Within the last 10 years, J.J. Abrams has made an impact in film and television. His work ranges from “Felicity” to “Lost”, from Star Trek to Star Wars. Abrams understands how to compose a compelling story, and how to make the message last over time. On top of being a notable filmmaker, he is also an inspiring speaker.
Based on this year’s commencement speech that he delivered at Sarah Lawrence College, Abrams is filled in wisdom gained from personal experiences and chance encounters. He deliberately organizes his content to create moments of humor and warmth.
What would J.J. Abrams’ presentation persona be? Based on this speech, I would score him as a Creator, where he scores high in two of the four quadrants which include Exploration, Sharing, Response and Durability.
Here’s my break down:
The Creator scores in the mid- to low range in this quadrant, not out of laziness or haste, but because they can be a bit over-confident. Why worry about putting in extra time for research and design when you know you’re going to rock your presentation? In this speech, Abrams gets a little sidetracked and sometimes interrupts the flow of his content with a joke or story. With some finessing, his speech would be more impactful.
This is a quadrant where Abrams excels. He is a naturally gifted speaker who has a talent for comedic timing and pulling the heartstrings. In front of an audience, the Creator is inspiring and entertaining. They entrance the audience with their every word and movement, giving them a high score in this quadrant.
As far as incorporating the audience goes, Abrams does not engage with them much. While he does pause for laughter, there is not any real participation. This quadrant is where the Creator needs to step it up and plan for a question and answer session, or an activity during the Exploration phase. This addition could help better address the audience’s wants and needs.
This is another high score for the Creator because they focus on the long-term message that bring about long-term change. Abrams’ speech is filled with motivational quotes that can be pulled out and applied to several areas of life. He also calls on his audience to be open to serendipity, to react to problems and come up with solutions, and to believe in the power of possibility.
“There’s a power in possibility that not only fuels my interest and excitement in film, in storytelling, but also in life. When I was a college student I would wander the streets of Manhattan, sundown… when you would see the warm lights inside apartments and it would just dazzle me, the idea that behind every window was a life. And how there are infinite ways those lives might intersect, my even intersect with my own.”
J.J. Abrams is an insightful, humble and enthusiastic presenter, which makes his an original Creator.
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