Get your sound bite right. Your guide to creating and using sound bites.

Sound bites are remembered. Sound bites are played on the news. Sound bites get you hired.

I’ve got a million of them. I save them and collect them.

I’m really ADD and it’s tough for me to pay attention for long periods of time. I learned the power of the sound bite from my pastor Ed Young. He’s an incredible communicator, mostly by using sound bites to help you remember the key points of his message (“When you’re doing great, people hate,” among thousands of others). It helps me remember the point instead of just hearing a bunch of words. I like to think of sound bites as headlines to the rest of the talk. If you only remember the headline, it will help you remember the rest of the story. The weaker the headline, the less likely you’ll remember the story.

So, how can you come up with sound bites and quotes and use them?

Make sure that your presentation/talk/message has a main point.
If you’re trying to make 25 points during your presentation, no one will remember all 25. Find the single most important thing and make it a sound bite.

Collect Sound Bites and Quotes
Whenever I see or hear a quote that I like, even if I think that I’ll never use them, I put them in a note within Evernote. There’s no organization to it, just a bunch of quotes. If I’m working on a speech or pitch, I’ll glance over it for inspiration.

How To Make Your Own Sound Bites
It’s actually easy to make your own sound bites, but people never try. A couple of things that work:

  • Rhymes: “Ain’t nothing to it, but to do it.” Rhymes are always easy to remember.
  • Alliteration: “There’s a method to the madness.” Alliteration, for me, is a lot tougher to create, but it can be very effective.
  • Contrast: “By fighting you never get enough, but by yielding you get more than you expected.” I love these types of quotes. They show how different results can be by talking about two different things.
  • Visualization: “When you make a touchdown, act like you’ve been there before and you’re coming back.” Even though you probably won’t be talking about Football, this lets the audience visualize exactly what you’re talking about.
  • Acronyms: “HNL.” “DWWD.” If you don’t know what those stand for, email me.

A couple more “rules.”

  • First of all, “Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.” —Dalai Lama
  • There really are no rules when it comes to creating your own quotes and sound bites.
  • Try some new things, see what works and what doesn’t.
  • The best sound bites will work with almost everyone, but know your audience. Don’t quote rap songs to a nursing home.

What are some of your favorite quotes and sound bites?