He had little else. And that is played out in the film "Darkest Hour."
Realistically, it seemed that the odds were against Britain even trying to take on the superior military might of Hitler. At the time, the U.S. was still in a neutral position. The president - FDR - refused to help Churchill out with ships or planes.
Initially, the other powers that be in Britain advocated negotiating a "peace" with Hitler. Churchill rode the underground to find out if the people agreed. They did not.
His confidence surged in knowing the people wanted no such "peace." Churchill put the words together to convince the power structure that negotiations meant the end of Britain as they had known it. Yes, those words included those now-iconic phrases about "never surrender."
That was then.
Today, words also matter - a lot. Of course, lawyers have that down cold.
Sure, the theatrics of the glove remain a classic from the O.J. criminal trial. But, it was the ways in which the defense lawyers leveraged words to build arguments that mesmerized television viewers. Did they win over the jurors? That probably will never be known.
In his defense of "preacher-killer" Mary Winkler, lawyer Steve Farese brilliantly put together the tableau of wig and high heels. Those the preacher mandated Winkler put on for sex. However, it was his sustained verbal eloquence about the more general abuse that resulted in a compassionate jury verdict.
But, Millennials and iGens might not realize that. The meme is that we live in a visual age.
Instagram's soul is the image.
All the how-tos on ecommerce hammer to pile on the photos and videos.
Smartphones store photos, especially of moments. Not a scanned copy of a love letter penned for Valentine's Day.
No surprise, communications practitioner and university professor Mark Misercola showed excerpts of "Darkest Hour" to his classes in New York City. The lesson was to illustrate the link between effective leadership and words.
Of course, Misercola was right. After all, what David Muir on ABC News focuses on are the words the U.S. Senators and inhabitants of the White House are saying. Not visual props.
In my coaching of aging professionals who want to remain in the workforce, so much is about words. The wrong ones can brand them with a scarlet "O" - for "old."
In their resumes and cover letters, for example, employers want to read about "accomplishments," and "edge," not "skills." Also, the terminology on paper and in interviews has to match the current professional lingo. In addition, they have to become linguistically adept in getting to the point faster - in all mediums.
Word stylistics can make or break careers. When Megyn Kelly's rhetoric was combative on Fox News, she was a star. Her attempt to shift to mainstream platitudes on network television is cartoonish.
"Darkest Hour" ends with the Churchill quote:
"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts."
We in the front lines of the word game must keep explaining its role in everything from leadership to trial dynamics.
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