Another fine example of elegant and powerful speech making. JK Rowling the richest author in the world thanks to her Harry Potter books, woos her audience at the Harvard Commencement from the start with charm and humour. What are the characteristics that make this memorable and impressive?
- Another fine start that engages.
- Her humour is self deprecating and teasing. And there’s a lovely compliment to those graduates who’ve read her books (only those who had courage were chosen to join Gryffindor House at Hogwarts. Harry Potter was a member).
- Like Steve Jobs, she tells stories.
- Each story illustrates a point – a) Baroness Warnock and achievable goals b) how failure is a valuable foundation from which to build and c) the suffering she encountered working at Amnesty International as an example of how imagination can change current reality.
- The stories are heartfelt. They are either from moments of crisis in her own life or in those of others.
- She takes her audience on a journey with a clear destination. Her speech starts with her personal story and enlarges to give students a vision of principles to live by.
Yes, her anxiety means she speaks too quickly so some of her points get lost. It may also be why she occasionally stumbles and fluffs. However throughout she comes across as honest, clear, direct and deeply inspiring. She engages and influences to great effect.
And yes, I too am a big fan!