What Matthew McConaughey wants to Teach you about Speeches

10X Business Letter
San Diego, Ca

Dear 10X Business Builder,

We always tell graduates of our public speaking class, “Influencing from the front”, that they will never be able to watch a presentation the same again. I equate it to learning how a magic tragic works — you look from an ‘insider’s’ perspective.

The Oscars is the Holy Grail for speeches. Both good and bad.

I will always remember the 2014 Oscars because Roberto was on them like white on rice. (Shhh… don’t tell anyone — he has a reputation to live up to) He claims his wife made him watch them, but I know he was secretly hoping to get a glimpse of the Biebster in the audience…

All kidding aside, there are some great lessons to learn from the acceptance speeches that night.

I asked Roberto which ones he thought were the best and he said, Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey (side note: he actually said, “Jay Leno and Matthew McClay!” — gosh, it NEVER gets old)

I asked some of my other friends and those two names came up each time. So, I Googled their speeches and took a gander.

After watching them, it was obvious why both of their speeches were so compelling.  For sake of time, I just chose one to review.

So, let’s take a look at Mr. McConaughey’s speech and see what we can learn:

Matthew McConaughey accepts the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role award for 'Dallas Buyers Club' onstage during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on March 2, 2014, in Hollywood, Calif. | Getty Images

Matthew McConaughey accepts the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role award for ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ onstage during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on March 2, 2014, in Hollywood, Calif. | Getty Images

Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey

First off, let’s be honest, Matthew McConaughey has a great stage presence, as he should, he’s a professional actor. Quite frankly, it should be an embarrassment to the trade for any of these ‘pros’ to give a bad speech — it’s basically what they do for a living.

Besides having extreme confidence and charisma, structurally, Matthew McConaughey’s speech employed a structure/influence tactic that we have been teaching for years… AND YOU SHOULD USE IT TOO.

Influenceology’s presentation framework is: Opening, Preframes, Body, Pre-close, Close

It was a textbook version of “The Power of Three” body and he even used pre frames.

He opened with the obligatory “dear academy… blah blah blah”

He then used a content pre frame stating that:

  1. He needs someone to look up to
  2. Something to look forward to
  3. Someone to chase.

Then he proceeded to build the Body of his speech around those 3 chunks.  Each chunk he states his claim and then backs it with an explanation/illustration and/or story.

Chunk 1: He needs someone to look up to. Illustration: He referred to God. Used a famous quote.

Chunk 2: Something to look forward to Illustration: He explained that was his family.  Told story about father. Thanked mother. Thanked wife/kids.

Chunk 3: Someone to chase Illustration: A hero to try and be like (who was him in ten years). Told story about conversation he had with an “important person”.

Then he summarized (Pre-close) and Closed.

His close used the power of 3 as well: To all of that, he says “Amen,”  ”Alright, Alright, Alright” and “Keep on Livin”.

The total speech, which I agree, was fantastic was only 3:50.  Do you think this could be used in an impromptu situation or maybe a toast?

Notice how when he was talking about his father, he used his body to illustrate his story.  When telling a story, you want to do everything you can to help the audience paint their own vidid picture — to make them feel like they are there.

10K take away

Also, re-watch when he is telling the story about becoming his own hero, HE PLAYED BOTH ROLES.  He had a conversation with himself.  That is a “ninja influence strategy” that we call “quotes”.  You quote another person and have that “difficult” conversation with yourself — knowing that the audience will automatically go internal and have that conversation too.  This could be used to ‘wound’ your audience without breaking rapport.  You aren’t speaking to them directly, but you are indirectly.

For example, if I want to use the “quotes” tactic to get people to take their health more serious:

“Then one day Roberto came to me and asked, ‘how are you doing with your health?’”, I said, “i’m doing pretty good, I’m working on it”  then Roberto said, “Jeff, what do you mean you’re working on it?… you’ve been saying that for 2 years now.  You’re 65 lbs over weight, you’re no longer overweight, you’re morbidly obese!… You have high blood pressure and your diet is STILL unhealthy.”  I sat there for a few moments and realized he was right, I had been lying to myself….telling myself, “it’s not that bad”, “I’ll fix it tomorrow”, “diets don’t work for me”…

Anyone who is sitting in the audience that is anywhere remotely in that situation will go internal and start to play the role of me. (heck even some people that aren’t overweight will question if they are).

Super, super powerful strategy and Matthew McConaughey employed it perfectly.

Next time you have have to create a presentation fast, consider the power of 3.

Loving Living Giving Large,





Jeff Paro
EditorThe 10X Business Letter

P.S. – If you would like to learn more about the Power of 3 and crafting engaging, persuasive and impactful speeches, check out our online module, Presentation Structures HERE!


  1. jody serra on March 6, 2014 at 4:31 am

    Right on! Dallas was a great movie too. I thought John Travolta gave the worst presentation, he seemed unprepared, anxious, nervous, mumbling and maybe overmedicated! And it wasn’t even a speech, so he knew EXACTLY what he had to present. Talk bout what NOT to do!!
    I hope Roberto got to see The Beibs!

    • Jeff Paro on March 6, 2014 at 7:42 am

      Yup! I recently watch Dallas BC and it was fantastic, I couldn’t get over how skinny he made himself!!

  2. Jim on March 6, 2014 at 7:36 am

    Wow, what a great example to see all the elements of a speech come together and flow. Short, precise and to the point.. i was right there with him… excellent! Thanks guys keep up the good work!

  3. John D on March 6, 2014 at 7:55 am

    Great theatre, but it seems to me that Matt has to get to your seminar in Las Vegas to learn more about how to stand still! He was swaying so much that I almost became dizzy.

    Yes the body of his speech was correct, but his body language spoke louder than words.

    • Jeff Paro on March 6, 2014 at 8:00 am

      That’s a good point! He didn’t even go outside the podium and it distracted you that much, imagine what an audience is thinking when people do the nervous side to side with NO podium. have a great day John!

  4. Mary Nevarez on March 7, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    Thanks Jeff, for taking the time to write this. I saw the speech live and I loved it. And Yes I love the Oscars (I am aloud since I’m a woman and I work in the industry, I don’t know about Roberto’s excuses). I think the whole speech was great and to me his body language was correct, telling me the story as he lived it. But that’s just me, who am I to say anything, since I have no experience with body language and stories. ( being sarcastic here)…hahahahaha…have a great day!! And thanks again for the review. Truly appreciate it.

  5. Steve Hougard on March 13, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    Jeff- Thank you for the great breakdown of the speech and powerful
    reminders to follow the simple structure. I really liked the “Ninja” quotes
    analysis. You guys are awesome and IFF has had a Huge impact on me.

    • Jeff Paro on March 13, 2014 at 7:04 pm

      You’re welcome buddy! Thanks for the nice feedback. Hope all is well with you…

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