"Prepare your heart and mind before you prepare your speech."
Stephen Covey (1932–), US writer and psychologist
Source: Thirty Methods of Influence (1991)
"A speech is poetry and cadence, rhythm, imagery, sweep! A speech reminds us that words, like children, have the power to make dance the dullest beanbag of a heart."
Peggy Noonan (1950–), US author and presidential speechwriter
Source: What I Saw at the Revolution (1990)
"I feel like Zsa Zsa Gabor's fifth husband. I know what I'm supposed to do but I don't know if I can make it interesting."
Al Gore (1948–), US former vice president
Said on being twenty-third speaker at a political dinner.
Source: Quoted in Today (March 1, 1989)
"Oratory is just like prostitution: you must have little tricks."
Vittorio Emanuele Orlando (1860–1952), Italian statesman
Source: Quoted in Time (December 8, 1952)
"If I am to speak for ten minutes, I need a week for preparation; if fifteen minutes, three days; if half an hour, two days; if an hour, I am ready now."
Woodrow Wilson (1856–1924), US president
Source: Quoted in The Wilson Era (Josephus Daniels, 1946)
"Oratory is dying; a calculating age has stabbed it to the heart with innumerable dagger-thrusts of statistics."
W. Keith Hancock (1898–1988), Australian academic
Source: Australia (1930)
"The finest eloquence is that which gets things done; the worst is that which delays them."
David Lloyd George (Earl of Dwyfor) (1863–1945), British prime minister
Source: Speech, Paris Peace Conference (1919)
"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), British prime minister
Referring to Lord Charles Beresford (1846–1919).
Source: Quoted in Hansard (December 20, 1912)
"An orator can hardly get beyond commonplaces: if he does he gets beyond his hearers."
William Hazlitt (1778–1830), British essayist and journalist
Source: The Plain Speaker (1826)
"The object of oratory is not truth, but persuasion."
Thomas Babington, Lord Macaulay (1800–1859), British politician and historian
Source: The Athenian Orators (1824)
"Eloquence lies as much in the tone of the voice, in the eyes, and in the speaker's manner, as in his choice of words."
François La Rochefoucauld (1613–1680), French epigrammatist
Source: Reflections: or, Sentences and Moral Maxims (1665)
"Nothing is so unbelievable that oratory cannot make it acceptable."
Cicero (106–43 bc), Roman orator and statesman
Source: Paradoxa Stoicorum (46 bc?)
"It is terrible to speak well and be wrong."
Sophocles (496?–406 bc), Greek tragedian
Source: Electra (430?–415? bc)
"Speak when you're angry and you'll make the best speech you'll ever regret."
Henry Ward Beecher (1813–1887), US clergyman and reformer
"It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech."
Mark Twain (1835–1910), US writer
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