Please or Register to create posts and topics.

Tom Cruise Power speech

We have all met angry people who yell, we have all heard a try hard motivation speech from leaders and bosses.  Even in movies.

How come, Tom Cruise comes off so goddamn motivating in this? Is it his speech? Is it tonality? Is it his star status? When i heard this i was like , oh i owe him an apology too..

Am i alone thinking this was great as hell? But i don't know why.

Are there anyone here who can break this down and explain why it doesn't come off as lame, or over the top.  It's effective judging from youtube comment sectino. So what is it?  How does Tom flip out and keep it motivating without being cheesy or lame?

Matthew Whitewood has reacted to this post.
Matthew Whitewood
Before sharing my thoughts, I'm curious about this:
Quote from legend503 on December 20, 2020, 2:34 pm

Am I alone thinking this was great as hell? But i don't know why.

Anyone who wants to share their thoughts on that speech?

Matthew Whitewood has reacted to this post.
Matthew Whitewood
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

I personally found the speech off-putting due to the following:

  1. Shouting
  2. Too threatening
  3. Angry, too emotional, a bit out of control
  4. Sounds too much about him

I found the elements for a charismatic speech to be missing:

  1. Appeal to a higher ideal and vision
  2. A collaborative frame in the name of team spirit and cohesiveness
  3. Since there is a pandemic going on, he could leverage COVID as the enemy of the team.
  4. Paradoxically, lacks passion for a higher cause even though it was very emotional
  5. A charismatic voice. Shouting causes his voice to be too thin. Lacks a full voice with power and resonance.
    His voice sounds out of control. Pacing and rhythm are important for charisma.

"We are creating thousands of jobs" followed by scolding and shouting doesn't help to entrench this potential meaningful pursuit.

I compare this to Al Pacino's speech to his football team:

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Legend: "We have all met angry people who yell, we have all heard a try hard motivation speech from leaders and bosses. Even in movies."

This seems to be a bit different in that we don't typically regard Tom Cruise as an "angry person".

He's more known for being the high-power, high-warmth movie star who laughs and jokes with people that commend him for doing his own stunts.

It's not very often that he loses his cool like this. It's not very often that he shifts to high-power, low-warmth. So, when he does, we notice. And, sometimes, we even pay attention.

Then, there's also the way you can feel the energy shift in the audio when he starts yelling. Almost as if you can feel the mood in the air surrounding the people who are affected by his low-warmth behavior. That can work as a form of passive social proof that this is serious.

Also, there's the element of context. This is outside of a movie and I think that's a part of what makes this so powerful. A joke was even made about this point in the comments section by someone who acknowledged this:

Legend: "How come, Tom Cruise comes off so goddamn motivating in this? Is it his speech? Is it tonality? Is it his star status?"

Yea, he typically uses the Charmer style of dominance to make friends and reduce enemies like most celebs. But, in this case, he had switched to the Charismatic style of dominance seemingly on the drop of a dime. And, the fact that there was no hesitation—that taking a stand for what he believes in wasn't a premeditated idea he had to mull over for an hour—makes us believe more in what he's willing to stand for.

The speech also focuses less on himself and more on this overarching selfless mission to help keep people alive and employed by following the CDC guidelines. It's implied that if they do so, the movie won't get shut down, people will be safe, and the cast and crew can continue working on the movie to receive their paychecks to feed their family.

If he was yelling about someone stepping on an ant and how we need to preserve the ant population, he wouldn't have come across as charismatic (and might have even been labeled as a nutjob with his fame getting to him).

You'll also notice he uses typical expressions of assertiveness throughout the speech:

Cruise: (minute mark 1:42) "Is it understood?"

Cruise: (minute mark 1:58) "Am I clear? Do you understand what I want?"

Then, he mixes his leader-like assertiveness with his belief in this mission that ties us all together, which is not the movie, but the safety of those around us:

Cruise: (minute mark 2:02) "Do you understand the responsibility that you have?"

All the while—and this is the key—he's using the passionate dominance frame control technique.

So, he's doing a bit of pain/gain framing, where he says that the gain is we get to make sure people are safe and can afford to feed their families and keep their homes. Which, if I'm not mistaken, is an intrinsic motivator. Then, he repeatedly says, "If I see you do it again, you're fired." That would be the pain and it's a threat that's very dominant.

So, when he mixes his high dominance with high emotions while delivering these pain/gain frames, he comes across as less of a bully because people respect his passion.

And, yes, his tonality inflections also often pointed down in combination with the added leverage that comes from his star status. If we look at the stereotype content model, you'll notice that if Tom Cruise was instead some homeless guy named Timothy Cardwell, angrily screaming at people on the street to wear their masks (if he was low-power and low-warmth), hardly anyone would listen and chances are people would simply keep walking by.


All that being said, I definitely agree with Matthew on what Cruise could have done to be an even better leader here.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

@aliscarlett I agree with a lot of what you wrote. You broke it down almost perfectly. Thank you.

I only caught he ended the sentence with a stronger tone

In the first 30 seconds you can hear this.

""making movies right now because of US"
"They believe in us and what we're DOING!"

Is it how you should frame speeches? End on a power tone? I don't even know what it's called.

Also - Could you link something specific regarding the CHARMER/FRIEND type of  dominance? So i can read more about exactly what you mean.

@aliscarlett

Yeah, great analyses here already by Matthew and Ali.

Personally, I find it charismatic, in a way, but would have had the opposite effect on me.

Such as, not willing to apologize, but telling him to fuck off, and not willing to work harder.

But that's because I tend to have a cynical point of view in these situations.
My mindset would go:

Mindset: "Shut the fuck up, playing the "savior job-giver" role, you're the one doing the millions, all the rest of us are just getting salaries (addresses the manipulative side of that speech, pretending everyone's the same), and I can get this job anywhere else (addresses the personal empowerment and the power-differential so that he doesn't have to take that shit). And you have no right to yell at me like that, we're all due basic human dencency, so tone it down and apologize (addresses the "I'm the boss with unlimited power over you" frame, and the over-dominance that spills into lack of respect)

But I can see how it can work with a lot of people.

This is why some people defend the "drill sergeant" dominance style -which Tom Cruis was using-: because it does work with some personalities.

And my personal reaction to it is also why I also add that it's a very limiting style: it doesn't work with everyone . And it most likely wouldn't work if he had pulled that with very high-value folks more around his level, but also with people who demand basic human respect, and with people who are driven to become their own stars of their movies/lives.

WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU

This is why, Legend, I'd personally advise you to start moving more towards the mindset I explained above.

Not the exact same, but a mindset that tells you "this is not cool".

If you don't, you'll easily fall for this type of commander.
And the issue with that, is that you'll never be a commander yourself -even if just a commander of your own life-, and you'll never demand proper behavior because you're more likely to fall for the "commander in chief" frame, where the charismatic/powerful guy who yells can do anything, while you remain passive/apologetic.

P.S.:
Check out this thread for some feedback, Legend.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

I'm checking it now. But "motivating" would have been the last word I would have used. "Tyrannic" is more fitting. But yeah how we perceive it has to do in how we perceive authority in our childhood and after. Also our level of self-esteem as in: "how do I allow others to treat me". This is Abuse with a big A. Check the comments on the video if you want to reinforce this frame.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Thank you John!

That was the icing on the cake, and I added a note and link from PU.

There are many people who are automatically attracted to the drill-sergeant style, yelling and (semi-)abusive.
Part of it is probably a form of Stockolm-syndrome type of attraction, and if we're not aware of it, we will fall for abusive leaders who might provide little value.

So that's an important phenomenon to be aware of.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on February 22, 2021, 3:44 pm

Part of it is probably a form of Stockolm-syndrome type of attraction, and if we're not aware of it, we will fall for abusive leaders who might provide little value.

Yes, and I suspect it comes from a parental style of education. And therefore our minds find it "normal" and has a distorted view of the intention and content of this kind of behaviours.