Rune Kier is the speechwriter, the cultural anthropologist, and the deliverer of desirable futures. He is the AntiFool.
Let’s talk about the weapon of choice for orators: speeches.
We’ve had a number of famous speeches throughout the ages. To deliver them is one thing, but to craft it and perform for an amazing emotional response and deliver is a difficult skill.
On a mission to unpack the wisdom behind why a speech is powerful, I reached out to award winning speechwriter Rune Kier.
Rune is a freelance speechwriter, having won two Cicero speechwriting awards in 2014 as the first Danish man ever for climate change. He worked in areas of immigration and diversity, social affairs and employment. Rune’s words made a huge impact, having trained in social anthropology, specializing in social movements and storytelling.
We talked about:
- His origin story, how he moved to Brazil to learn more about the connection between identity and speeches
- The power of speeches: what makes a great speech and Rune’s writing process in creating an award-winning piece
- The connections between cultural anthropology and speeches
- The real metric for success for a speech that speakers forget
- 4:04 Origin story: Exploring identities in Germany and Brazil
- 6:03 Mulatto as buying into African inferiority
- 07:39 How speeches change narratives
- 10:10 Learning is a process, and The Speech Railway analogy
- 12:32 Malala Yousafzai and her struggle with providing education
- 14:53 A good speech, and a great speech
- 18:25 “It takes a lot of research” What to focus on when drafting your speech
- 22:30 Creating your own stories helps with conveying the message
- 26:59 Would the speaker feel comfortable with these words? Tips and Tricks
- 28:50 Command their attention and ask them directly
- 30:39 One of the big mistakes in public speaking today is uninformed success
- 34:29 Why experts have problems giving speeches
- 35:50 “Boil it down to almost nothing”
- 37:29 This is how you persuade someone that this idea is right
- 40:20 Rune’s Memento
- 41:56 Rune’s Walkaway Wisdom
Norman Chella: [00:00:00] Thatsthenorm.com Rune Kier is the speech writer, cultural anthropologists and the delivery of desirable futures. He is the Antifool. Welcome to the Antifool podcast. This is where we deconstruct the wisdom of people from all fields, backgrounds, and walks of life. My role is simple. I played a full, I asked the questions and you get the answers. Our guest is the Antifool, the source of wisdom, who we will learn from today.
I’m on a mission to create the antidote to foolishness so we can understand the world and ourselves better, wonderful stuff. Right. So shall we?
Hello there, your favorite fool on a mission to be more intelligent Norm here. Welcome to the show. I want to talk to you about the one weapon of choice for an orator: speeches. We’ve had quite a number of famous and powerful speeches all around the world throughout the ages, and to deliver them is one thing, but to be able to craft it, to perform it, to write and hit the beats for amazing emotional response, deliver a powerful impact and much more, is a very difficult skill to acquire.
On a mission to unpack the wisdom behind why a speech is just so powerful, I reached out to award winning speech writer Rune Kier.
Rune is a freelance speech writer, having won two Cicero speechwriting awards in 2014 as the first Danish man ever for climate change and The Story of Sarah, which is the title of the speech in the categories of government and environment, energy and sustainability. having worked in areas of immigration and diversity, social affairs and employment, and much more. Runes words make a huge impact. Having trained in social anthropology, specializing in social movements and storytelling. I had a chat with ruined to talk about the origins of how he became obsessed with speeches.
So in this episode we talked about his origin story, how he moved to Brazil to learn more, about the connection between identity and narrative and speeches, how that is the chosen medium to allow our empower someone to choose a certain narrative for themselves, the power influence of speeches.
What makes a great speech, how Rune’s writing process in creating an award-winning speech, especially the breakdown of that award-winning speech mentioned before. The connections within cultural anthropology and how that relates to speeches, the power of each one. And the main thing that speakers forget when trying to devise a speech of their own, what is much more important than the speech itself?
And trust me, it’s not applause. There is something much more powerful as a response to your speech and you do have to get it right. Rune talks more about it in this episode. So. Without further ado, let’s play the fool and learn from the wise, by diving into my chat with Rune Kier.
Mr. Rune Kier, welcome to the Antifool, how are you doing?
Rune Kier: [00:03:13] I’m doing good. Thank you very much.
Norman Chella: [00:03:16] I am really excited to have a chat with you because you have done a lot of speeches. And this is something that I actually, I genuinely have a personal interest in speeches. I have a few, like I had this one collection of speeches from like the ages and I would always try to write a lot of marginalia on decide to try to understand why it’s so impactful and powerful.
I would love to hear your take on say what makes a great speech and how you go through your process. But before we can even get into the wonderful world of speech writing, I know that you have quite an interesting background. So how did a swimming gold medalist and capoeirista, such as yourself, get into the world of speech writing?
Could you tell me your origin story?
Rune Kier: [00:04:04] Sure. I’m a cultural anthropologist by training, uh, which was really my way into a lot of what I do today. And as a cultural anthropologist, what you generally do is you focus on some kind of subject that really spurs your mind, really a feels intriguing to you. And for me, that was why people choose identities that are somehow stigmatized.
For instance, um, I was doing field work in, in, in Denmark among a German minority in Denmark. Denmark and Germany are neighboring countries. But we have, uh, a history of world Wars being on different sides and they are so, yeah. Why would somebody in Denmark choose to have, uh, choose to identify as German? Was something I really got into.
And then later to elaborate on that subject, I went to Brazil for six months to investigate why people in Brazil, a country with, in my view, a lot of racism, why would they choose to identify as black. But they could choose to identify as mulatto, light Brown or Brown or whatever other option that they might have.
Why would they do that? And that was really what intrigued me in, in my world of, of anthropology. Why would somebody choose to do that? When they know we could have severe repercussions and severely affect their lives moving forward. And what I found was that this really has to do with storytelling, not necessarily storytelling, the buzzword sense of, you know, making up a story of telling an adventure or something. And, but storytelling in the more transformational, deeper psychological aspects.
And in Brazil I discovered that being a mulatto or identifying as Brown really means that you buy into a story of African inferiority. Africa being a continent of disease as of civil war of, of all these things and bad things. Buying into that, buying into slavery, people being transported across the transatlantic, slave trade and living as slaves.
So if you say you are mulatto, you’re really a slave descendant. Which is not a very nice identity to have. Whereas if you say I’m black, then you are creating a whole different narrative. That’s a whole different story of Africa still being the start, but being much more magic, warriors, music. Kind of continent, slave transatlantic, slave trade still happened, but people escape from the slaves and built republics in the Amazon jungle.
And those are the people, but you would identify with. They are called Quilombos, these villages in the jungle and people living there would be called Quilombolas. And so if you say that you’re black, you’re already all of a sudden Quilombola descendant, not slave descendant. And you have a whole different identity.
And so this was what I discovered doing the field work in Brazil, ecological field work. And then I started asking questions to them. Where, where did you discover this narrative? This storyline. How did you come about it? And slowly I could build this lineage of where it came from. And discovered that these stories came from speeches.
People were standing up at protest marches at cultural events at seminars and telling their story about the positive Africa, the Quilombolas, not the slaves, the resistance, not the oppression. And that was so inspiring for me as an anthropologist. So, so really. When I got the chance to start writing speeches, I thought these are the kinds of speeches that the world needs.
We need to hear these positive stories about who we are to change our outlook on everything. And that only, that only increased because I might have started my career in anthropology with racism and minorities and diversity. And I moved into that as well. And after my, my education working in the capital of Denmark with diversity issues, but the, the things, then I turned more to climate change, climate action, UN sustainable development goals.
And if there’s one place in the world right now where we need a positive story, it’s telling us that we can actually change the future. That’s it. And so, so that was really how I moved into speech writing because I discovered from the other side of the table, you might say what the impact can really be.
Norman Chella: [00:09:23] This is actually very new to me because it’s essentially, you have the choice of a narrative and by identifying with said narrative, it will cause you to feel much more blank, right? And blank being transformed or empowered or inspired or much greater self worth in yourself because you have chosen to identify yourself with a specific narrative that is less negative and more empowered.
And I take it that have you had experience writing speeches before, after being exposed to that? You know, that conclusion that speeches are what has compelled them to pick that narrative? How did you start learning how to create speeches just as great as that?
Rune Kier: [00:10:10] Well, the question was also always have I actually learned that. Learning is always a process and I wouldn’t put myself all the way up there, but I do feel that that is where you need to strive to.
To reach. That’s the goal to reach that that’s these transformational speeches really. And so I am, I am, I am constantly trying in my written material and in my speech writing to convey that, that sense of, of transformation, a more positive narrative. Of course, it’s not just that. I, I usually compare it to the railway.
You have, um, a railway. You have, uh, the, the tracks they’re set and all of a sudden you discovered that parallel to your tracks, there’s another set of tracks and it leads to a much better place. But you can’t change. You can’t change the railways. If you’re a train, you can’t change it unless they’re actually use rails that will make that possible.
So you have rails, you have rails and you need something where you can change it. That’s extremely important. It’s a conversion narrative, really? So. You need to create, you need to be very much aware of what’s the dominant story in this day and age, this audience that you’re talking to, you need to be very specific about what’s the positive story you want to convey, and you want to create a conversion narrative to combine them because we’re all people of habit.
We don’t just change like that. We need to be persuaded. We need to be sure. And we need to be well armed because if you, all of a sudden are changing your identity and you’re going back to your friends, you’re going back to your family. They’re going to bombard you with questions as to why, because they kind of like the old Norm.
So, so why are you changing what’s up with that? And you need really to make sure that to show how you change and why, and make sure you provide the armor that you need to withstand that, to defend that change really. And it’s a, it’s a hard thing to do. I think actually Malala Yousafzai from Afghanistan, um, gave a speech to the UN a couple of years back.
I think it was five years now where she explained her struggle with providing education for girls in Afghanistan and globally. And she was saying, but everybody who goes to school and pickups a pen and listens to the teacher, they are part of the struggle. And by doing that, she showed that well, Really it’s the rest of you who turned your way away from me?
My road is straight. So you didn’t, it’s not, it’s the same facts, really? So she is, she was, she was demonstrating that people have really the. They have the background to, to, to do, to make this change, to make it real. Um, and that, that was very inspiring. Actually. I tried to make sure that you highlight the correct parts of the past to make it in line with the future you want.
For instance, in Denmark, when it comes to climate change, we have a lot of windmills and Denmark, um, a booming industry of windmills because at one point in the seventies, we have an oil crisis and we were hugely dependent on foreign oil. So we said, we need energy that’s domestic and reliable. We don’t have oil ourselves.
Really? So this is what we’ll do. We’ll do windmills and using that as, as a point in time, you can really say, okay, so what’s the logical next step for us? Well, that would be more energy efficiency. It would be more, even less fossil fuels. It would be all these things. That’s the logical next step. So you need to highlight the correct parts of the past.
Like I said, about Africa, you can see Africa, the continent of Africa in many different ways, but the past you choose determines the future you point towards. And, and that’s what I really tried to, to say that you might say a good speech. Going back to your question from earlier, a good speech is a speech that demonstrates a desirable future and how to attain it. A great speech is a speech that describes a past and you don’t even have to know what future. It will point out because that’s logical, it’s just the next step. It’s just straight. The road doesn’t curve. It’s right there in front of you, you can make up your own mind and create your own pictures.
And I think that’s, that’s very important, um, to think about how, how you can really do that in speeches and in, in, in terms of diversity, that it’s important to demonstrate that diversity has always been here. This is not a new globalized thing. We have always been a global species. We’ve always traveled, always mingled.
Of course, we can do that. Of course, we’re going to do that in the future. In terms of climate change we have for just since the last ice age, we have been, I think, 90% of the time humanity as a species has been animists. So we have always thought about nature as a person, different natural entities, rivers, forests, they have been people to us.
And maybe that’s a past that we need to acknowledge and move past. I’m not saying that we need to change our religion. Just if we look at our past as sustainable then of course our future has to be sustainable as well. And that has to be a red thread running through. And that’s some of the things that I’m trying to do in my speech writing, trying to create a past, highlighting the correct values, a present, putting ourselves in the correct decision, making context and a future that’s desirable.
That’s some of the most important things I worked in.
Norman Chella: [00:16:58] I feel like that is a great framework to work with as a narrative for not only a speech really, but like even a blog post or an essay where you provide clarity from past to present and then allow the person to imagine a future. That is very, shall we say actionable, because it’s just the next step.
Like you mentioned, right? A great speech, it would be when you know what to do next. Like you walk in, you hear it, you know what to do next, do that. And that’s it. That’s all you need to know. And, uh, nothing more. Wow. I’m actually quite blown away. Um, just, just, uh, just an ask on that actually, on that framework. So you said that, and this might be a very complicated question.
So please take your time with this on the note of choosing specific values the past, in order to, shall we say, continue the speech or to initiate the foundation to immerse any listener, to be like, okay, we are talking about this, et cetera, et cetera. How do you pick or decide on the different values of the past or different observations of the past to see if it’s a good fit or not for your speeches?
Because I guess it’s a good transition into how you write your speeches, like in a practical manner. But I would love to see how you do that as someone who can be, might be writing my own speech in the future. I want to know if, whether or not I should be focusing on the right things or the wrong things, but I would love to hear your take.
Rune Kier: [00:18:25] Definitely. It takes a lot of research. That takes a lot of historical research to, to find these frameworks, these values or events that we can phrase in different ways. It’s not that different really from. I don’t know in Malaysia, but in Denmark, when, when you reach the age of 14, you go through a confirmation or what do you call it?
A Christian confirmation usually if you’re a Christian and your father or mother will stand up and give a speech about who you are and why it’s a promising future riding ahead of you. And they will highlight things from your childhood that will lead towards that future. You are. Um, uh, a good worker. We saw that when you were playing with your toys, you are curious when you were playing with the insects in our garden, all that kind of stuff.
And it’s really not that much different from that, only on a, more of a societal basis. So for instance, when I’ve been writing speeches about diversity for instance, Denmark has a proud past that we like to highlight from Danish side about being Vikings some thousand years ago. Now vikings have been on, have been appropriated, cultural appropriation by right wing Nazi white supremacist kind of guys.
So I like to tease them a little. I like to write speeches about diversity today highlighting that, of course we had a Muslim middle Eastern present in Denmark, in the Viking ages. Of course we did. There was huge trades back and forth. They were a part of society just as well as anybody else.
So that’s one place taking this myth that’s really, hard-boiled, it’s really a set in stone that the Vikings were a blonde blue eyed warriors with big beards. No, they weren’t. Kind of cracking that myth a little bit to create a different past and thereby also saying, well, that’s part of Denmark’s cultural heritage as well. And of course we can do that now, too, that being a tolerant society with different kinds of religions, different kind of people.
So, so that’s one way of doing it. Another thing is highlighting both, not going back to, you know, just after the last ice age and saying they were animists, but, but maybe, maybe cracking a little bit inside it, inside some of the myths anyway,.I have a friend who’s called Rune as well. He was working a lot with, with different interpretations of the Lucia parade.
In in Scandinavia, uh, in the beginning of, of December, a lot of people walk around, dressed in white with candles and sing about Santa Lucia, which is a Christian Saint. But this tradition is really rested upon an old animist belief about a horned God, God, that brings about spring. So really cleaning out. So totally different, but highlighting that would be a great way of saying even our Christian monotheistic religion and its traditions has animists beliefs, lying here right now.
So really in terms of messaging, we are already on the tracks leading towards a better relationship with nature. Because it’s already, it’s here. It’s not a radical change that we need. It’s not abrupt. It’s just figuring out the path we’re already on and maybe recognizing the past a little bit better. So that would be one way of doing it.
The big part of it is on the research side. Really, um, trying to highlight what’s what’s important in the past, but you can also do that. You don’t have to be a historian to do it. You can also just create your own stories really. One speech that won two awards, actually it was a speech about climate change, where I invented a fictional story based on reality and numbers and stuff.
But this was a speech given by a Danish minister for climate to a conference of medical professionals. And it was all about this one girl, Sarah, in a future, not so far from here. Sarah is pregnant. And what happens to her in times of climate change, we have rising seas. So many cities will have to be abandoned on the coastline.
We have, um, rising groundwater, which means a lot of places will be more moist. Okay. Moist, we have mosquitoes flying while rapidly spreading malaria, dengue fever, all these kinds of problems. Really health problems and how they affect our lives to create this, this narrative of, uh, of medical professionals and doctors wanting to cure us.
Seeing the symptoms for what they are, symptoms, but also seeing the, the disease, diagnosis as it is climate change. And what do we need to do? We need to address, to cure the symptoms. We need to address the disease, the diagnosis. And we do that by leaving the fossil fuels in the ground by being energy efficient by all of these.
Different aspects of climate action. So, so that, that’s another way of doing it, of creating this narrative that, that leads to a desirable future.
Norman Chella: [00:24:46] Yeah to paint a picture of this desirable future by just creating a character there and just observing them. Right. Like, I, I I’ve, I’ve read the, I’ve read the speech and I’ve seen it, uh, on the video.
So, uh, amazing speech by the way. I really, I really do appreciate it. I’ve been looking through and trying to deconstruct it from my own then just to see how it works, where all the potential pauses it would be. But anyway, I’m going off track there, but, um, for, for an audience of medical professional, uh, I take it that the speech itself was aimed at one informing medical professionals of the state of climate change and how it affects a potential individual that they may treat in the future.
Like the medical professionals may treat in the future and to their duty to respond to that, right? Like what can they do what they have at that moment right now their influence their ability, the respect that comes from their voice to explicitly describe that, uh, in speech, uh, for the entirety of the 10 minutes.
I mean, I have to commend it. It’s amazing that to the point where you’ve won two awards for it, does the Cicero speechwriting awards? Um, congratulations on that. That’s pretty awesome. Um, I would want to ask, maybe touched on it a little bit before, but let’s say on that uh, on that speech in particular, do you come across any barriers or any conflicts when it comes to the sensitivity of things, when you are potentially challenging or questioning the specific audience’s position? Like. Yeah, cause you can always angle the speech in a way where, Hey, you’re a doctor, you should be doing this.
Right. But obviously that will put yourself in a negative light, so that’s wrong. Um, but then you don’t want to seem too passive and your delivery or too passive in the, in the wording itself that you can just pass it off as weak advice. Um, how do you balance being able to deliver a powerful message yet not to the point where you don’t want to push others away from listening to you? Maybe, there is something in your head that comes up for that.
Rune Kier: [00:26:59] Well, there are several aspects to think about. One is of course, if you’re a speech writer and you’re not the speaker, what do they feel comfortable doing?
They are the ones putting the words in their mouth. They are the one who’s going to get booed if that’s what’s going on there. Um, so that’s one aspect, what do they feel comfortable doing? Uh, mostly I think don’t be too sensitive. Really. You can be very direct in language. You have the right buildup to it. Okay.
Um, so I use a lot of, of self deprecating humor, uh, in my speeches too, to make sure that because if you, if you, if you make a powerful ask, like you say that we’ve put potential to push people away and through the speech you have come across as kind of arrogant, better knowing and more holy. That’s going to be bad, but if you.
Make sure that you describe yourself and self deprecating terms and kind of make fun of yourself a little, make sure to highlight that you’ve been wrong at times, then that’s more, then all of a sudden you are humans on equal footing and you can make that ask and people will. But we’ll be able to say, Oh wow, that’s just him.
You know, they’ll be able to brush it off. If they feel it’s too direct or they can take it again, take it in better. So I do think that we owe people to make powerful asks in the end at speeches because we have commanded their attention for 20 minutes and we have. We have brought them along on a story arc and now we have around their feelings hopefully.
What now? I think one of, they need to know that there was an outlet somewhere that they, if they, I want to react to how should they do that? And a lot of speeches shy away from that, maybe because they feel like, like you said, that, that it becomes abrupt and too direct. I think, I think it’s the reverse that if you’ve read, if you haven’t, brought people along with you, then you need to make sure that the message of your speech doesn’t stop with the applause.
Because speeches have transformational powers. Like we talked to before, talked about before. So you need to make sure that when you’re sending an arrow into the world, it just doesn’t stop at the end of the bow. If that analogy works. Because you have the potential to touch people’s lives in a much more profound way and doing that is really an obligation.
When, when you had the podium and you command their attention and you have a unique opportunity because nudging, nudging and behavioral economics is a very prominent, new communication discipline across the world. But giving a speech is notching in its essence, you are delivering a message to a people.
In a crowd. That’s social proof that if you are doing what I said about really creating a narrative, then you have consistency and you have loss aversion. People don’t want to change what they’re doing. That works. They don’t want to be in a minority in the crowd that says we don’t want to do that. You have all these forces at play and you can really reach further.
And I think that’s one of the big mistakes in speech writing today, in public speaking in general is: if you ask, if somebody, if your friend comes back from having given a speech to a big crowd and you say, Hey, how did it go? He said, Oh, it was perfect. The speech had all these rhetoric, rhetorical elements.
It was, how did it go? Oh, well people were applauding and it’s so great. I feel all energized. Yes, but how did it go? It’s not a good speech, is not necessarily just a beautiful speech written on paper, a good speech is not necessarily a good speech, just because people will rise up in applause. A good speech has to reach further.
Um, and I think that’s, that’s people tend to forget that. Um, I guess I read, I wrote a speech that I remembered to the same guy with the medical professionals on startups, and he was giving it as the minister of climate to, uh, the interest, the, the umbrella organization for oil and gas, so fossils fuels, and he was gonna divest from fossil fuels.
So when people didn’t applaud. That was good. The message got across and, and, and painted the picture. Like we wanted it to paint. So, so we really need to move away from, it’s beautiful on paper. It felt good to say, or they, they gave a standing ovation because that’s not the site, that’s not the criteria for success in a speech in my view at least.
Norman Chella: [00:32:23] No, I highly agree. Uh, I’ve always thought about, uh, well, to me at least, uh, speeches as performances on stage to give you the one thing, like that’s the only goal, right? What’s the one thing and to me, the one thing in this case is, uh, defined as, uh, what you take with you or what you carry with you once you exit, um, the, the, the audience, uh, your, your seat, right?
Um, is it an action. Is it a thought, is it a concept that you are now more informed of? Um, and in terms of delivering that, is it a weak thought? Is it a strong one? Is it compelling you to do so? Are you more energized? Are you more empowered, but on the foundational basis of that, it’s more, or like, what will I do now that I’ve heard this speech?
And like you said, um, applauses are not a reflection of whether or not a speech just delivered. Well, do you have to define that? Right? You have to define what is meant to be delivered. And how is the supposed response willing to be? I never knew it, the, the one about, uh, that speech about presenting in front of the audience who is related to oil and gas and it just diverting away from it.
I would actually love to be in the audience just to laugh and to, I mean, honestly, to feel provoked about it, of course, but you know, to laugh at the. The shocked response, because I’m sure that shock factor must come into play. When you are writing these speeches for the speakers who will present them on stage, is there a common pattern between, uh, your clients or at least the people who come up to you for speeches do they have some sort of expectation in how his speech would go and you would always fight back against it?
Maybe it’s like what you said. The example of applause equals good. But is there anything else that you can think of that made you think like, no, this is not how a speech is meant to be like, don’t expect a speech to go this way, deliver it in a different manner. I would love to hear your take on that.
Rune Kier: [00:34:29] A lot of people who give speeches are experts in their field.
That’s why they’re invited to give speeches. Um, so a lot of them feel like they need to really inform the audience about their subject matter. And that’s where I often say no, no, that’s not really it. That’s not really it. If you want to do that, write an audit, write a book, provide a paper, something that’s much more, much better done that way.
What you need to do is you need, as soon as you set yourself down, don’t tell them what they need to know, tell them what they can’t live without. The one thing they can’t live without the one thing they should bring with them. And, and to do that, I think I usually do a lot of time distilling.
Uh, taking all their material and distilling it down to a simple idea. That’s also what I do, and I’m a TEDx speaker coach as well here in Denmark. So, so that’s what I do there a lot. They, they might be say having this huge framework of what they want to tell, but really what is the one core idea? Boil it down to almost nothing.
How can we make sure that we build a storyline that affects, that highlights that all the way through? Um, I went to a conference, at one point, a speech writing conference. And one guy was saying that speeches are like music. And you need to decide what tone you’re speaking yet, because that’s what Maya Angelou I think who said, they’ll forget your words, they’ll forget your numbers, but they won’t forget how you made them feel.
And that’s, that’s really a big part of this, that at this conference they were saying, I write the script, I write the manuscript of the speech and then I go through it writing small smileys in the margin.
This is going to make them feel like that, this is gonna make them feel like that this is gonna make them feel like that. And if it, if they’re too different, then it’s the bad speech because when you are having them all over the place, so you want to make sure that you distill the idea to just, one thing, this very simple idea, and that you see what’s really the feeling surrounding that idea.
What feeling do they need to have to, to grasp this idea and how do you build a story that provides that framework? And then a lot of the time they feel alienated, somewhat from the context, the content.They might be talking about, you know, subject matter as, as experts, but not bringing themselves in.
So I usually say to people, if you want somebody, you want to persuade somebody that this idea is right, you need to tell them how you came to that conclusion. You need to take them by the hand and bring them along on your journey of persuasion. So how did you discover this to be true? And that really often brings about some, some very interesting stories and very interesting speeches because people want to want to know, uh, they don’t want to be persuaded by somebody who knew it all along, was born with some kind of superior knowledge.
They want to be persuaded by somebody who’s just like them, but who learned and adapted, announced sharing and bring them along. And so that’s, that’s very much how I do it. I also use a lot of metaphors and framing and that kind of stuff, trying to, to bring that along.
So at times I try to interview the speaker in terms of personal narratives and stories from the past. And I find one that’s really not necessarily the same thing, but work as a metaphor for that. That’s how I articulate your person, you yourself as an individual, your humanity and your audience, and tie that together with your point.
But it’s a lot of hard work.
Norman Chella: [00:39:02] Of course writing a speech that can be as captivating as this, right? With pre interviews, trying to tap into the most deepest and most personal narratives. Going through a structure of, I’ve got to this conclusion, this is how I went there. I’d like to bring you here. This is the takeaway.
Right. I’d say pretty much like the main core, um, pieces, uh, of a great speech. Uh, but I guess we can get a little bit biased if we are subject experts. Like we just throw like 10,000 words worth of information, thinking that it’s good enough for the audience, or we believe that just talking about the conclusion itself or the main point, and then just repeating it 15 times may be enough as a speech, but we, we can’t as audience as the audience, we must be guided.
And I think, you know, trying to craft that is probably a skill that you’d like to teach to more people? Now, Rune, we are coming up on time, but I do have a few segments I would love to hear your take on them. Uh, one is called mementos. Do you have a memento that represents who you are?
Rune Kier: [00:40:20] Um, a memento that reflects who I am. I’m not sure I do.
I have, I have many mementos from, from different stages of, of my life. You might say I’m representing different, I was talking earlier about Denmark being a Viking country. I have a Shield and a sword and I have a sword and they’re hanging on my, my wall.
Describing me in terms of a heritage that I identify with, uh. The shield is decorated with the tree of life. So it’s not a necessarily a ha uh, I’ll hit you on the head or wartime thing, it’s more decorative and more life inspiring, but that, that, that would be one thing I would highlight as a memento.
Norman Chella: [00:41:23] I love that your memento is a shield on the wall. That’s amazing.
It’s a great representation of your heritage. Of course. And I have to see it sometime, but anyway, uh, and the next, the next segment is called walkaway wisdom. Uh, so say we walk away from this conversation right now. And I meet someone new. I become friends with them and in the course of time, we become closer and I become vulnerable.
And I share with them, my life, part of my, part of that life is our conversation right now. Is there a piece of wisdom that I can share with them that represents who you are?
Rune Kier: [00:42:02] So you have to tell them who I am.
Norman Chella: [00:42:06] I would like to tell them a piece of wisdom. But that is the wisdom that represents you so that you’re not part of the conversation.
Like I meet up with them, but yeah.
Rune Kier: [00:42:19] In a, in just completely shortened down, I think a person’s identity is reflected in a story and you can change that story. That would be my, just in a simple statement, my wisdom.
Norman Chella: [00:42:36] Awesome. I would love to have that on a billboard somewhere to make sure that everyone’s story is deeply connected to their identity and they can change it over time, creating the tracks, going from one narrative to another, a more positive one, a more desirable one and a last question.
And this is totally off the cuff, but is there a dream speech you’d like to write in the future? Like any topic.
Rune Kier: [00:43:01] We have had a lot of and a lot of good speech writers, a lot of good speakers on the climate change field. Greta Thunberg right now. I would love to write the next speech for the next Greta Thunberg.
That would be awesome to, to go against the stream, swim against the stream that somebody who has the, is not afraid to speak intelligently and who’s not afraid to be angry when it’s needed. I would love to write that speech.
Norman Chella: [00:43:37] Of course, emotion that is sharpened and pointed in a certain direction can be powerful and Greta Thunberg is a huge example, a great example, because we had seen her speech on there and it has made a lot of impact all around the world.
A lot of people who are sharing with that. So if. Oh, well, I will be looking forward to when you have that speech out there. Cause I would love to see it perform. Rune, thank you so much. If we want to contact you, if we want to reach out to you for anything, speech writing related or anything on your background, et cetera, where can we find you and how do we reach out?
Rune Kier: [00:44:12] I’m on LinkedIn, I’m on Twitter and I think those are actually the best places. Rune Kier Nielsen on LinkedIn. @runekier on Twitter and reach out. Yeah, definitely send me a message there and I’ll, um, I always respond.
Norman Chella: [00:44:30] Awesome. And of course, links to both of Rune’s social media, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and your website, of course will be in the show notes to this episode.
Rune, thank you so much. And I will chat with you soon.
And that is it, my chat with Rune Kier award-winning speech writer and cultural anthropologist. We went through a wide variety of topics from the makings or the influence of storytelling and speeches, the medium to its effects on essentially identity on how it can influence movements to appear globally and it’s affects on a major scale on a global scale and on a national scale as well.
Rune shared his thoughts, especially from all the speeches that he’s written and his experience and trying to craft the perfect speech to get you to think about the one thing before you walk away from hearing one.
So what is the one thing that you would take away from this episode? Is it the realization that your narrative can be changed from here on? Is it the ability to notice that your story doesn’t have to be static? It can be connected to identity. It can be connected to much more, many more factors, but a simple understanding and a simple step forward is key to moving towards a more desirable future.
So I hope you’ll be listening to a lot more speeches with the intent of moving towards a desirable future of your choosing, because Rune is on a mission to do just that. Stay warm, stay lovely, keep listening. And I will see you in the next episode, your foolish friend Norm.
Thank you for listening to the show. Antifool is hosted, produced and edited by me. Norman Chella, you can find out more about the show at thatsthenorm.com/Antifool. It’s where I host all my other podcasts shows and more. The music and sound effects come from zapsplat.com.
If you have any questionsl, recommendations for guests and more hit me up on Twitter @normanchella or on LinkedIn as well. There is only one of me in the world. I’m sure you can find me there. I love connecting with people and having warm, meaningful conversations. Don’t be foolish. Alright. Cheers.