“Don’t quote me…”

It’s very easy to underestimate the power of a quote.

Quite apart from the value of the actual words, the fact that you are referring to a third-party always lends a little extra credibility to your message. It suggests you have researched your subject. That you have found other, respected or at least recognisable, supporters.

And there are generally positive associations with quotations. The endorsement (“Must-see film of the year!”) on the back of DVD’s. The shouting phrases (“Uplifting!”) in theatre land. The reassurance on the back of books (“An edge-of-your-teeth thrill ride!”). The customer reviews of the product you’re thinking of buying online. And of course the enveloping miasma of celebrity endorsement that infects us all, to some degree, also reinforces the value of external recommendation.

And when it comes to the words themselves, there is no law that says you can’t just make them up. (Especially if you can’t find someone famous, or a satisfied customer, to echo your thoughts…) Because then, you are just quoting yourself! So a plausible testimonial (“The best advice I’ve ever had!”) will add weight and corroboration to your content, even if it is unattributed. Do treat with care, though…

So what got me thinking about all this? Funnily enough, being tweeted with a quote from George Bernard Shaw:

“Dancing is the vertical expression of a horizontal desire”.

You can’t get pithier than that!

So if you’re good at assembling words, why not have a go at our Caption Competition, before it closes on Tuesday, and win yourself a free e-learning course!

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