“The devil’s in the details” is an apt truth for getting things done right. For another enduring truth, that is how to lift up an audience and hold them in your hands, "God is in the details." Rock star and long time global campaigner to end world poverty, Bono has demonstrated that axiom at least four times.
The specific detail proves the generalization, not the reverse, as many experts forget. Emotional details move an audience to a general conclusion, yet too often, a “smart” speaker who knows too much “(Curse of Knowledge”) begins with generalities. That three minute window is gone.
People have tuned out.
Gone on a mental vacation.
So speak English like it tastes good – with details, comparisons and "what if" scenarios people can picture themselves in.
See these vivid primers for making you message memorable. Four opportunities to see how Bono pulls people out of their seats and into action. From the moment he started speaking, Bono used the vivid details, momentum-building speech structure – and the passion to involve others in “our” cause.
Again, from his first sentence, this time at a University of Pennsylvania commencement speech, his approach is customized-to-this-audience, affable-but-I-am-serious-about-this: "My name is Bono and I am a rock star. [...] I never went to college, I've slept in some strange places, but the library wasn't one of them. I studied rock and roll and I grew up in Dublin in the '70s, music was an alarm bell for me, it woke me up to the world. I was 17 when I first saw The Clash, and it just sounded like revolution ..." Just like the earlier speech at Harvard.
Then there was his "sermon" at the National Prayer Breakfast last month. He warms them up with self-deprecating yet relevent humor: "If you're wondering what I'm doing here, at a prayer breakfast, well, so am I. I'm certainly not here as a man of the cloth, unless that cloth is leather. It's certainly not because I'm a rock star. Which leaves one possible explanation: I'm here because I've got a messianic complex ..." He makes you curious, which must preceed caring: "Please join me in praying that I don't say something we'll all regret."
His key word made “cool:” accountability.
See how Bono’s powerful message might become even more palpable by moving the specific details up to the front, changing this
God has a special place for the poor. The poor are where God lives. God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is where the opportunity is lost and lives are shattered. God is with the mother who has infected her child with the virus that will take both their lives. God is in the rubble and the cries we hear during wartime. God, my friends, is with the poor, and God is with us if we are with them.
God is with the mother who has infected her child with the virus that will take both their lives. God is in the rubble and the cries we hear during wartime. God has a special place for the poor. The poor are where God lives. God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is where the opportunity is lost and lives are shattered. God, my friends, is with the poor, and God is with us if we are with them.
Thank you Brian Bailey, for these and other excerpts …
"'Love thy neighbor' is not a piece of advice, it's a command. And that means that in the global village, we're going to have to start loving a whole lot more people.
This is not a burden, this is an adventure. Don't let anyone tell you it cannot be done. We can be the generation that ends extreme poverty."