Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Greatest Speech of the 20th Century

You probably know that even after 50 years, most Americans still rank the speech given by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963 as the greatest speech of the 20th Century. And you probably know that the speech is commonly called the "I Have a Dream" speech.
But you probably don't know what Dr. King did during his speech when he got to the bottom of page 4, and that the technique he used can help you give your greatest speech or presentation!
Before you find out more about this technique, let's set the stage, since you probably weren't one of the quarter of a million people there when Dr. King spoke live at "The March on Washington" during the Civil Rights Movement.
Dr. King had a 5½-page prepared script that he planned to deliver that day, and he did deliver it. Except that he stopped at the bottom of page 4 and used one of the most important techniques you can possibly use when you're speaking to almost any group on almost any subject! It's to "Trust your gut!" That's it!
Put another way, "Listen to that voice within you." Or "Trust your instincts and what's in your heart." Your head says, "Stay with your prepared message," but your gut, your heart, and that still, small voice within you says, "No! Go in this new direction!"
And that's exactly what happened on August 28, 1963 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Here's what Dr. King said later that year to Donald Smith, author of the book, "The Dream."
"I started out reading the speech, and I read it down to a point, and just all of a sudden I decided (the audience response was wonderful that day, you know) and all of a sudden this thing came to me, I HAVE A DREAM! I just felt I wanted to use it. I don't know why. I hadn't thought about it before that speech."
Dr. King used those four words, "I HAVE A DREAM," eight times in three paragraphs. That's what made his speech so amazing, and now, over 50 years later, it's still called "The Greatest Speech!" Wow! What if every time you spoke you listened to that voice within you, and trusted it!
As a professional speaker for 40 years, I have used Dr. King's technique, trusting my instincts. It has served me well and it will serve you well too. Why? Because your audience will sense your conviction, your sincerity and your passion!
The next time you speak, think of Dr. King. Trust your instincts, your feelings and that voice within that can help you give the greatest speech or presentation of your life!
I too "have a dream" ... that you'll be calling or writing me, and sharing how this idea has helped you!
MAKE it a great day!

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