The Dandelion Group

Technique of the week

Listing with power

9 out of ten speakers say the growing popularity of online presentations, such as TED talks, have raised the bar for business presentations. 7 out of ten have undergone a presentation or public speaking training. Yet still 6 out of ten do not believe they are strong public speakers (Logitech and TED survey, 2017). With this blog and our courses, we want to empower you to share your ideas.

Artful orators are not born but made. You might have come across amplification when Scott F. Fitzgerald lists all the people going to Gatsby’s party, or in pleadings where attorneys describe a scene in short sentences inspired by Cicero. The technique is called listing.

Listing not only builds up to important points. Many comedians use it to push their punchline. TED speaker Maysoon Zayid’s, for example, won the audience over when she said, ”If there was an Oppression Olympics, I would win the gold medal. I'm Palestinian, Muslim, I'm female, I'm disabled, and I live in New Jersey.” Click here to see the full talk.

How do you list with power?

  1. Read through your speech and highlight weaker parts.

  2. Should you spot an active sentence with weak verbs, list additional verbs building on the previous one.
    (e.g. paralyses, hurts, darkens)

  3. Add contrasting phrases to sharpen it further if necessary.
    (e.g. hatred paralyses life, love releases it; despair hurts life, hope nourishes it; anger darkens life, peace illuminates it)

  4. This also applies to statistics. Instead of just showing one, list two more with relevant results - similar to the intro of this post.


Amplify the part on clean energy in Prime Minister Modi’s speech on India’s 70th independence day:

“We have aid emphasis on energy, specifically renewable energy in our country. That was a time, when after so many years of independence, we started working on wind energy. Within a period of last one year we have increased it up to 40%. So this is the scale of up acceleration. Whole world is focussing on Solar energy. We have increased it approximately 116%-118%. This is not only a substantial incremental change, it’s a huge leap forward. We intend to enhance the things in quantum way.”

Learn the techniques. Boost your confidence. Make your point.
here and jump the curve.

Ben WilhelmComment