Tag: charisma

An Analysis of How Oprah Skilfully Integrates Storytelling Into Her Acceptance Speech.

Being an experienced TV talk show host, actress and producer, Oprah has the charisma to deliver a compelling speech. What struck me is how she owns the stage. She makes it look easy and natural suggesting her preparation was meticulous.

She opens with a vignette, a brief personal recollection and in typical storytelling style sets the scene – 1964 on a linoleum floor in Milwaukee. Its simple, personal and evocative. Her confidence fuels a desire to want to hear more. In just a few lines she has captured the audience’s attention and created anticipation.

Eloquently portrayed, Sidney Poitier is the protaganist of Oprah’s opening story. She adds a strong visual element by vividly describing him and infuses her description with passion, expressing what she felt at the time. She does this very economically by using a single and strong white tie/black skin contrast.

As with any good story there are obstacles that need to be overcome and challenges that are faced. Oprah delicately refers to this saying that when she was a girl how rare it was to see a black person being celebrated and honoured for outstanding achievement. Also saying that she is the first black woman to receive the award implies many difficulties were encountered along the way.

The resolution of her story is a dream come true. The story began in 1964 and we are brought to the present moment. She is now the one being acknowledged in the same way as Sidney Poitier was back then and she takes responsibility for being a role model.

Oprah’s acceptance speech has a message:

To maintain hope for a brighter morning and noboby having to say #MeToo again. To illustrate this Oprah goes on to tell the story about Recy Taylor. A story she chose because it is relevant to her message. She keeps the details of the story down to the absolute essentials, imparting only what is necessary to get her message across, it is pleasantly devoid of fluff and padding. While telling this story and indeed throughout her whole speech variations in her tone of voice is masterful.  The way she says, “Just walking home,” is light and airy yet strongly contrasts with how she adds emphasis and force to the word kill in, “They threatened to kill her if she ever told anyone.”

Again she adds relevance to the story of Recy Taylor and brings it closer to us by announcing that Recy had recently passed on.

She tells us how women’s personal stories of abuse have culminated into the wider #MeToo movement and the collective story has trancended race, religion and politics.  She emphasises that, “Speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.”

Oprah skilfully integrates stories into her speech to get her message across and leaves a lasting impression.

To Gain Clarity-Remove Clutter

To Gain Clarity-Remove Clutter

In 1998 when living in Sun Valley near Cape-Town my ceiling nearly collapsed because of the amount of sand that had been blown in under the roof tiles. Capetonians call it “The South-Easter” A strong, persistent, onshore wind, whipping up beach sand and driving it into every conceivable nook and cranny. The entire city gets a thorough sand blasting.

In Cape Town city centre the wind becomes an incessant gale force as it is channelled and accelerated through the buildings. Cyclists and pedestrians struggle to see through the flying grit and keep their balance.  The South-Easter can howl continuously for days.

Locals have nicknamed it “The Cape Doctor.” It also brings with it a beautiful mantle of cloud which gracefully rests on Table Mountain. Kite surfers and windsurfers welcome the strong steady wind and can be seen skimming across the waves at incredible speeds. But most of all when the wind dies down fair weather descends on the Western Cape and the air is crisp and clean for all.

The legendary Cape Doctor clears all pollution and pestilence.

Turbulent times present challenges but there are silver linings during the process and the satisfaction of having clear skies and clean air is mighty sweet.

When the fear of change, the unknown and the prospect of having to make sacrifices are preventing people from moving forwards, a well-articulated story could make all the difference. I’ve seen it work time and again by leaders like Barack Obama and Steve Jobs. Sometimes even a simple anecdote will do. Claims made in stories must be backed up but a story will provide the inspiration. Inspiration is the fuel for motivation, a key to unleash latent potential and the sauce to make a vision happen.

If you aim at creating something extraordinary and making it clear and understood, contact me on +32 498 523 649 on how to put business storytelling to work in your organisation.

Charisma, Essential To Have In A Public Speaker’s Repertoire.

confident-business-womanCharisma, the ability to attract, charm and influence people is often thought of as a mysterious indescribable gift bestowed on only a privileged few.

The etymology of charisma is kharis from the Greek meaning grace, beauty, kindness and kharisma, meaning  favour or grace.

Christian contexts have often referred to charisma as power entrusted to an individual by Divine favour for the good of the Church. It is not surprising then that charisma is associated with having a supernatural gift. It may look as if a charismatic person has some superior magnetism and unique talent but as research and scientific study suggest, charisma can be learned.

Each person’s own unique brand of charisma is developed using a combination of skills learned through practice and application.

5 Strategies for Boosting Your Score on the Charismatic Calibrator.

Authenticity. Take a genuine interest in people, ask questions, listen to their needs and concerns, remember their names and details about conversations.

Appearance. Have a neat appearance pay attention to detail. Act at ease yet supremely confident.

Clarity. Practice good annunciation, use pauses, metaphors, stories and anecdotes to create a visual component. Whether you are delivering a speech or having a conversation make your dialogue easy to follow and understand.

Conviction. Speak passionately and believe in what you say. Look at the people you are talking to.

Humour. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Enjoy yourself during the conversations you are having and when you are on the podium. Smile. When appropriate be lighthearted.

Any number of virtues contribute to a person having charisma. To be charimatic one does not have to acquire all the traits, by tweaking and adjusting behaviours and building on strong points in one’s character an aura of charisma is radiated.

Charisma strategies when learned and applied will improve the quality of your public speaking,  interpersonal relationships and transform you into a people magnet.