The Award For Vulnerability

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“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.” ~ Criss Jami

You and I have talked about the power of vulnerability before, and last night’s acceptance speeches at the 2023 Academy Awards give the best example anyone could want.

Look, there’s nothing “wrong” with THIS speech, or THIS one or THIS one.

The speakers are gracious and brief. They’re not using the stage inappropriately.

But they can’t hold a candle to this one:

He is openly weeping from the moment his name is announced, unafraid to show real emotion.

His first remarks are personal, unscripted. He and his family escaped Vietnam in a boat and lived in refugee camps until they were permitted to come to the United States.

He acknowledges hoping against hope – for over 20 years! – in a career that seemed to be going nowhere. I remember him from the Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom film he was in as a boy – how long ago was that?? – and if he has been in other films since, I don’t remember him; his role too small or the film too inconsequential to even be noticed.

Or this speech, from Michelle Yeoh:

Gracefully speaking to Asian children around the world about the possibility of reaching big dreams, acknowledging her age, which has usually been really difficult for an actress to overcome in a male-dominated industry.

Again, her comments are unscripted and personal and emotional.

The lesson for you in your on-air work is to occasionally speak from your heart.

Be real, be personal, and don’t be afraid of your own emotions.

Now and then, let your listeners come behind the curtain and see the real person you are, warts and addictions and failures right there in front.

It will humanize you. It will give your listeners something to relate to because we all have failure in our lives.

Even the best ads during last night’s show hit us emotionally, like this one from Warner Brothers:

And this one from Disney:

And this one, which should piss everyone off. There’s just no excuse for THIS continuing to be a fact.

Proving you don’t have to make me laugh or cry, you just need to make me FEEL.

It’s your stage. It’s your voice.

So, what are you going to do with their attention now that you have it?