Response to Commencement Speech by Billy Joel

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Response to Commencement Speech by Billy Joel

By | November 2005
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Billy Joel is a very well known musician who is respected and acknowledged all around the world. I think he was an appropriate speaker for a college graduation. He used one question at the beginning of the speech that caught the audience's curiosity, "Why do musicians give so much time to charitable causes?" He then branched out from there to discuss more important issues. This question helped him create an invitational environment. I think asking a question also helped him show a sense of organization and importance to the issue of why he was there. From the commencement of the speech, Billy Joel set a personable and comfortable tone. He spoke to the graduates on a level of equality using phrases like "maybe it's because we know…", and "Our experience is not so different from those who march to the beat of a different drummer". He used phrases like "common emotion" and referred to all musicians as "like family". He was able to relate to the graduates and made it easy for the graduates to relate to him. In stating questions, like "When are you going to get a real job?" and "When are you going to get serious about life?", Billy Joel used invitational means to relate to the graduates. These are questions that musicians are often faced with. Later in the speech, he used the technique of mentioning famous names to catch the attention of the audience. I also noticed that he chose musicians from different types of music and different times in history. He went from Beethoven to Bob Marley. Because of this, everyone was able to relate. I believe this use of invitational perspective allowed Billy Joel to deliver a really inspiring speech. Since Billy Joel has been so successful, his past experiences could have been a way of learning and encouragement for the graduates. He referred back to when he was nineteen and explained how his career began. He spoke about his "little jobs" and how he was barely making enough money to pay his bills. This was another way the audience...
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