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Speaking Lessons from Marco Rubio’s Big Flub: Why Simply Memorizing Soundbites Doesn’t Work

In case you missed it, presidential hopeful Marco Rubio repeated almost verbatim the same soundbites FOUR times! It was not only comical, but a case of speaking suicide and homicide: killing his audience and his credibility.

If you’re ready to make a presentation, speech, or give a point of view at a meeting, here’s help to avoid committing this crime.

  1. Keep Extra Ammunition in Your Pocket – if Mr. Rubio had alternative soundbites in his pocket, he wouldn’t have sounded like a robot. My advice: over prepare for what you think they will ask…and then add more Q&A to your prep time. Don’t forget to engage a friend, colleague or coach (me!) for help.

  2. Remain Present – What I mean here is to follow the conversation and debate in real time; don’t remain so focused on your soundbite that you forget what’s really going on! I often find in radio interviews that hosts aren’t really listening to my answers, but preparing for the next question – exactly the antithesis of my advice.

  1. Repeat Soundbites Selectively – A great technique for having your audience buying-in to your message, is to repeat it sparingly, but forcefully. For example, the cadence of Martin Luther King’s great speech is driven by the repetition of the phrase “I have a dream.” Don’t unintentionally repeat yourself, but if you do, laugh it off. Marco would have been better off adding a self-deprecating line such as, “Did I just say that?”

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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