December 15, 2011

Do you have a memorable one-liner?



One of my regular networking groups gives several opportunities to practice speaking each month. We go around the room introducing ourselves, once at the beginning and once at the end, delivering what's called our "30-second commercial." There's also an opportunity each month for three members of the group to deliver longer presentations about their work.

Some of the group members don't bother to take advantage of this amazing opportunity to continually improve their content. They repeat the same information month after month, never bothering to vary their basic storyline. But I'm happy to say that most of the people in the group do make the effort to engage the rest of us with creative descriptions of what they do and how it benefits their clients and customers.

One of the most effective ways to create a memorable ("sticky") idea that remains with your audience long after the presentation is to come up with a clever one-liner or sentence that resonates with the audience. It can be a tagline, a motto, a slogan, or it can just be a creative way of stating a concept that people will remember. Here are a few I've heard from our group members recently.

Ellen (who I've mentioned before, here and here) is one of my former group coaching clients. She sells healthy household products. In her recent presentation, describing why she believes so strongly in her products, she stated, "I want to live until I die." She meant that she didn't want to live a long life but be incapacitated. She wanted to be living an active lifestyle till the end. Succinct and powerful.

In the same presentation, she told us, "Good health is an investment, not a purchase." I thought this was such a standout line that I considered stealing it and tweaking it for my business!

Stephanie, an optometrist (who I've written about here and here), gave us this clever and profound reminder to get our eyes checked in her recent commercial: "When your world is in focus, you can connect with it better."

And then there was Russell, a painter, whose deadpan delivery I always enjoy. Here's a simply stated and humorous line of his that became an instant classic: "I put all the paint where it's supposed to be and none of it where it shouldn't be." He reminds me of my favorite uncle, who always had a clever expression to crack me up.

It's not easy to come up with a brilliant and memorable one-liner. But when you've got a good one, that one sentence can be the difference between your audience walking away with only a vague memory of your topic and your audience sharing your message with everyone they know!

Do you have a catchy or pithy one-liner that has been successful for you?

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