The perfect speech: Action Baby!


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Text comes from: Speak Limbic! Wirkungsvoll präsentieren - Präsentationen effektiv vorbereiten, überzeugend inszenieren und erfolgreich durchführen (2009) by Anita Hermann-Ruess, published by BusinessVillage Verlag, Reprints by friendly permission of the publisher.
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How can you capture and retain the attention of your audience in a speech? There are also a number of stylistic devices that provide for action. we introduce them to you.

The perfect speech: Action Baby! The perfect speech: Action Baby!


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Anita Hermann-Ruess 91Anita Hermann-Ruess is a rhetoric and communication expert as well as lecturer at various universities.

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The old antithesis of good and evil!

Actually, you already know that, because every action film has a perfect command of this style: Contrast, also called antithesis in jargon, between contrasts such as fast - slow, lavish - profitable, complicated - simple, etc. It even works interculturally.

The effect of the antithesis is: The dark anti-value makes my value shine even brighter. And the contrast ensures that the listener does not mentally drift off, but remains attentive to the matter. Incidentally, deliberately used questions also have a similarly stimulating effect. Both stylistic devices bring action to your speech.

rhetoric the political speech

Even in politics, political speech and rhetoric, the antithesis, the contrast of one of the most popular stylistic devices, is the voters 'and listeners' favor: right - left, up - down, black - white, light - dark.

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But even in the economic context can be effectively formulated with the antithesis: fast - slow, wasteful - profitable, complicated - simple, etc. Served here are quite archaic patterns: Every successful film, every exciting novel, but also every rousing speech lives on the opposite of good and evil. A real highlight, then.

Stylistic overview: sharpening with antitheses

The antithesis can also be increased by the fact that the anti-value is disproved in the argument by my thesis (concessio, prolepsis), or even ridiculed as with the irony.

Here are some stylistic devices of the rhetorical antithesis at a glance:

  • Antithesis: Parallel in sentence construction / contrary in content. Value and anti-value in one sentence Avoid sponges - speaks plain text. polarized; shows light and shadow sides and generates a voltage. Helps to make decisions.
  • Limbic Keywords: Limbic values ​​and limbic anti- values ​​of the counterpart explicitly. Link your own solution with limbic values, the actual state or the solution of the competitor with antivirus.
  • Irony: The irony expresses the opposite of what the speaker really wants to say. Refer humorously to the shadows (hell).
  • Concessio: Translucent permit. Apparently grant the opposing argument. Takes the wind from the sails. Is credible and generates trust.
  • prolepsis: Proper anticipation. They name and invalidate possible objections during the presentation. Then comes a surprising twist in the argumentation in your favor. This has the advantage that you are able to defy objections well in the preparation well and effectively.

To stimulate thinking with rhetorical questions

But questions also bring action in your presentation - you should simply not underestimate their great impact. Because questions make you think and initiate targeted interactions. With questions you can instantly draw your audience from their world into yours - and thus bring their message to them.

But questions make your audience, your audience more curious. More ideas, more inspiration, more answers. If you do not answer them right away, you can build a suspense on the answer / solution with questions.

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Attracting attention with questions

Compared to claims, questions have the great advantage that they set the attention switch in the listener's brain to "on". Questions are convincing because they build up less pressure than claims.

As pressure generates backpressure, issues of resistance in the audience diminish against your position. The listeners are instead encouraged to think. Here are two examples:

  1. Rhetorical question: Suggestive sham question. They get a “yes” (approval) or a “no” (rejection of the opposite position) from the audience and are an important step in the persuasion process.
  2. Direct questions to the audience / to the interlocutor: Exchange and interaction with the audience. To be on the right track with his arguments.


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  1. Anita Hermann-Ruess

    Thanks for the sharen!

  2. Competencepartner

    What we can learn from action movies - great contribution!

  3. firm-job

    What an approach - every action movie masters this remedy perfectly: the contrast and the antithesis!

  4. Stefan Wehmeier

    freedom and justice

    From today's perspective, the monocausal cause of all civilization problems that can even be addressed - right up to the current "financial crisis" - is so primitive and the only solution is so simple from a purely technical point of view that the "normal citizen" is inclined to the "responsible" To assume malice. But this is a mistake:

    “Evil can be protested, it can be exposed, it can be prevented by force if necessary, evil always carries the seed of self-decomposition by leaving at least one discomfort in people. We are defenseless against stupidity. Nothing can be done here with protests or violence; Reasons don't get caught; Facts that contradict your own prejudice simply don't need to
    to be believed - in such cases the stupid becomes even more critical - and if they are inevitable, they can simply be set aside as unrecognized isolated cases. The stupid in contrast to the evil is completely satisfied with himself; yes, he even becomes dangerous by attacking easily irritated.
    Therefore, the dumb is more careful than the evil. We will never again try to convince the stupid by reasons; it is meaningless and dangerous.
    So much is certain that she (stupidity) is not essentially an intellectual, but a human defect. There are intellectually extremely mobile people who are stupid and intellectually very heavy-handed who are anything but stupid. ... One gets less the impression that stupidity is a congenital defect, than that in certain circumstances, the people are made stupid, or can be stupid.

    ... The fact that the stupid is often stubborn must not hide the fact that he is not self-employed. You can almost feel it in conversation with him that you are not dealing with yourself, with him personally, but with keywords, slogans etc. that have become powerful over him. He is under a spell, he is blinded, he is abused, mistreated in his own nature. In this way, the stupid will become capable of all evil and at the same time unable to recognize this as evil. ”

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer (stupidity is a more dangerous enemy of good than wickedness)

    In order to preserve the illusion of happiness in a systemically unfree and unjust world, which has always been systemically unfree and unjust, in which sustained economic activity is impossible, as well as mass poverty, environmental destruction and war - and ultimately the decline of culture - are inevitable Categories Good and Evil remain limited and must never know what freedom and justice is:

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