Best Award Acceptance Speech Ever?
Has Ashton Kutcher delivered the best award acceptance speech ever?
A lot of very smart people seem to think so.
The occasion was the 2013 Teen Choice Awards, where Kutcher accepted the ‘Ultimate Choice Award’.
A number of people have taken to blogs to analyse the speech phrase by phrase, many remarking on what a great orator Ashton has suddenly become.
Stop right there.
When I watched the speech on YouTube I was hit by one immediate thought: this is Ashton Kutcher channelling Steve Jobs.
This is no coincidence as Kutcher plays Jobs in the Apple Inc co-founder’s biopic.
I found nothing ‘authentic’ in structure or delivery of Ashton’s Teen Choice Awards performance (remember, he is an actor), although I did think ‘Wow, what a great ad for his new film. Inspired!’.
We already know what a great public speaker Steve Jobs was. Take a look at his 2005 Stanford University Commencement Speech (and spot the comparisons with Kutcher’s performance at the Teen Choice Awards).
But can we, who would be inspiring public speakers, learn anything from Kutcher’s ‘performance’?
One of the techniques that I demonstrate to people who come to my public speaking workshops is called ‘channelling‘ (also known as ‘trance character identification’… which is why I call it ‘channelling’).
It’s a technique whereby you choose a personality whose energy you would like to emulate when you are public speaking. This could be an actor, singer, comedian, family member, or anyone who inspires you. Give yourself permission to ‘channel’ that person’s confidence and charisma. The results are always fascinating and you can really see the change in both the confidence and the performance of people who practice the technique regularly.
Was Ashton Kutcher’s speech the best speech ever? Like everyone else, I thought it was really great but the inspiration was obvious and a little contrived (e.g. Jobs told three ‘stories’, Kutcher shared three ‘things’). Channelling is a powerful technique for building public speaking confidence, but once you are able to stop channelling the energy of someone you’d like to be and start channelling your authentic self, that’s when the real magic happens.