6 Reasons WHY Meryl Streep’s 2017 Golden Globes Speech is Getting So Much Attention (and They May Surprise You…)

At 10:25pm EST on Sunday night, I got a text from a friend that said “Just watched Meryl Streep give the most powerful speech at the Golden Globes. I’m still crying. If you missed it, you MUST YouTube it.”

The next morning I got another text from the same friend, saying: “You MUST check out Meryl’s speech. It’s everywhere…heard it again and wept again.”

Having missed watching the Golden Globes (for which I have absolutely NO good reason, by the way) and being an obedient friend, I dutifully watched the video.

And then….Whoa. (That’s code for “if you haven’t seen the speech yet, then it’s time that you see what all the fuss is about”).

Politics aside – this speech was emotional. It was empassioned. It was, as my friend said, powerful.

So I wondered…why? Why is this speech so powerful? Is it WHAT she said? Is it HOW she said it? Is it because it’s Meryl Streep, and everything that she does is gold?

Yes, yes, and probably. But if we go a little deeper and break down the components of this speech, we can see that it’s the STRUCTURE of this speech that allows it to flow so well, that connects with the audience, and that leaves its audience with a clear call-to-action, and a sense of hope over the mostly bleak picture that she paints.

My Create A Signature Speech That Sells program focuses on how to build a structured, engaging and compelling speech, helping you pinpoint how to say what you want to say, in a way that the audience needs to hear it —  thereby making it more accessible, interesting and engaging to the listeners. And I am so ridiculously excited to watch such a high-profile speech – and a high-profile speaker – take this structure and make waves around the world.

Here are 6 ways that the rock-solid structure of Meryl Streep’s 2017 Golden Globes made the speech so captivating:

  1. 6 Reasons WHY Meryl Streep’s 2017 Golden Globes Speech is Getting So Much Attention (and They May Surprise You…)It’s all about them. She starts with a focus on her audience, calling out specific actors and their birthplaces so that she could make a point about the ‘foreign’ of much of the talent in the room.
  2. The “hook. ” As she tells the story of the ‘performance’ that shocked and saddened her, she reveals that the story wasn’t make believe, as the audience may have initially believed, but it was, in fact, quite real.
  3. Describes the problem. “Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence.” Bullying by those in the highest office in the land should not be tolerated.
  4. She uses powerful words. She uses very impactful words to share her emotional reaction to the above story. “It sank its hooks in my heart;” “show their teeth;” “it wasn’t in a movie – it was real life;” “broke my heart;” “instinct to humiliate.”
  5. Call-to-action. She implores her audience, and the foreign press to stay vigilant in supporting journalists to report accurately.
  6. Inspiring close. Although she paints a rather bleak picture of the current situation, she finishes the speech in an inspiring way, quoting Carrie Fisher (as Princess Leia) to “take your broken heart, and make it into art.” Referencing the ‘broken heart’ that she did earlier in the speech and combining it with the art that her entire audience is dedicated to, seemed a very appropriate way to end a speech on a difficult subject on more of a high note.

Political ramifications aside, this speech hit a nerve and really moved a lot of people. As with any speech, looking at it more closely to see WHY it resonated so deeply lets us understand that it’s not only because it was Meryl Streep giving the speech that made it powerful. It was WHAT she said, and HOW she said it. The focused, clear, and well-thought-out speech structure, and positioning the speech in way that is meaningful to the audience – both at the Golden Globes, and in living room of those watching worldwide – is what makes it truly stand out.

Showing 12 comments
  • Gerald Regan

    Thanks for the commentary on this speech Suzannah.

    I am a Canadian, but a highly engaged U.S. political arm chair quarterback and have followed with shock and awe the outcome of recent Presidential season. Our CBC National Radio program made comment to Ms. Streep’s Golden Globe speech. I was traveling for work and had to pull over to listen. It to moved me. It was astounding. It raised the problems that will occur, with only making an oblique reference to the source of the problem which is manifold.

    Thanks again,

    Gerald.

    • Suzannah Baum

      Thank YOU, Gerald. I agree that part of the professionalism of this speech was that it was quite obvious what (and who) she was talking about, yet she never actually referenced it. Very skillful. I’m willing to bet that a lot of preparation was put into this moving speech, despite how “off the cuff” it seemed.

  • Heather Boyd

    Wow Suzannah: Your commentary on the speech was actually more powerful than the speech itself. It’s funny I am often somewhat emotionally detached when words come out the the mouth of an actor but LOVE your analysis and insights that can inspire even the layman to create a powerful speech.

    • Suzannah Baum

      Thank you so much, Heather! When I hear a particularly moving speech, I always try to go deeper to figure out WHY it made me feel that way. It’s so revealing, and a great eye-opener on how anyone can start applying the techniques.

      • Heather Boyd

        I love that about you Suzannah and your intuitive approach to public speaking. You are AWESOME. xo

        • Suzannah Baum

          Aw, Heather…thank you so much! I really appreciate your kind words. 🙂

  • Joyce

    I am with Heather, i knew Meryl’s speech moved me, but I didn’t know why until reading your deconstruction of it, thank you Susannah! You are bang on.

    • Suzannah Baum

      Thank you Joyce!

  • Jennifer McSween

    Hi Suzannah, I too am with Heather as I thought your commentary on Meryl Streep’s speech was as moving and powerful as Meryl’s speech itself. I DID watch the Golden Globe Awards and experienced Meryl’s speech “live” As I watched and listened…moved to tears…I heard myself saying out loud…Yes! Yes! As the cameras panned the audience everyone was riveted and you could have heard a pin drop. As Meryl concluded emotionally I literally stood up and applauded…choked up and unable to speak but feeling like she had said everything I would have liked to have said…but more succinctly and profoundly. Shortly after you and I met at a CAPS/Hugh Culver Event last Fall I went to your website and saw your “Create A Signature Speech That Sells” Training. After reading what you were offering through the Training, I thought to myself: “I think I’d like to get the Self StudyTraining…perhaps in the New Year.” Now, after reading your commentary on Meryl’s speech…I don’t want the Self Study Training…I want to work with YOU! You’ve just gained a new VIP Client. Love your delivery…I’d love to learn to ‘speak’ that way. Bravo and looking forward to your Training!

    • Suzannah Baum

      Jennifer, thank you for you amazing message! I’m so very flattered at your comments, and I’m so glad that you got such great value out of the post, and what you find when digging deeper into the intricacies of her speech. As for the rest of your message, I’ll email you. We’ll talk…:-)

  • Cayla Nolder

    Suzannah, I too was moved by Meryl Streep’s speech. I found it empowering, emotional, and authentic. But aside from Meryl Streep, no offense to the iconic actress, you did not mention Viola Davis. Davis beautifully set the stage for Streep, creating an emotional draw for our first impression. Davis’s words were poetic and well spoken. What’s your analysis for Davis? I feel, as far as introductions go, she nailed it.

    • Suzannah Baum

      Cayla, you’re absolutely right. I put all the focus on the recipient of the award, and not nearly enough on the presenter of the award. And the presenter of the award certainly is responsible for ‘setting the stage’ and building the bridge with the audience. Viola Davis provided an empassioned, authentic, and — dare I say — beautiful introduction. You’ve raised an important point, about giving more attention to the ‘supporters’, ie. the award presenters. Food for thought for a future post — thank you for that!

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