A speechwriter on the importance of preparing for a speech…

I’m reminded of William Lyon Phelps, the famous Yale professor, critic, and lecturer, who used to say he got credit for only one-fourth of his after dinner speeches.

“Every time I accept an invitation to speak,” he said, “I really make four addresses. First is the speech I prepare in advance. That is pretty good. Second is the speech I really make. Third is the speech I make on my way home, which is the best of all. Fourth is the speech the newspapers the next morning say I made, which bears no relation to any of the others.”

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