Here’s the last of 12 ads from the 1982 “Power of the Printed Word” ad campaign by International Paper Company. I’m offering the series as an inspiration to your staff, co-workers – and you – to communicate more effectively and understand the benefits of doing so – not just at work but in life.

Enjoy.

Twelfth in the series:  “How to make a speech” by George Plimpton

I saved the best for last. George Plimpton was a sports journalist who made a second career of putting himself in challenging, unfamiliar situations and then writing about them. Said his obituary in The New York Times: “As a boxer, he had his nose bloodied by Archie Moore* at Stillman’s Gym in 1959. As a pitcher, he became utterly exhausted and couldn’t finish an exhibition against 16 stars from the National and American Leagues (though he managed to get Willie Mays to pop up). And as a ‘professional’ third-string quarterback, he lost roughly 30 yards during a scrimmage with the Detroit Lions in 1963.”

Plimpton’s exploits and other colorful interests made him a big draw on the lecture circuit. (For one, he was a fireworks enthusiast who attempted to break the record for the world’s largest firework. Upon ignition, his invention rose about 50 feet in the air, exploded and broke 700 windows in Titusville, Fla.) Here, he offers a number of great tips on giving a successful presentation. Of course, he had interesting stories to tell, but he reminds us chances are quite good you’re asked to speak on a particular topic because you know something about it. Start there.

*the longest-reigning World Light Heavyweight Champion of all time.

Pull quote: “Mark Twain once said, ‘It takes three weeks to prepare a good ad-lib speech.’”