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#PR: Do You Have Singleness of Purpose?
By: Gerard E. Mayers
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This Tuesday, November 19, was the 150th anniversary of a speech given by the 16th President of the United States. Mr. Lincoln gave his “few appropriate remarks” as part of a cemetery dedication in a small south-central Pennsylvania town. His short speech followed an oration by the occasion’s main speaker, Edward Everett of Massachusetts.
 
Everett’s oration was over two hours; Lincoln’s was barely three minutes. Hardly anyone today even knows of Everett’s oration, but the entire world knows of Lincoln’s “few appropriate remarks.” Afterwards, Everett told Lincoln that the latter’s speech came so much closer to the central theme of the occasion than his ever could.
 
Lincoln’s speech that day has come down to us as The Gettysburg Address.
 
As well as defining what freedom meant and why it was important for a Union victory in the American Civil War, Lincoln’s speech also revealed something else. It revealed a singleness of purpose, a determination, a resolve that nothing would stop him from doing whatever was necessary to reunite the broken country and restore the Union. It also revealed a man whose very soul was rent by the carnage and suffering caused by that war.
 
But, I think Mr. Lincoln’s short speech also reveals much more to us who work in PR and communications:
  • Our communications projects should be short, succinct, to the point — cutting to the very meat and essence of the matter.
  • We should be willing to go beyond the extra mile for our external or internal (or both) customers.
  • We should not stop our efforts until we are successful, no matter how long or short the effort may be.
 But in a larger sense, Mr. Lincoln’s speech should also challenge us: Do we have singleness of purpose in all we do?
 
The author will be heading to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania this Friday to participate in the ceremonies this weekend remembering both the Address and the sacrifices made by those of both sides 150 years ago.


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About the Author
Gerard E. "Gerry" Mayers writes about PR and other relevant topics for PR professionals. A former PR manager for Sensor Products, Inc. (currently based in Madison, NJ), he lives in Milford, NJ.
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