Why Some Speakers and their Ideas are
by Dr. Karen
that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before
this decade is out, of landing
a man on the moon and returning him
safely to the Earth."
Kennedy, May 25, 1961
communicated an exciting idea to “put a man on the moon in the
decade”. In their book 2007 Made to Stick,
Chip Heath and Dan Heath dissected the structure of communication
behind a famous speech. This is what they found.
A single, clear mission.
A man on the moon? It seemed like science fiction at the time.
Success was defined so clearly—no one could quibble about man, moon,
This was the President of the U.S. talking.
It appealed to the aspirations and pioneering instincts of an entire
An astronaut overcomes great obstacles to achieve an amazing goal.
It may not be
possible to do all of these every time you communicate. What do
great communicators do that help them along this path?
How can each of us
use these components? Let’s take a look.
My husband, John
Hofmeister, communicates in much the same way. His speech on Energy
Security in 2007 was the speech of the month in Vital Speeches.
Here is what it has. Have a look at the speech to see how he did it.
The good news and bad news about available energy in the US
It was a story about energy abundance around us.
Described energy in real-life terms like pulverized coal turned into
a talcum powder consistency for clean coal.
Credible This was the President of Shell Oil talking.
The speech referred to the devastating hurricanes Katrina and Rita
and how they had strained our nation’s energy supply.
An oil company executive asked for help after the hurricanes cut off
supply of gas from the Gulf of Mexico; divine intervention made it
work at the last minute.