All speech, written or spoken, is a dead language, until it finds a willing and prepared
- Robert Louis Stevenson
Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you've
got to say, and say it hot.
- D. H. Lawrence
The best audience is highly intelligent, well-educated,
and a little drunk.
- Alben W. Barkley
Speak clearly, if you speak at all;
Carve every word before you let it fall.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
Speech is an arrangement of notes that will never be played again.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald
When both a speaker and an audience are confused, the
speech is profound.
- Oscar Wilde
The basic rule of human nature is that powerful people speak slowly and subservient
people quickly - because if they don't speak fast nobody will listen to them.
- Michael Caine
He is one of those orators of whom it was well said, "Before they get up, they do not
know what they are going to say; when they are speaking, they do not know what they are saying; and when
they have sat down, they do not know what they have said."
- Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965), English statesman, writer. Speech, 20 Dec. 1912, to the House of
Commons, said of naval commander Lord Charles Beresford.
He's a wonderful talker, who has the art of telling you nothing in a great harangue.
I do not object to people looking at their watches when I
am speaking. But I strongly object when they start shaking them to make certain they are still going.
- Lord Birkett
Let thy speech be short, comprehending much in few words.
- Aprocrypha. Ecclesiasticus 32:8.
The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed
- Mark Twain
The sanity of the average banquet speaker lasts about two
and a half months; at the end of that time he begins to mutter to himself, and calls out in his sleep.
- James Thurber
There may be other reasons for a man's not speaking in publick than want of resolution:
he may have nothing to say.
- Samuel Johnson
What orators lack in depth they make up to you in length.
- Baron de Montesquieu
I always have a quotation for everything - it saves
- Dorothy L. Sayers
I never let them cough. They wouldn't dare.
- Ethel Barrymore
An audience is never wrong. An individual member of it may be an imbecile, but a
thousand imbeciles together in the dark - that is critical genius.
- Billy Wilder
In Paris they simply stared when I spoke to them in
French; I never did succeed in making those idiots understand their own language.
- Mark Twain
There is but one pleasure in life equal to that of being called on to make an
after-dinner speech, and that is not being called to make one.
- Charles Dudley Warner
Most people can tire of a lecture in ten minutes; clever people can do it in five.
Sensible people never go to lectures at all.
- Stephen Leacock
He charged nothing for his preaching and it was worth it too.
- Mark Twain
Don't Adjust Your Mind - There Is a Fault in Reality!
If you have an important point to make, don't try to be
subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again - a tremendous
- Winston Churchill (advice to a young Prince of Wales on speechmaking)
It was a good thing to have a couple of thousand people all rigid and frozen together,
in the palm of one's hand.
- Charles Dickens (referring to reading in public)
I never failed to convince an audience that the best thing
they could do was to go away.
- Thomas Love Peacock