Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey inspires her audience.

Oprah Winfrey

“It was 1964. I was just a little girl. I sat on the linoleum floor in my mother’s house and watched the Oscar ceremony on TV “(0:50). With these words Oprah Winfrey begins her speech. The details (cold floor, white tie and black skin) revive the event. She describes the moment when Sydney Poitier was the first black man to win an Oscar for Best Actor. This means a lot for the little girl, who at that time was following the Oscars from the “cheap seats”. This personal reference makes the speech very emotional.

In 1982 Sydney Poitier received the Cecil B. de Mille Award at the Golden Globes – the award that Oprah Winfrey is now the first black woman to receive. She skillfully draws attention to the fact that little girls are now watching again. So she refers twice to what she mentioned before: First black man/woman, little girl.

Tempo, gestures and repetition

During Oprah Winfrey’s speech, she changes tempo several times. She talks about the Hollywood Press Association, which has a lot of work to do these days: To reveal the absolute truth, to expose corruption and illegality. Her gestures support what she says:”What I know for sure is that truth is the strongest tool we have,” she emphasizes. She says she has great respect for the women who have gone public with their stories. “This year we have become history,” she says. She repeats the word “history” three times. She tries to keep eye contact with the audience – but sometimes it gets lost because of the wide-brimmed glasses.

#metoo

Oprah continues with the #metoo campaign by telling the story of the raped Recy Taylor and Rosa Parks, the woman who took care of the case. She brings her strong message with an anaphora:”Your time is up!” Their time is up! She repeats this sentence three times, while the people in the audience are torn from their seats and give resounding applause.

Come full circle

She comes full circle by returning to the little girls. With that she addresses all the girls who are watching to give them hope:”A new day is coming”. “And this day will be wonderful, especially because of the wonderful women and some phenomenal men who will make sure that no one ever has to say,” Me too!”

Conclusion

What can you learn for your own presentations from Oprah Winfrey?

  • Tell personal stories
  • Make references to events, history, people and facts.

Click here for the video.

If you like the post, why not share it in the social media such as Facebook, XING and Co.

 

Bernd Baumann Nazi Card

A Nazi analogy made by the AfD

Bernd Baumann Nazi CardAfD politician Bernd Baumann makes a Nazi analogy – at the first speech in the German Bundestag. Doing so he surely convinced his followers. In his speech, Baumann criticized the decision made at the end of the previous legislative period to appoint the senior president according to years of service rather than years of life. With the aim of not allowing an AfD deputy to open the first session of the Bundestag.

“Only in 1933 did Hermann Goering break the rule because he wanted to ostracize his political opponent. Do they want to go down such a slippery slope? Come back to the line of the German democrats,” Baumann stressed. A rhetorically really well prepared speech, in which Baumann is supported by the regular applause of his party members. Even more: in his speech, the politician also addresses the press reports according to which this decision “does not cast a good light on the parliamentary culture in Germany” (Focus). And this despite the fact that the press “is not in the majority favorable to the AfD,” according to Baumann.

He cleverly takes elements from German history and tradition as supporting arguments for his point of view.

Repetitions and conclusion

“How big? How great must the fear of the AfD be?” Baumann repeats. The icing on the cake is the conclusion of the speech: In just one sentence, Baumann lists all the issues that are important to his party. “From this hour on, issues will be renegotiated here. … In future also about the euro, gigantic borrowing, gigantic immigration figures, open borders and increasingly brutal criminality on our streets, ladies and gentlemen,” Baumann says.

What can you take away from this for your own presentations?

  1. Use analogies, including those from your country’s history.
  2. Do verbal judo and take an accusation you are often given and turn it around.
  3. Make sure you have people in the audience to support you.
  4. Summarize everything again in one last sentence.

Click here for the video in which Bernd Baumann, AfD, pulls the Nazi card.

If you like this post, please share it on social media like Facebook, XING and Co.

Besinnliche Stimmung: Kerze

Christmas – once particularly contemplative

Light a candle for a change

For most of us, a successful Christmas includes many elements: the special food, the appropriate decoration, the festive music, the beautiful clothes, the invited guests, the reflective stories … Which brings us to the theme of this article: contemplative stories.

A contemplative story also needs several elements to be well received. One of the elements, which you should not forget is the lighting. Here is my suggestion for this year:

  1. Tell a story and
  2. Replace ordinary light with candlelight before starting to tell your story?

The candlelight will give your story a very special, contemplative atmosphere.

Incidentally, lighting is also often a (neglected) topic in business presentations. Just seen again: The speaker left the lighting on the canvas on, so the slides were barely legible. This has nothing to do with contemplation, but with the fact that the message comes across better or worse, depending on the lighting.

In this sense I wish you and your dearest a contemplative and Merry Christmas and a fantastic New Year.

If you like the post, then don’t hesitate sharing it in the social media such as Facebook, XING and Co.

Rita Pierson

Every kid needs a champion.

In a TED lecture Rita F. Pierson explains  that every child needs a role model. She herself comes from a family of teachers. In the first sentence she makes that very clear. And thereby establishes a personal connection to the topic. The introductory sentence contains the word “schoolhouse” three times. This is not only funny, it also establishes her as an expert. It gives her credibility. In particular, her humor allows to reach her listeners.

She also connects to the experiences of the listeners when she says key sentences such as:”Children don’t learn from people they don’t like”. Relationships are extremly important. Unfortunately, this is all too often forgotten in school. I suppose everyone in the audience agrees with her.

She underlines her assertion with two quotations. One of James Comer:”No significant learning can occur without a significant relationship” and one of George Washington-Carver:”All learning is understanding relationships”. A little later, she takes up the subject of relationships again and describes a moving personal example during her mother’s funeral.

In her speech she also uses direct speech. She talks about a student who has only solved 2 out of 20 tasks correctly. She’s replaying the scene. She imitates the voice of the student and exaggerates her facial expression. Despite or because of the poor performance of the pupil, she manages to make the audience laugh without making the pupil look badly. This is very funny and makes the audience receptive to her message.

It’s not that hard to use Pierson’s speech techniques in your own presentations. Here is a selection of three techniques she used in her speech.

  1. Build a first sentence that is not only funny, but also strengthens your credibility.
  2. Emphasize your statements with quotes from well-known people.
  3. Play scenes from real life, including direct speech.

Click here for the video of Rita Pierson. The video is about 8 minutes long. Very inspiring.

If you like the post, why not share it in the social media such as Facebook, XING and Co.

Christian Lindner Fdp 2012

Rage speech by Christian Lindner

Christian Lindner Rage SpeechPresent convincingly and engage the audience: Not everyone can do that. Leaders, in particular, should have the communication skills to captivate audiences and, most importantly, convince them of their own words. In the following recording, the German FDP party leader Christian Lindner proves how to make use of rhetorical elements.

Visibly irritated by the interjection of a colleague from the SPD, Lindner reacts energetically. He takes up the words of the heckler again, addresses him, but also his party colleague, the prime minister, directly, repeats many statements, leaves nothing unheard, switches on pauses so that the listeners can digest what has been said. His arguments are particularly convincing when he supplements them with gestures. From minute 1:40, for example, he incessantly raises his right arm and gives the beat with his arm. A fascinating reinforcement of his point.

“There you have one.” and “I’ll tell you one more thing”: phrases he repeats three times, just to score one more point at the end. Definitely word requests to learn from.

You too can use the techniques described. Why not do it at your next presentation?

  1. Speak forcefully.
  2. Repeat sentences that threaten to be lost in the applause or noise or that are particularly important to you. This can also be a useful technique at the beginning of a presentation when some participants in the audience are still talking to each other.
  3. Refer to content that has been mentioned before.
  4. Give the beat with your arm on important statements.

Click here for the video of Christian Lindner. The video lasts only 2:45 minutes. Look at it. It’s worth it.

Datensicherheit erklärt am Beispiel eines Einkaufs in einer Bäckerei

“How do I tell my child?”

“How do I explain it to my child?” This is a challenge not only for my own children, but often also for adults. If you sometimes feel the same way, I recommend the following short video. It draws attention to the topic of data security. Probably a subject that seems to be very boring. In my opinion, however, Stiftung Warentest has prepared it so well that it gets the message across immediately.

In the video we see a daily situation in the bakery. Customers buy baked goods. The salesgirl asks extraordinary questions. The customers are irritated – and rightly so, in my opinion. Thanks to the change of the frame (re-framing)  our eyes are opened: without much thought we give our data to an an app (and online websites), which we would never do in the real world.

I think the video is good for many reasons. In my opinion, particularly from the following three:

  1. Title:”If the saleswoman was an app. (Hidden Camera)”
  2. First comes the teaser, then the solution.
  3. We connect to a situation that we are familiar with: purchasing in the bakery.

Firstly, the title arouses curiosity. The hypothetical idea that a salesgirl could be an app makes you curious. This is topped with the two words in the parenthesis: “hidden camera”. Anyone who has ever seen a program with a hidden camera will be fascinated once and for all.

The second reason: only at second 57 and 1 minute 23 do the key points come into play: the core question “Would you agree with it in the real world?” and the core statement “Facebook etc….. have access to your contacts, your calendar, SMS, photos and GPS.” This revelation comes almost to the end. With good reason. If the key question and the key message were to come right at the beginning, the video would be much more boring. A good introduction to a presentation should be the same way.

The third point shows that the more familiar a situation is, the better the analogy works. Because it is usually easy for us to draw conclusions from one familiar situation to another. In this case, the analogy of buying in the real world makes it very clear how differently, or rather absurdly, we behave in the virtual world.

You too can use the described techniques. Why not in your next presentation? Then your kids will understand.

Click here for the video of Stiftung Warentest. The video takes only 2 minutes. Take a look at it. It’s worth it.

Barack Obama

The analogy: a powerful rhetorical device

An analogy is a particularly powerful rhetorical device. It often allows to present an issue much more clearly than if one did it directly. It sometimes takes a little effort to find a good analogy. But those who take the time are at an advantage. Here’s an example.

“Imagine: You go to the doctor, no, better, you go to 100 doctors and 99 of them diagnose “diabetes”. So 99 doctors are telling you that you are diabetic and therefore you should stop eating bacon and donuts. Then what do you say? You say, “It’s a conspiracy! 99 doctors sat down with Obama and want to stop me from eating bacon and donuts!” [Pause] You would never say that! That’s exactly how it is with climate change …”

The words come from the ex-president of the United States, Barack Obama, who in his speech criticized the position of some Republicans on climate change and the Paris treaty. The analogy is convincing and delivered with humor. You have to see and listen to it in the original.

See the video here. (It takes less than 2 minutes).

Or right here:

As always, practice makes perfect. Only if you make the effort to implement the tips, will you have a chance to give a good speech.

If you like the tip, just share it on social media like Facebook, XING and Co.

Gunter Pauli

Move your listeners, if necessary right at the beginning of your presentation

The number one rule of public speaking is,”Don’t bore your audience.” Because that many times leads to the audience falling asleep.

Some situations are easier than others to keep the listeners awake. Especially with rising temperatures – at the moment it’s about 30 degrees Celsius in my office – and with meetings that feel as long as a marathon it can be very difficult to keep the listeners and participants attention. Karem Albash, a colleague from the GSA, has brought to my attention a video on YouTube, in which this problem is masterfully solved. It is a video excerpt from the Entrepreneurship Summit 2014 in Berlin. Even if this occasion is a while back, I think everyone can learn something from it.

In the video we see Gunter Pauli, entrepreneur and designer and co-founder of The Blue Economy. He’s one of many speakers. What does Gunter Pauli do to wake up the audience?

  1. Gunter Pauli is in a good mood.
  2. He’s brimming with energy.
  3. He sets the audience in motion.

In particular, I think the third point is worth mentioning. Even though the first two points are a prerequisite for the third point to be successful. Namely: He makes the audience get up. At first glance, he doesn’t seem to be able to do it with all spectators. But he doesn’t give up: He insists. The audience seems to follow him. Especially as he has to ask the audience to sit down again at a later date. Acoustically, we hear that the audience has fun to participate. Yes, often this is the case: the audience wants to have fun or at least be entertained. Don’t be boring. As mentioned at the beginning, this is the highest rule of public speaking.

In addition, the third point is interesting because it helps the audience to take a different viewpoint. This contributes to the audience’s willingness to take new ways of thinking.

Why not also invite your audience to stand up, stretch out and move in a meeting or conference?

Click here for the video of and with Gunter Pauli

The sequence takes only 40 seconds (00:07 – 00:47). Look at it.

As always: Practice makes perfect. Only if you take the trouble to implement the tips, you have the chance to make a good speech.

If you like the tip, why not share it in the social media such as Facebook, XING and others?

The British Exit - and the European Future

John Major on The Brexit

John Major on The British Exit – and the European Future; University of Zurich, KOH-B-10, October 17, 2016, 18:40 – 19:26 h. Organised by the Schweizerisches InstitutJohn Major on the Brexit - and the European Future für Auslandforschung SIAF.

It was an honor and a privilege to have the former British prime minister visit the University of Zurich.  It was great to be able to experience the Rt Hon Sir John Major KG CH at first hand. The presentation was even more relevant because of the recent vote of the UK to exit the European Union. Therefore it was no wonder that the lecture hall was filled to almost the last seat available, i.e. about 440 attendees.

Former prime minister John Major argued that the exit came as a surprise to many. According to him there were going to be many negative consequences. Subsequently he praised the overall achievements of the European Union, acknowledging some difficulties. In particular the key achievement being peace in Europe after the first and second world war. On the other hand, one of the mistakes the EU in his opinion did, was to let too many countries  adopt the Euro too early. As a result, Sir John argued that the vote in favor of the Brexit had to do with the fact, that many British citizens hadn’t seen a raise in their living standard for the past 10 years.

Now to the topic of this blog: How good a public speaker is John Major?

On the positive side:

  • Use of humor: He opened and ended his speech with a joke. First with a joke about Gorbachev, then with one about Jelzin. John Major also deflected some potentially difficult questions with humor during the Q&A session.
  • Declaring his standpoint: He clearly said what his personal opinion was about the Brexit: He thinks it was a mistake. Comment: This puts things into perspective and let’s the audience understand more easily that he leans to one or the other side of the argument.
  • Relate to the audience: Sir John related to a large part of the audience when he (sarcastically) asked the students in the audience: “Are 65 million British citizens going to get the same deal as 500 million citizens of the EU? Discuss!” He earned a big laugh from that (, assuming that that will not be the case).

Areas for improvement:

  • Voice: John Major’s voice was not constantly audible. His voice tended to soften at the end of sentences to the point that he could no longer be understood. Suggestion: Articulate clearly and loudly until the end of every sentence.
  • One sided: Many arguments were unbalanced. E.g. NATO is good, Russia is bad. (No mention of the promise that NATO gave to Russia: We will not expand NATO if you let us reunite Germany.) Suggestion: When preaching to the converted that works fine, probably less so when speaking to a large number of (most likely) critical university students.

Conclusion:

Most noteworthy is Sir John Major’s humor. Unfortunately he could not always be acoustically well understood. In addition, in a school paper (and, in my humble opinion, hopefully by the press) he would have been asked to give a more balanced view.

This was a worthwhile event to go to, if only to experience first hand how a former and current leader speaks.

On a scale of 1 (stay home) to 10 (world champion): 7