“How Dare You!”

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“How dare you!”

Three words recently spoken by a 16 year old who has turned the climate change discussion into an international movement and dinner time argument.

Impressive.

Greta Thunberg is trending across the internet and across the globe for her impassioned speech at the UN.

Some are standing and cheering for this pint sized planet pioneer who can make grown men cry. Some however, are vigorously shaking their heads in disgust at her bold delivery and audacious tone, believing this child is being used as prop for a cause.

Let’s be clear, I don’t care if you think the world will melt away in 10 years or if you believe we are all being “snowed” in a political blizzard. Not the point.

This discussion is about the words, the delivery and the impact.

It takes some real conviction and nerve to use the words “How dare you” in a speech. Never-mind the accusation that some have “stolen my childhood”. Wow! You better have some chops and a compelling follow up if you go there. And she went there. Like it or not.

Should you? Probably not. And here’s why.

Greta’s delivery, her narrative, her tone were all a huge risk. A calculated risk with a ton of strategy. Make no mistake that this is no “ad lib” moment. This girl is written, rehearsed and performing. And, there is ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with that. In fact, it is spot on! For her.

For her cause.

For her audience.

No matter which side of the topic you come down on…no one can deny that this speech was memorable and persuasive.

But why?

The “shock and awe” of her carefully chosen words mixed with her youth and demure presence make for a fantastic recipe. You NEVER expect a kid in braids to tell off an entire forum of world leaders. Moreover, it is fascinating and utterly cringeworthy to watch the audience recoil.  Greta’s face turning red, her eyes welling up with tears as she pleaded with world leaders was gold.

Gold for Greta…but probably not the appropriate delivery for most of us. 

There are very few times when the average Joe could get away with such a performance. Maybe Oprah could, but let’s just say the list is short.

So what can we take from Greta?

Three things:

  1. Know your audience
  2. Believe your own words
  3. Leave people talking about your message

Greta gets an A+ in all three. And because of that, her speaking is impactful and influencing people all over the world. Like it or not.

You DON’T have to have a worldwide cause to have a truly incredible and memorable speech important message.

You DO have to understand when it’s appropriate to put your foot on the gas and when it is necessary to pump the breaks in order to be heard.

Passion is powerful. Pontification is pointless.

As a rule, scolding your audience is certain death. I don’t suggest it.

However, taking meaningful risks and not being afraid of showing emotion and conviction in your content is what is missing from most messaging.

Political Pawn or Geo Genius?

Time will tell!

By Kristen Daly