I don’t know how similar the speech Kurt Russell gave in Miracle was to the real-life version Herb Brooks gave in the locker room during the 1980 Winter Olympic Games. But I do know that it certainly inspired the audience in the theater. After hearing his speech, we all believed that the U.S. hockey team could actually beat the highly favored Soviet team. We were pumped up!
Here are a few tips we can all take away from this famed pre-game speech:
- Keep it simple. The coach doesn’t use long, extravagant sentences. Instead, he is succinct, getting the point across quickly and allowing it to really hit home with the players. Your message is stronger when there is less fluff surrounding it. Get straight to the point when you make your next pep talk your words will make a bigger impression.
- Speak definitively. When the coach talks about the outcome of the upcoming game, he doesn’t use words like “maybe,” “could” or “might.” He says that the U.S. will win this game. When you want to pump up your audience, don’t allow them to see any outcome other than success.
- Paint a picture. During the high point of his speech, the coach tells the team what they will do. He says, “Tonight we skate with them, we stay with them and we shut them down.” This allows the team to visualize their steps leading to victory. Show your audience their own success and they will be more likely to see it themselves.
- Give them a reason to believe you. Kurt Russell’s character has his team wanting the win, but more importantly he gets them to believe they deserve the win with three words: “Because we can.” Then he goes on to tell them the merits of their team, that the victory is waiting for them and that all they have to do is take it. You have to do the same thing with your audience. Make them believe that they deserve it, that it is theirs for the taking.
In the movie, the players were moved by their coach to and defeat the most daunting team in the world. And in the theater, we got as wrapped up in the speech and the possibility of victory as the team.
What other tips do you have for pumping up an audience with an inspirational speech?