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Text comes from the book: "Speak Limbic! Present effectively - prepare presentations effectively, stage them convincingly and carry them out successfully ”(2009), published by BusinessVillage Verlag, reprinted with the kind permission of the publisher.

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91Anita Hermann-Ruess is a rhetoric and communication expert and lecturer at various universities. Anita Hermann-Ruess (MA). She studied rhetoric at the University of Tübingen, is the author of several books on effective presentation and captivating rhetoric and a lecturer at universities and technical colleges. The company she runs, Hermann-Ruess und Partner, advises companies and organizations on all questions of convincing business communication, from the right words to the choice of the right communication channels, which are playing an increasingly important role today. More information at All texts by Anita Hermann-Ruess.

The perfect speech: Action Baby!

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.

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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 of political speech

Also in de Politics, political speech and rhetoric, is the antithesis, the contrast of one of the most popular stylistic devices for the favor of voters and listeners: right - left, above - below, black - white, light - dark.

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.

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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.

Attracting attention with questions

In comparison to assertions, questions have the great advantage that they set the attention switch in the listener's brain to "on". Questions are convincing because they create less pressure than assertions.

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” (an agreement) or a “no” (rejection of the opposing position) from the audience and are an important step further 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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4 responses to "The perfect speech: Action Baby!"

  1. Anita Hermann-Ruess says:

    Thanks for the sharen!

  2. Competencepartner says:

    What we can learn from action films - great contribution!

  3. firm-job says:

    What an approach - every action film does indeed master this means perfectly: the contrast and the antithesis!

  4. Stefan Wehmeier says:

    freedom and justice

    From today's point of view, the monocausal cause of all civilization problems that can be discussed at all - up to the current "financial crisis" - is so primitive and the only solution so simple in purely technical terms that the "ordinary citizen" is inclined to refer to the "responsible person" To imply malice. But that is a mistake:

    “You can protest against evil, it can be exposed, it can be prevented by force if necessary, evil always carries the germ of self-decomposition in that it leaves at least one discomfort in people. We are defenseless against stupidity. Neither protests nor violence can do anything here; Reasons don't get caught; Facts that contradict your own prejudice just don't need to
    To be believed - in such cases the stupid becomes even critical - and when they are inevitable they can simply be brushed aside as insignificant individual cases. In contrast to the evil one, the stupid is completely satisfied with himself; yes, he even becomes dangerous when he is easily irritated and goes on to attack.
    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 should not hide the fact that he is not independent. You can almost feel in conversation with him that you are not dealing with himself, with him personally, but with slogans, slogans, etc. that have become powerful over him. He is under a spell, he is blinded, he is abused in his own being, mistreated. Having become a willless instrument, the stupid will also be capable of all evil and at the same time incapable of recognizing 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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