When Trolling for Business, Don’t Wing It
When you are developing your talk, it’s not enough to simply think of the words that you’ll be using. That’s fine for a written sales proposal but it’s not good enough for an oral presentation or a speech. You must say it out loud; work on word choices; work on phraseology; work on timing; work on diction.
Mark Twain once said that the difference between the perfect word choice and a good word choice is like the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. He was absolutely right!
One of the finest oral presentations—an absolute gem of oratory—was the speech that Franklin Roosevelt gave to Congress on December 8, 1941. It was, of course, the Declaration of War against Japan. He wrote it long hand, without a speechwriter, on the evening of Dec. 7th, after the horrible events of that day. Prior to delivering it to Congress, he asked his trusted aid and advisor, Harry Hopkins, to review the speech. He did so, and in the entire speech, he crossed out only two words and in place of those two words, he inserted a single word.
Harry Hopkins crossed out “world history” and wrote “infamy” in the sentence, “Yesterday, December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy, the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” The next morning, many newspapers were already referring to it as “the day of infamy speech.” That’s the importance of the perfect word choice. From that day to the present, this speech has been known as “the day of infamy speech.” That notoriety was achieved because Harry Hopkins, as a consummate communicator, was extremely aware of the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. “World history” is a lightning bug, “infamy” is lightning.