My wife and her sister are huge fans of TV ghost shows. When her sister visited this year, they decided to go to the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. If you are not familiar with the Stanley, it’s the hotel where Steven King was inspired to write “The Shining.” There are hundreds of stories of paranormal experiences at the Stanley so they wanted to take the Stanley’s Ghost Tour. During the briefing the tour guide handed out Dum Dum suckers, which he referred to as “ghost bait.”
I know what you’re thinking: “What do Dum Dum suckers or ghosts have to do with presenting?” Several weeks later, I saw a Dum Dum sucker and my mind brought up the complete Stanley story. The suckers have become an anchor for my experience at the Stanley. All great presentations need an anchor.
Most people are not capable of remembering every word of a presentation. They are capable of remembering the general feeling and concept of your presentation. This is where anchors come in valuable: helping people recall the important parts of your presentation.
An anchor can be a short phrase or a movement tied to an idea. For lots of verbal examples of an anchor watch television or listen to the radio. Most commercial companies use anchors. They call them slogans: United Airlines – Fly the Friendly Skies; Nike – Just Do It; Budweiser – The King of Beers; and the list goes on and on. Take a moment and reflect on these anchors and you will find lots of memories flooding into your mind.
Movements are also very powerful anchors. Several years ago, I competed in Toastmaster’s District 18 International Speech Contest. In the speech, I had the audience stand and punch the air while shouting “gumbatte,” as if they were breaking through their problem. For years after the speech, people in the audience would greet me with “gumbatte” and an air punch. For those that are curious, gumbatte means, “to persist,” in Japanese.
To make your speech memorable add verbal and/or movement anchors. When you do, you may hear it for years to come, just as I did.