Killer Speech

A portrait of William Henry Harrison, 9th president of the United States for one month in 1841. He was the first president to die in office and the shortest-serving U.S. president in history. Harrison was born February 9, 1773, in Virginia, and died April 4, 1841, at the White House in Washington DC. Illustration published in The New Eclectic History of the United States by M. E. Thalheimer (American Book Company; New York, Cincinnati, and Chicago) in 1881 and 1890. Copyright expired; artwork is in Public Domain.

William Henry Harrison, the ninth U.S. President, gave a killer speech at his inauguration. It was freezing rain, but Harrison spoke for two hours without a coat or hat. He developed pneumonia and died thirty-one days later, registering the longest speech and shortest time in office of any President. Verbosity can be lethal.

Levity aside, we’ve seen many people kill potential referrals or lose important pitches because of logorrhea*. In a team pitch, if one person dominates, the impression is that the other team members aren’t capable. Also, this ensures the team will lose the business. Or, if a solo presenter doesn’t know how to edit their content and goes past their allotted time, the audience feels resentment.

When author Mark Twain was in church, his minister related a touching story about poor kids in a faraway country. Twain opened his wallet, but as the minister droned on, Twain kept reducing the amount he would leave as a donation. As the tale finally ended, and the collection plate was passed to him, Twain took money out.

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