10 tips for stealing great content



I was just reading Erika Napoletano’s recent post about how to do list posts, and it gave me an idea for one. Not so much about stealing, but more about how to use quotes or other content in your speeches. So here it is, my top 74 rules…no, wait. My Top 5 rules for using other authors/speakers/cousins content in your speeches:

Rule #1. Always cite your source! when you steal borrow content, you should strive to always accurately cite your source. Failing an accurate citation, at least say, “someone famous once said…” and then make sure you know who it was for next time…slacker.

Rule #2. The quote (story…etc.) should be relevant. If you think, “The buck stops here” is a cool quote for your speech on gardening, you may not fully appreciate “relevance”.

Rule #3. The source should be relevant. Not just relevant to the topic, but relevant to you. In other words, don’t just quote someone because they had one catchphrase that works for you. Trust me, as soon as you do, an audience member will come up and ask you about them. This happened to me once after I referenced Chip and Dan Heath in a speech. Luckily I knew this rule from Craig Valentine, and I had read Made to Stick, Switch, and Decisive (their best-selling books). If I had just used the quote and knew nothing else about them, my credibility would have deservedly suffered.

Rule #4. Be accurate. Don’t talk about Rob Christeson’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I didn’t write that one. Want a more likely example? Ever hear how Thomas Edison said, “…I found 10,000 ways not to make a lightbulb”. Research your quotes!

Rule #5. Avoid overused phrases. I’ll let you fill in the examples here. But don’t take it to the other extreme and shoot for the obscure just to be different. Cool advanced trick – quote someone else speaking in the same conference, or a figure from the audience (CEO, etc.). Yes, this takes work.

Don’t be afraid to use content from others. Just follow these rules and do it right. As the famous blogger Rob C says, “quote me!”

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