Quotes for Public Speakers (No. 161) – Tina Fey

Tina Fey
Tina Fey – American Actress, Comedienne, Writer and Producer

“The show doesn’t go on because it’s ready; it goes on because it’s 11:30.

“This is something Lorne [Michaels] has said often about Saturday Night Live, but I think it’s a great lesson about not being too precious about your writing. You have to try your hardest to be at the top of your game and improve every joke you can until the last possible second, and then you have to let it go.

“You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it. You have to go down the chute. (And I’m from a generation where a lot of people died on waterslides, so this was an important lesson for me to learn.) You have to let people see what you wrote. It will never be perfect, but perfect is overrated. Perfect is boring on live TV.

“What I learned about ‘bombing’ as an improviser at Second City was that bombing is painful, but it doesn’t kill you. No matter how badly an improv set goes, you will still be physically alive when it’s over. What I learned about bombing as a writer at Saturday Night is that you can’t be too worried about your ‘permanent record.’

Yes, you’re going to write some sketches that you love and are proud of forever—your golden nuggets. But you’re also going to write some real shit nuggets. And unfortunately, sometimes the shit nuggets will make it onto the air. You can’t worry about it. As long as you know the difference, you can go back to panning for gold on Monday.”

Tina Fey

Photo courtesy of Mingle Media TV

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7 Replies to “Quotes for Public Speakers (No. 161) – Tina Fey”

  1. Well said (again) John. So many times we (mainly me) speakers fall into the trap of practising, tweaking, perfecting a speech or presentation so long, that we become afraid to release it, fearing something isn’t right. Worse, sometimes we talk ourselves out of it, don’t deliver when we are suppose to and bail. A speech is meant to “take flight” and take on its own life – like a child leaving home. That’s what good about competing in a speech contest. Despite everything, you know you MUST deliver. The audience has come from afar to hear YOU. Well Said ! Thanks.

  2. Hi again John and all. The similar data that I use a lot to great effect is a phrase, I may have sourced from this site also is, “Done is better than perfect.” This has helped in many of my speeches. Cheers, Chris.

      1. Just to do justice to the author, John: “Done is better than perfect” is a Scott Allen quote.
        Cheers Chris D
        PS – Any hints or good eg. videos for a “Tall Tale” contest?

        1. Thanks, Chris. Much appreciated. As for Tall Tales, it is the one contest in which I have never participated. In fact, I have never even seen one. But if you Google “How to win a Tall Tales contest” as I did just now, a lot of stuff pops up. You might find something there. Good luck!
          John

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John delivered a keynote address about the importance of public speaking to 80 senior members of Gore’s Medical Device Europe team at an important sales event. He was informative, engaging and inspirational. Everyone was motivated to improve their public speaking skills. Following his keynote, John has led public speaking workshops for Gore in Barcelona and Munich. He is an outstanding speaker who thinks carefully about the needs of his audience well before he steps on stage.

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Secretary General, World Road Transport Organization

I was expecting a few speaking tips and tricks and a few fun exercises, but you went above and beyond – and sideways. You taught me to stand tall. You taught me to anchor myself. You taught me to breathe. You taught me to open up. You taught me to look people in the eye. You taught me to tell the truth. You taught me to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. I got more than I bargained for in the best possible way.

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World Cancer Day Campaign Manager, Union for International Cancer Control

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HR Specialist, World Health Organization

John is a genuine communication innovator. His seminars on gamification of public speaking learning and his interactive Rhetoric game at our conference set the tone for change and improvement in our organisation. The quality of his input, the impact he made with his audience and his effortlessly engaging style made it easy to get on board with his core messages and won over some delegates who were extremely skeptical as to the efficacy of games for learning. I simply cannot recommend him highly enough.

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John joined our Global Sales Meeting in Segovia, Spain and we all participated in his "Improv(e) your Work!" session. I say “all” because it really was all interactive, participatory, learning and enjoyable. The session surprised everybody and was a fresh-air activity that brought a lot of self-reflection and insights to improve trust and confidence in each other inside our team. It´s all about communication and a good manner of speaking!"

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Thank you very much for the excellent presentation skills session. The feedback I received was very positive. Everyone enjoyed the good mix of listening to your speech, co-developing a concrete take-away and the personal learning experience. We all feel more devoted to the task ahead, more able to succeed and an elevated team spirit. Delivering this in a short time, both in session and in preparation, is outstanding!

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CFO European Dairy Supply Chain & Operations, Danone

Thanks to John’s excellent workshop, I have learned many important tips and techniques to become an effective public speaker. John is a fantastic speaker and teacher, with extensive knowledge of the field. His workshop was a great experience and has proven extremely useful for me in my professional and personal life.

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Senior Sales Manager, Sunrise Communications

John’s presentation skills training was a terrific investment of my time. I increased my skills in this important area and feel more comfortable when speaking to an audience. John provided the right mix between theory and practice.

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Director of the Jura Region, BKW Energie AG

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Senior Director and Talent Partner, ADP International