Help Me Pick the 100th Quote for Public Speakers

Last year, I started a series on quotes for public speakers. As I said in the first postthere are often nuggets of gold to be mined in the briefest of words. My idea was to provide one quote at a time, and let readers ponder it without additional comment from me.

Many of the quotes have nothing to do with public speaking per se; however, all of them contain insights that are relevant for the craft. And so, from Mark Twain to Freddie Mercury, from Pablo Picasso to Nelson Mandela, the quotes have come. Some have been inspirational, some have been controversial, some have been humorous; all have been thought-provoking.

Your response to this series has been terrific. Thank you for the flood of comments, Retweets, Facebook Likes, etc. They are all very much appreciated. But now, with 99 quotes under our belt, how best to choose the 100th? I was thinking about several candidates when an idea struck me—why not let you have some input?

So here’s what we’re going to do: Below you will find four straightforward questions. Simply choose one answer for each question and click the “Vote” button. The poll will remain open for ten days. When it closes, I will attempt to find a quote from a person who meets each of the four criteria, as selected by you.

What will the 100th quote be? A humorous quote from a living woman with mother tongue English? A serious quote from a deceased man who did not speak English? Some other combination? The answer is in your hands. And, if you would like to recommend a specific speaker, please leave your suggestion in the comment section below.

Update: The poll is now closed. The result are below. To see the 100th quote for public speakers, please click this link.


About John Zimmer

International speaker, presentation skills expert, lawyer, improv performer
This entry was posted in Quotes for Public Speakers and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Help Me Pick the 100th Quote for Public Speakers

  1. Pingback: Quotes for Public Speakers (No. 100) | Manner of Speaking

  2. Matt Reeve says:

    Hi John,

    This is one of my favourite quotes and when public speaker training I use this to help speakers overcome stage fright and just get out there and do it. However it applies far far more broadly:

    “The area you can determine or influence is directly regulated by the amount of communication you have into that area no matter now painful it may be to you. Remember that. The determinism of the actions in that area directly and immediately depends upon the amount of communication you‘ve got into that area.

    “And the answer is more communication, not less.”

    – L. Ron Hubbard

  3. Fran Watson says:

    This is a little longer than a quote, but I thought I would share it….

    Do not be afraid to shine.
    This world needs what you have to give.
    Open up the areas of your being;
    expose them to yourself – to others.
    You are valuable.
    You are unique.
    You have much to give.
    Do not be afraid to give it.

    As we risk ourselves, we grow.
    Each new experience is a risk:
    we can try, and maybe fail,
    and as a result, grow –
    or hold back and stagnate.

    You have the potential
    to be anything you want to be!
    You are free to choose.
    You are limited only by your fears.
    Let your dreams take over,
    fly with the eagles,
    soar into life,
    the world is waiting for you!

    Copyright 1987
    Fran Watson

    • John Zimmer says:

      Superb, Fran; just superb. Thanks very much for sharing it. I hope that readers take your message to heart. We need people like that more than ever nowadays.


  4. John,

    Hi there… Just got back from some travels and have only just seen your 100th Quote request. I’m probably too late but just for the fun of it here are some quotes I used in my presentation for COT Trainings in our Division recently, in no particular order:

    “To lead the people, walk behind them.” Lao Tzu

    Winston Churchill once said that “The three most difficult things in life are to climb a wall that is leaning towards you; to kiss a girl who is leaning away from you; and to make a speech!”

    “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” Albert Schweitzer

    I’ll call you in the next few days would like to make you an offer you can refuse… but may want to consider ;-))!!!


    PS Just re-written and re-designed my website – – any comments/suggestions would be well received!

    • John Zimmer says:

      Hi Michael,

      Thanks very much for the comment. You are not too late; voting will remain open until the end of the month. Thanks for sharing the quotes! I had heard the one by Lao Tzu, and the one by Churchill was my 29th Quote for Public Speakers (though worded a bit differently). But I love the quote by Schweitzer. Definitely a keeper.

      Thanks also for sharing your website. I’ll be sure to take a look.


  5. bpo in kanpur says:

    This is a marvellous idea.

  6. John:

    How about your readers submitting their own original quotes?


    • John Zimmer says:

      Hi Fred,

      Great idea. I am open to quotes from all sources and my readers have as much right as anyone else to contribute.



  7. Paul Jackson says:

    John, this is a marvellous idea. I shall look at all your quotes and freely add them to my own list if I may.

    Best regards, Paul.

    • John Zimmer says:

      Hi Paul,

      Thanks for the comment. Glad that you like the idea for the series. You are more than welcome to use the quotes – especially given that they are not mine! But you are also welcome to use anything else on the blog that you find useful.



  8. “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

    George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman (1903) “Maxims for Revolutionists”

  9. Matt Viel says:

    John, this is intriguing…

    It’s all about continuity!!!

  10. Congratulations John, an excelent iniciative. I’m waiting for the next step.

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