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Emphatic structures

Experienced orators make use of special structures, which together with stress and intonation help to em­phasize a part of a sentence and make the whole speech more emotional.

For example

  1. What really annoys me about ... is ...

  2. What is most surprising is the way/fact...

  3. It is the way some people ... that...

  4. What most people do not realize is the fact that...

  5. Censorship is what...

Exercise 17

Restructure the following statements in three different ways to make them more emphatic. Use the patterns above.


  1. We doubt his words.

  2. I admire her beautiful voice.

  3. He hates working at weekends.

  4. His decision on the matter is important.

  5. Her forgetfulness is annoying.

  6. You should go to Britain to improve your English.

  7. Everybody likes winning.

  8. Historical places of London attract tourists.


  1. Speakers tell jokes to make the audience relax.

  2. Statistics tend to put people to sleep.

  3. Harsh antiterrorism laws have been adopted.

Exercise 18

Prepare to talk for one minute on one of the topics below. Try to use inversion and some of the patterns for emphasis.

Swearing in public places

Political censorship



Football fans

TV commercials

Compulsory conscription

The world of fashion


Read the following, sum it up and explain how you can make your introduction next to perfect.

Oratory techniques 2 (by Malcolm Kushner, abridged)

Have you ever had a sip of apple juice after someone told you it was water? Did you spit it out even though it was perfectly good juice? That reaction isn't uncommon. Our expectations of­ten influence our perceptions. And that's particularly true with public speaking. That's why a good introduction is crucial — it influences how the audience perceives the speaker.

1. Why the Introduction Is the Most Important Part of Your Speech

Basic psychology tells us that the way we perceive things is highly affected by what we've been led to expect. The classic example is Tom Sawyer and the fence from Mark Twain's novel "Tom Sawyer". When Tom asks his friends to help him paint the fence — it has to be done just right and not just anyone can do it — they beg him for an opportunity. By the end of that scene, Tom's friends are paying him for the privilege of painting the fence. It was all in the setup — how the fence-painting was in­troduced.

That's why the introduction is the most important part of your presentation — it sets the audience's expectations. It determines how the audience interprets and reacts to everything else you say. And it's your best chance to shape the audience's reaction in your favour. There are great introductions and poor ones. Let's look how you can handle the situation.

2. Controlling How You're Introduced

The master of ceremonies arrived at the podium. He called the meeting to order and introduced the featured speaker. Here's what he said:

Our speaker today has an interesting background. He is an attorney who created his own profession. He trains managers, professionals, and executives in how to use humor in their work. His clients include AT&T, Baxter Healthcare, Hewlett-Packard, Aetna, Motorola, and the IRS. He has a master's degree from the University of Southern California and a law degree from Hast­ings College of the Law. He has been featured in Time magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. He's appeared on The Lariy King Show, and his book, The Light Touch: How to Use Humor for Business Success, has been translated into five languages. But he says his most important accomplishment is that he was on The Gong Show — without being gonged.

He also said I'd get at least two laughs if I read this introduc­tion word for word, exactly the way he wrote it.

Please give a warm welcome to Mr. N, America's Favorite Humor Consultant.

And here's what the speaker felt:

I wanted to die of embarrassment. Yes, I'd written the intro­duction, but he didn't read it exactly the way I wrote it. He added the line saying that I'd written the introduction and asked him to read it word for word. So instead of making the audience feel that it would hear an exciting, well-credentialed speaker, the in­troduction made them anticipate a raging egomaniac. (Fortunately I thought of a quip to handle the situation — "I also wrote that line about telling him to read it the way I wrote it".)

► 1. Have some bridge lines ready.

A bridge line is a transition from the introduction you've received to the introduction you're now going to give yourself. Here are a few lines to keep in mind:

"What he really meant to say was... " "The notes that Iforgot to give her said... " "Let me add a little bit to that... "

"One of the things I didn't get a chance to tell him was... " After that just reintroduce yourself.

► 2. Refer to a previous introduction.

Want to be diplomatic? Compliment the person introducing you for the "great" introduction. Then contrast it with an intro­duction you've received in the past.

"Thanks for that great introduction. I am always glad when I get a good introduction. "It reminds me of an introduction I got last year when the person introducing me said... "

Then do the introduction you wish that you'd received.

3. Great Ways To Begin

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