Find Your Voice


Do you have trouble remembering the points a speaker made? They’ve faded soon after you’ve left the venue? I do. Maybe you have the same trouble.

Thoughts that occur to me are: “Was it that I didn’t pay enough attention? Did I let my mind wander? Or do I lack a good enough memory to recall those points?” No, not at all. The correct answer is the speaker did not ‘anchor’ those points. Had he or she done so, I would have remembered them.

Anchors are described as anything that gets you to remember those points. Craig Valentine Toastmasters World Champion of Public Speaking in 1999, likes to use the phrase “What is Loose is Lost.” In other words what is not anchored in the listener’s mind is loose and will be lost.

There are five main anchoring methods.

I like to call them the 5 ‘A’s’ They are:

  1. Anecdote – Is a story, tale or yarn.
  2. Analogy – A comparison
  3. Activity – A action that involves the audience to some degree.
  4. Acronym – An abbreviation
  5. Audio -Visuals – Audio or Video content.

To make that lengthy keynote memorable, put in a mixture of anchors. This will not only hold the audience interest, but it’ll also make the keynote memorable.

Make sure, of course, that every single point you make is illustrated with one of the five anchors. That way your audience will not forget those points. They will be ‘anchored home.’

It’s also beneficial before and after anchors to use reflective, open-ended questions (who, what, when, where, and why questions). This gives the audience some quiet time to ponder and reflect. Remember: “Wisdom comes from reflection” (Patricia Fripp)

Anchors are a huge part in creating impact. They engage the audience and convey to them a message that is memorable. That message will linger longer and will remain. So next time you prepare your speech, tighten it up with anchoring your points. It could make all the difference, between being ‘loose and lost,’ to being anchored deep in the memory of your listeners.