17 Winston Churchill quotes that impart communications wisdom

Prime Minister David Cameron asked people in the United Kingdom to share their favorite quotes from the famous WWII leader on the anniversary of his death.

Last month marked the 50th anniversary of the death of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, an iconic figure, known for his World War II leadership, quick wit, and speeches that rallied the nation during the dark days of war.

The anniversary was commemorated with events, exhibitions, and tributes throughout the United Kingdom, including a request by Prime Minister David Cameron for people to share their favorite Churchill quotes on Twitter using #churchillquotes.

Here are some of his best quotes, including a few that apply the work of communications and PR professionals.

1. “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.”

2. “This report, by its very length, defends itself against the risk of being read.”

3. “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”

4. “Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in a way that they look forward to the trip.”

5. “A good speech should be like a woman’s skirt: long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest.”

6. “We are masters of the unsaid words, but slaves of those we let slip out.”

7. “A preposition is a terrible thing to end a sentence with.”

8. “Life is fraught with opportunities to keep your mouth shut.”

9. “We occasionally stumble over the truth but most of us pick ourselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.”

10. “A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.”

11. “If you are going through hell, keep going.”

12. “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”

13. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

14. “We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”

15. Lady Astor: “Winston, if I were your wife I’d put poison in your tea.”

Winston Churchill: “Nancy, if I were your husband I’d drink it.”

16. “My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me.”

17. “I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.”

Ragan.com readers, any other quotes to share?

Laura Hale Brockway is a medical writer and editor from Austin, Texas. Read more of her work at impertinentremarks.com.

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