Public Speaking Lessons from a US Navy Seal that will mesmerize you…and inspire you make your bed!

Now THIS is an example of speaking with impact, from a podium no less. I got goosebumps watching it. Watch this video, take note of your heart beating faster as he shares his story….and watch the hairs on your arms stand up!

What makes this so speech from former Navy Seal Commander, Naval Admiral William H. McRaven, ninth commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, so powerful, and what lessons can we learn from it? Take note of:

The “Bold Claim” Introduction After opening his speech with the University’s slogan — “What starts here changes the world” — he makes a claim that if every one of the people in his audience changes the lives of another 10 people, then in 5 generations, they will have changed the lives of 800 million people. That’s a pretty big number, one that many may think is a bit outlandish. But then he goes on to tell his story, about how has seen, and experienced, changing people’s lives during his tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Body language (he doesn’t sway, step forward or backwards — he stays perfectly straight)

Pausing. He lets his words land…and then waits for you (the audience) to take in their meaning.

(Here’s the 6-minute version of the speech — the full video is at the bottom of this post).

Story. He tells a compelling, moving, dramatic story with lots of details that allows the audience to easily visualize the situation. And VERY importantly, the story has a point that relates directly to the topic! (more below…)

Voice. Modulates, it gets louder and quieter depending on what he’s saying. He is ‘less loud’ when he’s leading up to his point, and louder when he wants to create an impact,

Use of the podium (also related to “body language”, above). Stands straight, hands on podium, holding it lightly. He doesn’t sway, and he also doesn’t grip the podium too tightly.

Use of notes. He looks at them quickly, then looks up at his audience to make his point. Also note that he is ALWAYS looking up at the audience when he makes his point.

Clothing. Talk about an outfit that inspires confidence, trust and strength. And while most of us may not have a uniform adorned with medals, awards and proof of valour and bravery as US Navy Admiral William H. McRaven does, there’s no doubt that what you choose to wear will have an impact on how your audience views you. So choose wisely…

Not JUST a Strong Conclusion, but a Visionary one. He refers back to his introduction, especially the bold claim of changing the lives of 800 million people. He then quickly recaps his points, all of which lead to the Visionary Conclusion, where he creates a vision of what the future will look like if everyone in his audience does what he suggests, and the impact that they will have on the world. And it is SO powerful.

All that….AND he inspired me to make my bed.

Watch the full video here.

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