Find Your Phora

An opening monologue. From tv comedian turned start-up news channel host, Mark Dolan.

I doubt that you, like me, are on either extreme of this debate of our coronavirus age.

Yet the messaging is often so blanket, contradictory and muffling that to be heard, something has to truly stand out.

For me this clip, the length of a pop song, does indeed stand out.

And in how it earns its distinctiveness we can take plenty for our own Sales presentations.

The rhetorical theme which works its magic here is called anaphora.

Where a phrase is repeated at the start of each sentence or section.

It brings emphasis. Lasting, too.

Here, that phrase is clearly derived from the ‘it’s only a mask’ edict.

What is also worth noting, is how the presenter rails against this as a construct, so tries to use it to its own disadvantage.

Similar in a sense to Mark Antony in the classic Shakespeare speech at Caesar’s funeral, ‘for they are all honourable men’.

Incidentally, the repeated phrase can come at the end of sentence too.

When it is known as an epiphora.

Interestingly, over the same weekend, a different broadcaster listed comments from the public about a party/non-party that did/did not take place twelve months earlier with those in power.

At the end of reading each one out, the host sighed, ‘cheek by jowl’. A dozen in a row.

That was also a good delivery of these siblings of oratorical flourish.

British political broadcasting titan Andrew Neil no less dismissed the newbie above recently as a ‘shock jock’.

Whilst not a patch on the brilliant opening remarks he made six years prior, after the Bataclan massacre by “Islamist Scumbags” (see foot), I fancy he might revise his doubts as to delivery a touch now.

When pitching, we have more material to mine in this vein than we might at first spot.

There are the headquarter-emanating messages. Such as from marketing, social media or the ceo.

Then there are stated project goals at the coal-face. Including sayings that either encapsulate the issue, give it credence or even sometimes satirise it.

You’ll know when you’ve happened across a good one.

You can envisage sitting in front of a single slide, and repeating it to make impact too.

Poetry in motion.

You may only need to do half-dozen reps.

Each one a nail with its hammer of prose following on.

Even better when, like above, there’s a kind of neat arc to your depiction.

Indeed, “it’s only ____” in this example is just two words. Showing how well this could be applied to almost any business solution pitch.

We might be cheeky and mangle the ancient Greek from where the labels hail. Find your Phora. Have you heard such that’ll give your messaging the real buzz it deserves?

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