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This is what leadership looks like:Vital Speeches ‘ speechwriting #IABC12

An 8am timeslot on the morning after the notorious Canada Eh! party at the #IABC12 world conference is a tough gig, but David Murray's session on speeches was worth getting up for.

Starting with Bravehart, we viewed a clip of some of the most compelling oratory from the movies before movng onto more political fare.

David opened with two tips for ensuring that even speeches on the most ostensibly mundane of content can be made compelling:

1. Own the speech – demonstrate that you are the only person who can deliver that content in that way at that point in time.

2. Personalise the speech, make it your own – personalise it.

Essentialy, the audience needs to believe that the speaker "comes from God".

Other advice incudes:

  • speak with conviction and certainty
  • when information is scarce, articulating the universally acknowledged truth can be incredibly powerful – even if you are not strictly speaking saying anything "new"
  • Connect the message to yourself and make the personal human connection

There was some commonality among the examples of brilliance with which we were presented:

  • the language is simple
  • visual language is used
  • emotive language is used
  • humility (although there was one exception – in this exception the comment was couched in humour so the speaker was able to pull it off)
  • a challenge
  • a killer ending – but not all necessarily reached a conclusion in the traditional sense
  • they address the way in which the audience is feeling

Over the past few days we have had some brilliant examples of this, as well as some examples of what not to do…From Pamela Shockley Zalabak Ph.D. who decided to leave her home in Colorado the hands of the gods and the local fire department while she delivered a compelling presentaiton on buildling organisational – trust to Robert Kennedy Junior who spoke with great passion about the need for investment in our environment, the need to preserve "the commons" – that which belongs to all.

In closing the key to all this is to find the connections between the speaker and his or her experience and the audience.

In traditional speechwriting training much emphasis is placed on knowing the audience. This session flipped it on the head emphasising knowing your content and knowing your speaker.

Signing off for now but hope to blog again soon. Cheers from sunny Chicago.

Monika Lancucki

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