I love a happy ending
I watched a great film over the Christmas break, Chocolat starring Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench, Alfred Molina and Captain Jack Sparrow himself… Johnny Depp. I’ve seen it before but I’d forgotten what a clever film it is, well worth a second viewing.
The film is set in a small French village and the plot revolves around the arrival of a single mother who sets up a chocolaterie and begins to tempt the locals with the sensual pleasures of her offerings. Unfortunately this is not a village that is big on sensual pleasures and the Mayor and Priest are soon plotting our heroine’s downfall.
Enter Johnny Depp as an itinerant river gypsy whose alternative lifestyle only increases the threat to the values and lifestyle of the village.
This is a film that examines human frailty, it deals with prejudice, bigotry, hypocrisy, self interest but ultimately… it offers us redemption.
These are weighty issues, issues that most of us would rather ignore. Hardly the stuff of riveting viewing.
So why is the film so successful?
Because it does three things…
- It makes a serious point, it has a purpose – this is not a film about chocolate, although the French are very serious about their chocolate. In fact they consider UK chocolate to be grossly inferior to their own.
An attitude for which every Frenchman should be horsewhipped.But I’m a tolerant man… and forgive them that.
It’s a film that shows you how others behave and then asks you to look at your own behaviour.
- It makes the point without preaching or lecturing – there are no lengthy sermons or bouts of breast beating in this film. It simply uses gentle humour and caricature to shine a light on the darker side of human nature.
- It has an ending that leaves you feeling good – there are emotional highs and lows throughout the film, you laugh you cry, but as the closing credits roll you feel that perhaps the world is not such a bad place. The ending offers us redemption and leaves you feeling optimistic and positive about the future.
Three little things that turn a celluloid piece of eye candy into a satisfying and uplifting experience.
Try it in your Speeches and Presentations
Strikes me that the movie moguls have come up with a winning formula so let’s see how you can apply the Chocolat principles to your speeches and presentations.
Make sure that your speech or presentation has a purpose
Before you start writing your speech make sure you have a clear purpose. What are you trying to achieve? To clarify what you are trying to achieve, and to remind you when you start to wander, at the top of your script write… “The purpose of this speech is……………”
Everything you write should be written with your purpose in mind.
Your purpose could be:
- To inform people of the reasons for the Credit Crunch
- To entertain people at a social gathering
- To persuade people to vote for you
“The common knowledge divides presentations by various purposes. Traditionally, the big three are speeches to inform, speeches to entertain and speeches to persuade. The uncommon knowledge is that everything you say involves persuasion” – Malcolm Kushner
Once you decide the purpose of your speech or presentation… writing it becomes a whole lot easier and the end result will be much more effective.
Don’t preach or lecture to the audience
What’s the old saying? “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” It’s the same when speaking to an audience. They don’t want to listen to you preaching and telling them that they should change their ways. Forget the vinegar and start using the jam.
Entertain the audience, add some humour, tell them a story and get them on your side, and then you can fulfil your purpose and make the points you want to make.
“When the mouth is open for laughter, you may be able to shove in a little food for thought.” – Dr Virginia Trooper
Amuse, entertain, add a bit of showbiz. The audience will have a good time and don’t worry, they’ll remember your message.
Make sure the audience leave feeling better than when they arrived
If you want to depress the audience, ask them to watch the TV news or read a newspaper. Your job as a public speaker is to inspire the audience and leave them feeling positive and optimistic. The audience should leave happy, content and full of the warm fuzzies.
Give the audience good news, give them solutions to their problems, transform the poverty of their expectations with the riches of your words.
Even if the situation appears hopeless and you don’t have an answer or a solution, point to the future give them hope. For a brief moment for a fleeting second, let them believe.
Let me have your thoughts
Have you seen the film?
Do you apply the Chocolat principles to your speeches and presentations?
Do you apply the Chocolat principles to your blog posts?
Let me have your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.
My thanks and gratitude to: