How to speak in sound bites The art of being heard


Sound bites. Clips. One-liners. “Quotes”.

Sound bites are short, succinct statements which stand alone and encapsulate a thought, idea or message into one or two brief sentences.

The art of the sound bite is a useful skill to acquire, as in video or even printed content, they can grab the viewer/reader attention in a way that longer sentences never will.

They are short, simple and, for clarity, ideally carry one message.

Sound bites are great to use on videos, live streams and anywhere else you are speaking and being recorded. From interviews to brand videos, press releases, speeches and property videos.

The power of the sound bite is in being short and self-contained. They are easy for video editors to use when compiling the finished video later on.

We’ve all seen the news reports where the person being interviewed carries on too long and they get cut off mid-sentence. It looks unprepared, unprofessional and the viewer is left wondering what else they were about to say. It’s a distraction from what they actually did say.

Indeed, cutting someone off mid-sentence on a video is an old interview technique that works well to make the interviewee look bad).

Sound bites work the opposite way – they get the message across clearly, succinctly and make the speaker look authoritative.

They do not happen by accident – they are not usually the work of the editor – and speaking in sound bites certainly is a powerful and compelling art to learn.


The rules of the sound bite

Keep it short and clear – and make your point

The longer you talk in long sentences, the harder it is for an editor to pick out a good sound bite for the final cut.

Make the editor’s life easier and speak in sound bites – keep to short sentences, with each one making a single point, if possible.

And don’t be afraid to pause slightly between each one.

Speak clearly and try to speak slower than you think is right. Almost everyone who speaks in public (even to a camera) speaks too fast; if you think you sound a little slow, then you are probably about right.

Speaking in short, concise sentences makes what you are saying easier for viewers to remember – and makes you sound more interesting! Conversely, the longer you ramble on, the less interesting you sound.

Speaking in this manner also makes you sound more authoritative and confident. You will come across as one who knows their subject.

Compare the above statements regarding clarity and meaningful messages to the video clip below.

Putting aside the politics of the circumstances, here is a great example of two interviewers both using clear, precise speech, and a government minister doing the complete opposite.

Who do you think comes across as more professional in this exchange?



Indeed, in the last 30 seconds of that short clip, both the interviewers provide the minister with an ideal sound bite and ask him to simply repeat it.

As we note below, speaking well in soundbites takes practice – in the above example, we see someone who believed they could go into the interview unprepared and just ‘wing-it’ on the day – and failed.


Practice makes perfect!

Brilliant sound bites don’t just happen – they are almost always scripted and rehearsed.

Write out what you want to say in advance and practice, practice and practice some more.

The best sound bites are rehearsed and ready for use at an appropriate moment – whether that’s in a prepared brand video or an impromptu interview.


Repeat the questions

When in an interview situation, work the interviewer’s question into your answer.

In this way, the video editor can use your statement as a self-contained answer and drop out the question being asked, if they choose to.

Not only does this help the flow of the video, but can save the editor precious seconds if they are trying to turn a five-minute interview into a 90-second clip.

For example, if asked “What are the main attractions of this property?” you may consider answering with “For me, the main attractions of this property are…”

Speaking in this manner, as well as increasing professionalism, also creates a direct relationship, a connection, with the viewer – the audience feels that you are speaking directly to them, rather than the reality which is that they are merely observing an interview as a third party.

This greatly increases audience engagement and interest.

Interview sound bite

Don’t be boring!

Speaking engagingly also requires preparation – if you just ramble on as thoughts drop into your head, your audience will find it quite uninteresting.

Learn a few public speaking techniques and weave them into your prepared soundbites – a short story, perhaps, a rhetorical question, metaphor or simile.

Practice your tonality – record yourself speaking or better still, ask a friend for an honest opinion (although be prepared for an honest answer).

There are a host of resources online about public speaking and making your message – and your voice – more interesting to listen to.

Take the time to find a few and incorporate them into your next video presentation.



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Splento is a global video production company, as we have access to professionals wherever you need them – locally and worldwide. We have experts who specialise in video presentations, interviews and personality profiles, among many others.

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