Not all persons give equally good speeches

  • Butch Furse
    Butch Furse

  Cleaning out an old bookcase, I came across a book instructing the reader, “How to Prepare Your Speech.”  Curiosity got the best of me and I blew off some of the dust, opened a few pages, and caught a paragraph where the book’s author pointed out not all persons give equally good speeches. We weren’t caught off guard by his bold statement after, as a newspaperman, we had covered hundreds of speeches at banquets, conventions and seminars. We indeed had earned our opinion after sitting through many a bad speech. 
   The author continued with more details that a speaker should be aware. His directive: 
   “When one addresses an audience of 100 people for 30 minutes, it is the equivalent of taking 3,000 minutes of one person’s time. That means 50 hours, or more than six days of eight hours each. It would be a little short of criminal to deliberately waste one’s personal time for six working days. Yet this is precisely what happens when a speaker without complete and thorough preparation takes the time of an audience.”
   The last piece of advice from the writer, which many speakers seem to have forgotten is: “Should a person receive an invite to address a meeting and KNOW he will not have time to make proper preparation for the occasion, he should then decline the invite because to accept would be unfair to the audience and harmful to himself.”
   This word of advice from the author was given in 1942. Unfortunately it seems that advice has long been forgotten by many speakers.
   A little boy opened the big family Bible. He was fascinated as he fingered through the old pages. Suddenly, something fell out of the Bible. He picked up the object and looked at it. What he saw was an old leaf that had been pressed in between the pages.
   “Mama, look what I found,” the boy called out.
   “What have you got there, dear?”
With astonishment in the young boy’s voice, he answered, “I think it’s Adam’s underwear!”
   Remember Veterans Day, this Wednesday, Nov. 11.
RL Furse is publisher emeritus of the News-Register

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