The Power of Parables in Public Speaking

The Power of Parables in Public Speaking

The Power of Parables in Public Speaking

One of the many things that public speakers can learn from religious leaders is the power of a good parable. Lately, I like to start my management talks with a story about my personal hero, Hungarian-born obstetrician, Ignaz Semmelweis.

Semmelweis discovered a powerful weapon against childbed fever – washing your hands with chlorine lime solution – but failed to popularize the method, largely due to the resistance of the medical establishment and his own hubris. This story has a series of lessons to teach to modern managers, on the power of experimentation, communication and, last but not least, standardization. When I started the talk at the latest #Bitspiration conference with the story about Semmelweis, the majority of the people in the audience were head deep in their laptops and phones. When I finished, everybody was ready for what was coming next.

That’s the power of a good parable.

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