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Public Speaking Course: 

Anachronisms

An anachronism is a term that means a place, person, thing or event that is placed into a time period it doesn't belong in. For example, Paul Revere riding a motorcycle or George Washington sitting in front of a computer would be anachronisms.  Anachronisms can be very effective and that is why I teach  about them in my public speaking course.

Advertising and marketing agencies use anachronisms all the time, especially around federal holidays like Washington's Birthday , Columbus Day, and even Lincoln's birthday. In fact, to promote the Sacagawea golden dollar coin, full page ads of George Washington in a modern tuxedo at a cocktail party surrounded by young women whose skin color suggests they might be American Indian were seen often in newspapers.  The relationship between new and old is always an interesting concept. Anytime you can emphasize this type of relationship in one of your presentations you will evoke some humor and create more attention to your product, service, or point. 

I saw an ad once for fluorescent light bulbs that had Thomas Edison working on a phonograph. The caption read: "If Thomas Edison wouldn't have wasted his time on this (incandescent bulb), his phonograph might have been a CD player."

Here is a good fill-in-the-blank format. Would (big name from the past) have________________ if he had ________________? All you have to do is make a simple relationship and your message will be funny and memorable. 

"Would George Washington have thrown his money across the Potomac if he had ABC investment company on his side?" 

Once you get used to anachronisms while practicing in your public speaking course, you can adjust the content to suit your presentation. The "Man on the Money" George Washington/ABC investment anachronism could turn into a good, usable one-liner, to add some spice to your presentation. 

"George Washington wouldn't have thrown his money across the Potomac if he had come to us for advice." 

When your trying to add a little humor, anachronisms are the perfect choice.

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