How to write and deliver quotable quotes

Are you ready for the world to start quoting you? Here’s how to make it happen.

Would you like to be the person who is quoted during speeches? How cool would it be to have people repeating your words to others, and crediting you?

Coming up with that memorable line is not as hard as it might seem. Here are some tips for getting started:

1. Do some research

Google “quotable quotes” and read the results. This will give you a benchmark and a goal.

2. Be clear and brief

Your quote must be must be easily understood and easy to repeat.

3. Say it a little bit differently

Different is memorable. Say things differently than how they’ve been said before.

4. Use metaphors

A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them. Here are a few examples—see if you can picture them in your mind’s eye:

The sun was smiling on her.

It’s raining cats and dogs.

He’s rolling in dough.

5. Rhyme

Rhymes feel good to say, and they can be memorable. Look at this example:

Use these tools to gain and retain clients.

The word “tools” is a metaphor. “Gain” and “retain” rhyme.

6. Alliteration

Alliteration is repeating the initial sounds in neighboring words or syllables.

A great example is Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech at the Lincoln Memorial. He looked forward to a day when people “will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

I used alliteration when concluding one of my talks like this: “Do that and my prediction is this.

7. Contrast

Contrasting can make lines memorable. Some well-known contrasts are fat/thin, black/white and full/empty. Take a look at these examples:

“If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.” (John F. Kennedy, inaugural address, January 20, 1961)

“During the break at my first Toastmasters Meeting, Paul and Mitch came over and introduced themselves. Instantly, these new people in my life were like old friends.”

8. Set it up

It’s important to set up your quote before you say it. Otherwise, it will not have the desired impact. Also, pause before you deliver the quote. Look at these examples:

Let me leave you with this final thought…

And as you go to your warm home this evening, I’d like you to think about…

Fred Miller coaches, speaks and writes about public speaking and presentation skills. He blogs at No Sweat Public Speaking, where a version of this article originally ran.

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