QED and the Bottom Line
I really can’t tell this story any better, and if I did, I would ignore the lesson that the story teaches. So here it is:
Near the end of the Eisenhower Administration, the speechwriter James C. Humes was asked to help the president write a short address. After submitting a draft, Humes was called to Eisenhower’s office to discuss. As soon as he stepped into the room, he could tell that Eisenhower had a problem with what he’d written.
“What’s the QED* of this speech?” Eisenhower said to him with only a little patience.
Humes was confused. “QED,” he said, “what’s that?”
“Quod Erat Demonstrandum,” Eisenhower barked. “Don’t you remember your geometry? What’s the bottom line? In one sentence!”
Eisenhower was a brilliant man, but a simple and a straightforward one after years in the Army. He didn’t have time to beat around the bush and so he didn’t put up with rambling or equivocation. He wanted his speeches to have a point and he wanted everyone who worked for him to know the message.
This is a good lesson for anyone and everyone when it comes to communication.