Posted by: Kristen Ridley | January 11, 2013

Happy 2013! Quotes to inspire the corporate communicator

angelsI recently read a post listing the author’s “quotes to guide and inspire me for the next 12 months”. I think that’s great! And the quotes were certainly positive, and uplifting, and, motivational, and, blah, blah, blah [insert eye-roll here].

Hey, don’t get me wrong – I’m all for inspiration, and good for that writer to be all upbeat. But here in the world of corporate communicator-land, we [well, okay, I can only really speak for ME, although most of my communicator friends lean in the same general direction] tend to subscribe more to the Mark Twain, Dorothy Parker and Ernest Hemingway school of “inspiration” which is probably not going to land us in the Tony Robbins or Zig Ziglar world of motivation [both of them were on this other person’s list]. Let me just say that I think both Tony Robbins and Zig Ziglar are extremely smart, inspiring and successful people so I’m not dissing either of them at all. They just don’t always reflect the reality of the world I live professionally.

The world of corporate communicator motivation tends to lean more towards the “sarcastic-but-amusing” approach. But I really liked the idea of choosing some quotes that would set a tone for the new year. So, I decided to go find my own list of quotes for 2013. These are people I can really relate to, who said things I WISH I’d said, and who, even though most of them died before I was born, never mind before I became a corporate communicator, absolutely personify who I am, and how I manage the challenges of the work I love – don’t get me wrong, I really wouldn’t want to do anything else! – but that sometimes drives me to distraction with its quirks and dramas. In case you’re new to my blog and wondering, how I manage those challenges is to poke fun at them. Laughter is the best medicine, etc., etc., etc.

So, here are MY “Corporate Communicator’s Inspiring Quotes for 2013”. I’ve included my editorial comments on some of the quotes, and those will be in italics and bracketed at the end of those quotes. P.S. If you are easily offended, you may not enjoy these. But then, if you are easily offended, you most certainly aren’t a corporate communicator, and probably won’t connect to my blog anyway, as humour and laughing at all things ridiculous is my key approach, so fair warning 🙂

On always doing the absolute best work we can, despite the challenges:

“If you are writing about baloney, don’t try to make it Cornish hen, because that’s the worst kind of baloney there is. Just make it darn good baloney.” ~Leo Burnett

“I write as straight as I can, just as I walk as straight as I can, because that is the best way to get there.” ~H.G. Wells

“A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask at least four questions: 1. What am I trying to say? 2. What words will express it? 3. What image or idiom will make it clearer? 4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect? ~George Orwell

“Writing well means never having to say, ‘I guess you had to be there’. ~Jef Mallett

“Say all you have to say in the fewest possible words, or your reader will be sure to skip them; and in the plainest possible words, or he will certainly misunderstand them.” ~John Ruskin

“Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.” ~Stephen King

“I see only one rule: to be clear. If I am not clear, then my entire world crumbles into nothing.” ~Stendhal

“It usually takes more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.” ~Mark Twain

What some of those challenges are [Honestly, if people ONLY KNEW what we communicators deal with!!!]:

“Our admiration of fine writing will always be in proportion to its real difficulty and its apparent ease.” ~Charles Caleb Colton [Ah, yes. The old “well anybody can do communications, can’t they?!]

“Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” ~E.L. Doctorow

“There is nothing to writing. You just sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

“Writing a book is a long, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” ~George Orwell

“No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else’s draft.” ~H.G. Wells [SERIOUSLY! Truer words have NEVER been spoken in reference to the world of the corporate communicator!]

“True genius resides in the capacity for the evaluation of uncertain, hazardous and conflicting information.” ~Winston Churchill [When working on corporate information, I sometimes feel a bit like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz: “Buzzwords, and jargon, and spin, Oh MY!!]

“Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed.” Mark Twain

On why we put up with all that “stuff”:

“Good writing excites me, and makes life worth living.” ~Harold Pinter

“Success is the child of audacity.” Benjamin Disraeli

“There is only one way to defeat the enemy and that is to write as well as one can.” ~Saul Bellow

“Our words must seem to be inevitable.” ~William Butler Yeats

On the fundamental “oddness” of the writer:

“I hate writing; I love having written.” ~Dorothy Parker

“Wit is educated insolence.” Aristotle

“All writers are more or less crazy – and the only argument I’ll listen to is whether they were crazy to start with or got that way from writing.” ~Allen Marple

“Writers are a little below clowns and a little above trained seals. God help the world if writers ever took control.” ~John Steinbeck [At least, it sometimes feels like the people we work with think this.]

“There are very few writers who are not cranks in some way.” ~Paul Theroux

“If they’re meant to be writers they will write. There’s nothing that can stop them.” ~Tennessee Williams

“When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.” ~Mark Twain [Dear Mark Twain. My personal patron saint and paragon of everything I would love to be as a writer, and even, mostly as a person. I rarely disagree with anything he’s said]

“There is also the minority of gifted, willful people who are determined to live their own lives to the end, and writers belong in this class.” ~George Orwell

And, finally, why some days you just gotta laugh!

“Truly good humor . . . is bound to offend, for in the nature of things, it ridicules our prejudices and popular institutions.” ~Mordecai Richler

“Under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.” ~Mark Twain

“If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.” ~Oscar Wilde

So, there they are – the quotes that will help inspire me to be the best communicator I can be in 2013. Are there any favourite quotes you’d like to add to the list? I am always looking for new quotes to add to my collection, so please share. Here’s to a great 2013 for all of us!



  1. Thanks for sharing these gems!

  2. Thanks Donna! I had fun choosing the quotes. Glad you enjoyed them too! 🙂

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