40 powerful speeches from inspirational women that changed the world & learnings to evoke the changes you want to see In the new book, What She Said: The Art of Inspiring Action Through Speech (Wiley $29.95), communication expert and author Monica Lunin has curated and analysed 40 of the greatest speeches made by a diverse group of strong and empowering women throughout history. These inspiring and powerful speeches changed minds, communities and the world, and teach us valuable lessons in the art of persuasion and creating our own positive change.
From Queen Elizabeth I to Maya Angelou, Greta Thunberg, Julia Gillard, and Michelle Obama, Lunin examines 40 masterful speeches and explores not only what was said but also how the speech worked and why it was effective. Across 10 chapters, each representing a different theme"from inspiration to activism to storytelling"What She Said shows how you too can harness and leverage the power of the spoken word. Readers learn how to:
• Inspire, move, and persuade an audience
• Understand and empathise with your colleagues
• Effectively argue a position
• Open hearts and minds
• Share your thoughts and insights
An insightful exploration of female wit and persuasion, What She Said is a must-read for anyone looking for practical and relevant lessons on oratorical leadership.
About the Author
Sydney-based Monica Lunin is a communications expert, speaker and writer. She is the co-owner of MOJOLOGIC, a consultancy that specialises in developing the skills of communication, influence and leadership. Her fascination with communication can be traced back to school and university when she was an avid debater and public speaker. Her academic pursuits in political science and international relations gave way to a career in business – and the power of persuasion has always permeated her view of the world.
What She Said
Question: What originally inspired the idea of What She Said?
Monica Lunin: I have been fascinated by speakers and speeches for years, but it was not until quite recently that it occurred to me that the famous speeches that come up again and again are all speeches delivered by men. I was no different to anybody else in that I would list people like Winston Churchill, JFK and Martin Luther King Jr - who are all responsible for amazing moments of oratory. But where were the voices of women? It turns out that when I started to look they were not at all difficult to find.
Women have the same powers of communication that men do and they do not need to be fixed, but they do need to be listened to. I wrote this book to celebrate the words of women and provide a broad range of inspirational women and speeches that deliver so many valuable lessons to women and girls.
Question: What did you learn, about yourself, whilst writing What She Said?
Monica Lunin: I learned that, in many ways, I had been living under a rock. I had been deluding myself in my assumption that we live in a post-feminist world. I believed my teachers and my parents when they taught me that I could do whatever I wanted in life and I operated accordingly. Turns out gender equality has not actually arrived – as I assumed it would by now.
Interestingly, this did not give rise to anger and frustration. Instead, I managed to maintain a spirit of wonder. Like an explorer I went out in search of powerful female speakers and I took great pleasure in analysing each speech and extracting the lessons I thought would help anyone looking to develop their own communication confidence.
Question: What's the main message you hope readers take from What She Said?
Monica Lunin: I hope that some of these speeches sink into the collective consciousness. A lofty goal, I know, but wouldn't it be great if some power quotes from women were uttered alongside "I have a dream", "we will take them on the beaches" and "ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country."
Perhaps we will just as easily reach for a quote from Michelle Obama; "when they go low, we go high" or Thatcher's "you turn if you want to the lady is not for turning" or Malala's "one girl among many".
Question: Can you share some tips with us, featured in the book?
Monica Lunin: There are so many tips in the book – there are 120 in total – 3 from each of the 40 speeches that make up the book.
However, there are a few meta tips that I would mention. Firstly, the best speeches have a clear sense of purpose, the speaker knows what they are trying to achieve and the impact they want to have. Secondly, great speakers can connect with the audience and get them to trust what they are saying is true and genuine. And thirdly, you will find that you are more effective in your power to persuade if you can create emotional resonance - find ways for audience to fee something.
Question: What research did you do, prior to writing What She Said?
Monica Lunin: I reviewed hundreds of speeches refine the collection down to 40 remarkable speeches organised into 10 different themes of persuasion. Additional research needed to be done to thoroughly understand the historical context of the speech - what was happening in the room and in society – to properly understand and measure the true impact of each speech. I also delved into the biographical detail of each of the women featured in the book - ensuring diversity in background, age, ethnicity and ideology.
Question: What advice do you have for aspiring writers or artists?
Monica Lunin: It might sound cliché, but I am drawn to the advice that you should write the book only you can write. This could be expanded - the song, the performance, the painting the sculpture that only you can create. If it is to be created by you has to convey an contain a part of you. If ever you feel that you are being derivative then step back, walk away, do something else for a while. Come back ready to put yourself back in your work and begin again.
Question: What or who inspired your love of reading/writing?
Monica Lunin: I had some good teachers and a long commute to get to high school so each day I could choose to read or stare out the window - thus were the choices in the pre smart phone age.
In terms of persuasion and the articulation of an argument, that credit has to go to my father who insisted that if we wanted something or wished to make a point we had to put forward a coherent argument. It was not acceptable to make an assertion at the kitchen table without reasoning through your proposition. In the real world I put those skills into practice in debating and public speaking then later in corporate presentations and now as consultant and facilitator in leadership communication.
Question: What's next, for you?
Monica Lunin: I'm not sure if there is another book on the horizon - having said that there could be a volume 2 and 3 of What She Said. In the meantime I will continue to work with individuals and organisations through my consulting firm mojologic and my speaking engagements, to develop skills in communication, leadership and persuasion.
Interview by Gwen van Montfort