Lessons from Emma Watson’s he-for-she speech at the UN.

What a memorable speech!

Emma Watson was clearly nervous, fragile, slightly scared even. The acclaimed ‘Harry-Potter-Girl’, as she calls herself, isn’t free from stage fright. So why should you be? But what a performance! She struck her audience and the whole world with her speech.


First of all, she had a great, well prepared content with a clear message : “Men need to be involved; feminism is too much identified with man-hating and that needs to change.”

She repeats her message in different ways throughout her speech. She keeps the argumentation simple but elaborately colours it with a spectrum of “story-handles”: examples, personal stories, a touch of humour, a quote from Hilary Clinton, a few shocking numbers, concrete language and daring statements anchor her message in the audience’s mind… She keeps each story-handle really short; one sentence or even less. But she uses plenty.

Emma Watson makes it a personal story, she makes it hers. She isn’t afraid to show her emotions and in this way she pulls the audience into her story. Nor does she hide her uncertainty. Yet her determination is almost tangible. Authenticity is what works best, and Emma Watson does it brilliantly. She is a seasoned actor, but in her presentation, she doesn’t act. She is herself.

To top it all, she ends with a great and simple conclusion; an implicit but undeniable call-to-action :

“If not me, who?
If not now, when?”

Emma is a great example to all presenters:
don’t play an act, be yourself!
Authenticity is immensely powerful!

Managers can learn from the Harry-Potter-girl. Next time you prepare an important presentation, watch this video again and let it inspire you…