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A haute voix

24/02/2011 - par Mark Tungate

With the film The King’s Speech (Le Discours d’un roi) winning every award under the sun, I started thinking about the power of the human voice as a branding tool. In the film, the king must use his voice to reassure his people and save his image. More recently, Barack Obama won an election partly through the power of speech. And as anybody who has made a TV or radio ad knows, the voice artist – the actor who will tell the audience about your product – is vitally important.
One of the things that makes Steve Jobs so valuable to Apple is his talent for public speaking. When Apple launches a new product, Steve gets up there on stage and sells it – brilliantly, charismatically. I believe Jobs directly influenced the TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) conferences. Participants must speak for 15 minutes, without PowerPoint. They arrive on stage with just their brains and something interesting to say. (See ted.com for speeches by Jobs and others).
When I was at school, I entered a public speaking contest. I came last. But I have learned. Now I enjoy teaching and speaking at conferences. Voices persuade, seduce. One of the first things my wife ever said to me was: « I like your accent. »
In a digital world, there’s something uplifting about the sight of one human being, alone in the spotlight, preparing to share their voice.

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