Saturday, January 22, 2011

Lesson from a Fifth Grader: Be Concrete

And now... the 2011 Winner of the Annual Gardere MLK Jr. Oratory Competition:
5th Grader Elijah English:

Each participant in the contest had to answer the following question: How will I carry forward the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr?

In addition to his remarkable speaking skills, I imagine that one of the reasons why Elijah's speech won first place was because he was able to give the audience a concrete answer to this abstract question about legacy.

Elijah's story of showing his report card to his dying grandfather painted a powerful picture of what it means to learn from those who came before us.

From the Green Room: Use concrete language to make your point. The audience always remembers concrete details over abstract messages.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A terrific kid! Using anecdotes, humor, and variations in tone and pacing, he weaves the theme of personal choice throughout the speech. This is a message about aspiration and empowerment with not even a hint of grievance or entitlement. Bravo Elijah!