Don’t Forget to Anchor Your Ideas!

Posted by Kristin Arnold on April 6, 2009

An “anchor” is a theme, concept or principle that remains long after your presentation is over.  It can be one word, a phrase or a statement that captures the essence of your speech and reinforces your call to action. It might be an acronym or acrostic that is easily remembered with each letter representing a key idea within your presentation.  It could also be a symbol or gesture that recurs during your presentation.

Here are some examples:

Slogan:  Mark Sharenbroich says “Hey, Nice Bike” (you have to hear the speech to understand the depth of this anchor!)

Acronym – which is a word formed from the first letter or syllables of the words:  TEAM – Together Everyone Achieves More.  (Be careful of this…I was in Malaysia and the speaker constructed an Acronym on Leadership & Management.  That’s twenty talking points!  I started looking at my watch after the third point….)

Acrostic (often confused with an Acronym) – which is an arrangement of words in which the first, last, or other particular letters in in each line, taken in order, spell a word or phase.  The most famous acrostic is HOMES – Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior.  Since I specialize in teamwork, if I did use an acronym, I could use TEAM – Talent, Energy, Achievement, Momentum,

Gestures:  Steve Rizzo does a little dance when he does something “just for me” that makes him happy – and he talks about “becoming a humor being”!  I just laugh when I see him dance, and I have caught myself doing a “happy dance” upon occasion.

Slogan & Gestures:  Tim Gard combines a phrase and a gesture (“Bummer” and hand to forehead) that are the cornerstone of his speech.

How do you come up with an engaging “anchor”?

  1. Think about your message and brainstorm creative ways to anchor the concept.  Don’t worry about how silly it may sound, just get all your ideas out.  It’s okay to  brainstorm with others!  Then,  let your ideas simmer for a while….
  2. Pick through the pile and see if there are a few that grab your interest.  Or maybe even a combination of ideas will work….or maybe not….
  3. Try out your “anchor” during random conversations at work, home and social events.  You’ll get a sense about what resonates and “sticks” with people.
  4. During your speech, say or demonstrate your anchor phrase at least six times.
  5. Reinforce your anchor phrase by asking the audience to finish the phrase with you – or- ask the audience to do something physically while repeating the phrase.

Anchors aweigh, my friends!

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