The Dandelion Group
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Technique of the week

Symmetry

Order! This post explains how to create an Isocolon. Use it and don’t lose it.

Repeatable soundbites are rare outside of the political arena due to two reasons. First, whilst speakers rightly spend significant time on researching the topic, they wrongly ignore the importance of dedicating some time to catchphrases. Isocolons are rhetorical schemes where you use sentences of a similar length and/or structure (e.g. American by birth. Rebel by choice.) . Companies apply this technique to create memorable slogans but you can prepare one as well for your next public appearance.

How to indite isocolons

  • Browse your speech for moments where you make two or more claims or are about to summarise several points.

  • When you can mention a (false) choice, look for words with one or two syllables and present them as a bicolon.
    (e.g. Do you wish us well or do you wish us ill? Shall we support any friend or oppose any foe?)

  • If you are about to make three points, craft a tricolon with words that rhyme.
    (e.g. Citius, altius and fortius.)

Exercise

Armenia has been in the news recently. Prominent outlets reported that the US has recognised the genocide, which took place between 1914 and 1923. More local ones warned of a shortage of soldiers partly owing to a drastic decline in female applicants. Create a slogan for the Armenian army (in English) in the form of an isocolon and with the goal to enlist more recruits.

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Ben Wilhelm