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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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What makes a suitable anecdote?

In deciding what makes a good anecdote for a speech, I apply five criteria:

  1. It must be true, or at least perceived to be true.

  2. It must give insight into the nature of the subject, the speaker, or the event.

  3. It must be interesting or amusing.

  4. It must be simple enough for the audience to grasp easily.

  5. It must illustrate, support, or lead to a point that the speaker has made or wants to make.

One of my favorite examples of a personal anecdote has been used in more than one speech by a man I have mentioned previously in this book. His name is Jeff White. He's retired now, but I often helped him with his speeches when he was a highly respected corporate chief executive. He clearly enjoys telling the story of Willie White's ...

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