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Produce Powerful Presentations (Collection) by Jerry Weissman

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23. Ronald Reagan Meets Lenny Skutnik: The Catalyst of Human Interest Stories

On January 13, 1982, during a blinding snowstorm, Air Florida Flight 90 took off from National Airport in Washington, D.C., and suddenly plunged into the Potomac River, killing 74 passengers. Only five people survived the crash. One of them was a woman who owed her life to the courageous efforts of a federal employee named Lenny Skutnik. At the fateful moment, Mr. Skutnik, who was on his way home from work, dove into the icy waters, swam to the woman’s rescue. In doing so, he became a catalyst for a speaking technique used by every U.S. president from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama.

Two weeks after the crash, Mr. Reagan, during his annual State of the Union address, ...

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