Listening to the radio recently, I was captivated as someone read one of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speeches that I hadn’t heard before. The speech, ‘What is Your Life’s Blueprint?’, was delivered to a group of junior high school students. I was struck by three aspects of the speech:
The Blueprint Theme. This was an easy to understand, and visual, metaphor. Even younger teenagers can understand what a blueprint is and the value of having a plan for your life. I also liked it because you could use it at a high level, like Dr. King did by relating to a life plan, and you could also go into more detail by comparing parts of the blueprint to elements of a life plan.
Brevity. The speech was 562 words long. Every word and every sentence had a purpose and made an impact.
Connection to the Audience. Dr. King related his points to questions, issues and problems that the students had on their minds. At that age, they were trying to figure out who they were and what they were going to do with the rest of their lives. As he made his points about believing in themselves and staying in school, it was clear that he knew what people in the audience experienced and felt every day.
When I eventually read the speech, it reminded me that it is possible to make a difference with our communication – when it’s clear, concise and compelling.
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