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Make Your Presentation Memorable

Top tips from Eddie Darroch of Toastmasters International Make Your Presentation Memorable

The way we use our words in a presentation has a massive impact on how memorable our presentation is and how memorable we are for our audience. This is particularly important in the early stages of building a business.

Luckily, we have a wide range of verbal tools available. The additional good news is that they can help you improve your own memory when delivering your presentation.

The first weapon in our verbal armoury is to use all our senses.

The visual

The more visual imagery contained in your speech or presentation, the more memorable it becomes.

Take the following example: “A fox with glasses told his submarine to dive beneath the surface.” You can increase the impact by adding extra detail - perhaps the glasses are blue. Such use of vivid imagery helps to create more powerful memories for your audience.

The auditory

Sound can act both as a tool in its own right, but also as a reinforcement. When you describe a ‘crashing cymbal’ or a ‘crack of thunder’, the audience is automatically given an image, as well as adding a sense of drama to your speech.

Symbolism related to sound can trigger powerful associations for audiences. Mentioning the skirl of the bagpipes at a Remembrance Day parade may bring to mind the ‘devils in skirts’, the famous nickname given to the Highland regiments due to their ferocious fighting during WW1 by German soldiers.


Think of any restaurant menu and the highly descriptive choice of words like crafted, fire-roasted or hand-dived, all of which are designed to activate your taste buds, enticing you to buy.

It’s no different to persuading your audience to believe in what you’re saying.


Invoking aromas can produce impressive reactions. Take for example wine descriptions on a menu, such as ‘dark cherry’, ‘peppery’ and ‘fruity’. These spark mental associations in the same way as perfumes being described as floral, musky or woody.

Your ability to link language to senses invokes strong memories.


If you run your fingers over an object, what feeling do you experience? Can what you’re describing be thought of as smooth, rough or perhaps sharp?

Word hacks

The most potent weapon for a speaker wishing to deliver a notable speech are ‘word hacks’ - seemingly simple word magic tricks that can be used to dazzle an audience.

Here’s an example. ‘Mocha is not my cup of tea’ is mildly amusing wordplay, but when you learn it refers to a horse named Mocha and a nervous rider is making the remark the meaning resonates further with the listener.

In ancient Greece and Rome, people placed great emphasis on oratory, developing a raft of techniques that are still in use today.

Lists of three

An effective, simple and easily remembered tip is to employ the tricolon, epitomised most famously by Julius Caesar. Veni. Vidi. Vici. I came. I saw. I conquered.

Short action statements

‘Lock her up’, ‘Drain the swamp’ and ‘Build the wall’ are all three-word combinations that roll off the tongue easily and deliver a powerful message to the listener.

They are short, punchy action statements. Donald Trump used these to devastating effect - who remembers Hilary Clinton’s election sound bites?

Mirror imaging

Then we move on to chiasmus, a mirror imaging of word order. There’s President John F Kennedy, who at his inauguration said: “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”


A highly effective communicator like Barack Obama also employed rhetorical skills, his weapon of choice being epistrophe - ending successive points with the same phrase. Who could forget the simple yet strident statement: “Yes we can”?


Using the same sound or letter at the start of a word makes your speech both memorable and easy to memorise, though you have to be careful not to give yourself a verbal hurdle.

A recent Economist article about eating rabbit contained two alliterations in quick succession - ‘Lapping up lapin’, which is reasonably simple to remember, but went on to say: ‘But the hutch-based solution that Mr Maduro has hatched has run into a hitch’.

The second example would require practice and verbal dexterity from a confident speaker to deliver the full comic effect.

People want to remember you and your presentation, so give them the opportunity to do so by using language they don’t often hear.

If you deliver a presentation using the tips described, you will separate yourself from your competitors in an area most people shy away from.

Eddie Darroch is from Toastmasters International, a non-profit educational organisation that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations. Read more like this

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