I’ve recently been observing the communication methods of some great leaders and a common thread is their use of repetition. That’s right, a common thread is their use of repetition. (Okay, I’ll get my hand off it.)
When you think of charismatic American leaders, who comes to mind? Martin Luther King, John F Kennedy, and even William Jefferson Clinton. All of them used repetition in their speeches to get their point across. Martin Luther King’s famous “I have a dream” speech used phrases and images that King had finessed over years of public speaking. John F Kennedy Even today’s American President has made use of the “yes, we can” refrain over, and over, and over. (Stop it!) Australian politicians have also found a fondness for repetition. You knew Paul Keating was making a point when he repeated the last sentence.
Successful business leaders, too, have made use of repetition to get their point across. Jack Welch had a saying of being simple, being consistent, and hammering your message home. That’s why he produced a wallet-sized card containing all of GE’s values. Wal-Mart’s founder, Sam Walton, repeated his company’s values again and again.
Repetition doesn’t need to happen in the same sentence. It doesn’t need to happen in the same talk or speech. But, if you’re wanting to get your point across, repetition (and consistency) over time will help ensure people get what you mean.