If you want to know how to give a speech, just watch Jared Leto's magnificent acceptance speech for his Best Actor in A Supporting Role at this year's Oscars! (Transcript, below)
I've been teaching public speaking for almost 30 years and I was blown away.
It was perfection.
Do what he did and you will own your audience as he did.
Perfect Thing #1: He was real, authentic, genuine. (This is always the most important thing. Politicians, please watch this speech over and over and over before November 4!)
Perfect Thing #2: He was having a "Conversation" WITH the audience, not giving a slick, practiced "Performance" AT the audience, or a "Presentation" TO the audience. (We listen to a conversation in a completely different way than we do to a performance or presentation)
Perfect Thing #3: He told a story. Starting off with a story is one of the surest ways to immediately grab an audience and his about his mother was magnificent -- crisp and from the heart, no word wasted, no word missing,
Perfect Thing #4: It revealed so much about him, but it was not about him. His entire speech was an acknowledgement of others and was the best, most concise way of making acknowledgements I think I have ever seen in an awards speech (a place where most fail) or, in fact, any speech, from . . .
Ellen DeGeneres, "Ellen I love you" To his fellow nominees To his mother and brother To "All the dreamers in The Ukraine and Venezuela" To his personal support team To his "Dallas Buyer's Club" team To "The 36 Million who have lost the battle to AIDS" And, finally, To "All who are out there who have ever felt injustice because of who you are or who you love"
Perfect Thing #5: He literally spoke from every part of the human brain, The "Four Languages" of Communication, in 2 minutes and 24 seconds.
*He brought out the Visual part, painting the picture of his Mom in his little story about her *He translated everything he thought and felt into the most beautiful, easy to understand, flowing narrative, a masterful use of the Auditory part *He added depth and detail and used the "Auditory Digital" part, also in a masterful, simple way, highlighting the trouble spots on the planet, characterizing the people in The Ukraine and Venezuela as "dreamers" and also reminding us of the specific number of people, 36 million, who have "lost the battle to AIDS". *And, most importantly, his entire speech was spoken in the language of feeling and raw, authentic emotion, a brilliant example of how to use the Kinesthetic "language" of the brain.
Perfect Thing #6: Jared Leto's voice tone and body language were as beautiful as his words. His voice tone (38 percent of communication) had beautiful nuance and many subtle variations in it and was filled with pauses that allowed him to access his own emotion and, more importantly, to share it with us. ("That girl, pause, is my mother, pause, and she's here tonight"). And, his body language (55 percent of communication) perfectly reflected his Jesus-like demeanor as it exuded centeredness, calm, balance and extraordinary presence. It always appears to me that Jared Leto is in connection with his Angels above and the center of the Earth below, in every moment.
Perfect Thing #7: He said "Uh" or "Um" 17 times! The focus on not saying "uh" or "um" by Toastmasters, and others, is a relic of the past. The only thing that counts is AUTHENTICITY. And, standing up in front of the entire world, Jared Leto had the authenticity to pause within, over and over, to reach inside his mind, and especially his heart, to organically find the perfect word. And because he was so beautifully real, no one was thrown by the "imperfection" of the "uhs" and "ums". In lieu of overly slick, overly memorized, overly practiced speeches that antiseptically remove all the overtones of being human in the moment, these "imperfections" actually brought us into the moment with this raw, present, feeling man.
Congratulations to Jared Leto for showing us, in those few short moments, that one can move an audience when one speaks their own words as much as when one delivers an Academy Award winning performance.
Here is the transcript to what I believe is one of the greatest acceptance speeches, of any kind, of all time.
"Incredible. Ellen, I love you.
To my fellow nominees, I'm so proud to share this journey with you. I'm in awe and have so much respect for you all.
To the Academy, thank you.
In 1971, Bossier City, Louisiana, there was a teenage girl who was pregnant with her second child. She was a high school dropout and a single mom, but somehow she managed to make a better life for herself and her children. She encouraged her kids to be creative, to work hard and to do something special. That girl is my mother and she's here tonight.
And I just want to say, I love you, Mom. Thank you for teaching me to dream.
To my brother, Shannon, the best big brother in the world, you're a true artist. Thank you so much for sharing this insane and amazing adventure that is 30 Seconds to Mars, and for being my best friend. I love you. Thank you.
To all the dreamers out there around the world watching this tonight in places like the Ukraine and Venezuela, I want to say we are here and as you struggle to... to make your dreams happen, to live the impossible... We're thinking of you tonight.
And this is, is incredibly special as well because there's so many people that helped me get here. And I just want to say thank you to Focus Features, to Mick Sullivan, to Jim Toth, to Jason Weinberg, to Emma Ludbrook, to Kelly Adams, to the entire Dallas Buyers Club team. Matthew, I love. Jean-Marc.
And this for the 36 million people who have lost the battle to AIDS and to those of you out there who have ever felt injustice because of who you are or who you love, tonight I stand here in front of the world with you and for you. Thank you so much and goodnight."