Tag: Leadership

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.

Public Speaking:  A Soft Skill That Needs a Solid Structure.

Public Speaking: A Soft Skill That Needs a Solid Structure.

Pace, coupled with a clear structure  is the secret to putting complex ideas into a format that is easy to understand.

Proper pace is needed as there is a delay between the words being spoken and the time it takes for them to be absorbed and understood.  Attention to diction and pronunciation helps to achieve a suitable pace. The narrative must be interspersed with pauses to give it space and allow it to breathe.

A structure that follows a sequential and logical format will free the minds of your audience to follow and be absorbed in what you are saying.

Here is an example of a structure that could be used  when you are unexpectedly asked to, “Say a few words,” on a topic you are familiar with but only have 10minutes to prepare.

Structuring Your 2 mins Speech. 

 Intro:

State:                           Your claim/argument/point of view/stance.

Explain.                      Why? Validate your claim.              .

 Body:

Main Point :               The essense of what you are saying.

Support material for main point: (Backup your claim with facts, statistics, quotes or stories).

  • Point 1:              Reinforce your claim with evidence.
  • Point 2:
  • Point 3:

 Conclusion:    

Wrap it up with a skillful conclusion. Reinforce your message in a memorable way.

An example of the structure being put into practice.

State: Paragliding is the most amazing thing you could ever do.

Explain: Who would like to fly like a bird? Leonardo Da Vinci did. In the 1500’s he designed and built some magnificent flying contraptions but was not quite able to realise his dream. Today anyone can learn to fly. Simply enroll for a beginners course at a paragliding school and within a week you’ll be doing a solo flight from a height of 800metres.

Main Point: Paragliding  is a skill which requires understanding and collaboration with the forces of nature. The air that surrounds us.

  • It brings with it an appreciation and respect for Nature.
  • Being in the mountains is beautiful and healthy.
  • The camaraderie. With my licence I could go to places like New Zealand and join up with groups going out for a weekend of camping and flying.

Conclusion: Paragliding besides being exhilerating requires total awareness to what is going on in the present and the ability to adapt to an ever changing invisible force-The Wind.

If you aim at creating something extraordinary and making it clear and understood, contact me on martin.jugmans@gmail.com or +32 498 523 649 on how to put business storytelling to work in your organisation.
Elon Musk Drives His Point Home.

Elon Musk Drives His Point Home.

Last Thursday in sensational style Elon Musk unveiled the Tesla electric truck. After driving the futuristic truck into full view of the audience he stepped out from the driving seat amid enthusiastic cheers-worthy of a rockstar. At first he seemed bit overwhelmed and not knowing what else to do threw his arms in the air. As the audience quietened down he got rolling with his presentation extolling the virtues of his new truck. He did not disappoint and the truck appeared to give birth to a sleek new roadster. Using feisty language and adding a dash of exaggeration he made his point, “The point of doing this is just to give a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars,” and went on to say, “Driving a gasoline sports car is going to feel like a steam engine with a side of quiche.”

His language is hip, peppered with humour and he makes lofty claims which leave little room for interpretation. Musk has shown he is Mr. Sustainable and a guy who walks his talk. If all he did on stage was burp he would probably get a rapturous applause. He opts to use playful language and colouful metaphors. Before the unveiling of the truck he tweeted, “This will blow your mind clear out of your skull and into an alternate dimension.”

His passion and vision are clearly reflected in his speech and reveals his adventurous personality.

Workshop: Storytelling Essentials for Effective Communication.

Workshop: Storytelling Essentials for Effective Communication.

A Practical Workshop on Business Storytelling.

Stories are about life and the life experience. Using stories, anecdotes and vignettes to clarify your message is a way to fast track a positive engagement with your audience. Human brains have a story listening mode, when activated it makes it devilishly easy for a speaker to captivate the attention of an audience. The term used is, “suspension of disbelief”. It is like getting the entire audience into a light hypnotic state in which they become more than ever attentive and receptive. This workshop reveals storytelling essentials and guides participants on a creative journey. Using practical exercises, examples and personalised feedback participants are able to find, structure and deliver a complete story for a specific purpose.  For a qualitative experience the workshop is limited to a maximum of 12 participants.

In Part 2 at a later date attention will be given to creating subtle nuances in a story to increase the depth of audience engagement to make a story sure to stick.

Workshop Part 1.

Purpose:  Find, structure and deliver a story to illustrate a specific message.

What you will learn: Sourcing stories, where to get them. Story construction and flow. Methods to create a spell binding effect. Delivering for maximum impact.

Benefits:  Engage the audience by creating an experience. Inspire, motivate, persuade and leave a lasting impression. Bring ideas and concepts into a form that is easy to understand and remember.

Who should attend: Leaders, Change Makers, Teachers, Trainers, Managers, Facilitators, Conference and Seminar speakers.

When: Friday 10th of November 2017. 14:00-18:00.

Where: ICAB. Rue des Pères Blancs/Witte Patersstraat 4, 1040 Brussels.

What participants say: “Excellent evaluations given for the exercises.”

“A practical , visual and engaging workshop.”

“Easy to follow structures with good examples.”

Register:  Eventbrite: Book your place here.

 

 

 

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.