The 7 secrets of the greatest speakers in history

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Reviewer: Queenie Lee It’s 1903, and this extraordinary guy named Teddy Roosevelt is standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon. At that time, people wanted to create hotels and spas and turn the Grand Canyon, in 1903, into a profit-making Disneyland of the environment.

And he stood and said no. And he created a tipping point for the environmental movement and for the world. He said, “Leave it as it is. The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it.” (Applause) The world would have been a different place today without those words, those tipping point words from President Theodore Roosevelt.

Fast forward, his fifth cousin, President Franklin Roosevelt, 30 years later, 1933, in the midst of a huge crisis, the Great Depression of America, said a few words to create a tipping point towards healing for the United States.

Franklin Roosevelt: First of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror, which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.

Richard Greene: The world would have been a different place without those words, at that time, from that man. So, in my 30 years of studying public speaking and great speeches, I found that there are seven secrets that great speakers do, that other people don’t, and it’s my belief that every single human being can be a great speaker, and that their words can create a tipping point, and that their words and their essence can change the world.

The first secret is about words and understanding that words can be the best, the most amazing in the world, but they only actually touch people and communicate 7% of the impact that one human being has on another.

Voice tone – the variation in your voice, the enthusiasm, the love, the passion that comes through your voice – 38%. Your body language: are you looking into someone’s eyes, or are you looking over their head and not connected? So words, voice tone, and body language, those are the three vehicles, the three pathways, that great communication happens in.

Secret number four. What most people do is they throw so much data out, trying to prove that they are smart, trying to get all the content out. Words are the 7%. What’s important is what is that one thing that you want to leave people with? What is that headline? That’s what makes a great speech.

That’s what we are talking about today. Secret number five is fascinating. If you are afraid – are any of you afraid of public speaking? 41% of the world, across cultures, is terrified almost to the point, and often to the point, of actually turning down speaking appointments.

Whether they are political leaders, or business leaders, or charitable leaders, they turn down opportunities to shake the world because they are scared. There are a lot of reasons why people are scared, but in my experience, the number one reason is that we don’t know what public speaking really is.

We don’t know the true definition. The true definition of public speaking is that public speaking is nothing more than having a conversation from your heart about something that you are authentically passionate about, right? If you think it’s a performance, you are going to be 0% you and 100% actor, and we don’t get to see and experience and feel who you are.

So, I want you to write the word speech down on a piece of paper, and I want you to put a circle around it, and I want you to put a line through it. I don’t want you ever, ever to give another speech.

That’s not what great speakers do. They don’t give a speech; they don’t give a performance; they don’t make a presentation to the audience; they have what? They have a conversation with. It’s a circle.

It brings us all together. We are a web, connected to every other person. That’s what great speakers do. When I first met Princess Diana, she looks me in the eyes and says, “You know, I am so scared of public speaking, and I wish that I could do what Charles does.

” Now, this was when they were actually breaking up, so it was even more difficult for her to admit that. And I said, “What does he do?” “Well, he just stands up there, and he tells this funny joke, and then he moves on, and he is completely unfazed by it.

” And I told her that Prince Charles doesn’t have what she has. And what she had, was what touched and moved the world. People connected with her on a human level. And all you need to do, Your Royal Highness, is just share from your heart, that huge heart that you have, and your gut, and people will love you.

Even through the speech that scares you, they will feel you; they will know you; they will connect with you. That’s far more effective than giving a speech, than telling a funny joke but not sharing your heart.

So, secret number six – and you’ll notice this in some of the speakers – is that we actually have five parts of our brain. Those five different senses – seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, and feeling – translate into four different actual communication languages.

Speak one of them, you’re not going to be very good. Speak two of them, you’ll be average, no matter who you are. Speak all four, no matter who you are, you’re going to rock the world. Because you’re going to be giving every person in the audience something that they can connect to.

And visual is the energy; it’s the language of energy. It’s Robin Williams – I’ve used him as an example, and I’m going to continue to use him as an example. How amazing was Robin Williams. Auditory is the ability to translate details of what you see, what you think, what you feel into a story, into words.

Ronald Reagan was a great example of that. Auditory/Digital, that’s the Albert Einstein, the Bill Gates. The analytical, statistically driven kind of information. If you don’t have that, you don’t have the foundation of credibility.

People go, “Wow, that person is very charming, but there is no there there.” Kinesthetic is the James Earl Jones, the Morgan Freeman, the Barry White. Oh, baby … (Laughter) It’s the poet Ali. It’s that connecting thing that is inside of each and every one of us, that is the most important thing, in being a speaker, in being a communicator.

And then seven, you can just have this and nothing else, and you will still rock the world. As so many people do. And that is your authentic passion. What is it that is so effing cool that you just have to share it, or so effing compelling? And I use that middle word, you can use whatever version you want, because it’s a visceral thing, it’s not intellectual.

So let’s go back on our chronological tour of great speeches that have created tipping points in the world. Now this person, Lou Gehrig, didn’t create a tipping point in terms of the global geopolitics of the world, but he created a tipping point in terms of understanding the human spirit and his own.

Here it was, as you all know, he was diagnosed with ALS. He tried to play, couldn’t play. He had to end his career, and Yankee Stadium held a day for him – Lou Gehrig day, it was in 1939. He gets out there.

He, like so many of you, was petrified of public speaking. And he is there; he is there, and then, just when it’s time for him to go on, he starts backing away. He said, “I can’t do this. I can’t do this.

” His manager comes up to him, puts his arm around him, says, “Lou, they’re all here for you, my friend. They’re all here for you.” And walks him up and he goes, and this is what he says. Lou Gehrig: Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.

RG: Everyone who studies public speaking puts that speech in their list. It’s just unbelievable, the sense of gratitude that this man had in the middle of his own personal crisis. But let’s go to the next year.

A huge tipping point is about to happen for Great Britain and their battle against Nazi Germany. Three days before the speech, King George goes to Winston Churchill and says, “Please, I want you to be the Prime Minister.

We’ve got to do something; we’ve got to face this threat.” And this is Winston Churchill. It’s just audio. They didn’t have the video in the House of Commons in 1940. Winston Churchill: In stage of the house, and I said to those who joined the government, I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.

RG: The world would have been a different place without Winston Churchill and those words, and that level of conviction, leadership, and resolve. Let’s move forward now. I have three from John F. Kennedy, and you’ll see why.

This one, you all know about. He was following an old general, Dwight D. Eisenhower. He is in his 40s, a whole new era for America and the world. You’ll be familiar with the first part of this but probably not the second.

John F. Kennedy: My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. (Cheering) (Applause) RG: He continues. JFK: My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

(Cheering) (Applause) RG: The world became a different place because of that speech and that new president. And he proved it several times, a couple years later at Rice University, he is talking about his authentic passion: put a man on the moon.

Listen to the level of detail here, and notice that this is such a visionary leader that he even commits himself and the United States of America when we don’t even at that point know how to do it. JFK: 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 stress, 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, almost as hot as it is here today, and do all this, and do it right, and do it first before this decade is out, then we must be bold.

RG: How amazing was that? Sadly, he didn’t get to live to see that. But he made it happen through his vision, his leadership, and creating that tipping point with that speech. And then, as you know, the famous speech, he is in Berlin.

The West Berliners are suffering mightily. He goes in and says they’re not alone. JFK: All free men, wherever they may live, as citizens of Berlin, and therefore as a free man, I take pride in the words: Ich bin ein Berliner.

(Cheering) (Applause) RG: OK, so, next year after that, or actually later that year, Dr. Martin Luther King, I think you’ve all been aware of this, no one would doubt that this speech, half of which he ad-libbed, ad-libbed this speech, shook the world and created a tipping point.

Martin Luther King: I have a dream (Applause) 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.

I have a dream today. (Cheering) (Applause) RG: If only it were true, and we’re making progress because of that speech. Barbara Jordan, someone you may not know, Texas Congresswoman, was the last person to speak at the Watergate Committee, talking about whether we, in fact, were going to impeach Richard Nixon.

She was a freshman congresswoman; it was around midnight, and yet, her words with that incredible voice tone of hers shook the world and catalyzed the movement against Richard Nixon. Barbara Jordan: Today, I am an inquisitor, and hyperbole would not be fictional and would not overstate the solemnness that I feel right now.

My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total. And I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution. RG: Barack Obama.

BO: Tonight is a particular honor for me because, let’s face it, my presence on this stage is pretty unlikely. RG: And that’s it, right there, that speech was a tipping point. It changed America, whether you like him or not, that one speech in 2004 changed America.

We don’t have audio of this. But one of my favorite speeches ever is a speech given by Albert Einstein. He says: the most beautiful and deepest experience a man can have is the sense of the mysterious.

To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is a something that our mind cannot grasp and whose beauty and simplicity are but a feeble reflection … To me, it suffices to wonder at these secrets and to attempt humbly to grasp with my mind a mere image of the lofty structure of all that there is.

And he did that and created a shift, where we understood how matter and energy are the same, and created a new paradigm, and some people even think that it mirrors this ancient symbol for God called Ohm.

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If you look at it, there is a backward E, there is an equal sign, there is an M, which is on its side, there is a C, and there is a supernumerary that also looks like the square. E=MC2, thousands of years ago, reflected in Albert Einstein’s discovery in 1906.

I want to play this, in my opinion this is the most powerful couple minutes of recorded oratory, recorded tipping-point speech making in the history of the world. Feel it and notice, this is the last speech he gave before he died.

He died, and it was obvious he knew it, he died the next day. MLK: Like anybody, I would like to live, a long life, longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will.

And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people, will get to the promised land.

(Cheering) (Applause) So I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything; I’m not fearing any man. My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. RG: So, are you afraid of public speaking? If so, you’re along with half of the people on the planet.

The way over that is to see it as a conversation from your heart and to ask yourself this one question: What is my Dharma? What is it that I am passionate about that I want to share with the world? Something that my unique DNA, which is contained in every one of 50 trillion cells carried in 50,000 atomic bombs worth of energy, that’s what Einstein said, will allow me to be out in the world, make a difference, and give speeches, share my passion, and make the world a better place.

Every single person I’ve worked with has the ability, in their own way, to break through, to make the world a better place, to bring that passion out, and to create a tipping point that will change every single thing on the planet, and indeed, make the world a better place.

And I encourage you, to, please, step through the fear, share your passion, share who you are authentically and make that difference. Thank you all so much. (Applause) (Cheering)

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