Inspire to Action! The Steve Rogers & Tony Stark Way.

Inspire Like Steve Rogers and Tony Stark

Marvel Civil War! The battle lines are drawn and you’ve probably chosen your side.

Captain America (aka Steve Rogers) and Iron Man (aka Tony Stark) are battling it out in cinemas all over the world this very moment.

I’ve caught the movie and it’s freakin’ epic – well-paced storylines, brilliantly executed teases & secret revelations, and swashbuckling action scenes that draw your exclamations, cheers and fistpumps. Go watch it!

Of course, the cracks between the Avengers in the MCU have been evident for a while, centered around our two protagonists. Charisma, Ideals and Presence aside, there’s just some brilliance in how these two speak to their comrades, that’s able to inspire strong characters to take their sides.

To not give away any Civil War spoilers, here are 2 very iconic “speeches” by both Captain America and Iron Man in earlier movies.

Steve Rogers

“Attention all S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, this is Steve Rogers. You’re heard a lot about me over the last few days. Some of you were even ordered to hunt me down. But I think it’s time to tell the truth. S.H.I.E.L.D. is not what we thought it was. It’s been taken over by HYDRA. Alexander Pierce is their leader. The S.T.R.I.K.E. and Insight crew are HYDRA as well. I don’t know how many more, but I know they’re in the building. They could be standing right next to you. They almost have what they want. Absolute control. They shot Nick Fury. And it won’t end there. If you launch those helicarriers today, HYDRA will be able to kill anyone that stands in their way. Unless we stop them. I know I’m asking a lot. But the price of freedom is high. It always has been. And it’s a price I’m willing to pay. And if I’m the only one, then so be it. But I’m willing to bet I’m not.”

– Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Tony Stark

“‘Is it better to be feared or respected?’  I say, is it too much to ask for both? With that in mind I humbly present you the crown jewel of Stark Industries’ Freedom Line. It’s the first missile system to incorporate the latest in proprietary Repulsor Technology. They say that the best weapon is the one that you never have to fire. I respectfully disagree. I prefer the weapon you only have to fire, once! That’s how Dad did it, that’s how America does it, and it’s worked out pretty well so far. Find an excuse to let one of these off the chain, and I personally guarantee you the bad guys won’t even want to come out of their caves. For your consideration…the Jericho.”

– Iron Man

Yes, you probably can’t get that inspirational background music every time you speak, and Tony’s speech is actually a sales pitch.

However, there’s a formula behind both Steve Rogers’ and Tony Stark’s speeches that’s able to inspire their audience to want to jump out of their seats and join their cause right away.

First of all, to inspire, you’ve got to place yourself in a position of leadership.
A position whereby your audience will look up to you and hear what you have to say, and do what you want them to do.

Here’s how:

1 – Inspire by Challenging a Status Quo

Challenge the Norm
Image from Gizmodo

“I think it’s time to tell the truth. S.H.I.E.L.D. is not what we thought it was. It’s been taken over by HYDRA.”

– Steve Rogers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

“‘Is it better to be feared or respected?’  I say, is it too much to ask for both?”

– Tony Stark, Iron Man (2008)

The sure way to get people to take notice of what you have to say, is to shake their normal world.

Want people to take action? You got to build up to the final call. And it starts from shaking them out of their existing comfy positions.

Challenge to solve a current problem.
Challenge to revolutionise outdated practices.
Challenge to disrupt the existing normal.

You want your listeners to look up to you and be thinking
“Tell me. Tell me how I can make my life better.”

The more shocking your challenge, the more your audience will want to hear how you justify your claims.

And of course, you’ve gotta justify it.

 

2 – Inspire by Rallying to a Common Belief

Rally To Your Belief
Image from Gizmodo

“But the price of freedom is high. It always has been. And it’s a price I’m willing to pay. And if I’m the only one, then so be it. But I’m willing to bet I’m not.”

– Steve Rogers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

“That’s how Dad did it, that’s how America does it, and it’s worked out pretty well so far.”

– Tony Stark, Iron Man (2008)

Both Captain America and Iron Man stand for freedom.
It’s their beliefs on how freedom can be achieved that rifted them, and their followers.

Communicating belief builds rapport.
Because belief is a concept that can be so abstract yet so experiential.
It immediately connects yourself as a speaker to your listeners’ previous experiences and moral convictions.

Since ‘Belief’ can be so abstract, it can show up in the Vision you portray, the Values you uphold and the Faith that you have.

While it’s easy to challenge and shake a status quo, shaking someone’s beliefs is far more difficult.

That is why it’s important to understand your audience.
Speak and rally them along a common belief that both you and your audience share.

The stronger the connection, the easier for you to inspire them to take action.

 

3 – Inspire by Empowering the Audience

Empower Your Audience
Image from Gizmodo

“If you launch those helicarriers today, HYDRA will be able to kill anyone that stands in their way. Unless we stop them.”

– Steve Rogers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

“Find an excuse to let one of these off the chain, and I personally guarantee you the bad guys won’t even want to come out of their caves.”

– Tony Stark, Iron Man (2008)

If you want people to take action, you’ve gotta let them know that they have they can do it!

It’s not only that, your listeners got to feel that

  • They can make a difference!
  • You need them in the quest for the common belief!
  • They are not alone!

Give your audience a reason to take action.
Give your audience the responsibility of involvement.
Give your audience the rush in adrenaline with what they can do.

This is empowerment.

And when your audience takes this power that you have just given them, you can be sure that they’re ready to join your side and take action.


As you hit the cinemas to catch Captain America: Civil War (or if you have watched it), just notice how both Captain America and Iron Man use these 3 elements of inspiration consistently throughout the movie.

What status quo is TeamIronMan challenging?
What does TeamCap believe in?
How do both teams empower the Avengers in their team?

Many real world businessmen and politicians employ these techniques in their pitches and rallies too. (Did I just succumb to the fact that Steve & Tony are not real people? Noooo….)

Employ them in your next speech, and you too, can inspire like your favourite superhero!