Monday, October 09, 2017

Speeches

There are empty speeches which are immediately recognized as blather. Others may sound good initially but, upon reflection, are found to contain nothing of substance.

There are speeches that are such rich broths that their content is too much for the audience to absorb. No matter how well delivered, they are as if a textbook is being read before the audience.

Still others are so haphazardly delivered that they remind one, to paraphrase the words of a critic, of a fat man navigating an icy sidewalk.

And then there are speeches with a central memorable theme that is eloquently expressed. Consider an excerpt from Abraham Lincoln's most famous address:

"But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."


Another stirring example comes from Winston Churchill:

"We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old."

Beautifully clear communication.

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