The Golden O

Oprah Winfrey was recently awarded the Cecil B. DeMille award for outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment. She was the first African-American woman to win, and she gave a barn-burner speech at the Golden Globes.

At some point in our careers, most of us have to, or choose to deliver motivational or inspirational talks. Politics aside, consider what Oprah's speech accomplished, and how. Unexpectedly, the speech lacked specific instructions. It wasn't Winfrey's job to educate, teach, or train. Her goal was to bring attention to unseen women.

Oprah created a visceral connection with remarks like, "I'm especially proud and inspired by all the women who have felt strong enough and empowered enough to speak up and share their personal stories. Each of us in this room are celebrated because of the stories that we tell, and this year we became the story.

But it's not just a story affecting the entertainment industry. It's one that transcends any culture, geography, race, religion, politics, or workplace. So, I want tonight to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault because they, like my mother, had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue. They're the women whose names we'll never know."

When your mandate is to lift the hearts of your audience, motivate them to action, or support your organization, don't get bogged down in details. Share your passion and what motivates you. Delve into the why of your mission, and what it will mean to the audience. A Mississippi kid, Oprah was abandoned by her parents and raised by her grandmother on a farm-- yet she became a universal force for good, lifting others to be their best. And now there is an outcry for her to run for President of the United States. Words matter.(*)

(*) Deborah is passionate about giving women the tools to effectively speak out. If anyone knows how to reach Oprah, and make her aware of Deborah's book Out Front: How Women Can Become Engaging, Memorable, and Fearless Speakers, the link to Amazon is

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