August 16, 2013

It's not how many words you use - it's how you use them

Here's an inspiring message for a Friday morning. Four things stood out to me as I watched Ashton Kutcher's speech from the Teen Choice Awards (video's at the bottom of the post):

1) It's short but sweet.

Remember: You do not need a lot of time or a lot of words to get your message across. Kutcher's message is delivered in under five minutes. Was it too short for you? Was there something missing? Did you not have enough time to understand what he was trying to say? Nope. He said what he needed to say concisely, clearly and with no question as to his meaning. And he even recaps his three points at the end!

2) Stories carry the message.

In under five minutes, Kutcher delivers his three points through stories of his own life and lessons he learned when he was still "Chris." Yep, you can still fit stories into a short speech!

3) It's relevant to the audience.

Kutcher knows his audience: teenagers and young adults. What do they care about? What can he talk about that will mean something to them and also convey his points and his message?

When he says "Opportunity looks a lot like hard work," maybe he doesn't get the kind of cheer he does when he starts to talk about what's sexy, but these young people are hearing from a successful actor what he did to achieve success in a highly competitive and dog-eat-dog industry. What young person doesn't want to hear that? (And those jobs sound a lot like jobs these young people have probably had.)

4) It's emotional.

Kutcher's clearly speaking from the heart. He uses humor. He shows his distaste for the marketing of "sexy." He's animated and impassioned. He uses his face, his body, his words and his voice to express authentic emotion. This is how you make an impact on people.

Do you care that his gestures are not polished and rehearsed, or that he spends some time twisting his fingers together? Are you offended that he's pointing his finger at the audience? Were you horrified that he said, "Like" and "You know?" I bet you didn't even notice most of these things (unless you're in the biz, like I am, and it's your job to notice.) Because who really cares when a powerful message is delivered so succinctly and so passionately?

Take a look and share your thoughts in the comments!

Not seeing the video? Click here to go to YouTube.

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12 comments. Please add yours! :

Gloria Miele, Ph.D. said...

Great analysis. I was so impressed with his message and delivery. If those screaming girls were quiet for a moment, they might have heard it.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Ha! Good point, Gloria. I hope they're able to internalize some of it. Maybe watch it again, since it's all over Facebook!

Shari Streb said...

I did happen to watch this when a friend shared it on Facebook. I am not a huge fan of Ashton normally, however this gave me pause. I LOVED the message he was sending out to the young people. What a perfect forum for this speech. The message was so pertinent and I liked the fact that it wasn't too polished. That allowed his audience to really be able to identify with what he was saying. It made him that much more "approachable" to his audience. Great job!

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Thanks for stopping by, Shari! My real question is this: Did it have an impact on the young people he was speaking to? What did William think about it?

Dorian Taylor said...

Excellent speech and message, and excellent review! He has always struck me as a highly intelligent man who works very hard and lives his life his way.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Thanks for your comment, Dorian. I agree. He's really grown out of his teenage "persona" that followed him around for a while. He's not afraid to be outspoken and to use his celebrity as a platform to do good things.

Povl Henningsen said...

Very inspiring - both the video and the analysis. I am great believer in the ability to make short presentations that engage.
Followed be great conversations. Leaders of any kind should do the same: 5 minutes - here are our key sales challenges - now what shall WE do about them? The video also a great example of beating noise. The general format watching other people´s videos and the analysing them is excellent as a learning tool. We should introduce a cultural component - presentations from different nationalitites. Would be fun and eyeopening, I bet.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Thanks for your comment, Povl! Watching presentations in different languages can be hard because we don't get all the nuances of the language. I love watching foreign films, but I know that half the time the translations aren't correct, or are using expressions that don't quite hit the mark. It makes for obscured understanding.

Jodi Lobozzo Aman said...

I had seen it and I loved it, too!

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Haven't heard a negative comment yet, Jodi!

Peter Billingham said...

Thanks Lisa - great review of what was a fantastic speech. Many people have written about this, but really enjoyed your insights and observations. I wonder if it was really "off the cuff" or if he had rehearsed it? As you say, short, story, relevant, emotional - also inspiring! Never had a job that I was better than! Opportunities look a lot like hard work! Great lines!

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Thanks for sharing, Peter. The speech seemed practiced to me; it was so organized, with an opening, a body, and a recap at the end. If he did that "off the cuff," I'm very impressed! And yes, some really great soundbites. Don't we all wish for that perfect soundbite?

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