Claire Duffy's blog about public speaking and communication (in real life). Speak well, do well!
It was profoundly moving to listen to Aung San Suu Kyi finally accept her 1991 Nobel Peace Prize on June 16th. While we all know of her remarkable bravery and tenacity, it is only since her release from house arrest that we’ve been able to hear her speak. Her warm, low voice and composed, authoritative style have transformed our sense of her. She has a tremendous vocal presence, a striking counterpoint to her fragile stature.
According to the New York Times, ‘The audience in Oslo’s City Hall, which included the Norwegian royal family, listened raptly, applauding often, standing to clap when Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi entered the hall and when she finished her speech, which was at the same time modest, personal and touching, an appeal to find practical ways to reduce the inextinguishable suffering of the world’.
The Nobel Website is a treasure trove of speeches by past winners. Oddly enough, because the occasion and the format are the same every year (“Your Majesties, distinguished guests, it gives me great pleasure….”) listening to these giants one after another can become wearisome. It’s more satisfying to watch video conversations with winners, which allow the spontaneous exchange of ideas. And for absurdity, you can’t beat this footage of Doris Lessing hearing that she’s won as she gets out of a taxi with her shopping.
For more about Aung San Suu Kyi as a speaker, go the The Eloquent Woman, where I sourced the image used in this post.