We generally recommend putting a minimum of elements on a slide, with the same drive: “simplify to amplify,” simplify the information to amplify the message. To hold the attention in a room, it is especially important to use short texts that don’t force the audience to be in reading mode. One of the exceptions to this good practice is the use of quotes. They meet two objectives: to inspire and to provide testimony. But there are a number of pitfalls to avoid so that their use does not become counterproductive.
To inspire, rise above and give substance to your remarks, a quote always has a good effect. We often choose them for their relevance and literary quality. It is important to choose quotes that move you. Avoid using quotation dictionaries where you’ll only find phrases we’ve all heard a hundred times. On the other hand, if you gather phrases over time that have supported an awareness of reinforced a feeling, you will gradually build your own list of quotes, which you can place when the time comes.
Another use for quotes is to provide testimony. In this case, it is not vital for the author to be renowned. On the other hand, be careful not to use the quote as proof. Verbatim, whether it comes from our hierarchy or from a survey by our team, which we exhibit to justify a remark, is rarely effective. On the contrary, linking a quote to an experience or a context in which it was pronounced can heighten the attention of the audience and thus strengthen the impact of your message.
A common error is to explain the quote or to justify your choice. You lose the spontaneous inspiring effect if you drag your audience into an educational speech. If you use a quote it should be because if makes sense to you and your audience immediately understands you.
And finally, avoid putting quotes everywhere or too repetitively. By leaning too heavily on other people’s words, you diminish the value of your own.