Monday, March 18, 2013

When All's Said


Speakers tend to collect quotations. It’s a sign of respect when quoting someone, to state where you heard or read a person’s comments. In the political arena, this courtesy is violated so often, an entire industry devotes itself to fact-checking. Too often fact checkers report a quotation was taken out of context, or twisted into what amounts to a lie, or actually is a lie. It’s so common that we hear people confess with the euphemism, “I misspoke.”

Don’t assume an audience, jaded by their knowledge of speakers’ deliberate lies and half-truths, will believe you. Offer proof. If practical, hold up a book, state its title and show marked pages when you quote an author. Offer handouts with citations listed. For references on creating a citations handout, type bibliography or citations in a search box. The Purdue Owl (Online Writing Lab) is good, but you’ll find so many choices, it’s dizzying.

Your handout, properly done, will not only add to your credibility, but also to your professionalism.

It’s impolite to bore your audience with lengthy quotations. Paraphrase. If compelled to quote a long passage word for word, include that in your handout. But be aware of the “fair use” clause in copyright laws. Crediting an author does not give you the right to copy and distribute their work with abandon.

In presenting material, talk. That’s what a presenter does. Use visuals only as necessary. For example,  the use of illustrations in a discussion of historic architecture would be appropriate, and perhaps the only way to clarify a point,.

If you must say it in pictures, make sure you have the right to use another’s artwork or photography. Look for “exceptions” on websites that offer free use of artwork. “Free” might apply to non-commercial use only. Think about it. You did not receive compensation for a speech, but gave the presentation in an effort to build your reputation as a speaker. Isn't that advertising? Isn't that commercial?

Think about this: you worked hard to prepare a presentation, and you engaged your audience. You fulfilled your purpose to teach, entertain, or inspire them. In crediting others for their artistic work, you've gained a reputation for integrity.
When all’s said, members of your once-jaded audience will respect you and recommend you to their associates. You'll discover the best quotations to collect: customer's endorsements.

(c) 2013, Bernice W. Simpson

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