The Republican National Convention is over, but the controversy about one particular speech given continues on. While there were some interesting and important speeches given during the convention, the one moment that will live on forever was one that the party wasn’t hoping for. It was the moment that Mrs. Trump uttered words that sounded very familiar – nearly word for word familiar. And in fact, as social media started to blow up within an hour after the conclusion of her speech, it was clear that she had lifted a paragraph right out of Mrs. Obama’s speech given in 2008.
The party immediately started damage control but it only seemed to make matters worse until nearly five days later, the speech writer who had assisted Mrs. Trump admitted that the speech was not properly fact checked.
As journalists and public relations professionals, we know you rarely get a “do over.” So you need to make sure you do everything you can to get it right the first time.
So here are a few tips before step out onto the stage to deliver that next speech:
- Write the outline in your own words: Sometimes, we take ideas from others as a reference and forget to reword it in the final draft. To avoid this, rephrase your sentences or, if you are going to use an exact phrase or section, give credit to the author.
- Vet the speech for plagiarism: There is no such thing as checking your work too many times. Read it thoroughly numerous times, and have others do the same. And then, do it again.
- Use online plagiarism-checking tools: Sites such as Turnitin.com allow for you to paste your text and have it scanned for similarities with any online text. This will make it impossible to plagiarize anything that is already online.
And…..If for some reason something still goes wrong, acknowledge the mistake. Covering ups only lead to more distrust and lack of credibility on your part and the part of your organization.
Do what it takes to get it right – the first time.