Alibaba's Jack Ma is a self-proclaimed movie buff. But for him, it's more than just entertainment. Ma gains quality leadership skills from watching films.
At the WSDJLive Conference, Ma briefly explained that he learned how to be an effective public speaker by watching Whitney Houston in The Bodyguard.
"When she sings the songs I look at her, 'wow that's the way you make a speech,'" Ma said. "I never knew how to make a speech because I'm not an actor. But when I saw the movie I said wow, if you sing from your heart, if you sing naturally, if you are yourself, so I realized."
In the final scene of The Bodyguard, Rachel Marron, who was played by Houston, epically belts "I Will Always Love You" while boarding a plane and saying goodbye to Frank. This emotional, heartfelt scene was Houston at her best, as she sang from the soul.
What Ma was saw in this famous scene was a display of true vulnerability, according to Stephanie Silverman, an executive coach specializing in public speaking.
"It's the story of a diva who finds her way through this unexpected relationship and in order to play that part and sing that big song that the whole movie crescendos on, she has to take personal risk and vulnerability to go there and for the audience to feel the change that's occurring within her," Silverman said.
And just as Houston displays vulnerability to connect with her audience, public speakers can leverage that same emotion to reach their audience.
"Nobody wants to listen to a know-it-all tell us things we don't know," Silverman said. "Rather we want to be related to and brought around to a new way of thinking, and that only happens when the person speaking has vulnerability."