Why is speaking an art?

How do innovation and opera go together? And what does this have to do with public speaking?

A few weeks ago I visited an evening lecture on innovation at Munichs University of Applied Sciences. The guest “speakers” were a theatrical team from a successful local opera house. This team was comprised of the managing director, the stage director, three opera singers and a team of 12 musicians with a collected 100 years of playing practice.

As they played their wonderful opera, I didn’t only understand the opera singers for the first time, but I also understood very clearly what made this little opera house so successful as innovators and as artists. With only 12 instruments (instead of a usual minimum of 30) and only three singers, they managed to sing and play a funny, touching and involving story. This opera team was so innovative, because it did seemingly its best, with whatever it had.

In his final words, the opera director addressed the audience and said: “We strive to create beautiful opera with a wealth of limited resources. Our goal is but one thing: to inspire. And just that is what art can and should do.”

When was the last time you heard a speech that gave you goose bumps? With whom did you have a talk lately that helped you really understand and think about something in a way that made you breath up? Those were talks that inspired you. Using our mind as a stage director and our voice as a well tuned instrument touching our audience’s deepest emotions, speaking is an art, because it can and should inspire us. Inspire us to stay happy. Inspire us to keep moving. Inspire us to inspire others.

(Picture above with courtesy of SCE Munich)