Who knew? 3 things a bank can teach you about public speaking

A pair of handprints surrounding a hand-painted heart symbolIf you look carefully, you can often learn great public-speaking tips from all kinds of places. (Not just from obvious ones, like courses.)

Let’s check out an example

As my LinkedIn profile can tell you, I work at CommBank – Commonwealth Bank of Australia, also known as CBA.

Recently, CommBank’s values were updated, so they’re now succinctly expressed in just 3 words:

  • Care
  • Courage
  • Commitment

When I first heard those words, I was struck by how well they work together. And as I reflected on exactly why that is, I realised it’s because they have these 3 traits:

  • Most crucially, they use the Rule of 3, as they consist of 3 parts.
  • Plus, they use alliteration (all starting with the same letter).
  • They even use a “syllable shape” (as I call it), in that the number of syllables in each word forms a pattern. (In this case, there’s 1 syllable in “Care”, 2 syllables in “Courage”, and 3 syllables in “Commit­ment”, making the pattern 1-2-3.)

    Thanks to Clare Lynch, who’s a writing coach in the UK and online, just 2 weeks ago I learnt that the formal term for that is a “rising tricolon”.

Taken together, especially, those 3 traits make for a powerful, memorable message. And as a public speaker, isn’t that what you aim for, too?

So, to make your own message more powerful and more memorable, you could take a leaf out of CommBank’s book. To do that, try a combination of those 3 techniques:

  • Use the Rule of 3.
  • Use alliteration.
  • Use a “syllable shape”.

You’ll have a strong message as a result, and your audience will thank you for it.


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