Four Habits of Successful Speakers and Writers

In my decades as a writer, and my years as a speaker, I’ve learned that many of the habits of successful speakers and writers are the same.

There are nine habits of successful speakers, according to a recent article in Inc. Magazine. While I believe all nine are appropriate, I’ve chosen to focus on four.

The Four Habits

Care in Word Choices

Language tools such as alliteration, cadence, rhythm, and repetition are the hallmarks of masterful speakers. Great writers take advantage of the same tools, and realize that even straight fiction can have a rhythm, and even be poetic in its delivery.


Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address contained only 270 words, and is, to this day, one of the most powerful speeches ever given. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech? Just nine paragraphs. Writers, take a hint from them when creating essays and query letters.

Rewrite for Clarity and Power

On December 8, 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt rewrote a single sentence in his speech to the American people after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He changed “a date that will go down in world history” to “a date that will live in infamy.” Way more powerful, way more compelling. Writers, too, must weigh the power of every word in every sentence, if they wish to produce great works.

Learn From the Masters

Great speakers and great writers alike recognize their own limitations. They study and emulate the best of the best in their field or genre.