It absolutely is not its length. One of the most famous in history, Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, was 272 words contained within ten sentences and took minutes to deliver. It followed a two-hour long, 13,607-word effort from the Hon. Edward Everett, which has been consigned, in effect, to the dustbin of history.
President Lincoln’s speech, however, continues to be known, copied, discussed and celebrated over 150 years later. So, what makes it great? Yes, it is short, but it has also striking imagery of birth, life and death, biblical resonances and highly memorable phrases of which the most famous is probably “and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not vanish from the earth.”
Lincoln was an accomplished lawyer and politician who was also steeped in literature and while we at Blueprint would never claim to be able to craft for our customers anything resembling his masterpiece we too, as journalists, have been steeped collectively for decades in reading across literature, history, politics, the arts and business and can recognise an arresting turn of phrase when we come up with one.