If You Can’t Speak, Watch (And Learn)

By Susie Adams

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While we are staying at home, there may not be many chances to speak, but there are plenty of chances to learn from the work of great speakers. This series features speeches that “check the boxes” of great speeches – each focusing on a key approach, and each containing great wisdom.

Three Key Points

When Steve Jobs came back to Apple in 1997 to save the company, he joined an informal employee gathering to talk about the strategic direction for the company. His remarks are a brilliant discussion of corporate strategy. The quality of the video isn’t great, but the message is.

The Power of the Pause

Comedian James Veitch’s TED Talk has no real socially redeeming value. But it is hilarious. Veitch has a fantastic British accent which makes it even more endearing. And he understands the power of the pause.

Visual (and Audio Aids) that Complement

In Corporate America if there is a presentation, there is usually a PowerPoint deck. That’s not a good thing. Visual aids can be a crutch. That’s not a good thing either. There are times when a powerful visual or audible aid tells the story. Such is the case with Frank Warren’s TED Talk.

The Magic of Story

Many graduating students will not have graduation this year. But we can revisit this gem from the 2018 Barnard Graduation speech by soccer great, Abby Wambach. Her speech to the women’s’ college had four main points, each made spectacularly real by a story from her past. Story breathes life; story connects.

Capture our Minds and Leave Us Thinking

Dalia Mogahed gave a memorable TED talk in 2016 about being Muslim in America. She begins her talk with questions to meet her audience where they are. Her concluding challenge about how we treat people from different cultures is relevant in a new way today. She captures us with the introduction and leaves us thinking with the conclusion. Plus, she has an amazing “home base” for her hands.

Alone Together

Most great speeches have a live audience. But there are times when the speaker is alone and the audience is remote; we can all relate to that these days. George W. Bush spoke to America from the Oval Office on September 11. We were alone, but we were one.

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