Earlier this week the 16 year old, Greta Thunberg addressed the United Nations in New York, challenging and instructing these world leaders to change their attitude to Global Warming to save the planet. She made an impact both in the hall, but also globally on the media. How? Well I have analysed what she did so we can learn from this.
It is remarkable that a diminutive 16 year old girl could have so much of an impact speaking to decision makers, but this is what she has done. If you haven’t seen her speech, here it is.
I have broken the impact of her speech into key points. I am sure if you have seen me speak, listened to my podcast or even read my blogs before, some of these themes will be familiar to you already.
- Passion: Greta had this in spades. She is utterly passionate about what she is discussing. As a result, she transfers this to her audience and increases engagement. How often do we speak about topics we aren’t fully passionate or engaged about? This impacts on our performance.
- Direct: Greta was very direct. Of course she only had a limited amount of time to speak but her message was very direct (she didn’t hide behind politeness!) She had an important message and in order to make the most impact it had to be direct.
- Clear call to action: It was very clear what everyone in the hall (and online audience) needs to do. How often do we end a speech by being fluffy or unclear. Always have a strong end to your speech.
- Her non-verbal communication was matching her message. So often people’s body language, posture, gestures and facial expressions don’t match what we are saying. If you watch Greta’s talk without the volume on, you are aware that her gestures and body language match her message. Keep everything consistent.
- Concise: she focused on one main message – of course partly due to time. But as a result her speech had more impact.
- Courage: it takes courage to stand up in front of decision makers and challenge them to do something different. She was fearless and even if she was feeling it inside, she didn’t show it. This added power to her talk.
So what do you need to do. Go through the list and consider what you could do to make more impact when you speak in presentations, meetings and even public speaking. Do you need to focus on getting more passion in your speech, or being more concise?