Julia Schatz, Senior Account Executive
“Speech is power: speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel. It is to bring another out of his bad sense into your good sense.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
An important aspect of PR, which is not always listed in the job description, is speech writing. Great speeches can stand the test of time and leave impressions not only on those who first heard it but it can change the behavior of anyone who hears it for years to come. The best speeches throughout history share many of the same qualities. They come from the heart, are authentic and relate to many different types of people. Speeches that inspire us share meaningful values, the call to action motivates us to do better, and the take away message leaves with us with hope.
Last Sunday, Ashton Kutcher gave an acceptance speech at the Teen Choice Awards that, in my opinion, was pretty spectacular. His speech to an impressionable young audience was refreshing and contained all of the criteria previously mentioned. He has received a great deal of praise from media, politicians and the public. Kutcher’s speech on YouTube already has more than 900,000 views.
The timing from a PR standpoint could not have been better, as his new movie “Jobs” premiered the following Friday. Many people have even been attributing Kutcher’s performance and speech to his role as Steve Jobs, who was renowned for his presentations and public speaking performances.
He begins the speech by admitting that his first name is really Chris, connecting on a very personal level with the audience. He then says he wants to share three amazing things he learned when he was just Chris. His three messages are about opportunity, being sexy and living life. His points were succinct, direct, honest and powerful.
1. “I believe opportunity looks a lot like hard work. I’ve never had a job in my life than I have been better than. I was always just lucky to have a job. I never quit my job until I had my next job. Every job has been a stepping stone to another job”
2. “The sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart. And being thoughtful, and being generous.”
3. “When you grow up you get told the world is the way it is. And your life is to live inside the world…but life can be a lot broader than that. Everything around us we call life was made up by people that are no smarter than you. And you can build your own life that other people can live in. Build a life, don’t live one, build one.”
People like to hate on millennials. Kids have always made mistakes but not everyone documents it for the entire world to see. However, the possibilities of what kids can and will do in the future with the same technology they are criticized for are endless. Kutcher reminds kids and adults alike that they have endless potential to do great things. Kutcher’s message should resonate with the skeptics of any age that we should motivate youth and instill the same values that we were taught, no matter how different the times may be.