Learning from Lou Gehrig: Surprise Your Audience

Learning from Lou Gehrig: Surprise Your Audience

| Tina Bakehouse

The year is 1939. On July 4th, baseball legend Lou Gehrig steps forward in Yankee Stadium and shares one of the most memorable speeches in baseball history.

Gehrig said, “Fans, for the past two weeks, you have been reading about a bad break I got. Yet today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”

Known as the “Iron Horse” due to his durability, Gehrig held back tears while addressing the crowd, informing them of his forced retirement due to the diagnosis of the fatal disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Gehrig surprised his audience, stating he’s the “luckiest man on the face of the earth.” How can he be lucky when diagnosed ALS?

The audience listened to his speech because of his honesty, humility, and hook.

As speakers, it’s important to consider different approaches to connect with your audience.

Gehrig shared the rawness and reality of leaving the sport he loved, using a line that the audience remembered.

Each time you speak, use an attention-getter that hooks the audience. One strategy is to follow in Gehrig’s footsteps by surprising the audience.

Once you begin to speak, your audience has two options: tune into your message or tune you out.

Just this week, I taught three Upward Bound communication classes with three different hooks.

Showing props to illustrate a story
Requesting students to share personal examples
Asking a rhetorical question

Whether it’s presenting a shocking fact, unique story, or surprising demonstration, my audience became more engaged in the content of my message.

Consider starting your speech differently.

Hook us in an uncommon way.

Surprise us with a new insight.

Pique our curiosity, making us want more.

By trying something new, your audience will listen and thank you.

Ready to craft a keynote or share your story? Reach out to me for a discovery call, so we can connect to uplevel your speaker style. If you want help telling you or your organization’s story or communicate with ease, I can help you in a 3, 6, or 12-month signature communication coaching program. For more information, check out my website: TinaBakehouse.com or follow me on LinkedIn or my Tina B. LLC Facebook page and Youtube Channel: Effective Communication with Tina B.