Savvy presenters at business events know the audience is there to hear candid comments, fresh insights, and surprising anecdotes–not humblebragging, self-promotion or overused buzzwords. If presenters don’t deliver, attendees will tune out and spend more time networking outside the conference hall. Not every speaker got that memo, however: it’s still a challenge to sift through all the jargon and make each event worthwhile.

We’ve highlighted seven memorable quotes from various New York-based events we covered in 2012. They deal with a range of topics: creativity, media relations, CEO visibility, producing original content, the risks of using celebrity spokespeople, teamwork, publicity and controversy.

1. “Grit is especially important when it comes to creativity. If it was easy, someone else would have done it.

-Jonah Lehrer, author of Imagine: How Creativity Works and former contributor to The New Yorker and Wired magazines, delivered a keynote at ARF’s Re:think conference in March. In the ensuing months, Lehrer saw his own career falter after being accused of plagiarism and quote fabrication–so he didn’t follow his own advice.

2. “Now it’s a better age between journalists and PR. There’s an absence of friction, and PR is part of the data stream.

-David Carr, New York Times media reporter, spoke during Internet Week in May. Carr’s welcome though limited remarks on the dynamics of the relationship came in response to an audience question.

3. “A few companies with secure, confident CEOs take the lead on issues and speak out, but it’s hardly a universal practice.

-Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman PR, addressed Ethisphere’s Best Practices in Ethics Communication event in June. His comments have since been echoed by others in the industry.

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