In public speaking you can steal credibility without being a thief. Quotes from famous figures like Winston Churchill or Mother Teresa add intellect, wisdom and – above all – credibility hence ethos to your speech. Your act of stealing turns into an act of borrowing when you also mention the originator of the specific quote. Something you have to do anyway in order to gain more credibility on the content side.
Two tips on using quotes.
First, avoid using the usual suspects only. Do you remember the movie with Kevin Spacey? Think about it; it’s always the same guys. MLK, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Nelson, JFK. Nearly every business presentation at any given business conference shows a slide with Gandhi’s Be the change you want to see in the world. As public speaker you better run away from clichés. And that quote is cliché!
Second, there are these generic topics in life. Topics you can apply literally anywhere in any given situation. Topics like vision, mission, strategy, inspiration, motivation, team, or perseverance. Why don’t you learn a couple of quotes by heart? Like vocabulary at school. Google for “inspiration” and “quote” – you’ll receive tons of results. When you look for quotes, make sure they’re your favorites. You’ll sound more intellectual, wiser and more credible, even if you’re a “thief”.
Here are ten of my personal favorites.