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Speech-Time Exclusive --, Pick up some public speaking social skills!
December 02, 2008

Anytime is Speech-Time

Welcome to Speech-Time exclusive. Building public speaking skills is more than a one-time thing, and that's why we're writing this e-zine! Every other week, we'll give you the opportunity to take your public speaking to the next level.


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This week, we'll be talking about...

What Is In A Quote?

Table of Contents

1. What is in a quote? Your contributions, buying speeches.

2. "Quotes To Speak By"

3. Quotes can make or break a speech.

What is in a quote?

Welcome back to the wonderful world of the spoken word. I would like to personally welcome all new subscribers, and thank those who have recommended our site. As always, we welcome your questions, suggestions, and contributions. After all, we are all in this together! One big problem I have with writing this newsletter, is that when I start looking for a quote to go along with the week's topic, I often get lost in the quotes and don't emerge for, well, way too long. So, what a simple solution for the week to write about quotes! Just as with statistics, you can generally find a quote to either support or rebuff just about anything you wish to say, any point you wish to make. But before we begin...

Your contributions.

I'd like to remind you that you can contribute content to the site in a number of ways and on a variety of topics. If you have something to share about public speaking, href="/public-speaking-stories.html">share it!

Professional Speeches You Can Buy

While is all about writing speeches, we know that sometimes everyone gets short on time - at least, I do! So I reviewed a couple of websites where you can buy professionally-written speeches for those times when you just can't get your ready. Check them out at What to Do When You Need A Speech FAST.

2. "Quotes To Speak By"

For this week's quote, I look to the great American author, Edgar Allan Poe.

"Quoth the Raven, 'Nevermore.'"

And what could this possibly have to do with public speaking? Read on!

3. Quotes Can Make or Break a Speech.

How to use a quote? There is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to quotes. With a little looking, a quote can be found to support any view on any topic. But how to use them, without relying too much on other people's words? In college, I had a writing teacher who insisted that beginning a paper (or speech) with a quote showed that your ideas were too weak to stand on their own. I humbly beg to differ. A strong quote can spark interest and draw your listeners in. For instance, I rather suspect the quote above got your attention!

The trick is to not use too many, or inappropriate, quotes throughout your speech. Choose them wisely and they will help sustain interest.

Albert Einstein is one of my favorite sources for quotes. He was not only incredibly brilliant, but had a great wit. One of my favorites, "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." I have yet to give a speech where this would be appropriate, but I never stop looking!

Winston Churchill and Mark Twain are two other great sources for quotes. They both had a way with words that very few can match, with the added advantage that almost everybody responds, usually positively, to their words. Be careful who your sources are. Even if the quote sounds great, the person saying it may wipe out any credibility you have. For instance, I once judged a debate where the opponents were relatively evenly matched. The affirmative destroyed his chances in one simple quote. While the quote seemed to support his position, the author's identity, Niccolo Machiavelli, undercut his position and he lost the debate. With a little looking, he could have easily found another source to better illustrate his point.

With a little careful research, find the quotes to best support your topic and have fun looking. As with your words, try each one on for size, see how it fits with your own words, fits with your own flavor. Remember, "People will accept your ideas much more readily if you tell them Benjamin Franklin said it first." David H. Comins

Happy speaking!

P.S. Public speaking is my profession, enabled by To find out how you can do the same and make your passion your profession, visit my About Us web page. or check out

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