“I have a dream…” ― There’s something about these kinds of speeches that make them powerful [Wednesdays: “Speak on the Shoulders of Giants”]
17 minutes and 40 seconds.
This was all the time it took for Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) to deliver a speech that made an impact in America’s history.
Here’s an excerpt from his “I Have A Dream” speech:
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.’
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character…”
In the same way, John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States of America, first took mankind to the moon by sharing a dream.
In one of his speeches, he said:
“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.
I realize that this is in some measure an act of faith and vision, for we do not know what benefits await us.
But if I were to say, my fellow citizens, that we shall send to the moon, 240,000 miles away from the control station in Houston, a giant rocket more than 300 feet tall, the length of this football field, made of new metal alloys, some of which have not yet been invented, capable of standing heat and stresses several times more than have ever been experienced, fitted together with a precision better than the finest watch, carrying all the equipment needed for propulsion, guidance, control, communications, food, and survival, on an untried mission, to an unknown celestial body, and then return it safely to earth, re-entering the atmosphere at speeds of over 25,000 miles per hour, causing heat about half that of the temperature of the sun, and do all this, and do it right, and do it first before this decade is out, then we must be bold.
But it will be done. And it will be done before the end of this decade.”
Do you think MLK and President Kennedy’s addresses share a similar characteristic?
In their speeches, we see how dreams and visions inspire people that they too can create a world that is not yet existent, but someday may be.
When used in public speaking, these futuristic views help speakers reveal a “non-existent-but-possible world” to their audience with hopes they may also be moved and excited by the message.
Think about it. Some of the famous speeches in history are powerful because they communicated “a dream with irresistible eloquence and passion.”
MLK and President Kennedy’s addresses are a testimony to that!
One reason why their messages are remembered even up to this day is because they did not only leave a vibrant picture of the kind of world they dreamed about, but also made their listeners believe in the attainability of those visions.
According to Chris Anderson in the book titled, “TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking,” the ability to paint a compelling picture of the future is one of the greatest gifts a speaker can give to his or her audience.
Anderson calls speakers of this type, “Dreamscape Speakers.” They talk about the world not as it is, but as it might be.
When dreamscape talks are done right, they get an audience’s heart and mind to feel and ponder on a sense of passion, purpose, and possibility.
However, you also have to take note that this type of talk is not always applicable to any speech or presentation.
For example: If you’re discussing a topic related to business or stock exchange, you wouldn’t want to confuse your audience by speaking as if you’re delivering an address to the nation, would you?
Before using the dreamscape talk to convey your message to an audience, identify the nature of your topic first and know how to tackle it properly so you can present it in the most suitable manner.
When you’ve deemed it appropriate to do a dreamscape talk…
Here are 2 tips to help you deliver your message effectively:
Paint a vibrant picture of your vision.
One of the reasons why the “I Have A Dream” speech resonated with the audience was because of MLK’s ability to capture their attention through mental imagery.
MLK didn’t need a big screen set up to get his listeners to visualize little children playing together “on the red hills of Georgia,” or freedom and justice ringing from “every hill and molehill of Mississippi.”
All he had was words, and the impact of his speech was LEGENDARY!
Just like MLK, you also have to learn to use mental imageries to your advantage.
Mental images make your audience care. The right descriptions can serve as a light switch that will enable your listeners to imagine the scenes you are trying to portray.
As stated by American political strategist Frank Luntz: “The word ‘imagine’ is perhaps the single most powerful communication tool because it allows individuals to picture whatever personal vision is in their hearts and minds.”
Mental images make your message unforgettable. Painting a vibrant picture in your audience’s minds makes your speech or presentation easier to recall. They might also remember the images you created when they are about to make a decision.
Share your vision in a way that will make your audience desire it.
One way to encourage your listeners to share the same views with you is to make it clear why that path is worth pursuing.
Make sure your presentation is well-rehearsed and pertinent to your topic so your audience will be more involved and engaged.
When American technologist Bran Ferren delivered a TED talk in 2014 about how autonomous vehicles would usher in a “dramatically different” future for people across the globe, he began with an inspiration he had as a child.
Ferren first talked about his visit to the Pantheon in Rome with his parents and the lessons he learned from that experience, then he discussed other stories related to his topic. By the end of his presentation, he closed with a call to inspire the “children of the future.”
“We need to encourage them to find their own path, even if it’s very different from our own. We also need them to understand something that doesn’t seem adequately appreciated in our increasingly tech-dependent world, that art and design are not luxuries, nor somehow incompatible with science and engineering. They are in fact essential to what makes us special.”
Because of Ferren’s approach, a topic that could have been pure tech and a bit overwhelming became a seed of hope in the hearts and minds of the audience.
Do you believe in the power of your dreams?
Just like MLK, President Kennedy, and Ferren, an “actionable vision” in your presentation can spread to others, build excitement and belief, and encourage your listeners.
By giving them a sense of possibility, these visions can also inspire your audience to work hard in achieving their own dreams.
Be that kind of speaker―someone who inspires others to believe and achieve their dreams!
Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. If a speech or presentation is a journey, would you refuse to go on that trip with an inspired dreamer?
That’s an invitation you can’t say “no” to!
About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Wednesdays: Speak on the Shoulders of Giants”
In a meeting with one person
…a boardroom with five people
…or a huge venue with hundreds of people
—whatever the situation or setting, it’s very important to learn and eventually master the art of public speaking.
No matter what, you always need to effectively get your message across.
What good is a presentation with awesome content if you don’t deliver it properly?
Every Wednesday, we publish different tips, insights, and secrets on how you can improve your presentation skills to captivate your audience and lead interesting discussions.
The need for great presentation skills applies EVERYWHERE.
(Small meetings with your team, big meetings with your boss, an important marketing pitch, speaking engagements for events with a big audience, etc.)
Learning these skills is not just for the corporate world. Being in other industries such as the Arts, Information Technology, Medicine, and Education while knowing how to present well will definitely give you an edge.
Have that advantage.
Hope you’ve found this week’s public speaking tip interesting and helpful.
Stay tuned for next Wednesday’s Speak on the Shoulders of Giants!
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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