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Produce Powerful Presentations (Collection) by Jerry Weissman

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5. Presentation Advice from Abraham Lincoln: Clarity, Ownership, and Add Value

Ted Sorensen, who was John F. Kennedy’s special counsel and speechwriter, most notably for his historic inaugural address, studied the texts of Abraham Lincoln’s speeches—at JFK’s request—for style ideas. In an article for the Smithsonian magazine, Sorensen wrote that JFK “also asked me to read all previous twentieth-century inaugural addresses. I did not learn much from those speeches (except for FDR’s first inaugural), but I learned a great deal from Lincoln’s ten sentences.”F5.1

The ten sentences Mr. Sorenson referenced are those of the memorable Gettysburg Address, but he also analyzed Mr. Lincoln’s first inaugural address and, in particular, its last line. When ...

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