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The Lost Art of the Great Speech: How to Write It * How to Deliver It by Richard Dowis

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Everybody talks about the weather

Reference to weather can be effective, but even the best weather forecasters sometimes fail to take their umbrella and end up with a soaking. When a top-level executive of a major industrial corporation scheduled a speech at the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business, he (or his speech writer) anticipated springlike weather for the event and wrote the speech opening accordingly. What actually happened was that the speaker encountered a rare April snowstorm. Here is how he handled the opening:

I barely made it here from New York, flying through a blinding April snowstorm. Many of you barely made it across town, but I'm delighted you are here. You won't believe the opening paragraph of the speech ...

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