A REAL call to action!
The 1963 I Have a Dream Speech by Dr. Martin Luther King set a historic precedent on many levels. For the first time in all my years, I heard this speech in a completely different light as I watched the recording of it in a leadership class I had to take a few months ago. I was floored at how Dr. King brilliantly chose his words with wit, strategy and mission. As a writer I couldn’t help but think of his speech as a ground breaking example of good copy. He knew what to say, how to say it and to whom. Here are some lessons we all can take from Dr. King and apply to our next writing task.
Have a VISION
I’ll never forget how saddened I was after finding out a colleague of mine had no real vision in their entrepeneurship. How can you enter into something with no vision? It was very clear what Dr. King wanted and he knew how to relay that vision to his listeners.
“I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.”
Talk about making a statement! A lot of the times when reading blog posts, articles, or even emails, we have no idea of what the person is trying to say or what they want. Most likely, they didn’t have any vision before jumping on the keyboard. Always know what you’re going to say, why and what you want to accomplish. Dr. King made it clear that he was speaking on behalf of everyone who wanted to see a change – a movement towards freedom.
Know your AUDIENCE
Did you ever notice how diverse the audience was in the I Have a Dream speech? There was a couple of things going on here. Dr. King knew who he was speaking FOR, but he also knew who he was speaking TO. People from all walks of life were in that audience. It wasn’t just limited to one race. It wasn’t just limited to one religion. There were different types of people listening intensely to the words being spoken to them. Not to mention all the political figures that were also there and tuned in. He knew whose attention he would be getting and he went full throttle because he knew that was part of the strategy to get RESULTS.
Know and use your HISTORY
Yes, you have a vision, but people need to know your how and why. Dr. King smartly used language from another historical figure to connect and resonate true emotion from the audience. During the 1960’s, no one was using the language “5 score years ago”, yet he chose to use those words to connect the audience with another defining moment in U.S. history under the guidance of President Abraham Lincoln. This was because there was a new level of emancipation to be reached. Therefore, he connected the two worlds, reminding everyone why action needed to take place once again.
What brings you to the place where you’re at now? Who are you looking to help and why? What significant events have taken place in your niche or industry that your audience should know about and connect with? Think about these things the next time you’re preparing a presentation or some written content.
While it is well known that Dr. King wanted peace and justice for everyone, he also made it known that he was about the business! That was the only way things were going to get done and he put this in context that everyone could relate to.
“It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note inso-far as her citizens are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked ”insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.”
This is perhaps the greatest call to action any writer and presenter ever gave. Dr. King knew is position and what was entitled to him. Remember, this speech ultimately led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, causing lawmakers to enforce desegregation in schools and also enforce the 14th Amendment that gave citizens more position of authority in their home states. As a person, writer or business owner, know what you’re believing in and what it’s capable of giving you. No fancy words or high tech start-up campaigns needed!
Everything doesn’t have to be PERFECT
This is where I get caught up at times. Whether I’m putting a blog post together or planning a party, I always get frustrated if things aren’t lining up exactly the way I want them to.
Well, another lesson to learn from Dr. King: SPONTANEITY and IMPROVISATION.
The speech was written, but I’m sure everything did not get delivered the way they planned for it to be delivred, at least not exactly. He had his speech material with him, but he didn’t read it line for line and was still able to deliver the core content successfully.
Learning to embrace these spontaneity and improvisation in your writing and planning can work wonders. I’m in the middle of writing my first book and I’m learning this first-hand. What I saw and planned in the beginning a year ago when I started writing has greatly evolved into something even bigger. Something I never even imagined that it would be. Because I didn’t try so hard to stick to the script, powerful connections are being made and I’m inspiring people along the way. You can do the same and more! How awesome is that?
My inspiration for this article – here
The original I Have a Dream Speech.