Quotes for Public Speakers (No. 76) – Booker T. Washington

Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) American Orator and Political Leader

“I believe that one always does himself and his audience an injustice when he speaks merely for the sake of speaking. I do not believe that one should speak unless, deep down in his heart, he feels convinced that he has a message to deliver. When one feels, from the bottom of his feet to the top of his head, that he has something to say that is going to help some individual or some cause, then let him say it; and in delivering his message I do not believe that many of the artificial rules of elocution can, under such circumstances, help him very much. Although there are certain things, such as pauses, breathing, and pitch of voice, that are very important, none of these can take the place of soul in an address. When I have an address to deliver, I like to forget all about the rules for the proper use of the English language, and all about rhetoric and that sort of thing, and I like to make the audience forget all about these things, too.”

— Booker T. Washington


About John Zimmer

International speaker, presentation skills expert, lawyer, improv performer
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3 Responses to Quotes for Public Speakers (No. 76) – Booker T. Washington

  1. Pingback: Speak, But Not Merely for the Sake of Speaking. | Fodder4Thought

  2. florian says:

    Simply powerful, simply true. A speech with soul can lack rhetorical devices, a technocratic speech without soul is useless. I didn’t know that one, John. Great stuff! Thanks.

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