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  • Why is it that when anything goes without saying, it never does?

  • Why is it that the person who needs no introduction usually gets the longest one?

  • ... the first duty of a lecturer — to hand you after an hour's discourse a nugget of pure truth to wrap up between the pages of your notebooks and keep on the mantelpiece for ever.

  • ... there are two ways of speaking an audience will always like: one is, to tell them what they don't understand; and the other is, to tell them what they're used to.

  • Rhetoric never won a revolution yet.

  • Occasionally, once a speaker is on his feet, it is difficult to get him to sit down. ... If and when he returns to earth, he notices half of the room is paging the other half and a few are playing with the melted candles.

  • I have never knowingly made a non-controversial speech in my life.

  • ... the ruder lecturers are, and the louder their voices, the more converts they make to their opinions.

    • Winifred Holtby,
    • "The Murder of Madame Mollard" (1930), Pavements at Anderby ()
  • A watch is the most essential part of a lecture.

    • Willa Cather,
    • speech (1926), in L. Brent Bohlke, ed., Willa Cather in Person ()
  • An orator is the worst person to tell a plain fact ...

  • [On the radio:] ... a discovery that makes it possible for a man to deliver a speech and not only bore those nearby, but others hundreds of miles away.

  • Audiences are always better pleased with a smart retort, some joke or epigram, than with any amount of reasoning.

  • Forensics is eloquence and reduction.

  • Fateful moments tend to evoke grandeur of speech, especially in French.

  • Make sure you have finished speaking before your audience has finished listening.

  • Warning: Attempt to read property "post_title" on bool in /var/www/qbw/classes/Hansonian/Qbw/Qbw.php on line 833
  • Be brief. The mind cannot accept what the seat cannot endure.

  • Say what you will in two / Words and get through. / Long, frilly / Palaver is silly.

  • The most fundamental requirement in constructing a persuasive message is to select arguments that are consistent with the beliefs and values of the audience.

  • Never drink more than one cocktail before giving a talk. True, the drinks may relax you, but they may also slur your speech and blur your memory, making you wonder who are all those people out there and why are they staring at you?

  • ... it makes a great difference to a speaker whether he has something to say, or has to say something.

  • Invitations to speak upon public occasions are among my most grievous embarrassments. Why is it inferred that one is or can be a public speaker because she has written a book? Writing is a very private business. I do not know any other occupation which requires so much privacy unless it is a life of prayer or a life of crime.

  • The brain will absorb only what the bottom can endure.

  • He then entered upon a speech, which, for intricacy of design and uselessness of purpose, might have vied with the far-famed labyrinth of Crete.

  • [To husband Hubert H. Humphrey:] Hubert, a speech does not need to be eternal to be immortal.

  • I think speeches and fruit should always be fresh.

    • Nikki Giovanni,
    • "In Sympathy With Another Motherless Child," Sacred Cows ... And Other Edibles ()
  • A speech is poetry: cadence, rhythm, imagery, sweep! A speech reminds us that words, like children, have the power to make dance the dullest beanbag of a heart.

  • The best impromptu speeches are the ones written well in advance.

  • [On Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley:] His press conferences were hard to follow. He didn't necessarily exit the same sentences he entered.