Stealing another speaker’s ideas

I gave a talk about better public speaking, and used the face of a clock as a mnemonic for all the essentials. Later I was approached by a member of the audience who told me how much he enjoyed the talk and especially the clock face idea, and he said he was going to use my idea in a speech he was planning to give soon.

I have a number of ‘signature’ Hooks to capture the attention of my audiences. One of them is the use of Fortune Cookies, another is the 3-rope trick. It has come to my notice that another speaker has adopted both.

Back in 1985 I created the term “microwave method” to describe my approach to training. I have seen the term in use on the internet.

My friend Paul Joslin attended a speech in the Midlands in which the speaker told a sob story that Paul had heard before in America. When he later tackled the speaker about it, the man said, “I doubt anyone in that audience had been to America, so it doesn’t matter.”

These are just a few examples of intellectual piracy. What do you think should be done about it?

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2 responses to “Stealing another speaker’s ideas

  1. There aren’t many original ideas, and people who borrow them can rarely execute them the same way as the originator.

    That said I have a file of nearly 300 pages of funny things that other people have said, which I use to improve my speeches.

    Didn’t T S Eliot say something like mediocre minds copy, great minds just steal? Often I see good ideas, badly executed. In that case, it’s fair enough to take them and make them better.

  2. You make a good point, Brian.

    The chap who ‘borrowed’ the 3-rope trick failed! And I was sharing the platform with him at the time! I was really rather amused.

    And, of course, it has often been said that stealing from one person is plagiarism, but stealing from many is research. That said, there’s enough room for creativity and originality, not to have to copy directly. I have no problem with people using my ideas as jumping off points and putting their own slant on them.

    What I mind sd literal copying. For example one of my signature sayings is, “Why be an extra in someone else’s dream, when you could STAR in your own?” I think you’ll agree it’s not a sentence you could fall into by chance. Yet I came across a YouTube clip on which a chap I know not only said it, but even corrected himself to get it right!