Chocolat…

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.

If you want to know more about the film Chocolat take a look at the cast or view a short excerpt, head on over to The Internet Movie Database.

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…

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

image indicating speech endings

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.

Credits:
My thanks and gratitude to:

The Internet Movie Database for the Chocolat thumbnail
EuroMagic – Martin L for The Chocolates photo on flickr

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Comments

  1. I love Chocolat! It’s one of my favorite movies, and I have several copies because I never know when I’m going to want to loan one to a friend, or if I’ll want to watch it in my bedroom curled up all snuggly-cozy while I watch it, or if I’ll want to sit in the living room with friends. No need to run to another room when I have a copy right here!
    I’ve never thought about applying those same Chocolat concepts to blogging, but you have an extremely good point. I think I’ll try it with my next post.

    Thank you! And thanks for mentioning a favorite!
    Delena
    Delena Silverfox@Flightnetwork Promo Code´s last great post ..Network Solutions Offer CodeMy Profile

  2. Have not see the movie but the principles remain! Movies can teach us so much about culture and relationships and communicating!

    Totally agree with the don’t preach or lecture your audience. Especially these days – its crucial to engage!

    I dig that quote by Dr Virginia Trooper.

    Thx Keith!
    Ryan Jenkins´s last great post ..Ep29- Get Intentional – Managing-Motivating Part 1Don’tMy Profile

    • Good to see you back Ryan

      When you think of all the talent that is used to make a film, we would be mad not to learn from them.

      Appreeciate your comment.

  3. Hi Keith

    I have seen Chocolat and agree with all you say. I love all the actors in it – Juliette, Judi – but of course, the favourite has to be Johnny!

    Like the Blog – will try and ‘pop in’ and have a look more often!

    Julia

    • Hi Julia
      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

      Looks as though all the ladies are going for Johnny Depp… can’t imagine why.

      Great to see you and Barbara last week at the Sans Souci Speakers Club dinner.
      Brought back a few memories.

      Don’t be a stranger.

  4. Ah, an excellent analogy! And the chocolate is making my mouth water! I love this film. And I believe I use your principals, but quite possibly sub consciously as I have never really considerd them in this way before.

    Enjoy the journey.

    Mandy
    Mandy Allen´s last great post ..A New Year BeginsMy Profile

    • Welcome Mandy
      Glad you liked the chocolate.

      The film is very low key but packs such a punch. Not often that I watch a film twice and still enjoy it.

      I think that most bloggers use the Chocolat principle but as you say… without thinking about it.

      Appreciate your comment Mandy.

  5. Sorry Keith, haven’t seen the movie, but still appreciated the metaphor here. I think the key point for me is that as presenters, we earnestly strive to make our audience feel better by the end than before we started. If that is your only goal as a speaker, and you achieve it, then I say ya done good ;-)

    Thanks for the excellent read Keith.
    Marcus Sheridan-The Sales Lion´s last great post ..Why You Should Stop Writing and Start Networking This SecondMy Profile

    • Hi Marcus
      Always appreciate your input to the comments – many thanks.

      I’ll get down to looking at your guest post this weekend – really looking forward to announcing my first guest blogger – the Sales Lion.

      Anyone interested in great posts and lively comments head over to Marcus’s site…

      http://www.thesaleslion.com/

  6. Hi Keith

    Love the analogy. Haven’t seen the film but it sounds an interesting one.

    When I am doing my presentations with my lovely lavender products, I leave plenty of time for questions. Also I like to create a relaxed atmosphere so people feel they can ask and not feel their queries are irrelevant.

    Patricia Perth Australia
    Patricia@lavenderuses´s last great post ..A Gardener’s Guide to Growing a BusinessMy Profile

    • Hi Lavender Lady

      Sounds as though you have your own way of making your audience feel good.
      Your own Chocolat principle, or perhaps Lavender principle.

      BTW – love the changes you have made over on your site. Looks fantastic.

  7. Hi Keith .. I thought so – but you bring up excellent points re the film. I saw it again at Christmas and as you say it is so gentle – but has a few strong messages running through it.

    I hope that I entertain when I talk .. it’s not something I do that often, but will be become more so .. and certainly I can stand in front of an audience eating chocolate to remind myself .. quite simple really .. any chocolat will do – if Johnny Depp’s in the middle .. great too ..

    Good thoughts for us to ponder on & remember when we next tell one of our stories .. then our audience can select the bits they need to absorb at that time – and they’re not always what we’re trying to get over .. entertain and be of value. Thanks – good read here .. Hilary
    Hilary´s last great post ..Food- Food- Glorious food and memories and- and Part 1 !My Profile

    • Hi Hilary
      Great point you make “… it is so gentle – but has a few strong messages running through it”
      That really is the strength of the film. You soak up the message whilst having a good time.
      Try and achieve that with your speeches.

      Have you started with Toastmasters yet?
      Let me know how things are going.

      Always good to get a comment from a friend.
      Keith Davis´s last great post ..Chocolat…My Profile

      • Hi Keith .. thanks .. no – because of my two trips to Cornwall .. and the stuff I’ve now got here needs some sorting ..

        But an Actor will be holding drama classes for 3 hours covering .. – great for confidence/relaxation; – movement and voice training; – improvisation/scene study; – stage and tv acting; – guest speakers from the industry ..

        Thinking to myself that might be more interesting .. what do you think?

        Cheers Hilary
        Hilary´s last great post ..Food- Food- Glorious food and memories and- and Part 1 !My Profile

  8. Keith — I really enjoy how you weave your writings so that it all fits together.

    I liked what you said about Chocolat and I’m excited because I’ve always wanted to watch this movie, but never have. Now with your review, I’ll be searching for it my movie stations.

    While I’m not a speaker, I agree with all the tips you gave, especially the one about making the audience feel better than when they arrived. I think we remember speeches that do this better than those that leave us feeling down:~)

    I also want to say that I really like how you layout your posts. They are always attractive and easy to read:~)
    Sara´s last great post ..Children of the HolocaustMy Profile

    • Hi Sara
      One thing that I can say about your posts is that I always feel better when I’ve read them.

      And… I always feel better when I read your comments.

      Appreciate your stopping by and leaving a delicious comment.

  9. I haven’t seen the film as yet Keith, but I will if it’s ever shown ion TV. I’m not much for hiring DVD’s and if I do it’s got to be full of action.

    I do understand what you’re getting at though. I would never attempt a speech without working out working out what the purpose of the speech was for.

    In regards to blog posts, I reckon I do that unconsciously. It’s sort of automatic. The idea comes into my head and then I write around that idea trying to draw my audience into the post. Not sure if it always works. Maybe I should do it more on a conscious level.
    Sire´s last great post ..To Moderate Or Not To Moderate- That Is The QuestionMy Profile

  10. Hey Keith!

    I haven’t seen this film yet, but i can definitely take the positive principal about my audience..

    I am bad at this case, because of my honesty (apply in real life too, can’t remember how many times i fought with my boss about my honest words LOL)..

    I will try to get better with it though..

    Thanks.
    Kimi@wordpress video tutorial´s last great post ..Google pr update 2011 How i get my pagerank back from 0 to 4My Profile

    • Welcome Kimi
      Always appreciate a comment from a PR 4 site owner.
      I think you should start sharing your secrets. LOL

      Too honest?
      I’m exactly the same Kimi, exactly the same.

      Thanks for stopping by, much appreciated.

  11. Wow, Chocolat – now that’s a blast from the past, haven’t seen that movie since it first came out. :)

    Great analogy, though, especially the patronizing/preaching part. For a speaker, the fastest way to lose interest from your audience is to lose interest in them.

    And guess what a patronizing approach does..? ;-)

    Glad to have found your blog through Ari Herzog, mate – look forward to discovering more.

    • Welcome Danny

      Super phrase “… the fastest way to lose interest from your audience is to lose interest in them.”
      I might steal that and pretend that I said it. LOL

      BTW – If Kimi at PR 4 is a blogging super star, you at PR 5 must be a blogging super duper star!
      Or does your dad work for Google? LOL

      Appreciate you leaving a great comment – hope you’ll visit again.

  12. Hi Keith – starts tomorrow afternoon! Cheers .. H
    Hilary´s last great post ..Food- Food- Glorious food and memories and- and Part 1 !My Profile

  13. This looks like a great film :-) I first heard about it on Will to know as I am sure you are aware, as you commented on the post over there :-)
    Christopher Roberts´s last great post ..AddThisMy Profile

  14. Hi Keith,

    great to read your thoughts about the movie and how it can be connected with public speaking and blog posting :)

    I’ve seen the movie some time ago and I had very similar (prejudice, hypocrisy…) observations.

    Reading your posts I know that I still need to learn a lot in public speaking :)

    By the way I really like Thornton chocolates!!!
    Justyna Bizdra´s last great post ..Internet Marketing Seminars- 7 reasons to be thereMy Profile

    • Thanks for your comment Justyna.

      If you ever find yourself in the UK around the Stratford upon Avon area, make sure that you contact me.
      I’ll buy you an extra large box of Thornton’s chocolates.

  15. I love the way you get some wonderful humor into your posts Keith. lol. and… lol again. My husband just gave me a funny look. He’s obviously wondering what I’m reading while we sit here and watch the NFL play offs. You know, football? (lol)

    I read the book — quite a while ago. I’ll have to watch the film.

    Thanks for presenting such an excellent formula for delivering a message, or call to action. Simple, clean, effective. I especially like endings that leave you feeling good. I’ll have to remember that one Keith. You can tell me how I’m doing – Okay? :)

    Love your post. Thank you.

    ~Theresa
    Theresa Bradley-Banta´s last great post ..Play HurtMy Profile

    • Great to see you back Theresa

      You paint a picture of domestic bliss, “…while we sit here and watch the NFL play offs.” LOL

      In terms of happy endings, your posts hit the spot every time.

  16. And don’t forget to have a beguiling title. (I had to check out your post when I saw Chocolat :-).

    I haven’t seen the movie, but have read the book. Your points are right on. To share something that leaves your audience better than when they started…a worthy goal!

    I might not see the movie for a while, but I will indulge in some chocolate today…
    Jewel Allen´s last great post ..Thinking BigMy Profile

    • Welcome back Jewel
      Thanks for a great comment.

      Make sure that you see the film, but in the meantime… enjoy your chocolate.

      BTW – any progress on that ice cream truck? LOL

  17. > the audience leave feeling better than when they arrived
    I think that is a perfect one-liner reminder for both connecting with your audience, and inspiring minds.
    J.D. Meier´s last great post ..Zig Ziglar on Setting GoalsMy Profile

  18. Hi Keith! I also love this movie and I’ve seen it more than once. I specially love “endings that leaves us feeling good.” That’s definitely something to keep in mind to continue doing on my blog, public speaking, and in life in general. It’s a good principle to apply throughout the day when speaking to others in terms of brightening up people’s day with our words.
    Thanks for the beautiful reminder. Loving blessings!
    Andrea DeBell – britetalk´s last great post ..3 Essential Ways to Positively Change your FutureMy Profile

    • Good to see you back Andrea

      Too much gloom and doom about.
      We bloggers have got to cheer people up.

      You’re doing your bit – always feel better for reading your posts.

  19. Dear Keith,

    You had me at the word “chocolate”. Wait, that wasn’t the word, was it?

    Well, any movie that revolves around my favorite substance, stars Johnny Depp, and elucidates better public speaking must be good–thank you! You’ve provoked another movie night!
    Adena Atkins´s last great post ..Announcing Restless Zombie Boot CampMy Profile

    • Hi Adena
      Chocolate is close enough for me – the French just can’t spell.

      Yes, the ladies all seem to like Johnny Depp – can’t imagine what you see in him. LOL

  20. Hi Keith,

    This is my first visit to your blog and I’m completely blown away. I love your writing style and all of the tips and techniques I’ve already learned just reading a few of your posts. I’m impressed, I’ve laughed, been intrigued, related and overall felt glad to have found you here. Looking forward to reading more and learning from you!
    Deb Augur´s last great post ..5 – Mashing It Up On Video and Other Vlog StrategiesMy Profile

    • Welcome Deb
      Sorry that you found it windy over here, make sure that you hang on to your hat. LOL

      Thank you for your kind words, I’m starting to blush already.

      Hope you’ll become a regular visitor

  21. Hey Keith, thanks for reminding me about that movie, it is worth a second watch. I know that some public speakers use funny stories to set the tone and that can have a positive affect on the audience. Thanks for your tips.
    Ileane´s last great post ..Help Me Win the Credit Cards Canada Guest Post ContestMy Profile

    • Hi Ileane

      Definitely worth a second watch.
      There are lots of subtleties that you miss first time round.

      Now who shall I vote for in that “Credit Cards Canada Guest Post Contest”? LOL

  22. hey:)
    That’s a great parallel Keith to build rapport with others first by tempting them by showing other world. Chocolate- is like music! so intense that creates backgrounds and transforms, and as you said- like a good story that begins a speech.
    I am just having a piece of chocolate of Polish origin. And here the magic begins
    :
    Have a piece of chocolate…and imagine something you want to happen or have. Cover that what you want by the heavenly taste of chocolate, and link them together.
    :P

    I haven’t seen the movie yet,

    Ciao!

    • Martyna
      Didn’t recognise you!

      You’ve gone all chic and sophisticated.
      Definitely love the new look.

      Enjoy your Polish chocolate. I’ve never tried Polish chocolate.
      Is it good?

      Ciao

  23. I have not seen the movie, would definitely make it a point to watch this weekend.This is the first time I am visiting your blog, truly loved it.
    Anusha´s last great post ..Ebook Cover Sample – 31My Profile

  24. hey:)

    thank you for the compliment:) it was a perfect day and the photo captured it!

    Polish chocolate has a very unique taste- especially the bitter one by Wedel. Recently a friend from New Zealand surprised me by finding this chocolate in a store in Wellington.

    :)
    M.
    Martyna Bizdra´s last great post ..Steve Jobs on his Successful Business ModelMy Profile

  25. I think the movie “Chocolat” is worth watching but unfortunately I have not watched it until now but soon I will search it over internet and then watch.
    Yes I try my best to apply Chocolat Principles in my blog posts.
    nazimwarriach@Discount Vouchers´s last great post ..Wall Street Journal DiscountMy Profile

  26. Hi Keith!
    How are you??
    Here everything is ok..I’m still working on putting together my things to applying somewhere…it’s a long job!!

    I’ve seen the film “Chocolat” lot of times: I like it! It makes me feel happy!!
    I’ve never thing to all the other things you suggested: I’ll try to think about them when I write a post!

    Thank you
    Greetings!
    Laura

    • Great to hear from you Laura

      Hope things go well for you on the job front – don’t get disheartened and please drop me an email if you want to have a chat.

      Your posts definitely have the “Chocolat factor” – they always make me feel good.

      I’ll check out your blog and see what you’ve been up to.
      Keith

  27. Hey Keith

    Firstly I can tell you that having spent 5 years working in the French Alps that French Chocolate IS far superior to UK chocolate. There’s something in it that really helps with that ‘ morning after apres-ski’ feeling…

    Secondly – I love the lessons you got from that movie. The best films are a gold mine of great ideas and learnings that we can apply to other areas of life. Which of course is what Story is all about, going all the way back to the dawn of time before Man could write.

    A book which can really help you understand story from a mythic perspective is The Writer’s Journey by Chris Vogler. Theoretically it’s a method book showing you how to apply The Hero’s Journey paradigm to your stories.

    But it works on so many levels that it’s something that every blogger should have on their bookshelf.

    (Which reminds me…I must write some Hero’s Journey Articles….).

    Cool post.

    Paul
    Paul Wolfe´s last great post ..How To Avoid Writers Block 1 – The Professional MindsetMy Profile

    • Hi Paul
      Thanks for a super comment.

      “5 years working in the French Alps” – it’s a small world, I’ve spent time working in the French Alps.
      Which resorts did you work in?

      I’ve worked in Les Arc, Serre Chevalier and Courmayeur (Italian Alps).

      Films are a great source of info for speeches and some films have great speeches in them.

      “The Writer’s Journey by Chris Vogler” – sounds interesting thanks for the heads up.

      BTW – Paul is setting up a challenge of writing 100 posts in 100 days, but he has already told me that he is mad.
      If you get a minute head over to Paul’s site and take a look.

      • Hey Keith

        Thanks for the mention! It’s actually 100 Articles in 100 Days – a lot of them will end up on the blog part of my site, but some of them will end up in eBooks. Some of them will also only go to my subscribers – you can see ‘protected’ posts on my site – that’s for subscribers only.

        The Alps – I worked in Les Arcs 2000 in 89/90 and then for 4 seasons in Meribel.

        Another reason films are such good material for using as examples is that everyone watches films, and it’s much easier to make a connection with your audience because the bulk of your audience will have seen your film (if you chose a good example) and if they haven’t seen the film, they’ll have a good idea about it. (For example, I haven’t seen Chocolat, but I knew essentially what it was about).

        When were you in Les Arcs?

        Paul
        Paul Wolfe´s last great post ..How To Avoid Writers Block 1 – The Professional MindsetMy Profile

  28. Hi Keith
    I stalked you here from the lovely comment that you left on my blog today! ;) and man…am I glad I found you. I absolutely love your blog. The design is brilliant and your posts are packed with such useful information.I also love your easy way with words and you are very funny too. I so want to get over my absolute terror of speaking to an audience…so I think this is a case of when the pupil is ready the teacher will appear (or words to that effect) so here I am Keith. Make me a star! ;)
    Rosemary / Offbeat Woman´s last great post ..Do You Still Dare to DreamMy Profile

    • …viz a viz my comment 10 seconds ago…I forgot to say that I really enjoyed this post. I haven’t seen the movie Chocolat but I will do soon on your recommendation. You made some points that are so relevant to blogging as well as speech writing. I agree that ‘preaching’ is a big NO-No, and that an uplifting ending is a must. But I think that your point on working out what your ‘purpose’ is before you start writing is a superb piece of advice. Specially when writing a blog. Thanks Keith
      Rosemary / Offbeat Woman´s last great post ..Do You Still Dare to DreamMy Profile

      • Welcome Offbeat Woman and thanks for your kind words.

        “Make me a star!” Having read a few of your blog articles, you are already a star; you just need to add the standing in front of an audience bit and then you can really shine.

        First thing is to join a Speakers Club and get some practice.
        Take a look at my post on speakers clubs. The article has contact details for clubs in the UK and around the world.

        A great quote from Cavett Roberet is:
        “Too many people die today with their music still within them, never having released their imprisoned splendor.”

        Let me know how things go and… I look forward to you releasing your “imprisoned splendour.”

        BTW – hope you enjoy your Chocolat.
        Keith Davis´s last great post ..Speech Writing… the Marcus MethodMy Profile

  29. Lots to ponder here, Keith — thanks for an exemplary post!

    I haven’t seen the movie, “Chocolat”, yet, but I want to see it NOW. Your post (presentation) left me with a good feeling. :)

    The most poignant line that jumped off the page at me is …

    “Transform the poverty of their expectations with the riches of your words.”

    I’ve been standing in front of audiences of pregnant couples for the past three decades. And they’re pretty hard nuts to crack. Every piece of wisdom you’ve offered here is priceless for anyone who’s working an audience!
    Melanie Kissell´s last great post ..There Is No Box To Think Outside OfMy Profile

    • Welcome Melanie
      Chocolat is a film you’ll love and will definitely leave you feeling good. Look in the mirror when the film finishes, and I bet you are smiling.

      Glad you liked…
      “Transform the poverty of their expectations with the riches of your words.”
      And it only took me an hour to come up with it. LOL

      Hope you’ll be a regular visitor.
      Keith Davis´s last great post ..Speech Writing… the Marcus MethodMy Profile

  30. I’m finding it enlightening that your blog, while focused on speeches still applies so very well to writing articles. If we can bring our readers to a better ending and deliver our message and get it across, I guess then we’ve done our job well.

    As for Chocolat, have yet to see it. But, after reading your description of it, I’m adding it to the queue for delivery. I love Depp in everything he does, so why should this be any different. Besides, I’m big on watching a movie that tries to tackle big topics like bigotry. Another movie that comes to mind is Eastwood’s Gran Torino. Heck, anything Eastwood does is golden, it seems.

    Love your style Keith!
    Wayne John @ Southern California Web Development´s last great post ..Speed dating 18 Roller Derby GirlsMy Profile

    • Hi Wayne
      As you say, writing or speaking, it’s all about getting your message across and leaving people feeling good.
      That way they’ll come back for more.

      Chocolat is a really uplifting film.
      Make sure you see it sometime.
      Keith Davis´s last great post ..Great Speeches in FilmsMy Profile

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