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- Feb 2023
WHILE REAGAN was governor, I will never forget his taking time out of his schedule after a television taping to show me—a 15-year-old high school student—how he could instantly arrange his packs of anecdote-filled index cards into a speech tailor-made for almost any audience. I still use a variation of Reagan’s system to construct my own speeches.
John H. Fund wrote that while he was a a 15-year old high school student, Reagan taught him how he arranged his index card-based notes to tailor-make a speech for almost any audience. In 2011, Fund said he still used a variation of Reagan's system for his own speeches.
Indeed, Martin Anderson, Reagan’s former domestic policy adviser, says that Reagan’s system did wonders for his ability to give speeches. Reagan was able to approach a lectern with no sign anywhere of a prepared speech. Only those seated on the stage behind him could see his left hand drop into his suitcoat pocket and pull out a neat, small packet of cards and slip off the elastic band with his right hand as he set the cards down. And as for helping him in preparing the speech material, “his system was unrivaled,” Anderson remembers. “Before the speech Reagan would pore over the packs of cards, then pluck a few cards from one pack, a few from another, and combine them. In a matter of minutes, he would create an entirely new speech. The system was as flexible as a smooth gold chain.”