Why?

March 29, 2018 fm

Kung Fu Panda, Toy Story, Bolt – whatever animated movie I watch with my little Alvaro during the Sunday afternoon siesta, I end up crying. The motivational speech after two thirds of those films never fails to hit me hard. Kudos to those scriptwriters and music producers.

In public speaking, you are the scriptwriter of your speeches; you are the music producer of your presentations. Make sure you also appeal to the emotions of your audience.

But Florian, those board members will interrupt me and say, go straight to the numbers!

I will never ask you to replace your logical arguments (facts, data, figures and friends) completely with emotion. That would be the worst you can possibly do. Your speaking must make sense. That is the task of logos, the logic. What I suggest is that you add pathos (emotional arguments) to your logos.

Vision, dreams, metaphors, humor, stories, talking to the five senses – I have discussed in depth all of these pathos triggers on this blog. Today, I have something new for you.

As I am writing these lines, I am sitting on a Ryanair flight from Stockholm to Barcelona. For the first time, I had the pleasure to work with the creators of Angry Birds. The six of us spent two days in the blue room. Hank, Måns, Andreas, Nicole, Johan and I were not attending a public speaking course. Instead, we marched through the minefields of therapy. Amazing depth, amazing stories, amazing vulnerability – it was a very, very special training.

At one point during the first of two days I asked them: What kind of content could you use to touch the emotions of your audience?

Blond Johan responded, Why?

I hesitated to answer. Why was new. I had never heard it in the context of pathos. Johan’s answer intrigued me.

What do you mean by ‘Why’? 

Well, when a speaker uses reflective why-questions, I feel something.

I started to reflect on reflective why-questions speakers sometimes use in my trainings.

Why haven’t I thought about this before?

Why do I get up every morning?

Why did I never call him?

Why should I do this?

Why do I care?

Why all this? 

Why me?

Why us?

Why?

It is true. Automatically, I start to reflect myself. I enter my world of emotional reasoning. Thanks to Johan I have detected a new way to consciously add pathos to my speaking.

Next time I watch Kung Fu Panda, Toy Story or Bolt and I start to cry after two thirds of the movie, I will ask myself: Why?

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