Does Your Speech Pass The T-shirt Test?

By Jane Atkinson

tshirtHow memorable is your message?

When you have a powerful line or phrase that
you say throughout your speech you are
accomplishing 3 goals:

1. You are giving the audience something to
remember you by.

2. You are making an idea stick. (The Heath
brothers book ‘Made to Stick’ illustrates
this idea brilliantly).

3. You are giving the audience something
with ‘repeat-ability’.

Now what’s this got to do with t-shirts?

Well, ideally a great phrase or tag line
within your speech will look great on a
t-shirt. Ergo, it passes the t-shirt test.

Let’s take Joe Calloway’s ‘Let it Go’ speech
from NSA a few years back. Joe said at the
beginning….’although people say you should
have 3 points in a speech, I’m only going to
give you 1 idea’. His idea was about letting
things go in your business in order to move
to the next level.

The phrase ‘let it go’ seemed to take on a
life of it’s own and was repeated for years.
This speech stuck! (That’s why I interviewed
Joe to discuss why it worked in my Diary of a
Killer Keynote DVD)

Here are a few questions to help you consider
your powerful phrase:

Is there one thing that you say in your
speech that people will remember for sure?

Would it look good (ie: be short enough and
succinct enough) to have impact on a t-shirt?

When people walk out of the room after a
speech by you, are they able to convey to
another person exactly what they learned?

Does it pass the boardroom test? Would
people repeat your phrase to one another in a
staff meeting?

Sharing one idea or point that sticks is far
more powerful than sharing 10 that don’t.

I hope this will help you design your
powerful phrase and incorporate it into your

Happy speaking!

ps: If you want to see that Calloway speech
I mentioned, it is included in full on the
Killer Keynote DVD. Check it out….

(you may need to cut and paste this link).