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It starts with a story…

This message works well for so many reasons, but one of the primary reasons is that it opens with a story. The story is a little more than two minutes long, and it continues to be referenced throughout the video.

What does the story do?

It connects Schwarzenegger with his audience through authenticity, humility, and vulnerability. It humanizes Schwarzenegger. Gives his audience a reason to like him. Primes them for his message.

It also provides grounding for the rest of the message. It’s the foundation upon which everything Schwarzenegger says is built. It introduces us to the primary characters of the talk – Schwarzenegger, his father, and Yuri Petrovich Vlasov. It establishes his respect and appreciation for his intended audience.

It’s a specific, tangible example that is brought back again and again, making the talk sound rounded, complex, and complete rather than a simple, connected series of ideas.

Schwarzenegger delivers it beautifully. There are moments, like the lifting of the teacup, that are deeply human and gentle. He expresses anger and outrage, but it is measured and controlled. He speaks of personal sadness, but it’s not self-serving but rather delivered with poignancy and purpose. His acknowledgment of the insurrection at the US Capitol is humbling and strategic. The video footage, integrated throughout the message, is well-placed and well-chosen.

But it’s the story that makes it all work. It’s the story that engages the audience. Keeps the audience watching and listening. It’s the story that transforms this message. It’s not from Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Governor of California and star of the silver screen – but from Arnold Schwarzenegger, longtime friend and admirer of the  Russian people.

It’s incredibly well done. I hope it makes a difference.