Making Your Presentation Memorable

As speakers we want our audiences to remember what we say in our presentations. It makes my day when a person comes up to me and quotes something I said in a speech months or years ago. Of course I wish it happened more often! 

In searching for that memorable idea or concept, consider finding a quotation that takes your breath away. It can be funny, serious, or thought-provoking. For example, I was reading a review of a biography on Stan Musial, one of my three favorite baseball players. (Mickey Mantle and Bob Gibson are the other two). Preacher Roe, a great pitcher of the Brooklyn Dodgers was asked how to get Musial out. His response was, “Throw him four wide ones then try to pick him off first base.”  What a great way to make a point on Musial’s greatness as a hitter! Contrast that line with simply saying, “I can’t get him out by pitching.” 

How do you find great lines?  Go to sources not easily found by others. That is one of the huge benefits for the speaker of reading biographies and autobiographies. You find statements that many people will never hear or find because not that many people read those kinds of books. Listen to interviews on NPR. Be ready with questions for the person who may have had unusual experiences in life; they may give you a gem of a quotation you can later use.

One of my favorites comes from a student in my son’s Purdue public relations class who wore a t-shirt saying, “You can never relive a party, but you can always retake a class.” I’m not sure that the words are valuable but they are memorable.

Steve Boyd
Steve Boyd
Stephen D. Boyd, Ph.D., CSP, is Professor Emeritus of Speech Communication, College of Informatics, Northern Kentucky University, near Cincinnati. Steve won the Toastmasters International Speech Contest in 1970 and was chosen Outstanding Professor of the Year at NKU in 1984, among other awards and honors. Since retiring, he volunteers with nonprofits, spends time with family, travels, preaches occasionally, and enjoys reading and writing. Contact Steve at (859) 866-5693 or at

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