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20 quotes to inspire PR professionals


I’m a bit of a word nerd. 

I jot down every good media-training quote I hear. I occasionally get to use one of the witty quotes in a speech or training session. 

Too many of the quotes just sit, unused, in a computer file, but they shall remain unused no longer. Here are 20 of my favorite media training quotes:

Media interview quotes

1. “Does anyone have any questions for my answers?” —Henry Kissinger 

2. “It is always a risk to speak to the press: They are likely to report what you say.” —Hubert H. Humphrey

3. “The most guileful amongst the reporters are those who appear friendly and smile and seem to be supportive. They are the ones who will seek to gut you on every occasion.” —Ed Koch, former mayor of New York

4. “The questions don’t do the damage. Only the answers do.” —Sam Donaldson

5. “No word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause. —Mark Twain

6. “An orator or author is never successful till he has learned to make his words smaller than his ideas.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

7. “This business of saying the same thing over and over and over again—which to a lot of Washington insiders and pundits is boring—works.” —Michael Deaver, deputy chief of staff to President Reagan

Message development quotes

8. “I am sorry for such a long letter. I didn’t have time to write a short one.” —Mark Twain (also attributed to others)

9. “Short words are the best, and old words, when short, are the best of all.” —Winston Churchill

Crisis communications quotes

10. “By the time you hear the thunder, it’s too late to build the ark.” —Unknown

11. “It takes a lifetime to build a reputation and only a few seconds to destroy one.” —Unknown

12. “If it’s going to come out eventually, better have it come out immediately.” —Henry Kissinger

13. “Always acknowledge a fault frankly. This will throw those in authority off their guard and giveyou opportunity to commit more.” —Mark Twain

14. “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” —Theodore Roosevelt

Public speaking 

15. “A mediocre speech supported by all the power of delivery will be more impressive than the best speech unaccompanied by such power.” —Quintilian, Roman rhetorician

16. “Three things matter in a speech: who says it, how he says it, and what he says —and of the three, the last matters least.” —John Morley, British politician

17. “It usually takes more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.” —Mark Twain

18. “According to most studies, people’s No. 1 fear is public speaking. No. 2 is death. Death is No.2! Now, this means to the average person, if you have to go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” —Jerry Seinfeld

Body language and delivery

19. “What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

20. “It is better to speak from a full heart and an empty head than from a full head and an empty heart.” —Dublin Opinion magazine (h/t Dianna Daniels Booher)

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