Did this picture of Morgan Freeman make you want to read this post? Or was it because you know ME, and want to read what I'm about to write?
By now, many of you may have read the following statements regarding the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, CT. If not, check out the Inquisitr article here.
Whether you agreed or disagreed with the statements is inconsequential. The fact that they were attributed to Morgan Freeman, however, is not, particular for those of us who speak.
First point of business for any of us on Social Media, of course, needs to be vetting our material. It's easy to share something with a click - but the few extra seconds it takes to google or Snopes something is worth it.
But let's shift gears a bit. As speakers, our credibility is a HUGE issue. We work to be experts in our topics. To build success within our messages. And often, perhaps too often, rely on borrowed credibility within our presentations by quoting famous people to support our claims. Some speakers borrow stories that are just 'handed down' from generation to generation - all in the name of lending credence to our points.
It can be effective, but it can also be lazy. It can be perfect, but it can also be too good to be true. We may be doing what we've always done, and always seen done, but we may now be doing it wrong.
Sourcing our non-original material and quotes has always been ethical and important, but in today's lightning fast information age, its essential. Misquoting someone, using incorrect attribution, or using stories that are just plain false will ruin our reputations before we're even off the stage as people tweet and facebook about our ineptitude.
Protect your credibility, and the credibility of our industry. Start by using more original material. Find examples within the company or group you're speaking to, by doing your pre-speech research. And, when you do quote Einstein, make sure it was he who said it, and not, say, Morgan Freeman.
What do YOU think? Do speakers borrow too much? Have you ever seen a speaker misquote or outright steal their material? Please, comment below, or on Facebook/Twitter/etc.
(another story on the origin of the quote: http://gawker.com/5969054/morgan-freemans-thoughts-on-the-sandy-hook-shooting-were-written-by-some-canadian-guy-named-mark?post=55329200)