Using song lyrics for pleasure, polish, and presentation performance


by Peter Watts

Bob Dylan will help your presentations come to life. In fact not just Dylan; whether your genre is rock, soul, country, or blues, you can have fun with a presentation by slipping in the odd line of lyrics from your favorite song.

Why would you do this? Three reasons:

Firstly, to bring personal pleasure to your presentation. If you’re enjoying the session, then your audience will enjoy it too. Embedding the occasional song lyric, an aside that is meant for you alone, will quietly spike your energy and keep you upbeat.

Secondly, it helps with nerves. The pre-planned song lyric, chosen because you like it and can fit it into your narrative, acts like a pin to pop the bubble of any internal tension that has built up while you are talking.

Finally, in terms of their prose quality, song lyrics represent a highway of diamonds we can borrow at leisure, adding dimensions of rhetoric to presentations. They are a ready-made source of inspiration.

In the classroom, I suggest to teams that they incorporate such lyrics into their presentations. Despite initially believing that the trainer has lost his mind, everyone soon discovers what an effective technique this is to bring pleasure to presenting.

The steps to follow are simple:

  • What is my key message?
  • What song title or lyric do I want to include?
  • How can I drop that lyric seamlessly into my presentation in such a way that it fits with the message without drawing attention to itself?

Surprisingly high-calibre speakers often practice this art; Supreme Court Justices for example! According to a recent article on the NPR show “All Things Considered”, Dylan lyrics have found their way into no less than 186 court rulings. Even the supremely straight-laced Antonin Scalia has been known to drop the occasional Dylanism!

You can find the full NPR article by following this link, and maybe also, somewhere in this blog, you might even find my own gem of Dylan.

Comments

  1. Great minds think alike. I do this all the time!
    Thanks for giving me a reason for it… I thought I was being silly ;p

  2. hi there

    When working with groups around communication and behavioural awareness, I am often using lines from songs and two of my favourites are “What is never said is never heard ” Barbra Streisand song, and the other “You only act your age if that is the age you want to be” This one opens up all kinds of conversations after it, as you might imagine.

    Ray

    • Not only can I imagine you quoting them Ray….. I can imagine you bursting into them half way through the presentation! Great songs for a great presenter.

      Thanks for subscribing to the blog 🙂

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