Awaken The Quotation . . . .

quotation marks 1  “Never mess with a happy baby!”


Whether they are used . . . .

  • as an introduction
  • for making a point
  • to capture a thought
  • as your Big Idea
  • to say it better than you can say it yourself
  • to reinforce what is being said
  • to give credibility to what your position
  • to support/justify your critique
  • to add variety
  • to add humor*
  • to break up the flow with a visual
  • as part of a conclusion

. . . . quotations can be strengthened by pushing beyond the standard borders of merely citing the author, followed by the quote.

Mac Brunson exemplifies this in a message titled Failing n’ Leaning.  He quotes Herbert Swope but precedes the quote with some information which at the minimum answers the curiosity of the listeners when they hear his name.



(Clip — @ 28: 59-minute mark of the original message)

I don’t know if you’ve ever heard the name Herbert Swope – Herbert Swope won the first Pulitzer Prize in 1917 for journalism.

He won that Nobel Prize – Pulitzer Prize – the first one – 1917 — World War I was going on.

He gotten into Germany and he did an article entitled, “The German Empire.”

And because of that, he won the Pulitzer Prize.

Now nobody remembers much about Herbert Swope – except this — He made one statement.

After he won the Pulitzer Prize –  all the other journalists gathered around — doing an interview with him – ask him

How can you be a success

How you a success

How do you

How do you become successful?

How do you do that

and Herbert Sweet is the guy who said

I don’t know how to tell you to become a success but he says I can sure tell you how to become a sure failure — try to please everybody.

Sounds like Paul to me.



Too often, the speaker misses some of the strength which a quotation can deliver because the audience . . . .

  • knows nothing of
  • knows but a slice of
  • knows the inappropriate slice of
  • knows the unseemly side of

. . . . the person being cited by the speaker.  Such would have been the case with Herbert Swope had not Brunson provided the background.  Brunson also highlights the importance of listening to Swope by including the following phrases . . . .

  • “the first person”
  • “Pulitzer Prize”
  • “World War I was going on”
  • “[memorable because he] made ONE statement”
  • “gathered around . . . . interviewed . . . . successful”


There are some great quotations from individuals which the audience well knows much about.

There are some great quotations from individuals about which the audience knows something and sufficiently.

There are some great quotations from individuals about which the audience knows little and adding a little more information strengthens the purpose and value of the quote.

There are some great quotations from individuals about which the audience knows nothing and any information strengthens the purpose and value of the quote.

There are some average-to-great quotations from individuals about which the audience knows “much – something – little – nothing” and any known or additional information would strengthen the thrust and force of the quotation.


An Example

Ernest Hemingway: There are numerous quotes which would work with the information which follows these two quotations by Ernest Hemingway

The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.


“All thinking men are atheists.”

Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

Now, “read” his famous book, “Old Man & The Sea” – CliffNotes – Summary: All your life you get up each day and go after the big fish.  Finally one day you catch it, and the sharks eat it before you can get back to land.

Now, read something about his background and death!



*In a message about contentment, the speaker could say — “Mark Twain made a humorous point, which carries a lot of truth.  He said, ‘Don’t complain and talk about all your problems–80 percent of people don’t care; the other 20 percent will think you deserve them.'”

**Herbert Bayard Swope Sr. (January 5, 1882 – June 20, 1958) was a U.S. editor, journalist and intimate of the Algonquin Round Table. Swope spent most of his career at the New York World. He was the first and three-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Reporting. Swope was called the greatest reporter of his time by Lord Northcliffe of the London Daily Mail.

Written works: Inside the German Empire: In the Third Year of the War (Classic Reprint)Awards: Pulitzer Prize for Reporting (1917)

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