All speechwriters use quotations in their speeches. If you listen to people who give speeches you would have heard lots of them.
Quotations work best in the body of your speech. Do not open and close a speech with a quotation. If you do, you may give the impression that the speaker is not confident with his or her own words.
The best time to introduce a quote is when you need more support for one of your point. An effective time is near the end of one of the sections in your speech.
But why should we include quotations in our speeches?
Seven Reasons To Use Quotations
- To reinforce your ideas: The main reason to quote material in your speech is to reinforce your words. A quotation offers a second voice that echoes your thoughts, beliefs, and claims.
- They said it better: Quotations provide a better way of saying things. They give you a more concise, memorable phrasing for an idea. This is especially true for famous quotations.
- To be more credible: You improve your credibility because the quotation implies that the person you are quoting agrees with your argument.
- To show your knowledge: Most of us don’t have a reserve of spontaneous quotes to support our arguments. If you can do this, it shows that you are well-read, prepared, and that you have know quite a bit about the subject.
- To add variety: Quotations can break the monotony. They are a great way to add variety to your logical arguments, along with your supporting facts and statistics, related stories, metaphors, and other information.
- To add humour: Pick a humorous quotation to lighten the mood. You can do this by choosing a specific person to quote or by the content of the quotation itself.
- To strengthen an argument: If you reinforce an argument with a quotation, you can often bring closure to your argument.
Tip: If you are delivering a speech or presentation with visuals, display the quotation on a screen for your audience to read. This gives you and the audience a break.
Remember that you need to get your quotations from reliable resources.
Reliable Resources For Quotations
- The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations edited by Elizabeth Knowles
- Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations : A Collection of Passages, Phrases, and Proverbs Traced to Their Sources in Ancient and Modern Literature edited by John Bartlett
- The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Quotations edited by Peter Kemp
- The Penguin Concise Dictionary of Biographical Quotations edited by Justin Wintle and Richard Kenin
- The Oxford Dictionary of Political Quotations edited by Antony Jay
Reliable Resources For Research
- Encyclopaedia Britannica is a general knowledge encyclopaedia written by 100 full-time editors and more than 4,000 contributors, who have included 110 Nobel Prize winners and five American presidents.
- JSTOR: JSTOR provides access to more than 12 million academic journal articles, books, and primary sources in 75 disciplines.
- Newspapers.com is a worldwide (paid) archive of some of the world’s biggest publications and newspapers. Paying is worth it if you make regular use of the service.
- Newspaper Archive is one of the biggest archiving resources out there, and you’ll almost certainly find it here if you haven’t found it anywhere else.
- British Paper Archives: If you’re looking for something in British news, use this huge catalogue of British and UK newspapers.
- Library of Congress Resources: The US Library of Congress has many resources for researchers, writers, and journalists.
- National Archives of South Africa: The National Archives of South Africa has some great resources and includes far more than just a list of archived newspapers: You can also find plenty of public records here by email.
- National Library of South Africa: The National Library of South Africa has a collection of newspapers on microfilm dating back decades.
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