Guy Kawasaki . . . Genius in Action Part 2,

By Sam Horn, The Intrigue Expert

This is Part 2 of a 3-part series in which I share the specific things GuyKawasaki did so well in his keynote presentation at the Invent Your Future conference at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California.

You might want to have an upcoming presentation in mind while you’re reading this to get maximum benefit.

Guy Kawasaki . . . Genius in Action

Guy Kawasaki . . . Genius in Action - Sam Horn


What’s a situation you’ve got coming up in which you’ll be asking for approval, funding, support or a yes?

Who’s the decision-maker? Who has the power or authority to give you the green light or the support you need to move ahead with this idea or initiative?

What’s that person’s frame of mind? Or who will be in the audience and how receptive or resistant do you anticipate they’ll be?

Factor that into how you design and deliver your remarks – and use these techniques that were so masterfully modeled by Guy – to increase the likelihood you’ll have them at hello.

4. Guy had the courage to be counter-intuitive.

“Only dead fish swim with the stream all the time.” – Linda Ellerbee

The quickest way to lose an audience is to state the obvious.

The quickest way to engage an audience is to state the opposite.

Think about it. If you agree with everything a speaker says, why listen? The speaker is just confirming what you already know; not stretching you or teaching you anything new.

For example, he made a flat out recommendation, “EVERY ONE should go see the movie Never Say Never with Justin Bieber.”

As you can imagine, that got a “Really?!” response from this high-powered group of entrepreneurs and executives.

He then backed up his claim by saying, “It will teach you everything you need to know about marketing. Watch how Justin goes into the crowd before concerts and gives tickets to little girls who don’t have tickets.
Watch how. . . . “

He then upped the ante by promising, “If you don’t like the movie, I’ll give you your money back.” THAT’s putting a stake in the ground.

We appreciate speakers who have a passionate point of view – who dare to address (vs. tip toe around) the elephants in the room. Speakers who challenge our assumptions and admit the emperor has no clothes cause us to rethink what we “knew to be true.” They serve us at a higher level because we walk out wiser than we walked in.

5. Guy honors his family, mentors and contributors.

I want compassion to be the new black.” – American Idol judge Steven Tyler

Guy began by acknowledging a mentor in the audience, Marylene Delbourg-Delphis, who encouraged him to write. He frequently referenced colleagues including a special shout out to:

Facebook marketing guru Mari Smith in her trademark turquoise

Guy talked openly about his love for his wife, kids and parents and shared several “from the home front” stories of neighborhood hockey games, backyard bar-b-ques, etc.

What’s that got to do with anything? We like people who like their families.  In fact, novelist James Rollins, (NY Times bestselling author of Amazonia, etc.) told me he’s researched the ten best ways to create likable characters. Guess what #1 was? “Being kind to kids and animals, in particular, dogs.”

Simply said, our heart goes out to people who are compassionate.
This wasn’t contrived on Guy’s part. It’s simply who he is.

Many speakers think they have to be “serious” when speaking in business situations. Guy modeled that speaking affectionately about who and what has influenced us “warms up” a talk and establishes that all-important likability. He showed that not can we embody intellect and emotion – it’s more powerful and persuasive when we do.

6. Guy used The Power of Three to create oratorical flow.

“There’s a kind of ear music . . . a rhythmic synchronicity which creates a kind of heartbeat on the page.” – Allan Gurganus

Orators have known for centuries that communicating things in threes sets up a rhythmic flow that makes our message reverberate.

Furthermore, listing three real-world examples fleshes out your points and increases the odds every person will relate to at least one of your samples.

For example, Guy showcased Amazon.com, Zappos and Nordstrom on a slide to illustrate benchmarks of mutual trust.

He then went deeper by citing empirical evidence that showed how each of these companies have created a culture of mutual trust. But giving varied, yet specific examples (instead of one vague, sweeping generalization), we GOT what he meant.

No puzzled looks – no one left hanging.

For example, Amazon has a policy that says you can return an E-book in 7 days if you don’t like it. As Guy said,
most people can read a book in 7 days so that’s trust.

Next Guy asked, “Who would have believed a few years ago that hundreds of thousands of women would buy shoes online . . . WITHOUT TRYING THEM ON?!” What makes that possible is Zappos  visionary policy of paying for shipping both ways. No risk; all reward.

Nordstrom, of course, is famous for pioneering a generous refund policy that has proven over time that most people will honor the “We trust you” policy which offsets the few who take advantage of it.

Want more examples of how Guy Kawasaki hit it out of the park at the Invent Your Future Conference with his Enchantment keynote?

Sam Horn, Guy Kawasaki and Ruth Stergiou at the Invent Your Future conference in Silicon Valley

Ruth Stergiou, Guy Kawasaki and Sam Horn


Check the next blog for the final 4 ways Guy practiced what he taught.

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“It’s not overly dramatic to say our destiny hangs upon the impression we make.” – Barbara Walters

A premise of my study of the art and science of “intrigue” is that many people are BBB —
busy, bored, been-there-heard-that.

It takes a lot to get their attention.

In fact, most people make up their mind in the first 60 seconds whether we’re worth their valuable time, mind and dime.

If we want to get our message in their mental front door,
we need to open with something they’ve haven’t heard before.

In other words, we’ve got to be intriguing.

Intriguing is defined as “causing curiosity; capturing attention.”

Common or classic quotes no longer have the power to cause curiosity or capture attention.

I like Edison, Einstein and Emerson as much as the next person.

In fact, Emerson’s “Life consists of what a man is thinking all day long” is a favorite.

It’s just that many people under 40 often don’t know (or care) who he is.

As soon as you launch into Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream . . . ” some people are inwardly rolling their eyes.

Please note: it’s not that MLK’s profound remarks aren’t true; they’re just not new.

What this means is, everytime we use familiar quotes or old quotes from “dated” sources, our audience tunes out and moves on because they conclude we’re not current or relevant.

So, what can we do?

We can hold ourselves accountable for crafting original content and for introducing CURRENT quotes that get people’s eyebrows up.

I’ve spent a lot of time culling the following quotes from recent articles and interviews.

My hope is you’ll be able to use these intriguing insights (with attribution) to capture interest in what you want to get across.

What’s different about these quotes? You have to been alive to be included.

Read ‘em and reap.
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1. “I am in love with hope.” – Tuesdays with Morrie author Mitch Albom

2. “A lot of the time, I’m raising more questions than I’m answering.” – NPR’s Andy Carvin

3. “We are better than we think and not yet what we want to be.” – poet Nikki Giovanni

4. “I want to write songs that play themselves on stage – songs that sweep you up in their current.” – singer k.d. lang

5. “Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself.” – Tech pioneer Bill Gates

6. “I learned how to win by losing and not liking it.” – golfer Tom Watson

7. “No one wants to go out mid-sentence.” – Johnny Depp

8. “Have I pushed the envelope as much as I want to? Not yet. That’s why I’m still creatively hungry.” -movie director Steven Spielberg

9. “I have the world’s best job. I get paid to hang out in my imagination all day.” – novelist Stephen King

10. Reporter: “Would you say this rookie has exceeded your expectations?”
Yogi Berra: “I’d say he’s done more than that.”

11. “We need to treat each other with consideration. In my world, the squeaky wheel does not get the grease.” Tim Gunn

12. “Keep in mind that you’re more interested in what you have to say than anyone else is.” – Andy Rooney, 60 Minutes correspondent/curmudgeon

13. Enough about me. What do you think about me?” – Bette Midler’s character in the movie Beaches

14. When asked why he chose not to stage a summer concert tour for the first time in 17 years, country singer Kenny Chesney said, “My career is great. I don’t need more money or fame. I need more heart.”

15. “Anyone who consistently makes you feel bad is not helping you get better.” – Sam Horn

16. “Guard your good mood.” Meryl Streep

17. “When you create, you get a little endorphin rush. Why do you think Einstein looked like that?” – comedian Robin Williams

18. “Love elevates. Love is what you live for.” – Angelina Jolie

19. “As long as I’m in good shape, you’ll always see me smiling.” – Usain Bolt, World’s Fastest Human

20. “I started out wanting to write great poems, then wanting to discover true poems. Now, I want to be the poem.” – Mark Nepo

Want to know how to “hook and hinge” these current quotes into your work so they’re relevant to YOUR topic?

Email us at Sam@SamHorn.com and we’ll send you an article that explains how to tie-in each quote (with full attribution) to your material so the lights go on in your audience’s eyes and they get a relevant aha.

“Quotes are distilled wisdom.” – Sam Horn

Fred Shapiro, Associate Librarian for Yale Law School, just released his annual version of the most notable quotes.

Shapiro picks quotes that are famous, important or revealing of the spirit of the times. The quotes aren’t necessarily the most eloquent or admirable.

Shapiro set out to create “the first major book of quotations geared to the modern reader.”

Shapiro’s book is now one of a kind.

Here are a few of his selections — and then I’ll share my “bakers’ dozen” list of TOP 2010 QUOTES which DOES feature quotes that are both eloquent AND admirable.

1. “I’m not a witch.” Christine O’Donnell, television advertisement, Oct. 4.

2. “I’d like my life back.” Tony Hayward, comment to reporters, May 30.

3. “If you touch my junk, I’m gonna have you arrested.” airline passenger John Tyner, remark to TSA worker at San Diego airport, Nov. 13, 2010

4. Republican Sarah Palin’s tweet: “Don’t retreat. Instead — reload!”

5. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, “We have to pass the (health care) bill so you can find out what is in it.”

6. “Chi! Chi! Chi! Le! Le! Le! Los mineros de Chile!” Chant at Chilean mine rescue, Oct. 13.

7. “I’m going to take my talents to South Beach.” basketball player LeBron James

Sam Horn’s List of the TOP POP! Quotes of 2010

Sam Horn’s List of the TOP POP! Quotes of 2010

Sam Horn’s List of the TOP POP! Quotes of 2010


1. “If you stick to what you know; you sell yourself short.” – country singer Carrie Underwood

2. “Any time you’re making a living at what you love to do, you’re blessed.” – rock n roller Tom Petty

3. “Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous.” – journalist Bill Moyers

4. “Nobody wants to go out mid-sentence.” – actor Johnny Depp

5. “I think the one lesson I’ve learned is there’s no substitute for paying attention.” – anchor Diane Sawyer

6. “I am in love with hope.” – Tuesdays with Morrie author Mitch Albom

7. “I went for years not finishing anything. Because when you finish something, you can be judged.” – author Erica Jong

8. “I take nothing for granted. I now have only good days or great days.” – Lance Armstrong (response to what he’s learned from his bout with cancer)

9. “I didn’t need more fame or money. I needed more heart.” – Kenny Chesney (explaining why he went back home to his “roots” instead of planning his 17th consecutive summer concert tour)

10. “Your time is limited so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” – Apple pioneer Steve Jobs

11. “It’s the start that stops most people.” – former Miami Dolphins Coach Don Shula

12. “One thing that’s certain: around the corner from every ugly thing, there’s something really beautiful. If we stop at every bitter interaction; we’ll never reach our destination.” – TV reporter Soledad O’Brien

13. “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.” – ex-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright

14. “You don’t have to be perfect; you just have to be open.” – Elizabeth Edwards (RIP)

What’s your favorite quote of the year?

Share it here and tell us why it impacted you.

And if you’d like the entire list of my FAVORITE 50 CURRENT QUOTES so you can use them in your blogs, books and presentations; email us at info@SamHorn.com, put CURRENT QUOTES in the subject heading and we’ll be glad to send them to you.

“The secret to creativity is to say an old thing in a new way to or a new thing in an old way.” – Richard Harding Davis

I guess you can tell I love quotes . . .

Fresh quotes are a quick way to get our message’s foot in our readers’ and listeners’ mental door.

Why?

When we introduce something people haven’t heard before; they want to know more.

Here, as promised, are my 10 favorite quotes of the more than 2000 featured in my books POP! Tongue Fu!®, ConZentrate, Take the Bully by the Horns, What’s Holding you Back? and the upcoming SerenDestiny.

Hope you enjoy them and are able to use them to spice up your articles, blogs and presentations so people are motivated to pay attention to what you have to say.

1. “If there were a rehab for curiosity; I’d be in it.” – CBS news anchor Diane Sawyer

2. “I think we need a 12-step group for non-stop talkers. We’re going to call it On and On Anon.” – comedian Paula Poundstone

3. “When I die, I want to come back as . . . me.” – NBA team owner Mark Cuban

4. “I am in love with hope.’ – Tuesdays with Morrie Author Mitch Albom

5. “There’s no such thing as a wrong note as long as you’re singing.” – singer Pete Seeger

6. “The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for.” – columnist Maureen Dowd

7. “There is moment in every child’s life where a door opens and lets the future in.” – author Graham Greene

8. “What a wonderful life I’ve had. I only wish I’d realized it sooner.” – singer Colette

9. “Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told, ‘I am with you, kid. Let’s go.'” – author Maya Angelou

10. Before there were drawing boards, what did we go back to?” – comedian George Carlin

Oh what the heck – I’m on a roll and can’t stop.

Here are some more quotes that get people’s eyebrows up (a sure sign of intrigue).

I use them in my programs to keep people on the edge of their mental seats – and you can too.

11. “Guard your good mood.” – Academy Award-winning actress Meryl Streep

12. “To do what you love and feel that it matters; how could anything be more fun?” – Katherine Graham of the Washington Post

13. “People treat you the way you teach them to treat you.” – author Jack Canfield

14. “Teachers affect eternity. Who knows where their influence will end?’ – Henry Brooks Adams

15. “I have the world’s best job. I get paid to hang out in my imagination all day.” – author Stephen King

16. “Let us then, be up and doing.” – author Longfellow

17. “I have found if you love life, life will love you back.” – composer/painist Arthur Rubenstein

18. “Everyone thinks of changing the world, no one thinks of changing himself.” – author Leo Tolstoy

19. “If you wait to write, you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter.” – self-publishing pioneer Dan Poynter

20. “It is always with excitement that I wake up in the morning wondering what my intuition will toss up to me, like gifts from the sea. Intuition tells the thinking mind where to look next.” – Jonas Salk

21. “”The world was shocked to learn I wrote a bestseller at 66. No matter how long you live, you have stories to tell. What else is there to do but head off on the Conestoga wagon of the soul?” – Pulitzer Prize winning author Frank McCourt (Angela’s Ashes)

22. “Is there ever any particular spot where one can put one’s finger and say, “It all began that day, at such a time and such a place, with such an incident?’ – Agatha Christie

23. “The purpose of life is to . . . matter; to feel it has made some difference that we have lived at all.” – Leo Rosten

24. “When you can do a common thing in an uncommon way; you will command the attention of the world.” – inventor George Washington Carver

25. “Creativity is based on the belief that there’s no particular virtue in doing things the way they’ve always been done.” – Rudolph Flesch

What are your favorite quotes?

Please email quotations that have made you laugh, think, act or cry to us as Sam@SamHorn.com.

We’ll feature your favorite quotes in future blogs – with attribution – so other people can read ’em and reap.

I guess you can tell I love quotes.

I think they’re a great way to make familiar ideas fresh; common thoughts uncommon. They’re a Purposeful, Original, Pithy way to POP! your content and get busy people interested in what you have to say.

Here are intriguing insights that were said this past year. Hope you enjoy them and are able to use them (with attribution) to spice up your communication so people are motivated to listen to or read what you have to say.

1. “When you create, you get a little endorphin rush. Why do you think Einstein’s hair looked like that?” – Robin Williams

2. “What did we go back to before there were drawing boards?” – George Carlin

3. “The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for.” – Maureen Dowd

4. Asked why, at 72, he has no plans to retire, actor Morgan Freeman says, “If you take time off, you get more off than you want.”

5. When Judd Apatow, writer/director for the movie The 40 Year old Virgin and the popular TV show Freaks & Geeks was asked what he’s learned, he said, “It’s understanding that the common things that happen to people can be fascinating. Instead of trying to think up high-concepts, I now look for what’s ‘relatable.’”

6. “If you don’t have an idea that materializes and changes a person’s life, then what have you got? You have talk, research, telephone calls, meetings, but you don’t have a change in the community.” – Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of Special Olympics

7. When asked if he was always so sure of himself, Clint Eastwood said “Oh, I don’t think anybody begins that way – otherwise it feels like arrogance. It’s just that when you accept that life is a constant learning process, it becomes fun.”

8. “I like being tested. I get as scared as anyone. But the feeling of putting yourself on the line, betting on your talent and having it work; that’s the most exhilarating feeling in the world.” – Conan O’Brien

9. “My parents always told me I wouldn’t amount to anything because I procrastinated so much. I told them, ‘Just you wait.’” – comedian Judy Tenuta

10. “Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they’re yours.” – Richard Bach

11. When asked what he’d learned from his bout with cancer, Lance Armstrong said, “I take nothing for granted. I now have only good days, or great days.”

12. When a Washington Post reporter asked Michael Phelps why he was re-dedicating himself to swimming after 4 months of partying following the Olympics. Phelps said, “I discovered that having nothing but fun is not all that fun.”

13. One of the very first things I figured out about life…is that it’s better to be a grateful person than a grumpy one, because you have to live in the same world either way, and if you’re grateful, you have more fun.” —author Barbara Kingsolver

14. “I wish there were ten of me and we could each be doing what we wanted to do.” Filmmaker George Lucas

15. When author Elmore Leonard was asked the secret to his books’ success, he thought about it for a moment and then smiled and said, “I try to leave out the parts people skip.”

16. “I have the world’s best job. I get paid to hang out in my imagination all day.” – novelist Stephen King

17. Columnist Carolyn Hax gave this advice to a reader whose subtle hints to her boyfriend about his inappropriate behavior weren’t getting through. “Enough with the subtle hints. It’s easier to tell people how you feel than for them to read your mind.”

18. “We need to treat each other with respect. In my world, the squeaky wheel does not get the grease.” Tim Gunn

19. “Here’s the thing about earnestness. Our culture discounts it; but people are yearning for it.” – Jeffrey Zaslow, co-author of Captain Sully’s memoir Highest Duty.

20. “I’m always looking for something to engage my imagination and take me on a little mental voyage. I just want a new topic in my life.” – comedian, author, playwright Steve Martin

We agree with Steve Martin. Here at The intrigue institute, we’re constantly looking for intriguing ideas and insights that engage people’s imagination.

Want to help? Keep your antennae up for what captures your favorable attention. When you hear a thought-provoking quote that “has you at hello,” take a moment to email it to us at Sam@SamHorn.com.

And if you’d like a list of our Top 50 Current Intiguing Quotes (that means the originator of the quote needs to have lived in the last 10 years – no Goethe, Gandhi or Goucho Marx), email us at Sam@SamHorn.com and we’ll be happy to send it to you.

Until then, here’s a couple of bonus quotes.

* “I think we need a 12-step group for non-stop talkers. We’re going to call it On and On Anon.” – Paula Poundstone

* “The world was shocked to learn I wrote a bestseller at 66. No matter how long you live, you have stories to tell. What else is there to do but head off on the Conestoga wagon of the soul?” – Pulitzer Prize winning author Frank McCourt (Angela’s Ashes) and Maui – Hawaii Writers Conference keynoter

“The secret to creativity is to say an old thing in a new way or a new thing in an old way.” – Richard Harding Davis

I guess you can tell I love quotes . . .

Fresh quotes are a quick way to get our message’s foot in our readers’ and listeners’ mental door.

Why?

When we introduce something people haven’t heard before; they want to know more.

Here, as promised, are my 10 favorite quotes of the more than 2000 featured in my books POP! Tongue Fu!®, ConZentrate, Take the Bully by the Horns, What’s Holding you Back? and the upcoming SerenDestiny.

Hope you enjoy them and can use them to spice up your articles, blogs and presentations so people are motivated to pay attention to what you have to say.

1. “If there were a rehab for curiosity; I’d be in it.” – CBS news anchor Diane Sawyer

2. “I think we need a 12-step group for non-stop talkers. We’re going to call it On and On Anon.” – comedian Paula Poundstone

3. “When I die, I want to come back as . . . me.” – NBA team owner Mark Cuban

4. “I am in love with hope.’ – Tuesdays with Morrie Author Mitch Albom

5. “There’s no such thing as a wrong note as long as you’re singing.” – singer Pete Seeger

6. “The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for.” – columnist Maureen Dowd

7. “There is moment in every child’s life where a door opens and lets the future in.” – author Graham Greene

8. “What a wonderful life I’ve had. I only wish I’d realized it sooner.” – singer Colette

9. “Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told, ‘I am with you, kid. Let’s go.'” – author Maya Angelou

10. Before there were drawing boards, what did we go back to?” – comedian George Carlin

Oh what the heck – I’m on a roll and can’t stop.

Here are some more quotes that get people’s eyebrows up (a sure sign of intrigue).

I use them in my programs to keep people on the edge of their mental seats – and you can too.

11. “Guard your good mood.” – Academy Award-winning actress Meryl Streep

12. “To do what you love and feel that it matters; how could anything be more fun?” – Katherine Graham of the Washington Post

13. “People treat you the way you teach them to treat you.” – author Jack Canfield

14. “Teachers affect eternity. Who knows where their influence will end?’ – Henry Brooks Adams

15. “I have the world’s best job. I get paid to hang out in my imagination all day.” – author Stephen King

16. “Let us then, be up and doing.” – author Longfellow

17. “I have found if you love life, life will love you back.” – composer/painist Arthur Rubenstein

18. “Everyone thinks of changing the world, no one thinks of changing himself.” – author Leo Tolstoy

19. “If you wait to write, you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter.” – self-publishing pioneer Dan Poynter

20. “It is always with excitement that I wake up in the morning wondering what my intuition will toss up to me, like gifts from the sea. Intuition tells the thinking mind where to look next.” – Jonas Salk

21. “”The world was shocked to learn I wrote a bestseller at 66. No matter how long you live, you have stories to tell. What else is there to do but head off on the Conestoga wagon of the soul?” – Pulitzer Prize winning author Frank McCourt (Angela’s Ashes)

22. “Is there ever any particular spot where one can put one’s finger and say, “It all began that day, at such a time and such a place, with such an incident?’ – Agatha Christie

23. “The purpose of life is to . . . matter; to feel it has made some difference that we have lived at all.” – Leo Rosten

24. “When you can do a common thing in an uncommon way; you will command the attention of the world.” – inventor George Washington Carver

25. “Creativity is based on the belief that there’s no particular virtue in doing things they way they’ve always been done.” – Rudolph Flesch

Like these?

Imagine an ENTIRE book with current quotes from today’s top icons, influeners and innovators.

You don’t have to imagine it.

I’ve created it.

It’s called Current Quotes – and it’s available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle. 

Click here to purchase Current Quotes on Amazon.com

Here’s what former President of Toastmasters International, Bennie E. Bough, had to say about it.

“Looking for the right quote to take your message to the next level? This book is a powerful resource.”

Here’s former President of National Speakers Association Glenna Salsbury’s recommendation …

“Looking for inspiring wisdom and evovative insights? These 365 quotes will motivate you to look at life with fresh eyes and renewed enthusiasm. Truly a transformational treasure!”

Want to spice up your next spoken or written communication?

Don’t bore people with blah, blah, blah.

Get their eyebrows up in the first 60 seconds by introducing something intriguing they haven’t heard before.

Then, hoook and hinge that insightful or funny quote back to your audience and your topic so everyone in the room understands how this point relates to them.

You’ll find out HOW to hook and hinge quotes into your material in the special section in the back of my Current Quotes book.

You can order it now and have it on your e-reader in a couple minutes so you can immediately integrate these clever, creative, compelling quotes into YOUR next staff meeting, sales presentation or blog post.

Click here to purchase Current Quotes on Amazon.com

“When you can do a common thing in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.” – George Washington Carver

My first public presentation was when I gave the valedictory address for my . . . elementary school.

That may not seem like a big deal, but it was for this eighth grader eager to impress.

I prepared my ten minute speech and asked my father to listen to it. My dad, Warren Reed, was a long-time toastmaster (his father George Reed had been International President the year I was born) and I knew he’d give me honest feedback.

I presented my “bird leaving the nest, ready to fly on its own” homily and asked, “So, what do you think?”

Dad paused for a minute and then said simply, “It’s an okay talk; you just didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know.” He continued, “Sam, if you’re going to ask people for their valuable time and attention, you have an obligation to be original.”

“But Dad,” I protested, “there’s nothing new under the sun.”

He smiled and said, “Sure there is. Know what the definition of original is? If we haven’t heard it before, it’s original.”

That launched me on a lifelong quest for creative, clever quotes.

If you’re going to talk about creativity, success or how to counteract stress, you may feel it’s all been said. But if you can introduce an uncommon quote on those topics, people’s eyebrows will go up. They’ll think, “Hmmm, haven’t heard that before. Tell me more.”

Quotes get your verbal foot in people’s mental door.

For example, Rudolph Flesh said, “Creativity may simply be the realization there’s no particular virtue to doing things the way they’ve always been done.”

If you’re speaking about true success, you might want to quote Where the Wild Things Are author Maurice Sendak who said, “There must be more to life than having everything.”

If you’re conducting a stress management seminar, you could pleasantly surprise your audience by starting with Ron Dettinger’s quip, “I told the doctor I couldn’t relax. He said, ‘Force yourself.’” Or Lilly Tomlin’s wry observation “For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.”

The key is to use uncommon quotes. As inspirational as Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” or “John F. Kennedy’s “Ask not what you can do” quotes are . . . people already know them. Using them will defeat your purpose because people will conclude you have nothing new to say and they’ll tune out.

A good litmus test for whether to use a quote is, if you’ve heard it before; chances are your audience has heard it before too. Scrap it and keep searching for something that makes your eyebrows go up. That’s a sure sign that statement is sufficiently provocative to pique your audience’s curiosity. People will be more likely to listen because they always walk away from your presentations knowing something they didn’t know before.

Want to know the 7 Do’s and Don’ts of Quotes? Email us at Jill@SamHorn.com and we’ll send an article with specific tips on how to find and use quotes that make you instantly interesting.

Would you like a list of my Top 10 favorite quotes of all time? The most funny, thought-provoking, guaranteed-to-get-people-interested-in-what-you-have-to-say quotes? Check back next week and I’ll share them.

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