Public Speaking Course:
The proper use of anachronisms are taught in my public speaking course. The
word anachronism means a person, place, thing or event placed in a time period
it does not belong in. For example, Paul Revere riding a motorcycle or George
Washington sitting in front of a computer are anachronisms.
The relationship between new and old is always an interesting idea. Anytime
you can emphasize this type of relationship in one of your presentations you
will evoke some humor and create more attention to your product, service, or
Anachronisms are fun to practice during my public speaking course.
Advertising and marketing agencies use anachronisms all the time,
especially around federal holidays like Washington's Birthday , Columbus Day,
and even Lincoln's birthday. In fact, to promote the Sacagawea golden dollar
coin, ads of George Washington in a modern tuxedo at a cocktail party surrounded
by young American Indian women were seen often in newspapers and television
So you had the old man and the George Washington dollar bill, and the young
Indian woman with the new Sacaqawea dollar coin.
I saw an ad once for fluorescent light bulbs that showed Thomas Edison working
on a phonograph. The caption read: "If Thomas Edison wouldn't have wasted
his time on this (incandescent bulb), his phonograph might have been a CD
Here is a good fill-in-the-blank format to use for anachronisms, from my public
speaking course. Would (big name from the past) have________________ if he had
________________? All you have to do is make a simple relationship and your
message will be funny and memorable.
"Would George Washington have thrown his money across the Potomac if he had
ABC investment company on his side?"
Once you get used to practicing anachronisms in your public speaking course, you
can adjust the content to suit your presentation. The "Man on the
Money" George Washington/ABC investment anachronism could turn into a good,
usable one-liner, to add some spice to your presentation.
"George Washington wouldn't have thrown his money across the Potomac if he
had come to us for advice."
By the way, some physics professors say there is no way George Washington could
have thrown a dollar coin across the river, but any economics professor could
tell you, "A dollar went a LOT further back then."
When your trying to add a little humor, anachronisms are the perfect choice.