Why George Takei is a Powerful Public Speaker
Whether it’s on Star Trek or as a social activist, George Takei certainly knows how to engage an audience.
Between his stint as Sulu on Star Trek and his super popular Facebook page, it’s no secret that George Takei knows how to captivate an audience. But Takei is more than just an on-screen presence, he’s also a powerful speaker, confronting human rights issues with a unique combination of humor and gravitas.
With his wide range of expertise and professional experience, not to mention the deep voice with which we’ve all become so familiar, Takei is easily one of the world’s most powerful public speakers. Here are a few tips distilled from his public speaking style.
The Voice of a Generation
While he’s still best known for his role on Star Trek, George Takei has worn a number of hats over the course of his widely varied career. Many people are familiar with Takei’s acting career, but few are aware of his deep interest in politics. Most notably, Takei appeared as an alternate delegate at the Democratic National Convention, and even came in close second in his bid for a seat on the Los Angeles City Council. His opponent’s biggest complaint? That his distinct and powerful speaking voice gave him an unfair advantage.
Even in writing, Takei’s unmistakable voice comes across loud and clear. As a result, the actor has co-authored a science fiction novel, published an autobiography and penned several recent volumes including Oh Myyy! (There Goes the Internet). So, what can you take away from Takei’s charm?
Obviously, you can’t develop Takei’s distinctly booming voice overnight, but you can practice projecting your voice in performance and conversational settings to appear more confident and authoritative. Ultimately, developing a recognizable speaking tone and style will make your public speaking brand stand out among the competition.
Hidden Silver Linings and Effective Messaging Across All Media
Unofficially known as the King of Facebook, Takei also boasts an impressive (and extensive) social media presence. On his incredibly active page, he’s as likely to post hilarious memes as he is to comment on topical political issues. Undoubtedly, his deft understanding of social media contributes to his continued popularity. Don’t believe us? Ask any of his nearly 10 million Facebook fans. Social media has become an important avenue of contact for all public speakers today and an understanding of messaging through images has propelled Takei further than he might have gone otherwise. From videos of cute puppies to powerful speeches about American civil rights, Takei knows how best to engage his audience.
As always, Takei has found ways to use his fame for good. One of Takei’s most influential projects aims to address human rights issues by working to repair Japanese-American relations. Even in reflecting on negative experiences, such as the internment he experienced as a child, Takei finds a silver lining. He allows his audience to understand how even the tragedies in our lives have the power to shape us for the better.
Another great example of Takei’s talent for positive framing lies in his famous “It’s Okay to Be Takei” initiative, which turns the ordinarily heavy topic of LGBTQ rights into a light-hearted and funny PR campaign. By speaking to the positive rather than the negative, Takei encourages his listeners to open themselves up to his message—this creates a lasting impact on his immediate audience as well as the thousands of viewers to whom his speaking engagements can be broadcast. Takei’s talent for finding the positive angle on any topic is a reliable tactic that can be used in all sorts of public speaking scenarios.
Takei is a great speaker precisely because he conveys compassion and confidence in everything he does, and because he is a master of messaging through speech, words, and images. Every aspiring public speaker can learn something from George Takei.