I began my “Creating Colorful Connections” workshop at the Toastmasters Joint District 59/95 Conference in Athens, Greece, by explaining that an artist connects with colors. After a quick presentation of my theory of the seven rainbow colors a speaker uses, I showed a short clip of a speech called Press the Button by Ricardo Cabete to illustrate what I meant. Ricardo was the winner of the 2017 Division 59 International Speech Contest with this speech he performed in Winterthur, Switzerland. In my opinion, Ricardo is an artist who masterfully creates colorful conections with his audience. In my workshop, I showed only the first 75 seconds of Press the Button and then asked the audience to comment on the colors Ricardo used to connect. Review the colors on my Creating colourful connections handout May 2018 and then take the test yourself.
You can watch the full speech below. However, there is a long period of silence at the start of the video – the speech actually starts at 1′ 24″ with Ricardo’s first gesture.
Here’s what you should see:
Ricardo opens with a clear movement of his body when he falls to his knees. (1:24) This is Orange.
He then says, “When I was four years old, my Dad told me to call the elevator..” (1:33). Using the past signals a story to the audience. Stories are the source of Red Emotions. The use of “Dad” adds to the Red emotion as family members and lovers always evoke Red. Notice that Ricardo continues to use Orange body language.
Then he yells, “Elevator!” which gets an immdiate response of laughter and Yellow joy from the audience. The use of Orange vocal variety and yellow humor show that two different colors can be created at the same time. And Ricardo follows this with enough silence to connect. Silent pauses are Purple and necessary after laughter. (1:39)
Then he says, “Elevator” again with Orange body lanuguage and vocal variety and this gets another laugh of Yellow joy. (1:54) Ricardo makes every word count in his opening. Even when he says the elevator took them all the way to “the seventh floor”, the choice of seven is Indigo depth as seven is a symbolic number in our western culture. It may only be subliminal, but there is deep power in the number seven. (1:57)
After addressing the audience and contest master, Ricardo continues with the question, “When you want something, do you do something or do you talk about it?” A you-focused question like this one is always Green and a good techinque as it engages the audience to reflect on themselves. Ricardo then orchestrates the show of hands by saying, “Raise your hands if you want peace on earth.” (2:15) This adds Purple as the speech is now “in the moment” as Ricardo interacts with his live audience by having them make a gesture. And finally the idea of peace on earth adds Indigo depth. We hear that Ricardo is going to talk about something deep in his speech. So far, in the first 51 seconds, Ricardo has used Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Indigo, and Purple. The only color in the rainbow he has not used is Blue. Apart from his accent and name, we know nothing about the speaker or his Blue vision about the world yet.
Ricardo then pauses and asks his main question, “What button do we have to press to get peace on our planet?” (2:28) The silence and the imagination used here are powerfully Purple. Imagination gives us new possibilities, new images, and here Ricardo combines the elevator button and peace and to create the image of “a button for peace”. Wow. As someone who grew up during the Cold War when nuclear war was real threat, I have heard about a button for war, but never a button for peace. Thus, Ricardo’s imagination speaks to our souls by proposing his “button for peace.”
Ricardo next moves to another part of the stage and says, “Two months ago, London was attacked. A terrorist drove a car…” (2:37) The past again sets up a Red emotion and the words “attacked” and “terrorist” sets off alarm bells of fear – a strong Red emotion – in the minds of his audience. Notice also how the energy of the speech has changed from the opening scene. Ricardo expertly controls the Orange energy he uses in this speech and exploits a range of gestures and voice.
To conclude, in just over a minute Ricardo creates powerful examples of all the colors except for Blue Vision. These colors help a speaker connect, and Ricardo definitely did connect. I suggest you watch the rest of the speech and admire Ricardo’s mastery of colorful connections, but I urge you to watch and rewatch the first minute as it is art.