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Chapter One. Opportunity Knocks > But it ain't easy, folks

But it ain't easy, folks

None of this is meant to imply that preparing a speech and delivering it in public are easy. You must work hard and practice diligently to apply these fundamentals to your own opportunities and needs. How hard? How diligently? Some accomplished speakers say they spend as much as two or three hours of preparation time for each minute of speaking time. The great cleric Harry Emerson Fosdick reportedly spent ten hours of prep time for each minute of pulpit time.

A friend of mine who is a professional speech writer claims facetiously that Abraham Lincoln has been responsible for many a badly written speech. My friend doesn't say that the Emancipator himself wrote bad speeches. But because Lincoln is reputed to have scribbled his best-known speech on the back of an envelope while riding the train from Washington to Gettysburg, some speech makers think they don't have to spend a lot of time in preparation. Chances are, though, that Lincoln had been working on his incomparable Gettysburg Address for a long time and had it all in his head, if not on paper, before he took that famous train ride.


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