A sound bite is a short and easily remembered line, intended by the speaker to be suitable for media repetition.
In recent days, I have been hearing lots of snippets from interviews at an increased frequency. A lot of it has to do with 2012 being a big election year. Everyone seems to be pulling out their baited lines for the media to sink their teeth into. You might even find yourself pulling these sound bites into your everyday speech (“Job creator,” and “we are the 99%,” have been stuck in mine for weeks).
The Republicans are masters in the sound bite war. They condense their message into 30 second snippets for people to digest. The GOP understands that people have short attention spans and Americans are constantly around media. The repetition of these sound bites starts to register better with their voters.
The Democrats on the flip have never been strong in delivering sound bites. They are better at putting together an involved message but most critics feel they can’t get their points across concisely. Their media strength is in print where people can draw out their ideas.
In short politicians are quote machines, cranking out one liners at record paces. You can learn a lot from the way try to influence us.
Here are examples of great media sound bites:
“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” - Ronald Reagan
“what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” - Bill Clinton
“Elvis has left the building.” - Everyone and their Mother
Prompt: I want you to think in sound bites. This might sound easy but it really isn’t. I used politicians as my example but their are more places to pull from. Remember when you watched a terrible movie the kind you want to forget but you remember all those one liners? “Get to the choppa!,” from Predator stands out. In this prompt try to channel those movies. Another good place to pull from is great standup. The best jokes have great punch lines laced with wisdom. George Carlin for instance, “fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.”
A good way to try to test out this wit is putting it into a haiku or even a Facebook/Twitter post. Keep it brief, pop a bunch of them out in a day. People don’t have to know what your doing, they might start to take notice of your smart mouth though. Once you got that down, challenge yourself more by dropping these sound bites into a slam poem, your boring essay for class, your business proposal or that weekly email to your mother.
If you are finding this difficult, remember you are tricking your mind to think brilliant.
Found this fortune laying on my desk.