Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Obama's powerful use of storytelling

Having watched Barack Obama's inauguration speech, I was blown away by his use of storytelling to inspire. Particularly in the last stages of his speech, he referred to a shared historical event. Knowing full well that the story is well understood by his audience, only alluding to the story itself, he repeated its imagery, subtext and outcome to echo his own aspirations for the future.
"In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:Let it be told to the future world...that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet. America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, letus remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations."

Business leaders everywhere, indeed, politicians everywhere, should be looking hard at this mans oratory brilliance, and the effect it has on unfathomable numbers of people, and learning everything they can.

1 comment:

Helen said...

Hello Helen, my name is also Helen and I am a Social Worker and PhD student in Australia. I love your blog, especially this post about the Obama speech. Congratulations on a great blog and I will definately be back.