Emma Watson, the heroine of the Harry Potter series was appointed as a U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador earlier this year, and recently gave an impassioned speech on feminism and gender inequality at the U.N. headquarters in New York.
When I first listened to her speech on YouTube I couldn’t help but be a little distracted by the slight trembling in her voice. She was clearly nervous, but them who wouldn’t be addressing the esteemed delegates of the United Nations.
The very thought of such a challenge is likely to make even the most experienced speaker quiver.
Did that noticeable tremble impede her performance, dissuade me from listening further, or even dilute the impact of her message?
For me, the answer was absolutely not, and this is why.
As an extremely talented and much loved actress she is undoubtedly a remarkable young woman to be able to address such an influential audience on such a topical and global issue. As we can see from this video her belief and passion for ending gender inequality is unquestionable and her message is eloquently delivered from the moment she stands to speak.
“Today we are launching a campaign called HeForShe. I am reaching out to you because I need your help. We want to end gender inequality—and to do that we need everyone to be involved.
This is the first campaign of its kind at the UN: we want to try and galvanize as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for gender equality. And we don’t just want to talk about it, but make sure it is tangible.”
Despite her nerves, I believe she delivered an excellent speech to the UN which was intelligently structured and beautifully paced. She had a powerful message to share and whilst she had notes on the lectern to help her, she neither needed nor used them, as she knew exactly what she wanted to say.
Such was the strength of her passion.
It takes a lot to be a great speaker and one of the many critical ingredients is congruence. That means that every ounce of the speakers being has to be in harmony with the words coming out of their mouth.
In this case it’s highly visible that Emma Watson not only believes, but also means every word she says.
She speaks with such intense sincerity that whether she’s addressing an issue that you are interested in, agree with or not, it’s almost impossible not to be drawn in by her candour.
Some may say that as an actress surely it must come easy to her to speak in public in such a way, but the quaver in her voice tells another story; it’s not easy but her passion sees her through.
Concluding a rich and powerful speech she closed by saying:
“I am inviting you to step forward, to be seen to speak up, to be the ‘he’ for ‘she’, and to ask yourself if not me, who? If not now, when? Thank you”
It’s no wonder she received deafening applause and a standing ovation.
Perhaps there is a lesson in this for all of us.
Regardless of the size or profile of our audience if we deliver our message with passion and belief it will always triumph over nerves.
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Image: Courtesy of flickr.com
Watch the video here: