Effective use of repetition

July 12, 2013

EDMONTON, AB, Jul 12, 2013/ Troy Media/ – “Your call is important. Please stay on the line and someone will be with you shortly.” After hearing that for the 27th time, it starts to become annoying, doesn’t it? If you’re like me, you probably dream hearing it in your sleep.

It might even become your worst nightmare.

Repetition can be monotonous – like having to make it through summer reruns on TV or listening to verbal filler such as “Like I said,” or “Did I tell you this already?” which occurs when not having enough to say or simply stumbling over your words. And  when it happens in conversation or during a presentation, it can detract from getting your point across. However, when used effectively, repeating what you have to say can actually enhance your message.

In his famous speech, Martin Luther King Jr. not only used “I have a dream” as the speech’s title but kept repeating it strategically throughout the speech. King was using repetition to emphasize his message and to help create imagery in people’s minds every time they heard it. In fact, the repetition added a rhythm to his delivery, which triggered emotion and helped make it so memorable.

Repetition can also be used to help people commit something to memory. Take song lyrics for example.  After hearing a tune repeatedly, we unintentionally memorize them and the words become permanently engrained in our minds.


When speaking, it is good to follow the old adage: Tell them what you’re going to tell them, then tell them what you told them. Repetition can also be used as a technique to recall a previously-made point or make reference to perhaps something another speaker had said.

It can also indicate that something is particularly important; perhaps it’s the take-away, a key point or a reminder to act now. It’s also often used to help the listener with taking notes, like jotting down a date, an e-mail address or a phone number.

If used wisely, repetition can be an effective technique to have in your speaking arsenal and can be beneficial in both business and personal communication.

However, use it with caution. The last thing you want is for your listener to take it as a cue to tune out from boredom or to assume the rest of what you will say has already been said.

You need to pick out the choice morsels and decide what is actually needed to serve your purpose and no more.

As you’ve read many times while shampooing your hair, Repeat (but only) when necessary!

Listen to Greg’s Podcast of his column.


Senior Editor Greg Gazin is a Veteran Tech Columnist and Small Business and Technology Speaker. Greg is also a Distinguished Toastmaster, a Past Toastmasters District Governor and an 11-year member of the New Entrepreneurs Toastmasters. He can be reached at Gadgetguy.CA on Twitter @gadgetgreg or you can find him on Empire Avenue at (e)GADGET1.

Why not book Greg to speak at your next event? You can contact him at speakersbureau@troymedia.com.

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