Author J. K. Rowling gave the Harvard Commencement address and addressed “the benefit of failure and the importance of imagination.” If you consider yourself to be interested in either innovation or public speaking, you would do well to listen to this 21 minute speech.
For you Toastmasters out there, I like the way she used humor to gain the audience’s attention. Not surprising, as a writer, she wove together stories to illustrate her key points. She also knows the value of well-turned phrases, such as, “Seven years after graduating, I had failed on an epic scale.” And, “Rock bottom has been a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”
Her humor returned several times throughout the speech, not distracting from its seriousness, only serving to highlight her points.
You must Earn the right to give it
You must be Eager to share it
You must be Enthusiastic about delivering it.
She has definitely earned the right having experienced poverty before she experienced wealth. Her eagerness was understated, she knew how much graduates, including herself retain from commencement addresses and she took that into account, forging ahead anyway because she believed she had an important message to deliver. She wasn’t enthusiastic in the way a cheerleader would be, but she was honored to be there, she had the courage of her convictions, and she took her speech seriously.
You don’t need to be a wizard to follow me on Twitter. I’m txglennross.