two sentences maximum!
Arc back to your topic.
Once you've delivered the quote, quickly link it to the topic at hand. How does the quote reinforce or lend credibility to what you're discussing? What is the connection between the subject of your quote and the point you're making.
Using quotes is a good way to make your presentation more interesting. And, learning how to prepare and use them now, while you're comfortably reading this blog (and not in panic mode), is a good plan.
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