How to do Inspiring Visions

JFK’s “We Choose to go to the Moon…” Speech

Lots of stuff on tv at the moment about early space exploration, reminded me of this video – one of the most inspiring ‘big vision’ speeches ever. President John F Kennedy speaking at Rice University in September 1962.

Scroll down and play the video to see for yourself.

After the video I’ve put some tips of my own about the kind of things that this sort of ‘vision’ speech needs to include.

Some brief thoughts about the key elements to include in making your own inspiring vision speech:

  • Re-calibrate – not all of us are planning on moon landings, but don’t let that make your vision any less important than this
  • Challenge – notice how President Kennedy makes it clear that there are big obstacles to be overcome. The right amount of challenge is what makes life worth living and work worth doing
  • Sensory Details – you can almost feel what it’d be like to be on that mission, the heat, being cramped in the capsule; really brings it to life
  • Tangible Measures – there’s lots of facts and figures in this vision “240,00 miles away”; “a giant rocket more than 300 feet tall”; I can see and imagine those much more readily because of those numbers
  • Metaphor –  “…fitted together with a precision better than the finest watch”; do you go away knowing exactly how precise he wants you to be and how to explain that to somebody else?
  • “We”“Because that challenge is one we intend to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone and one we intend to win”; I’m rolling my shirt-sleeves up to get stuck-in right away
  • Present tense – he really switches into the present tense towards the end “Re-entering the atmosphere…”; again this just helps to feel like you’re already there. I can believe this vision because I’ve practically lived it even before he’s finished speaking
  • Upturns Convention“Not because it is easy, but because it is hard”

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