I can be a real cynic when it comes to politics, but watching President Obama's speech in Selma moved me to tears. The speech acknowledged the progress that we have made as a nation, honored the sacrifices in spilled blood and lives cut short that got us to where we are today, and inspired us all to continue the long march towards a more equal and just society.
Why did this speech move me so much? I tapped into my understanding of rhetoric and storytelling structures to understand how the speech works.
Obama's speech uses what I describe in my storytelling workshops as an Opportunity-Obstacle-Choice (OOC) structure. Using this OOC structure can be an effective way to invite participation and engagement. This OOC structure contrasts with the Problem-Solution (PS) storytelling structure, which can be good at conveying information in a logical manner, but does not always work so effectively to move people to action.