Tips to write memorable speech lines
You do not make a speech to be forgotten by people as soon as they step out of the room. Instead, you speak to leave a mark. You want your words to stay with the audience long after they have heard you.
You want people to remember you as they remember John F. Kennedy and his words.
But do you know that what's so special about Kennedy's words that people remember them even after years and decades? It is the use of a technique called Chiasmus.
Memorable words might come naturally to a person, but such cases are few. Most of the time, you will have to structure and frame your words so that they stay in the memory of the audience longer than they expect.
Chiasmus is one sure-shot way of making this happen.
What is Chiasmus?
Chiasmus is a figure of speech used to write compelling and memorable speech lines. It is a word of Greek origin that means "diagonal arrangement".
When two consecutive clauses have the same keywords but in reverse order, the condition is known as Chiasmus. This is why it is also known as the criss-cross figure of speech.
E.g., "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."
Here the keywords are "your country" and "you," which are used in reverse order to strengthen the message behind the words. In addition, it helps in highlighting the importance of the idea by juxtaposing the contrasting meaning.
Why Use Chiasmus?
If you still are unable to figure out the application and use of the literary device, here are a few reasons how Chiasmus helps you in writing powerful and memorable lines:
- It is a powerful tool of communication that is persuasive.
- It helps in emphasizing a specific subject.
- The tools grab the immediate attention of the audience and make them involved in the narrative.
- The versatility of the tool allows you to use it in various ways and situations. Thus, making it easy for you to mold it according to your purpose.
How to Use Chiasmus?
Here are a few guidelines for you to use Chiasmus to its full potential:
- Do not overuse it: If you overuse any technique, you are most likely to kill its magic. Once you overuse it, it will fail to leave an impact on your audience. Therefore, spend it wisely.
- Analyze the relationship: The strength of Chiasmus is in the way you establish a connection between the repeated keywords. If the relationship doesn't make sense to your audience, the whole purpose comes crashing down.
- Take help of existing examples: If you haven't ever used Chiasmus, fear not. You can use the structure of the existing ones and frame an original one in the same mold. Once you read a good number of examples, your mind will get familiar with the style, and it will become easier for you to craft an original one.