What You Can Learn About Speaking From Star Wars
I’m a huge fan of the Star Wars movie franchise. The first film set a new standard for entertainment and story telling. Four decades after it’s original release, Star Wars is part of popular American culture. And it’s a great source of lessons about public speaking.
How did this one movie become the genesis of a multi-billion dollar empire?
Did George Lucas, the writer and director, wake up one day with the idea to create a cultural phenomenon? Was his goal to forever change the industry?
The answer to both is ‘No.’ In Lucas’s own words, he just wanted to create a fun movie that people would enjoy.
What does this have to do with public speaking?
George Lucas’s journey to create Star Wars is an inspiring tale. It’s story persistence in the face of overwhelming odds. It might help you as you navigate the rough waters of creating your next speech.
There are many misconceptions about public speaking. One is that someone gets a great idea, and in short time has a memorable talk which impacts others.
The greatest speeches and presentations typically go through a painstaking process. You share the original idea with others. Get feedback. Based on those evaluations, you make changes. Then repeat the process.
This is a period of discovery – what works, what makes sense, and what to discard.
Occasionally, this process is straightforward and quick. Usually, it’s not. Vikas Jhingran is Toastmasters 2007 World Champion of Public Speaking. He has said, “Sometimes a speech simply flows out of you. Other times you have to work at it, to chip away at the speech until you uncover the finished product.”
Speaking Lesson From an Original Screenplay
One of the best examples I’ve seen of this is the script to the original Star Wars movie. The first version of the script is available on Amazon. Reading this initial draft is a surprising experience. George Lucas’s initial concept is almost completely different than the final version.
Most of the original characters don’t make it to the screen. Many of the settings are not in the final version. The major conflicts? Completely changed.
When I read the first version of the Star Wars story, I knew this was a terrific teaching moment. Many people believe that speaking is a quick process. Come up with an idea, work out a few kinks and present a finished product.
Mr. Lucas’s journey of initial concept to finished product is a fascinating tale. I haven’t even touched on the challenges he faced in selling his idea to the major film studios. Nor have I mentioned the seemingly insurmountable obstacles he faced in making the film.
What I Learned From This Story
Here’s what the creation of the first Star Wars movie taught me:
‘It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish.’
The key to crafting a memorable speech is to start. Take your initial concept and test it. Get feedback. It might not be pleasant, but those evaluations point you in the direction of a better speech.
Your goal might not be to craft a message that changes an industry or becomes part of pop culture. That’s great!
Be like George Lucas. Aim to create an entertaining experience that people want to hear. Do this, and you never know what kind of long-lasting impact you can create.
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