Oprah Winfrey is about to give a powerful commencement speech. Keeping in line with Oprah’s reputation, it will be impactful. She is a woman with an inspiring career, she is professional, and she is credible. She can easily be the motivational spark that you need. Let’s listen in, as she gives her Golden Globe Award acceptance speech in 2018.
Oprah, dressed elegantly, touches you with her gravitas from the moment she begins her speech. She has a stellar reputation, and that reputation persuades the listener in a subtle way to expect the best. Oprah starts with a personal story, describing how she herself was affected by watching a special Golden Globes broadcast as a child. Personal stories are great tools to connect with the audience. By explaining how this personal experience fueled her throughout her career and now she has the opportunity to be the sort of inspiration she received as a child. She ties the past to the present and thereby manages to boost the moment’s impact. She has become the first black woman ever to receive the Golden Globe Award. Her personal story is given an extra bit of power by connecting it to bigger historic stories.
The speaker, in this case, Oprah, is brave enough to side with an opinion. She identifies with those who are brave enough to speak the truth. To give an impactful speech, you should give it character. A clear taste. The purpose should not be to satisfy all of the audience. However, she does it by not excluding everyone. She praises not only women who were brave enough to speak the truth, but also men who were partners in helping the women do so.
Oprah gives a brilliant example of how to motivate your audience. She describes a serious issue by weaving her story with similar stories in history. It can cause a sense of anxiety. But that is not where it stops. She reassures her audience, and especially the girls, that “a new day is on the horizon” because of all the brave people. It is important not only to shed light on problems, that is to not shy away from the problem but even more important to offer solutions to them. It makes it easier for the audience to follow the speaker’s example of uncovering, describing, and offering a solution.
A credible speech by a credible speaker comes together to make a big impact. The three aspects worth highlighting: a personal story emphasized with historical significance; expressing your opinion bravely; not only describing the problem but offering a solution as well. These aspects worked for Oprah Winfrey in her speech. They will work for you, too!