Did the earth shake a little during the 2018 Golden Globe Awards?
In eight minutes, Oprah Winfrey electrified her audience at the Golden Globes with a speech that ignited a movement for her to run for President. It can also inspire you to be a better speaker.
Accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement (a first for an African-American woman), Oprah used her speech to raise awareness of sexual harassment and assault and exhorted women across the country to rise up and “speak their truths.” Her stirring remarks inspired #Oprah2020, leading social media pundits and the press to wonder if she should run for President.
Imagine: one speech elevated Oprah from TV personality to rumored Presidential contender.
Whether you’re a public speaker or presenting to your organization or clients, here’s a key takeaway from Oprah’s acceptance speech: your audience wants, needs, and craves more than a person who understands the intricacies of any particular job. They want to you to focus their attention, explain why what you’re saying matters, and, most importantly, inspire them to act.
Here’s how you can use Oprah’s speaking techniques to become a better speaker and inspire your organization:
Paint a picture – Oprah’s Golden Globes acceptance speech is public speaking at its best. She reinforced her message by first telling a personal story: her memory of being “a little girl sitting on the linoleum floor,” watching actor Sidney Poitier, on television, accept the Academy Award for Best Actor. She then briefly talked about her own dreams and her rise in show business.
Focus on one issue – Oprah’s speech perfectly captured a historical moment. Her message about the #MeToo movement was conveyed simply, powerfully, and emotionally. She spoke to the theater audience as well as viewers at home when she noted, “I want tonight to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault because they, like my mother, had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue.”
Explain why it matters – Oprah is a masterful public speaker who knows how to connect with audiences. She talked about the importance of “speaking your truth,” a key component to honest communication. She encouraged her audience to support women who have been targeted by harassment and called out sexual harassers everywhere by stating “your time is up,” bringing the audience to its feet, cheering and applauding.
Help envision action – Winfrey’s rousing call for “a brighter morning even in our darkest nights” lit up social media and traditional media outlets worldwide. Encouraging her audience to dream of a day “when nobody has to say ‘me too’ again,” she brought her speech back to the beginning, telling girls in the audience that a new day is coming where “magnificent women and phenomenal men work together to make change happen.”
You don’t have to be Oprah or an aspiring politician to inspire your audience. Remember these four points and you’ll become a better speaker and inspire listeners just as you are.