Tag Archive | quotes

You can quote me

To quote or not to quote. That is the question.

In past blogs, we’ve talked about some uses of quotations to enhance your personal development, writing and/or presentations, but you may be asking if there are any legal limitations pertaining to quotes?

If you want to use someone else’s words for your own personal development to inspire or motivate you, you will not likely experience any resistance. You will, however, want to exercise caution especially when you are writing for publication. It is important that you not only credit the person’s words but also cite your source.

Generally speaking, if the person is someone like Hippocrates, the father of medicine, who lived and died thousands of years ago, there’s no problem. The issue arises when you desire to quote someone who is living or use a quote that has not yet been published. In these cases, you’ll need to get permission to use it. If it’s already in print or online, you can credit the site as much as the person.

Depending on the circumstances surrounding the quote, it may or may not be a legal concern, but you definitely want to be sure in order to avoid a law suit. Even online legal sites like www.avvo.com suggest that you contact an attorney. If you have any doubt, don’t use the quote.

Quotes offer a fantastic opportunity to align your work with that of a more renowned person, but you want to make sure that you do it properly to avoid time in jail for plagiarism.

A quotation for writer’s block

Do you ever draw a complete blank when preparing a speech or working on a writing project? Are you ever at a loss for words or just don’t know what to write about? If so, try this exercise that will not only provide you with wisdom (hopefully) but also get you moving past writer’s block as well.

Start off by Googling quotes and chose a quotation that you like or one that aligns with your assigned topic. Then jot down as many ideas as you can about relative topics you could get from using this quote. Don’t filter the ideas with thoughts of, “This won’t work.” Go for quantity not quality.

For example, I found the following quotation from Bil Keane. He was an American cartoonist whose comic, The Family Circus, became syndicated in many newspapers beginning in 1960. You’ll get a kick out of his play on words.

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.” ~ Bil Keane 

You could expound or philosophize on:

  • Yesterdays in your life
  • Events from history
  • History and what we learn from it
  • Your favorite time in history
  • Your hopes and dreams for tomorrow
  • The illusiveness of tomorrow
  • No guarantees for tomorrow
  • Today and living for the here and now
  • Gifts in general
  • God’s gift
  • God – an infinitely broad topic
  • Why today might be God’s gift
  • Present (here and now)
  • Presents you’ve received …

Keep the list going at least long enough to get your thoughts going in an appropriate direction or until you go crazy. At any rate, the exercise should get your juices flowing in a direction that will move you off of dead center and having you wave farewell to writer’s block.

Get a quote

How do you improve your writing, presentation or conversation to prove a point or engage your audience? One way is to add a quotation.

Using a quotation from a renowned and reputable source to introduce your topic can enhance and strengthen your message whether presented verbally or in written format. When you use this technique, it brings the credibility of the  author of the quote to your words almost as if that person were standing beside you resting his/her hand on your shoulder in support.

The operative word here is renowned. If you plan to use a quote, make sure the person’s name is almost a household word. Jesus, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Walt Disney can serve as prime examples of names most everyone will recognize. Other people who may have held prominent positions in business, government or religion may not be as readily recognized. In this case you may need to qualify their name by using a title as in Calvin Coolidge, 30th President. The title of President should resonate with your audience, and his words will then substantiate your own.

One word of caution, which is a fundamental step in preparing any material: consider your audience. In today’s global market place, you may be writing primarily for those within the United States, and in this case, the title President is sufficient. If, however, you are using the quote for something like web content, you will want to provide the name of the country to help your readers understand without further research. You do not want them scratching their heads wondering, “President of what?”

This brings a third group to the forefront. These are subject matter experts with proven track records but with a lesser-known name. (Your mother might fall into this category.) In this case, you may need to supplement the title with a few details to demonstrate their expertise. Online, you can also link the name to an appropriate site containing biographical or pertinent information.

Using quotations can be an effective means to establish credibility to support your ideas and engage your audience quickly. Although you may not choose to introduce every written piece or presentation with a quote, it is a valuable and timeless tool. There are online resources, but you might want to begin your own file of worthy statements so you can easily get a quote to fill your need.

Changing your current direction

Have you ever hit one of life’s plateaus? You know, those times when you want to move forward but seem to lack motivation.

My first recommendation would be to direct you to the Lord and the Bible. The Scriptures will provide what you need. Sometimes, however, you may desire to look at the life of someone who applied what he or she learned from the Word to see just how that worked for them. One of these people is Jim Rohn. As you look at his life, you may discover a quotation – he has many – to get or keep you on track as well as provide support for your ideas and projects in concise and direct terms.

During his life, Jim Rohn mentored thousands in the realm of business performance and personal development through individual contact, seminars, workshops, books and recorded presentations. His unique style coupled with his ability to apply wisdom to principles and events made him renowned as America’s foremost business philosopher. His common-sense approach and proven methods provided both personal success and wealth as well as for those who adopted his methods.

Jim tackled tough topics like leadership management, work ethics, change, motivation, learning, goals, success, relationships, results and more. Though he has recently passed on, his words continue to ring true and bear continual review and repetition.

You can Google Jim Rohn to find many outstanding quotes that you can use in your writing, presentations, or for personal development, and when applied, they may open the door to further opportunities. I’ll leave you with just one.

It is our philosophical set of the sail that determines the course of our lives. To change our current direction, we have to change our philosophy not our circumstances.”

 ~ Jim Rohn

Words on the page

Random words on a page do little to make the world a better place, but when you put them together in an orderly way, they have power for both good and evil. They can bring comfort or destruction, clarity or confusion, direction or uncertainty and humor or pain.   

Some people have a special knack for putting words together that when delivered, they inspire and motivate others to positive action. They edify the listener or reader. You can attribute this, in part, to the testimony of the person speaking, but the words themselves often contain power beyond their original intent. Such words can pierce to the very core of the human heart challenging perspectives and providing opportunities. It is these words, we often continue to quote, attaching the credentials of the man or woman who first penned them and sharing them to encourage or exhort others. Consider these examples:

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”

~ Martin Luther King

“A people that value its privileges above its principles will soon lose both.”

~ Dwight Eisenhower 

Walk the Talk has compiled a short movie clip of some leadership quotes. Maybe you’ll enjoy them as much as I did. Too busy to check them out right now? Then you’ll like these words of wisdom from Abraham Lincoln: 

“The best thing about the future is it comes one day at a time.”