Best Speech of Your Life

one of my favorite speeches

Published 2 months ago • 4 min read

Hey Reader,

Mike here. Speech nerd, remember? Guy who used to fall asleep listening to Martin Luther King tapes (tapes!).

It's an unusual interest, and an unusual skill. As such - and especially when I lead corporate trainings - people want to know the speeches I think they should watch and/or study.

The example I always want to give them is Jason Kelce’s Super Bowl parade speech from 2017.

Problem being, I can’t exactly use this in a corporate setting. For one thing, there are a lot of curses. Loud curses.

For another, he’s dressed like this:

Yeah. It's a tough sell at, say, Goldman Sachs.

But in the interest of serving people who do not work at Goldman Sachs, I'm going to break this speech down for you.

A few things:
1. What started as a "oh, I'll be able to write this during a 22-minute episode of Storybots" project turned into a novella. For once I'm going to have the awareness to split this into two emails.
2. You probably don't want to watch this at work. Or if you're a Cowboys fan.
3. I don't think you need to watch the speech, but I'm pasting it below if you'd like to:

video preview

If you didn't watch, know it's not a complicated outline. Basically:
• The Eagles won the Super Bowl as a team of underdogs
• Here are a bunch of examples
• The city of Philadelphia is the ultimate underdog

Short, simple, but also a great example of a winning speech. On the podium, Jason is as passionate as they come. There's a wonderful flow to his words. And he builds to an ending that, while not quite as aspirational as Free At Last Free At Last, leaves the audience wanting more.

There are also two less obvious skills: how to remember your script, and how to use silence. We'll talk about memory today, strategic silence in part two.

How to Remember What You Want to Say

Almost everyone fears they won't remember what they're going to say. Strangely, almost no one puts thought into how to remember what to say.

The consensus is you should either:
A) Write your notes on your slides; or
B) Remember your script via rote memorization

Option A leaves you robotic. Option B leaves you stressed.

There's another option, which is what Jason Kelce uses: memory via visuals.

Let me explain -

You can't see this on the YouTube clip but: during the previous speaker, Kelce was pacing behind the stage. I mean really pacing. The kind where both hands are on your hips and you're fiercely staring at the ground. Your eyes are technically open but you're picturing something else.

I remember watching and asking Jess "what do you think he's doing? He's pacing like a madman"

Years later, I know exactly what he was doing: visualizing the speech.

After briefly establishing his thesis - this is a team of underdogs - he gives 24 specific examples. Twenty-four! With no slides and no notes.

How in the world would you remember who is first, second, seventh, 19th and so on?

Here’s how: the examples are in an order he could visualize. Savvy. Human beings remember images better than words.

He starts with non-players - the General Manager and the Coach.

Then he moves to the offense. Any football fan can track with the order: the first players he names are offensive line (up front), then he moves backwards (quarterback and running backs) before moving to the sides (receivers and tight ends)

If you'd prefer a poorly-drawn visual:

[Defensive Line/orange]
Brandon Graham was drafted too high.
Vinny Curry ain’t got it.
Beau Allen can’t fit the scheme.

Mychal Kendricks can’t fit the scheme.
Nigel Bradham can’t catch.

[Defensive Backs/red]
Jalen Mills can’t cover.
Patrick Robinson can’t cover.

[Grand finale]
That’s the whole team! [Pounds podium]
That’s the whole team!

Here's the full positional order:
Front office
Offensive line
Running backs
Wide receivers
Tight ends
Defensive line
Defensive backs

Want to know how to he remembered the exact order of 24 different examples? He remembered them in visualized chunks (in this case, chunks = positions). Much easier than one long monologue.

[Note: This isn't unlike the concept of a Memory Palace, popularized in Moonwalking With Einstein or the Benedict Cumberbatch Sherlock series]

Take away point for you:
Visualize and learn your speech in small chunks

Sometimes it helps to draw the speech on a whiteboard (think hieroglyphics) or place visuals in order on a table. Anything is better than trying to remember a multi-page Word document.

And: the smaller the chunk, the better. Ten three-minute segments will be less stressful than three 10-minute ones.

How might you chunk your next speech?

We'll be back for part two next week, when we discuss another invisible skill: his strategic use of silence.

Speak well my friends,

Connect with me outside of email and watch for new content!

Do good things out there.

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Best Speech of Your Life

by Mike Pacchione and his kinda weird brain

I help you deliver the best speech of your life. Thoughts and instruction on speaking, storytelling and how to have fun on stage Also, I think exclamation points are stupid

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