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This commencement speech nailed it

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in Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

It’s commencement speech season, and the frontrunner for me so far is Dr. Chadwick Boseman addressing Howard University on May 12. View the full video here to see this month’s Best Communicator.

Boseman, who played the leading role in Marvel’s The Black Panther mega-blockbuster, checked off all the boxes when it comes to delivering an exceptional speech.

He was eloquent, passionate and humorous. He connected with the audience by rehashing stories of his time there, including the long climb from his apartment to “The Mecca” or “The Hilltop,” as Howard University is called. He seamlessly uses that anecdote to segue into the struggles his audience overcame—grades, finances, social lives and traumas—to graduate. He even uses the tried-and-true public speaking practice of repetition, saying “You’re here” to hit home the message that the graduates overcame the literal and metaphorical “hill.”

Beyond his oratory skills, his message is what resonated most for me. One of my favorites parts, of many, from the speech: 

“You would rather find purpose than a job or career. Purpose crosses disciplines. Purpose is an essential element of you. It is the reason you are on the planet at this particular time in history. Whatever you choose as a career path, remember the struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose.”

It’s the perfect message to send to college graduates and those of us in the working world. A job is a job, but if you fulfill your purpose—no matter how challenging—you won’t regret it. 

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