The Power of Storytelling

clinton family2

I’ve discovered an article signed by Maurice DeCastro, a good synthesis for the ingredients that gave the “salt & pepper” for the speech delivered by the former US President, Bill Clinton, at the historic Democratic Convention – the nomination of the first woman candidate at the US Presidency, Hillary Clinton.

Since 2001, Hillary and Bill generated cumulated earnings – just from speeches, of 153 million USD! For sure, experience, charisma and context are elements which contributed to this performance. Nonetheless, I truly believe that the key ingredient for the success of a speech is authenticity!

You can speak nicely, with carefully chosen words, you can exercise your non-verbal communication… but, all these won’t help you pass the tests of audience and time, unless you are authentic… if you do not have a story and lack the capacity to relate to the audience through your own experience, you’ll fail!

Over and over again, during training sessions with younger or older politicians, I insisted on the element of introspection and on the effort of „storytelling”. It is the red thread which defines the process of increasing your profile on the public agenda… it is the element that you can go back to when feeling in need of arguments. Unfortunately, public speech in Romania is at a low level due to ignorance and desire to choose the „easy way”. It’s true… if you take the challenge to exercise putting your life story on paper… those moments that define you… you will discover it is not as easy as you might have thought. It is a complex and difficult process to look back and take responsibility for your lifetime, with ups and lows. However, „the scars” are those who get to „shape” the story… they can be an explanation for why you chose a certain path or they can outline aspects of your personality …

It is not by chance that Bill’s speech began as a story – „In the spring of 1971, I met a girl.” It sets the speech tone, connects with the audiece, defines a human, emotional approach…

In the same manner, returning to the „red thread”, Hillary “writes” her story…

In 2008, following a tough fight with Barack Obama, she said: “Although we weren’t able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it’s got about 18 million cracks in it, and the light is shining through like never before, filling us all with the hope and the sure knowledge that the path will be a little easier next time.”

After eight years, that „glass ceiling” is back:

“We just put the biggest crack in that glass ceiling yet” (video played at the Democratic Convention – the day of her nomination as Democrat candidate for the US Presidency).

Most likely, Bill & Hillary’s story will continue and it is interesting to watch and see how it will get to define the US politics!

At the same time, I hope that Romanian politicians, old and young, will get to the point of understanding that life in the public eye and working for the common good is a profession on its own. A profession that requires lots of hard work and self-knowledge. A profession that requires the power to find life examples within the personal experience and the strength to find arguments for a relevant dialogue on the public agenda. A profession that requires the strength to generate meaningful content. Unfortunately, we are at the stage of forms without substance!


Maurice DeCastro’s article –