When France finished off Croatia to take the 2018 World Cup, it triggered a celebration of epic proportions. I mean like a celebration as if science announced craft beer was heart-healthy.
Every street within 1000 miles of the Eiffel Tower overflowed with boisterous, uproarious celebration. But right before the French team took the pitch, a quieter, but just as powerful moment took place. A moment just now made available to us through the magic of someone's i-phone.
Star midfielder Paul Pogba spoke to his French teammates, delivering a speech packed with emotion that smartly and crisply captured the enormous scale of the moment. I give you first the speech, in text, (slightly edited for brevity). You can watch the full video below.
"Boys I don't want to talk too much.
We all know where we are.
We all know what we want.
We know how far we've come.
We know it in our hearts, in our eyes.
I can see it boys.
We are concentrated.
We cannot forget.
We are 90 minutes away from making history.
I don't know how many matches we have played in our careers.
But this is one match that changes everything--that changes all of history.
There are two teams.
There is one trophy.
For them it's the same.
They want it.
We know, we lost a final (Euro 16).
We know it.
We feel it here (pointing to his heart).
It's still in our heads.
Today, we are not going to let another team take what is ours.
Tonight, I want us to be in the memory of all the French people who are watching us.
Their kids, their grandkids, even their great grandkids.
I want us to go on the pitch as as warriors, as leaders."
Here's why Pogba's speech is so effective.
As a professional speaker, I can tell you that Pogba nailed many of the principles of giving a stirring speech.
He was brief, even stating he'd be so up front. He then ensured commonality of purpose ("We all know what we want. We know how far we've come"). He pinpointed the mission ("90 minutes, one match, We take what's ours").
Most importantly, he painted a clear picture of the gravity of the situation, what was at stake. He personalized it and helped everyone visualize it.
The match wasn't for the men in the room. It was for history. For generations, past and future. Pogba drew on memories of pain to further coalesce and clarify how the outcome must change this time. He identified the enemy, ever so briefly, making it more about what belonged to France than what the enemy might take.
He closed by being very specific on what was required--leadership. A warrior mentality.
After hearing this, how could his teammates be anything other than ready to dig deeper than they ever had before?
You can do the same next time you have to rally the troops.
And notice (from the video) that Pogba did it with a quieter approach, a pent-up level of intensity brimming at the edges but not delivered with over top, fiery oratory. You don't have to scream like Al Pacino in Any Given Sunday to inspire. You can elegantly electrify, bringing the energy in your own deliberate way through each carefully measured word.
If the French star was trying to move a group of grown-ass men to realize the enormity of the moment and to rise to meet it, then any play by play analysis could conclude only one thing.
Pogba hit his gooooooaaaaaaaaaal!