UNITED STATES—We have discussed in the past the importance of public speaking, however, we have not yet discussed how important a speech is in the public sphere. Why has this conversation suddenly come to light? I think most of you might already know the answer: awards season! This is the time of year, where we see big time celebrities (movie stars, musicians, theater titans) make political, emotional or dream-busting speeches to inspire.
Of course, many know by this point, the rousing speech that Oscar-winner Meryl Streep delivered while accepting the Cecil B. DeMille awardz at the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards. Streep’s speech was fantastic; poised and delivered an epic punch. I mean just looking at the faces on the celebrities in the room as Streep spoke was epic.
Rather you agree with what she stated or not is up for debate, but I loved how she talked about Donald Trump without ever actually mentioning his name. It was powerful and the talk of the town Sunday night, Monday morning and on all of the MEDIA OUTLETS. Yes, the media was in overload talking about that epic speech. There were other notable speeches of the night like Ryan Gosling paying tribute to his love Eva Mendes, Tracee Ellis Ross acknowledging that a woman of color had just won the GG for Best Actress in a TV Comedy, a feat that last transpired over 20 plus years ago.
This brings me to the question of the hour: when and where is the right place to give a rousing speech. A public setting is the top choice for most people because that message they’re hoping to get out reaches their intended audience and plenty of others along the way. However, before you deliver a speech you have to have a plan.
First, I’m not a proponent of reading a speech that was written or on cue cards. Why? It lacks authenticity and it doesn’t punch the intended audience as much as one expects. I especially hate when a person pulls out a piece of paper or notecard at an awards show. It’s an indicator that they knew they were going to win and it comes across a bit elitist if you ask me.
Second, a speech needs to make sense. You can’t just get on the stage and talk and talk, yet no one has a got damn idea what you’re talking about (i.e. Tom Hiddleston at the GG ceremony). I see this time and time again with celebrities, but also with everyday individuals. From my personal opinion, if you are expected to give a speech, then it is a wise thing to prepare in advance. Write a speech, rehearse it a bit, change what doesn’t feel right, and at that last minute, if you’re not comfortable with the speech that you prepared throw it out and wing it.
How would I know, I did the same thing during my Co-op speech in high school. I had several teachers help me plan the speech, but then at the last minutes, I just winged it, I spoke from the heart, made the speech genuine and before you know it, I received a standing ovation that I never and I mean never expected. It’s a wonderful feeling to have people react and respond to what you vocally express.
I do believe speech can inspire people, and more than anything, if you have the opportunity to utilize the public forum to send a message that you think is important, go for it. Just be aware that when you touch on politics, it’s always going to be a decisive issue. Some will like what you say, others will hate what you say. Just remember when you talk in public, your words are powerful so be careful with what you say.