Rhyme is the third rhetorical device in the acronym SCREAM (Simile, Contrast, Rhyme, Echo, Alliteration, and Metaphor). Use the techniques of SCREAM to capture your audience’s attention with colorful language and anchor your points the minds of your audience members.
Short rhymes can be very effective in foundational phrases in your presentations. Think of a foundational phrase as a “slogan” for a point you want people to remember. It can even summarize your main points. For example, I helped a recent presentation client boil down her 3 action steps to: Dump it! Claim it! Do it! In this case the rhyme is the same word, “it.” Someone speaking about moving around to stay healthy could boil the message down to: Be fit. Don’t sit.
Use ending rhymes with caution. If you have more than 2 sentences ending with rhyming words, it can start to sound like a nursery rhyme.
However, you can use suffixes that rhyme to create a sense of parallelism, which enhances memory.
A short example, I’m sure you’ve heard: Your attitude determines your altitude.
A longer example (Product Development):
Quality focuses on specification.
Research focuses on exploration.
Design focuses on innovation.
Production focuses on creation.
You can also use internal rhyme (i.e. not at the end of phrases), which is subtle, but powerful.
Winston Churchill: Out of intense complexities, intense simplicities emerge. Humanity, not legality, should be our guide.
So, how can you come up with your own powerful rhymes?
Online, of course!
- Try using synonyms to explore words at Thesaurus.com. Maybe you want to use a different word than “angry” for example.
- Use a rhyming dictionary, such as Rhymezone.com
- Search for words that end in specific suffixes at OneLook.com (for example, if you want words that end in “ity” you can use a wild card asterisk in your search. You would search for *ity and then narrow your search by selecting “common words only”). OneLook.com is linked to the searches at rhymezone.com (“Want more ideas? Try searching OneLook.com for words ending with *ity”)
Isn’t it time you added some rhyme? Prime your audience with rhyme.