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Quick Tip: Repetition = Retention
By Bill Wilson   Printer Friendly Version

The Universal Speaker's Law says: (1) Tell them what you're going to tell them, (2) Tell them, and (3) Tell them what you told them. And, while you're telling them, tell them over and over again. Certainly, you don't want to repeat the same thing over and over again…to your audience, you'll sound like fingernails on a blackboard. But you can make an important point and use several different illustrations to drive that point home. Listen to the pro's sometime and you'll see this done expertly.

Why do you have to be so repetitive? Simple...if you want the audience to remember the important points in your message, you have to make each point in 3-6 different ways. According to one study, if you make a point only one time, at the end of your presentation, just 10% of the audience will remember it. If you repeat a point six times, retention jumps to 90%. Without repetition, 40% of your audience will forget virtually everything you said within 20 minutes of your conclusion. Within 24 hours, 70% of the audience will forget almost 100% of your message.

Think for a minute about some of the great speeches of history. In Winston Churchill's "We shall never surrender!" speech, he says, "We shall..." ELEVEN times. He says, "We shall fight..." SEVEN times. And he does this in about a one-minute segment of the speech, but this is the part we remember. Likewise, Martin Luther King's most memorable speech uses the word "dream" NINE times and the phrase "I have a dream..." SEVEN times, all within a three-minute time span.

Copyright 1999-2000 by William C. Wilson, Jr.
All Rights Reserved.


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