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speeches word examples

10 famous speeches in English and what you can learn from them

Speech is an essential element of language, one that we all employ in our daily lives. What about a speech ?

A speech is a formal address, delivered to an audience, that seeks to convince, persuade, inspire or inform. From historic moments to the present day, the English language has given us some extraordinary examples of the spoken word. A powerful tool in the right – or wrong – hands, spoken English can, and has, changed the world.

We’ve chosen ten of the most famous speeches in English. They range from celebrated, world-changing pieces of rhetoric to our personal favourites, but most importantly they still rouse our emotions when we hear them today. We’ve examined each for the tricks of the oratory trade. After each speech you’ll find some bullet points outlining its most distinctive rhetorical features, and why a speech writer would include them.

Remember these celebrated rhetoricians the next time you have to give a speech in public – be this at a wedding, award ceremony or business conference.

Scroll down to the end of this post for our essential tips on crafting speeches.

1. Martin Luther King I Have a Dream 1963

We couldn’t have an article about speeches without mentioning this one. Incredibly famous and iconic, Martin Luther King changed the character of speech making.

I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification – one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.

What makes this a great speech?

– Abstract nouns like “ dream ” are incredibly emotional. Our dreams are an intimate part of our subconscious and express our strongest desires. Dreams belong to the realm of fantasy; of unworldly, soaring experiences. King’s repetition of the simple sentence “I have a dream” evokes a picture in our minds of a world where complete equality and freedom exist.

– It fuses simplicity of language with sincerity : something that all persuasive speeches seek to do!

– Use of tenses: King uses the future tense (“will be able”, “shall be”, “will be made””), which gives his a dream certainty and makes it seem immediate and real.

– Thanks to its highly biblical rhetoric , King’s speech reads like a sermon. The last paragraph we’ve quoted here is packed with biblical language and imagery .

2. King George VI Radio Address 1939

This speech was brought back to life recently thanks to the film, The King’s Speech (2010). While George VI will never go down in history as one of the world’s gifted orators, his speech will certainly be remembered.

In this grave hour, perhaps the most fateful in history, I send to every household of my peoples, both at home and overseas, this message, spoken with the same depth of feeling for each one of you as if I were able to cross your threshold and speak to you myself. For the second time in the lives of most of us, we are at war. Over and over again, we have tried to find a peaceful way out of the differences between ourselves and those who are now our enemies, but it has been in vain.  

– At only 404 words long, the speech is impressively economical with language. Its short length means that every word is significant, and commands its audiences’ attention.

– This is a great example of how speechwriters use superlatives . George VI says that this moment is “the most fateful in history”. Nothing gets peoples’ attention like saying this is the “most important” or “best”.

– “ We ”, “ us ” and “ I ”: This is an extremely personal speech. George VI is using the first person, “I”, to reach out to each person listening to the speech. He also talks in the third person: “we are at war”, to unite British people against the common enemy: “them”, or Germany.

3. Winston Churchill We shall fight on the beaches 1940

Churchill is an icon of great speech making. All his life Churchill struggled with a stutter that caused him difficulty pronouncing the letter “s”. Nevertheless, with pronunciation and rehearsal he became one of the most famous orators in history.

…we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

What makes it a powerful speech?

– Structural repetition of the simple phrase “we shall…”

– Active verbs like “defend” and “fight” are extremely motivational, rousing Churchill’s audience’s spirits.

– Very long sentences build the tension of the speech up to its climax “the rescue and the liberation of the old”, sweeping listeners along. A similar thing happens in musical pieces: the composition weaves a crescendo, which often induces emotion in its audience.

4. Elizabeth I Speech to the Troops 1588

The “Virgin Queen”, Elizabeth I, made this speech at a pivotal moment in English history. It is a remarkable speech in extraordinary circumstances: made by a woman, it deals with issues of gender, sovereignty and nationality.

I am come amongst you, as you see, at this time, not for my recreation and disport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live and die amongst you all; to lay down for my God, and for my kingdom, and my people, my honour and my blood, even in the dust. I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm; to which rather than any dishonour shall grow by me, I myself will take up arms, I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field.

– Elizabeth puts aside differences in social status and says she will “live and die amongst (her troops)”. This gives her speech a very inclusive message .

– She uses antithesis , or contrasting ideas. To offset the problem of her femininity – of being a “weak and feeble woman” – she swiftly emphasises her masculine qualities: that she has the “heart and stomach of a king”.

– Elizabeth takes on the role of a protector : there is much repetition of the pronoun “I”, and “I myself” to show how active she will be during the battle.

5. Chief Joseph Surrender Speech 1877

We’ve included this speech because there is something extremely raw and humbling about Chief Joseph’s surrender. Combining vulnerability with pride, this is an unusual speech and deserves attention.

Tell General Howard I know his heart. What he told me before, I have it in my heart. I am tired of fighting. Our Chiefs are killed; Looking Glass is dead, Ta Hool Hool Shute is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say yes or no. He who led on the young men is dead. It is cold, and we have no blankets; the little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are – perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children, and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my Chiefs! I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever.

What makes this a good speech?

– This speech is a perfect example of a how a non-native speaker can make the English language their own. Chief Joesph’s rhetoric retains the feels and culture of a Native American Indian speaker, and is all the more moving for this.

– Simple, short sentences.

– Declarative sentences such as “I know his heart” and “It is cold” present a listener with hard facts that are difficult to argue against.

6.  Emmeline Pankhurst Freedom or Death 1913

Traditionally silent, women tend to have been left out of rhetoric. All that changed, however, with the advent of feminism. In her struggle for the vote, Pankhurst and her fellow protesters were compelled to find a voice.

You have left it to women in your land, the men of all civilised countries have left it to women, to work out their own salvation. That is the way in which we women of England are doing. Human life for us is sacred, but we say if any life is to be sacrificed it shall be ours; we won’t do it ourselves, but we will put the enemy in the position where they will have to choose between giving us freedom or giving us death.

– Direct acknowledgement of her audience through use of the pronoun you .

– Pankhurst uses stark, irreconcilable contrasts to emphasise the suffragettes’ seriousness. Binary concepts like men/women, salvation/damnation, freedom/imprisonment and life/death play an important role in her speech.

7. John F. Kennedy The Decision to go the Moon 19 61

Great moments require great speeches. The simplicity of Kennedy’s rhetoric preserves a sense of wonder at going beyond human capabilities, at this great event for science and technology.

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

– Simple sentence structures: “We choose to go to the moon” = Subject + Verb + Complement. The grammatical simplicity of the sentence allows an audience to reflect on important concepts, i.e. choice. Repetition emphasises this.

– Kennedy uses demonstrative (or pointing) pronouns e.g. “ this decade”, “ that goal” to create a sense of urgency; to convey how close to success the US is.

8. Shakespeare The Tempest  Act 3 Scene 2 c.1610

Of course, any list of great speeches would be incomplete without a mention of the master of rhetoric, the Bard himself.  If you caught the London Olympic Opening Ceremony you would have noticed that Kenneth Branagh delivered Caliban’s speech, from The Tempest .

Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises, Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not. Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments Will hum about mine ears, and sometime voices That, if I then had waked after long sleep, Will make me sleep again: and then, in dreaming, The clouds methought would open and show riches Ready to drop upon me that, when I waked, I cried to dream again.

– It expresses a wonder and uncertainty of the world, and an inability to comprehend its mystery.

– It is highly alliterative , a rhetorical trick that makes speech memorable and powerful.

– Shakespeare uses onomatopoeia (e.g. “twangling”, “hum”: words whose sound is like they are describing) to make Caliban’s speech evocative.

9.  Shakespeare  Henry V  Act 3 Scene 1, 1598

One of rhetoric’s most primal functions is to transform terrified men into bloodthirsty soldiers. “Once more unto the breach” is a speech that does just that. It is a perfect example of how poetry is an inextricable element of rhetoric.

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; Or close the wall up with our English dead. In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man As modest stillness and humility: But when the blast of war blows in our ears, Then imitate the action of the tiger; Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood, Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage

What makes this such a great rousing battle speech?

-Shakespeare uses some fantastic imagery in King Henry’s speech. His “dear friends”, or soldiers, are tigers, commanded to block their enemies’ way with their dead comrades. This appeals to ideals of masculinity that men should be fierce and strong.

– Orders and imperative verbs give the speaker authority.

– Repetition of key phrases and units of sound: the vowel sounds in the repeated phrase “once more” are echoed by the words “or” and “our”. This makes it an extraordinarily powerful piece of rhetoric to hear spoken.

10. William Lyon Phelps The Pleasure of Books 1933

This speech was read a year before Nazis began their systematic destruction of books that didn’t match Nazi ideals. As major advocates of books at English Trackers, we’re naturally inclined to love speeches about their importance.

A borrowed book is like a guest in the house; it must be treated with punctiliousness, with a certain considerate formality. You must see that it sustains no damage; it must not suffer while under your roof. You cannot leave it carelessly, you cannot mark it, you cannot turn down the pages, you cannot use it familiarly. And then, some day, although this is seldom done, you really ought to return it.

– Phelps personifies books in this speech; that is, he gives books human characteristics – like the capacity to “suffer”. Comparing a book to a guest creates novelty , which engages and holds the interest of a listener.

– This speech uses both modal verbs (“must”, “ought”) and prohibitions (“you cannot”) to demonstrate both proper and improper behaviour.

Some tips to bear in mind when writing a speech

– KISS : the golden rule of Keep It Short and Simple really does apply. Keep your sentences short, your grammar simple. Not only is this more powerful than long rambling prose, but you’re more likely hold your audience’s attention – and be able to actually remember what you’re trying to say!

– Rule of 3 : another golden rule. The human brain responds magically to things that come in threes. Whether it’s a list of adjectives, a joke, or your main points, it’s most effective if you keep it to this structure.

– Imagery : Metaphors, similes and description will help an audience to understand you, and keep them entertained.

– Pronouns : Use “we” to create a sense of unity, “them” for a common enemy, “you” if you’re reaching out to your audience, and “I” / “me” if you want to take control.

– Poetry : Repetition, rhyme and alliteration are sound effects, used by poets and orators alike. They make a speech much more memorable. Remember to also structure pauses and parentheses into a speech. This will vary the flow of sound, helping you to hold your audience’s attention.

– Jokes : Humour is powerful. Use it to perk up a sleepy audience, as well as a rhetorical tool. Laughter is based on people having common, shared assumptions – and can therefore be used to persuade.

– Key words : “Every”, “improved”, “natural”, “pure”, “tested’ and “recommended” will, according to some surveys, press the right buttons and get a positive response from your listeners.

About the Author: This post comes to you from guest blogger, Natalie. Currently blogging, editing and based in London, Natalie previously worked with the English Trackers team.

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Speech examples

Farewell, welcome, engagement, introduction, persuasive, maid of honor, thank you, icebreaker, and more!

By:  Susan Dugdale  | Last modified: 08-25-2023

There are speech examples of many types on my site. If you have a speech to write and don't know where to begin, you're most welcome to use any of them to kick start your own creative process into action.

They're listed in alphabetical order: from birthday speeches through to welcome speeches.

Happy reading, Susan

Click the links to find the speech examples you want to read. 

  • Birthday speeches : 50th, 40th and 18th
  • Christmas speeches : 3 examples for an office party

Demonstration speech sample

  • Engagement party speeches : 5 sample toasts
  • Eulogy samples : 70+ funeral speeches
  • Farewell speeches : from a colleague leaving and to a colleague leaving
  • Golden wedding speech
  • Icebreaker speech for Toastmasters
  • Introduction speeches : for a guest speaker, and for oneself
  • Maid of honor speeches : 3 examples, including one for a sister

One minute speeches

  • Persuasive speech sample
  • Retirement speech sample
  • Student Council : examples of President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer campaign speeches 
  • Thank you : an award acceptance speech example 
  • Tribute : a commemorative speech example
  • Welcome speech examples : to an event, to a church, to a family

Birthday speeches 

There are three birthday speeches for you to read.

50th birthday speech sample

A collage of 3 birthday images celebrating 40th, 50th and 18th birthdays.

The first example is a  50th birthday speech  for a man. It is written as if from a close male friend. You could call it a loving roast!

Here's the opening sentences:

"Good evening all. It's great to have you here. Most of you know my feeling on birthdays. Generally I say, what's the big deal?

By the  time you've had over thirty, there should be a cease and desist order against them.

They're not unusual. Everybody has them and at the same rate as everybody else - one a  year. They happen whether you want them to or not.

Believe me, I know. I've had quite a few  and looking around this room I can see it's the same for others as well.

So why are we here?" 

Read more:  50th birthday speech

40th birthday speech example

The second example is a  40 birthday speech  for a daughter and the speech is written as if it comes from her mother.

These are the opening sentences:

"On behalf of the Martin family and Camille in particular, it is my pleasure to welcome you here tonight to her 40th birthday celebration.

We are delighted to have you with us and especial thanks to those who have traveled from afar.

Before we eat I am going to say a few words about my beautiful daughter. I've promised her two things. I'll keep it short and I won't embarrass her by telling tales she'd rather I forgot."

Read more: 40th birthday speech example

18th birthday speech sample

The third example is an  18th birthday speech of thanks . The speaker is thanking their family and friends for coming along to their 18th birthday celebration. It's a mix of humor and sincerity.

The speech begins like this:

"This is a moment I’ve waited a long time for. 18! I am an adult. Yep, I’ve come of age. Hard to believe, isn’t?

(Dad, you were not supposed to agree so quickly.)

I can now vote, drive a car, marry, buy alcohol, a lottery ticket and tobacco, get a tattoo, or join the military without having to ask permission. Let me see. Which one will I do first?

Perhaps a more honest question is, which of those will I continue to do without fear of getting caught?

And while you think about that, I’d like to say thank you."

Read more: 18th birthday speech

Christmas speech - an office party example

Image: illustration of a man standing in his office. Text: Joe Brown's Christmas speech for the office party.

This example is a mix of notes, which the speaker Joe Brown will expand as he delivers the speech, and full text which he'll say as written. The speech follows the step by step process of an outline.

Here's an extract from the concluding sentences:

"It's been a tough year but I'm proud of what we accomplished together. Some businesses haven't been able to do what we have done.

Thanks to you we'll be going into the new year with strength, to build on our accomplishments and to consolidate our position.

Let's celebrate that. It's a gift to be grateful for."

To read more: Christmas office party speech example

2 short company Christmas party speech samples

Image: Colorful Christmas background with label. Text: 2 company Christmas party speeches

You have the full text of these two short speeches to read. Both come in at between 2-3 minutes when delivered.

Here's an excerpt from one of them:

"OK, let's be honest; who thought we'd be gathered together for a heigh-ho-merry-old-time back in August? Remember? How can we possibly forget?!

  • Martin and Co, one of our more significant customers, downsized their regular order by more than 50% - a move that caught us on the hop and had has us scrambling for a bit.
  • There was a little more of that, when an opportunistic phishing expedition by some very clever clowns threatened to hold us to ransom."

For more please go to: 2 short company Christmas party speech samples .

This demonstration speech covers the process involved in learning to how to leave an effective voice mail message.

Image: wall paper background saying blah, blah, blah. Text: A sample demonstration speech, plus video. How to leave a good voice mail message.

I've entered the text of the whole speech into a step by step outline template so that you can see the structure. Then I made a video (audio + slides) too, so you can hear as well as read it if you want to.

Here's the opening:

"How many important voice mail messages have you bumbled through after the beep? Does recalling them make you feel a little uncomfortable?

Yep, me too. I’ve blundered. Mumbled and muttered. If it were possible, I would have gladly saved the person I was calling the hassle of deleting those messages myself. Before they were heard."

Read more: sample demonstration speech

Engagement party speeches - 5 sample toasts

Images: drawing of two young friends with quirky hats. Text:"Thankfully Bill changed his mind about girls being, as he put it aged 12, really dumb." 5 sample engagement toasts.

Here are five short (and sweet) engagement party speeches. They've been written from the point of view of a mother, a father, a friend, the groom and the bride-to-be.

The extract is the opening from the speech a mother might give:

"Mary welcome to the family!

While we're all delighted that Bill has shown such good sense in choosing you I've got an extra reason to celebrate. Finally I get a daughter! Thankfully Bill changed his mind about girls being, as he put it aged about 12, 'really dumb'."

To see all five speeches: engagement party toasts 

Eulogy samples

Image: a spray of blue/violet forget-me-nots. Text: 70 + eulogy examples

We are extraordinarily blessed to be able offer over 70 eulogies for folk to read.  These have been sent in by people from all over the world who intimately understand the need to see what others have written before beginning the task of writing a eulogy for a loved one of their own.

You'll find funeral speeches for mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, wives, husbands, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, work colleagues...

Visit: eulogy examples

Two farewell speech examples

An example goodbye speech to colleagues .

Image: illustration of a woman waving goodbye to a departing train. Text: Words for when it's time to say goodbye.

This example farewell speech is written from the point of view of a person leaving their workplace: a goodbye speech to colleagues.  It's upbeat and follows the suggested content  guidelines you'll find when you visit the page. (There's a recording of it too.)

Here's part of the opening:

"Do you realize we've been sharing each other's company for 2920 days? 

Eight years of fun times, challenging times and everything in between.

And today I am officially leaving you!"

Go to:  farewell speech example : a goodbye speech to colleagues.

A sample farewell speech for a colleague leaving

Writing a farewell speech for a colleague who is leaving can be challenging. What do you put in? What do you leave out?

My example is the result of following a start to finish 7 step process for a speech to say goodbye to a co-worker.

Here's the introductory sentences:

"Who else has been marking off the days until Sam finally leaves us? It’s sad but from next Monday there’ll be a huge hole in our team. She’ll be basking in the sun on a beach in Bali and we’ll be wondering how we’re going to manage without her..."

To read more of the speech and to find out about the process of writing it click the link: farewell speech to a colleague leaving .

speeches word examples

Golden wedding - 50th anniversary speech

Image: a mass of white field daisies

What do white daisies, finding a stray coin down the back of the sofa, and motorbikes have in common?

Yes, they're all part of a golden wedding speech.

I've written this speech example as if it's being delivered by a man called Mark, to his much-loved wife of 50 years, Sarah.

Here's an excerpt from the beginning:

"After 50 years Sarah knows I am not good at romance or speaking about love. Those kind of words always got tangled on my tongue and caught between my teeth. They never did come out right, not as I intended anyway. Even when I proposed, it came out all wrong."

For more: 50th wedding anniversary speech example

An icebreaker speech for Toastmasters example

Image: paper boat sailing through ice floe Text: Master your Toastmaster Icebreaker speech. 5 ways to choose a topic & prepare your speech.

Ahh, the icebreaker speech! It's much loved by club members worldwide and whichever of the eleven Toastmaster pathways you choose when you join, this is always the first assignment.  

My icebreaker example, 'Stepping up to speak out', was written to illustrate an easily followed, step by step, process for getting from topic choice to speech preparation and delivery.

The beginning of the speech goes like this:

"Would you be surprised to know I nearly didn't make it here tonight?

I wonder how many of you experienced a moment or two of panic before giving your icebreaker speech. Just nod to let me know. { pause - look around }

Thank you, that's very reassuring. You've survived, so probably I shall too.

I am here wobbling rather nervously in front of you for three main reasons which I'll share. 

Here's the first."

For more: Icebreaker speech for Toastmasters

Samples of introduction speeches

Image: line drawing of a woman with a red  "hello my name is ?" sticker.

There two introduction speech examples for you to look at.

One is an example self introduction speech - the kind of brief 1-2 minute speech you are often expected to make to introduce yourself to a group of people you're meeting for the first time at some sort of workshop or similar event.

Here's the opening of that speech:

"Hi everybody!

I'm Masie Smith, Senior Marketing Executive, from Watts and Frederick in Smalltown, Bigstate.

It's great to be finally here. I've been dreaming about the opportunity and possibilities of working collectively and directly with each other for a long time now. Jane and Sam can attest to that. There's been hours put in balancing the schedules to make it happen.

Webinars and email are fine but nothing beats face to face ."

For more: self-introduction speech example

The second is an introduction speech in which you introduce a guest- speaker to an audience. 

Here are the closing sentences. What's preceded them has carefully primed the audience to give the guest a warm welcome, by piling one piece of compelling biographical information on top of another.

"How she got from awkward tongue tied silence to an eloquent front line spokesperson is the story she will share with us tonight.

Ladies, I give you ... Rose Stephenson on speaking to lead."

For more: guest-speaker introduction example

Maid of Honor speech examples 

There are three Maid of Honor (MOH) speeches for you to read: two from the point of view of a best friend, and one from the point of view of a sister.

You'll find step by step guidelines with examples to illustrate each part of the process of preparing a speech for yourself. Follow them carefully and you'll finish with a Maid of Honor speech you'll be proud to deliver.

Two Maid of Honor speech examples

Collage of 5 pictures of women and their best female friends

The first example is heartfelt, a speech written from the point of view of a close childhood friend. She's shared the best and most difficult of times with the bride.

Here are its opening sentences:

"Some one very wise, and obviously someone who knew Sonja and Mark said, “Don't marry a person you can live with. Marry somebody you can't live without."

That's what we're witnessing today – the union of two people who belong together. A perfect match!"

The second example is more light-hearted. It's a combination of sentiment and fun, and is written from the point of view of a trusted and loved friend. 

Here's the beginning:

"Once in a while, in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale.

That's what we're celebrating today: a story of true love, a dream come true.

My name is Felicity and it's my privilege to be Sarah’s Maid of Honor.

Sarah is my Best Friend. I know it's a cliché. However clichés become clichés for a very good reason, because they're true. She's my BFF: Best Friend Forever.

For her I would wear the gaudiest, frothiest taffeta maid of honor dress possible and still smile. Fortunately I don't have to."

For more see: Maid of Honor speech examples

A Maid of Honor speech for a sister example

Image: Bridal party. Text: Catch flowers. Eat cake. Hear me give a maid of honor speech for my sister.

The opening segment of the speech is below. It recalls a loved childhood game which unites the past and present while drawing listeners in.   

"What a day, Mary!

Remember when we were kids, how we dressed up in Mom’s old party dresses? Put a white table cloth on our heads and marched around, singing, “Here comes the bride, fair fat and wide.”?

My name is Jennifer, and this beautiful woman, this stunning bride – the antithesis of “fair fat and wide” is my beloved little sister.

We laughed ourselves silly over that game. Now here we are 25 years later.

Not laughing. Mary’s not wearing a table cloth. And this time it’s for real.

I am honored to be asked to speak. Thank you."

For more go to: maid of honor speech for a sister

As part of a page offering 150 one minute speech topics I wrote and then recorded three example speeches to demonstrate what you could do with a one minute speech.

One of those speeches was on the topic: 'What my work clothes say about me'.

Image: man in business dress adjusting tie. Text: What my work clothes say about me. 150 one minute speech topics.

Here is the opening two paragraphs of that speech:

"Clothes make the man.  Yes, we judge each other on what we wear. And have done forever. 

For better, or for worse,  in the western working world, nothing says dependable and professional as eloquently as a  tailored grey business suit, a crisp white shirt and a pair of good shoes."

To read, and hear, all three speeches please visit: one minute speech topics *

* There is also a free downloadable printable one minute speech planner which will help  you consolidate the process of putting a speech together with minimum fuss.

A persuasive speech example

Here's a persuasive speech example using Monroe's Motivated Sequence - a five step structural pattern frequently used by professional persuaders: politicians and marketers. 

The topic is somber: suicide and its impact on those left behind. The purpose of the speech is to persuade listeners to learn more about the special needs of family members, friends and colleagues in the immediate aftermath of a suicide.

speeches word examples

Here are the opening sentences:

"One fine Spring day I biked home from school and found a policemen guarding our backdoor. Through it came sounds I'll never forget; my quiet, well-mannered Mother screaming.  He said, "You can't go in." 

I kicked him in the shins and did.  It was the 15th of September, three days before my thirteenth  birthday and my father was dead.  Killed by his own hand. Suicide."

Read more: persuasive speech example

A sample retirement speech 

Image: back ground - definition of leave on parchment paper with multiple synonyms. Text in foreground: Leave.

This retirement speech is an example of one that could be given by a teacher who's signing off after many years service in the same school.

Here's a taste of it:

"I've been asked what I'm going to do now. I'm going to do a lot of things and very few of them conform to the notion of retirement as a time of waiting for the inevitable end. Helen Hayes, put it this way: 'People who refuse to rest honorably on their laurels when they reach “retirement” age seem very admirable to me."

Read the whole speech: retirement speech sample

Sample student council speeches 

This page has everything you need to help you prepare a winning student council speech: comprehensive guidelines, a template, example speeches and a printable speech planner and outline document.

Image: row of multi-colored hands reaching upwards. Text above hands: YES.

The speaker in my first example is running for president. 

Here's the opening to her speech:

"I’ve got a question for you. I’m not asking you to shout your answer out, or raise your hand. All I’m asking is that you give it room in your mind. Let it sit for a bit, and have a think about it.

My question is – do you believe like I do, that all of us deserve the opportunity to make the best of ourselves? Not second best, 3 rd , or even, highly commended. The BEST."

Get the guidelines, the template, and read the whole speech: sample Student Council speech for President

And now I've added three more sample Student Council speeches:

  • Student Council speech for Vice President
  • Student Council speech for Secretary
  • Student Council speech for Treasurer

Thank you speech sample

Image: Thank you repeated in many different fonts on parchment background scattered with stylized marigolds.

The example thank you speech expresses gratitude for being the recipient of a community service award. 

"Who's considered the incredible power of thank you?  Those two words express gratitude, humility, understanding, as well as acknowledgement.

I am here with you: my family, many of my friends and colleagues, because I need to say all of that, and then some more."

You'll find the full speech, and guidelines covering how to write a speech of thanks here: thank you speech example

An example tribute speech

A tribute speech may also be a commemorative speech. That is a speech celebrating, praising or paying tribute to the memory of: a person, a group, an institution, a thing, an event or even an idea. Or it could be a eulogy or funeral speech; a speech celebrating a person's life.

This example tribute speech was written in memory of my mother, Iris.

Image:old-fashioned purple flag iris blooms. Text: A tribute speech for my mother, Iris.

"My Mother's name marked her out as the goddess of the rainbow, a messenger for the ancient Olympian gods and carrier of faith, hope and wisdom.

She was Iris. And although the meaning of her name is rich in imagery and history that wasn't why her parent's called her that. Instead it was something much closer to home.

After her birth my grandmother saw iris flowering out her bedroom window. She was named for the regal beauty of their dark purple flowers."

Read more: sample tribute speech

Example welcome speeches

There are three welcome speech examples for you to read: welcome to an event, welcome to a church, and welcome to the family. All three come with guidelines to help you prepare a good welcome speech of your own.

speeches word examples

This example  is welcoming listeners to an event.  As part of that, the special guests are mentioned, as is, an outline of what's going to happen.

This is the opening:

"Sue-Ellen Thomas, Jim Smith, Jane Brown and all of our guests, welcome.

My name is April Molloy, and it's my privilege and pleasure on behalf of Parents United to welcome you here today.

We are delighted to have you with us to participate and share in our 5th annual Children's Day. Thank you for coming. That many of you have traveled long distances to be here serves as a reminder to us all just how important our work is."

You can read the rest here:  sample welcome speech .

A church welcome speech example

This sample speech welcomes visitors to the congregation. Along with the speech you'll also find links to additional resources to assist.

Here's the opening passage:

"I want to take a moment to extend a very warm welcome to everyone who's visiting us for the first time this morning. Whether you're just having a look, or are searching out for a place to worship, we're delighted to have you here.

To give you some idea of what we're all about, I'll quickly sketch some of our foundational beliefs."

Read more: church welcome speech example

Example welcome to the family speech

This is a short, and sweet, speech welcoming a bride or groom-to-be into a family at an event arranged for that purpose. The template it uses is entirely flexible.

Mary  {Replace the name Mary with the name of the person you are welcoming}  - welcome to the family!

Family, tribe, clan, kin, group - call it what you will: it's us - all of us!

We're mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, cousins, 3rd cousins, even 53rd cousins, old and young, generations of us, linked together through shared DNA and history.

Look around. The faces smiling back at you are now your people too."

See more: example welcome to the family speech

speeches word examples

In addition to providing speech examples, I also custom write speeches. 

If you have a speech to give for a special occasion that's coming up you may like to find out more, especially if you find writing stressful. ☺ Go to: speech writer for hire

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13 Speeches in English for Listening and Speaking Practice

Giving a speech in front of a whole room of people can be pretty scary. Especially if you are giving a speech in English as a non-native speaker.

But you can learn from the best.

You can watch videos of famous, effective speeches in English to learn how to do it the right way .

In this post we will share 13 amazing speeches in English that you can use to become a more confident speaker yourself.

1. Speech on Kindness by a 10-year-old Girl

2. “the effects of lying” by georgia haukom, 3. “education for all” by cameron allen, 4. gender equality speech by emma watson, 5. “rocky balboa speech” by sylvester stallone, 6. 2008 presidential acceptance speech by president barack obama, 7. “this is water” speech by david foster wallace, 8. “the great dictator speech” by charlie chaplin, 9. 2018 golden globe speech by oprah winfrey, 10. “i have a dream” speech by martin luther king jr., 11. “the gettysburg address” by abraham lincoln, 12. “britain does owe reparations” by shashi tharoor, 13. mark antony’s speech by william shakespeare, and one more thing....

Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)

Level: Beginner

Do you think people should be kind to one another? This speaker sure does. And she knows how to convince you of the same.

This is a perfect informative speech for beginner English learners . The speaker is a child who is able to speak fluently but with simple words . She also uses her gestures and facial expressions to communicate her emotions with the audience.

This speech is perfect for listening practice . However, learners should be aware that her pauses are not perfect. Learners should focus more on her words and the content of the speech than her intonation or pacing while practicing.

Even though the speaker is a student in the fourth grade, her speech is one of the most interactive speeches I have seen. She starts with a game and is able to make her main point through the game itself.

English learners will enjoy her speech especially because the vocabulary she uses is simple and can be easily learned. But it does not feel like a beginner wrote this speech because she uses her words so well.

If you want to learn the art of making basic arguments while speaking, you should watch this speech. She is able to convince her audience because she is able to connect with them through games and stories.

She also uses scientific studies to back up (support) her main points.

Level: Intermediate

This is a short and simple speech about why everyone in the world should get an education. Because the speaker is a child, the speech does not have complex words or sentence structures.

This is also a classic example of an informative speech. The speaker presents the main argument and the facts simply and clearly . She also gives the basic definitions of important terms in the speech itself.

This speech is perfect for English listening and speaking practice because it is so short but also full of useful information. It is also a good example of the standard American English accent .

Emma Watson is a famous English actress who is best known for her role in the “Harry Potter” movie series as Hermione. She is also a United Nations Women Goodwill Ambassador .

In this speech, she is trying to both inform and convince the audience  of why men should support feminism. Feminism is a movement that asks for equal rights and opportunities for women.

She mixes her formal tone with personal stories to do this. The speech is also a good example of British English .

This is a speech taken from the movie “Rocky Balboa.”  In this scene, Rocky, played by Sylvester Stallone, is talking to his son.

His speech is a classic example of a motivational speech . In these kinds of speeches, a person tries to inspire someone else, especially when the listener feels hopeless or is full of shame.

The basic message of the speech is that no matter how strong a person is, he or she will always face difficulties. And even though the message does not sound positive, Stallone’s way of speaking still makes it inspiring.

Stallone is able to communicate his message with love, even though he is criticizing his son and telling him difficult facts about the world. Generally, this is called “tough love” in English.

Listeners should also notice how he uses gestures to make his point .

Compare this speech with the Oprah Winfrey and Martin Luther King speeches (later in this list). All of them inspire their audiences but have really different tones. Stallone’s speech is the most informal and personal while Martin Luther King’s speech is the most formal and written for a large audience. All these speeches are in American English.

Barack Obama was the first African American elected as president by U.S. citizens. He gave this speech after he won the election.

English learners can discover a lot from his speech. Obama talks about the most important issues Americans were facing back then and are still important to them. He also uses a kind of American English that is easy to understand . His speech is mainly about the values that he and Americans stand for.

Obama’s accent is a mixture of standard American English and the way of speaking commonly popular in African American communities. He is an expert in using pauses so that the audience can follow his words without breaking his rhythm.

As the speech is longer than most others on this list, you may want to listen to it in parts rather than beginning-to-end.

Level: Advanced

This speech is a perfect example of the mixture of casual and formal English . David Foster Wallace was an award-winning American writer who wrote about the culture of the U.S.

In this speech, he talks about the value of an education in liberal arts (general academic subjects, as opposed to technical/professional training). He believes that this kind of education teaches you how to think and think about others.

This is a good example of American English. Be aware that in some parts of the speech he also uses swear words (rude/offensive words) to create an emotional impact on the audience. This is very close to how people generally communicate with one another in daily life.

So, this speech is better for learning casual English even though it is a speech given at a university.

Level: Intermediate to Advanced

Charlie Chaplin is generally known for his gestures and facial expressions. In this movie, he proves that he can use speech as well to inspire and entertain the viewers.

The movie “The Great Dictator” is a satire about the rise of authoritarian governments in Europe. The word “authoritarian” means a person or a government that believes in controlling others and does not believe in freedom.

In this speech, Charlie Chaplin copies Adolf Hitler , but his message is exactly the opposite of Hitler’s ideas.

The interesting thing about the speech is how Chaplin uses short sentences for the most impact . There is also a lot of repetition that makes it easy for the audience to follow the speech.

Chaplin uses the tone, rhythm and pitch of his voice to make the speech interesting instead of using varied words. Chaplin’s speech can be categorized as inspirational or motivational. It does not use formal words but neither is it casual or informal.

Oprah Winfrey is an American talk show host and actor who is known around the world for her interviews. In the 2018 Golden Globe Awards, she was awarded the Cecil B. deMille award .

Her speech at the award show is about many different topics related to American society. She is the first African American woman to be awarded the prize . She talks about how watching an African American celebrity get another big entertainment award many years ago changed her life.

She also talks about sexual assault and the search for justice in American society. The MeToo movement is the main subject of the speech.

Even though the speech is in formal English , Oprah is able to make it emotional and personal .

Learners should focus on how she uses chunking in her sentences . Chunking is the technique of grouping words (called chunks) in a sentence with a slight pause between every chunk. It also helps with intonation and the rhythm of speaking.

This is one of the most well-known speeches of the last century . Martin Luther King Jr. was a leader of the civil rights movement in the U.S. The movement demanded that people of different races should be treated equally. This speech summarized the main vision of the movement using metaphors and repetition .

The speech begins by referring to the “Emancipation Proclamation.”  The proclamation (official announcement) was an order by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 that freed many slaves in the U.S. Martin Luther King talks about this because most of the slaves were African Americans and it was their first step towards freedom.

Advanced learners can learn about the history and cultural conflicts of America through this speech. It is also a perfect example of the use of formal English to convince other people .

Some of the words used in this speech are no longer common in American English. “Negro” is often regarded as an insult and learners should use words like “African American” instead.

This speech, delivered by the 16th president of the U.S. (Abraham Lincoln, whom we just discussed above) is considered to be one of the best speeches in English .

Lincoln delivered this in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania where many soldiers had died fighting a civil war. It was fought between Americans who wanted to ban slavery and people who did not. Lincoln was there to dedicate a graveyard to the soldiers.

In this speech, Lincoln reminds the people why this was an important war. He mentions that the U.S. was created on the values of liberty and equality. And this civil war was a test of whether a nation based on these values can last for long or not.

He honors the soldiers by saying that they have already “consecrated” the land for the people of America. (“To consecrate” means to make something sacred or holy.) He reminds the audience that they have to make sure that the idea of America as a nation of freedom continues so that the efforts of these soldiers are not wasted.

This is a very short speech . Learners can easily listen to it multiple times in a practice session. But only advanced learners can understand it since it has several difficult words in it. For instance, “score” is an outdated term used for the number 20. And when he mentions the word “fathers” in the first line he is actually referring to the leaders who had founded the country of America.

Even though Shashi Tharoor is not a native English speaker, his English is so fluent that he sounds like one. Learners from India will instantly recognize him because he is famous there for his English skills.

In this video, he is giving a speech as a part of a debate at Oxford University . He lists out arguments that support the idea that the U.K. should give reparations to its colonies. “Reparations” are payments to a country or community for some harm done to them. A colony is a region or a country that is controlled by another country by force.

Britain had a large number of colonies throughout the world between the 16th and 20th centuries. In this speech, Tharoor tries to convince his audience that the U.K. should give something for the damage they did to the countries they had colonized.

This is one of the finest examples of a formal speech in today’s English . Learners who want to go into academics can learn how to organize their arguments with evidence.

The speech is also great for vocabulary practice . Plus, Tharoor has deep knowledge of both the national history of the U.K. and the colonial history of India. Apart from the content of the speech, his way of speaking is also impressive and is similar to formal British English .

This speech is part of a play called “Julius Caesar”  written by William Shakespeare. The play is based on the life and murder of Caesar who was a leader of the Roman Empire. The speech is considered to be one of the finest pieces of English literature .

It is also one of the best examples of the use of rhetoric (the art of speaking and persuasion).

Mark Antony makes this speech after Caesar is killed by other leaders of the Roman Empire. Antony was a close friend of Caesar’s and here he tries to remind the people of Rome that Caesar was actually a good man. He has to convince the people that his murderers like Brutus are actually criminals. But he has to do so without directly blaming the murderers.

Advanced learners should know this speech mainly because of its cultural value.

Many words in this speech have been replaced by other words in today’s English. “Hath” is the older form of “has” or “had.” “Thou” has also been replaced by the word “you.”

So rather than memorizing the vocabulary, learners should focus on how Damian Lewis delivers the speech instead. The intonation, tone, pitch and rhythm is similar to the formal English used today. He is also good at conveying emotions through pauses and expressions.

If you keep watching videos of native speakers talking, you’ll get used to hearing how different people talk in English. After watching these speeches, you could look for more speeches or interviews on YouTube. 

FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

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The best way to learn the art of speaking is to first copy great speakers. Try to speak the same words in a style that is natural and comfortable to you. These speeches in English are the perfect material to master it!

If you like learning English through movies and online media, you should also check out FluentU. FluentU lets you learn English from popular talk shows, catchy music videos and funny commercials , as you can see here:

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If you want to watch it, the FluentU app has probably got it.

The FluentU app and website makes it really easy to watch English videos. There are captions that are interactive. That means you can tap on any word to see an image, definition, and useful examples.

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FluentU lets you learn engaging content with world famous celebrities.

For example, when you tap on the word "searching," you see this:

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speeches word examples

The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

What this handout is about

This handout will help you create an effective speech by establishing the purpose of your speech and making it easily understandable. It will also help you to analyze your audience and keep the audience interested.

What’s different about a speech?

Writing for public speaking isn’t so different from other types of writing. You want to engage your audience’s attention, convey your ideas in a logical manner and use reliable evidence to support your point. But the conditions for public speaking favor some writing qualities over others. When you write a speech, your audience is made up of listeners. They have only one chance to comprehend the information as you read it, so your speech must be well-organized and easily understood. In addition, the content of the speech and your delivery must fit the audience.

What’s your purpose?

People have gathered to hear you speak on a specific issue, and they expect to get something out of it immediately. And you, the speaker, hope to have an immediate effect on your audience. The purpose of your speech is to get the response you want. Most speeches invite audiences to react in one of three ways: feeling, thinking, or acting. For example, eulogies encourage emotional response from the audience; college lectures stimulate listeners to think about a topic from a different perspective; protest speeches in the Pit recommend actions the audience can take.

As you establish your purpose, ask yourself these questions:

  • What do you want the audience to learn or do?
  • If you are making an argument, why do you want them to agree with you?
  • If they already agree with you, why are you giving the speech?
  • How can your audience benefit from what you have to say?

Audience analysis

If your purpose is to get a certain response from your audience, you must consider who they are (or who you’re pretending they are). If you can identify ways to connect with your listeners, you can make your speech interesting and useful.

As you think of ways to appeal to your audience, ask yourself:

  • What do they have in common? Age? Interests? Ethnicity? Gender?
  • Do they know as much about your topic as you, or will you be introducing them to new ideas?
  • Why are these people listening to you? What are they looking for?
  • What level of detail will be effective for them?
  • What tone will be most effective in conveying your message?
  • What might offend or alienate them?

For more help, see our handout on audience .

Creating an effective introduction

Get their attention, otherwise known as “the hook”.

Think about how you can relate to these listeners and get them to relate to you or your topic. Appealing to your audience on a personal level captures their attention and concern, increasing the chances of a successful speech. Speakers often begin with anecdotes to hook their audience’s attention. Other methods include presenting shocking statistics, asking direct questions of the audience, or enlisting audience participation.

Establish context and/or motive

Explain why your topic is important. Consider your purpose and how you came to speak to this audience. You may also want to connect the material to related or larger issues as well, especially those that may be important to your audience.

Get to the point

Tell your listeners your thesis right away and explain how you will support it. Don’t spend as much time developing your introductory paragraph and leading up to the thesis statement as you would in a research paper for a course. Moving from the intro into the body of the speech quickly will help keep your audience interested. You may be tempted to create suspense by keeping the audience guessing about your thesis until the end, then springing the implications of your discussion on them. But if you do so, they will most likely become bored or confused.

For more help, see our handout on introductions .

Making your speech easy to understand

Repeat crucial points and buzzwords.

Especially in longer speeches, it’s a good idea to keep reminding your audience of the main points you’ve made. For example, you could link an earlier main point or key term as you transition into or wrap up a new point. You could also address the relationship between earlier points and new points through discussion within a body paragraph. Using buzzwords or key terms throughout your paper is also a good idea. If your thesis says you’re going to expose unethical behavior of medical insurance companies, make sure the use of “ethics” recurs instead of switching to “immoral” or simply “wrong.” Repetition of key terms makes it easier for your audience to take in and connect information.

Incorporate previews and summaries into the speech

For example:

“I’m here today to talk to you about three issues that threaten our educational system: First, … Second, … Third,”

“I’ve talked to you today about such and such.”

These kinds of verbal cues permit the people in the audience to put together the pieces of your speech without thinking too hard, so they can spend more time paying attention to its content.

Use especially strong transitions

This will help your listeners see how new information relates to what they’ve heard so far. If you set up a counterargument in one paragraph so you can demolish it in the next, begin the demolition by saying something like,

“But this argument makes no sense when you consider that . . . .”

If you’re providing additional information to support your main point, you could say,

“Another fact that supports my main point is . . . .”

Helping your audience listen

Rely on shorter, simpler sentence structures.

Don’t get too complicated when you’re asking an audience to remember everything you say. Avoid using too many subordinate clauses, and place subjects and verbs close together.

Too complicated:

The product, which was invented in 1908 by Orville Z. McGillicuddy in Des Moines, Iowa, and which was on store shelves approximately one year later, still sells well.

Easier to understand:

Orville Z. McGillicuddy invented the product in 1908 and introduced it into stores shortly afterward. Almost a century later, the product still sells well.

Limit pronoun use

Listeners may have a hard time remembering or figuring out what “it,” “they,” or “this” refers to. Be specific by using a key noun instead of unclear pronouns.

Pronoun problem:

The U.S. government has failed to protect us from the scourge of so-called reality television, which exploits sex, violence, and petty conflict, and calls it human nature. This cannot continue.

Why the last sentence is unclear: “This” what? The government’s failure? Reality TV? Human nature?

More specific:

The U.S. government has failed to protect us from the scourge of so-called reality television, which exploits sex, violence, and petty conflict, and calls it human nature. This failure cannot continue.

Keeping audience interest

Incorporate the rhetorical strategies of ethos, pathos, and logos.

When arguing a point, using ethos, pathos, and logos can help convince your audience to believe you and make your argument stronger. Ethos refers to an appeal to your audience by establishing your authenticity and trustworthiness as a speaker. If you employ pathos, you appeal to your audience’s emotions. Using logos includes the support of hard facts, statistics, and logical argumentation. The most effective speeches usually present a combination these rhetorical strategies.

Use statistics and quotations sparingly

Include only the most striking factual material to support your perspective, things that would likely stick in the listeners’ minds long after you’ve finished speaking. Otherwise, you run the risk of overwhelming your listeners with too much information.

Watch your tone

Be careful not to talk over the heads of your audience. On the other hand, don’t be condescending either. And as for grabbing their attention, yelling, cursing, using inappropriate humor, or brandishing a potentially offensive prop (say, autopsy photos) will only make the audience tune you out.

Creating an effective conclusion

Restate your main points, but don’t repeat them.

“I asked earlier why we should care about the rain forest. Now I hope it’s clear that . . .” “Remember how Mrs. Smith couldn’t afford her prescriptions? Under our plan, . . .”

Call to action

Speeches often close with an appeal to the audience to take action based on their new knowledge or understanding. If you do this, be sure the action you recommend is specific and realistic. For example, although your audience may not be able to affect foreign policy directly, they can vote or work for candidates whose foreign policy views they support. Relating the purpose of your speech to their lives not only creates a connection with your audience, but also reiterates the importance of your topic to them in particular or “the bigger picture.”

Practicing for effective presentation

Once you’ve completed a draft, read your speech to a friend or in front of a mirror. When you’ve finished reading, ask the following questions:

  • Which pieces of information are clearest?
  • Where did I connect with the audience?
  • Where might listeners lose the thread of my argument or description?
  • Where might listeners become bored?
  • Where did I have trouble speaking clearly and/or emphatically?
  • Did I stay within my time limit?

Other resources

  • Toastmasters International is a nonprofit group that provides communication and leadership training.
  • Allyn & Bacon Publishing’s Essence of Public Speaking Series is an extensive treatment of speech writing and delivery, including books on using humor, motivating your audience, word choice and presentation.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Boone, Louis E., David L. Kurtz, and Judy R. Block. 1997. Contemporary Business Communication . Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Ehrlich, Henry. 1994. Writing Effective Speeches . New York: Marlowe.

Lamb, Sandra E. 1998. How to Write It: A Complete Guide to Everything You’ll Ever Write . Berkeley: Ten Speed Press.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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15 Ways to Start a Speech + Bonus Tips

You have heard the saying “First impressions are lasting; you never get a second chance to create a good first impression.”

The same is true when talking about how to start a speech…

The truth is, when you start your speech, you must focus everything on making a positive first impression on your audience members (especially if you are doing the presentation virtually ). The introduction is basically the formal greetings for speeches, so let’s be sure to get this right to really hook the audience.

Here are 15 different ways to start a speech as well as 2 extra BONUS tips at the end.

1) Thank the Organizers and Audience

You can start by thanking the audience for coming and thanking the organization for inviting you to speak.

Refer to the person who introduced you or to one or more of the senior people in the organization in the audience.

This compliments them, makes them feel proud and happy about your presence, and connects you to the audience like an electrical plug in a socket.

2) Start With a Positive Statement

A presentation tip at the start is to tell the audience members how much they will like and enjoy what you have to say.

For example, you might say:

“You’re really going to enjoy the time we spend together this evening. I’m going to share with you some of the most important ideas that have ever been discovered in this area.”

Remember that  speaking is an art,  so be an artist and take complete control of your performance,

3) Compliment the Audience

You can begin by complimenting the audience members sincerely and with great respect.

Smile as if you are really glad to see them as if they are all old friends of yours that you have not seen for quite a while.

You can tell them that it is a great honor for you to be here, that they are some of the most important people in this business or industry, and that you are looking forward to sharing some key ideas with them.

You could say something like:

“It is an honor to be here with you today. You are the elite, the top 10 percent of people in this industry. Only the very best people in any field will take the time and make the sacrifice to come so far for a conference like this.”

4) Start Your Speech By Referring to Current Events

Use a current event front-page news story to transition into your subject and to illustrate or prove your point. You can bring a copy of the newspaper and hold it up as you refer to it in your introduction.

This visual image of you holding the paper and reciting or reading a key point rivets the audience’s attention and causes people to lean forward to hear what you have to say.

5) Refer to a Historical Event

For many years, I studied military history…

Especially the lives and campaigns of the great generals and the decisive battles they won. One of my favorites was Alexander the Great.

One day, I was asked to give a talk on leadership principles to a roomful of managers for a Fortune 500 company.

I decided that the campaign of Alexander the Great against Darius of Persia would make an excellent story that would illustrate the leadership qualities of one of the great commanders in history.

I opened my talk with these words:

“Once upon a time there was a young man named Alex who grew up in a poor country. But Alex was a little bit ambitious. From an early age, he decided that he wanted to conquer the entire known world. But there was a small problem. Most of the known world was under the control of a huge multinational called the Persian Empire, headed by King Darius II. To fulfill his ambition, Alex was going to have to take the market share away from the market leader, who was very determined to hold on to it.

This is the same situation that exists between you and your major competitors in the market today. You are going to have to use all your leadership skills to win the great marketing battles of the future.”

6) Refer to a Well Known Person

You can start by quoting a well-known person or publication that recently made an important statement.

One of the subjects I touch upon regularly is the importance of continual personal development.

I will say something like:

“In the twenty-first century, knowledge and know-how are the keys to success. As basketball coach Pat Riley said, ‘If you are not getting better, you are getting worse.’”

7) Refer to a Recent Conversation

Start by telling a story about a recent conversation with someone in attendance.

For instance, I might say:

“A few minutes ago, I was talking with Tom Robinson in the lobby. He told me that this is one of the very best times to be working in this industry, and I agree.”

8) Make a Shocking Statement

You can start your talk by making a shocking statement of some kind.

For example, you might say something like:

“According to a recent study, there will be more change, more competition, and more opportunities in this industry in the next year than ever before. And 72 percent of the people in this room will be doing something different within two years if they do not rapidly adapt top these changes.”

Click here If you want to learn more techniques to wow your audience.

9) Quote From Recent Research

You can start by quoting a recent research report.

One example is:

“According to a story in a recent issue of Businessweek, there were almost 11 million millionaires in America in 2018, most of them self-made.”

10) Start Your Speech By Giving Them Hope

The French philosopher Gustav Le Bon once wrote, “The only religion of mankind is, and always has been hope.”

When you speak effectively, you give people hope of some kind.

Remember, the ultimate purpose of speaking is to inspire people to do things that they would not have done in the absence of your comments.

Everything you say should relate to the actions you want people to take and the reasons that they should take those actions.

11) Be Entertaining

Bill Gove used to walk onto the stage after his introduction if he had just finished talking to someone on the side and was breaking off to give his talk to the group.

The audience got the feeling that his entire talk was one continuous conversation, devoid of meaningless filler words .

Bill would often go to the edge of the stage and then drop his voice in a conspiratorial way, open his arms, and beckon the audience members to come a little closer.

He would say, “Come here, let me tell you something,” and then he would wave them forward as though he was about to tell a secret to the entire room.

The amazing thing was that everyone in the room would lean forward to hear this “secret” that he was about to share. People would all suddenly realize what they were doing and break out in laughter. It was a wonderful device to get the audience into the palm of his hands.

12) Ask a Question

You can open by making a positive statement and then ask a question requiring a show of hands.

Try something like this:

“This is a great time to be alive and in business in America. By the way how many people here are self-employed?”

Raise your hand to indicate what you want people to do. I have used this line, and after a number of hands go up, I then say to someone who raised their hand in the front, “How many people here are really self-employed?”

Invariably, someone will say, “We all are!”

I then compliment and affirm the answer:  “You’re right! We are all self-employed, from the time we take our first jobs to the day that we retire; we all work for ourselves, no matter who signs our paychecks.”

13) Open With a Problem

You can start with a problem that must be solved. If it is a problem that almost everyone has in common, you will immediately have the audience’s complete and undivided attention.

For example, you could say:

“Fully 63 percent of baby boomers are moving toward retirement without enough money put aside to provide for themselves for as long as they are going to live. We must address this problem and take action immediately to ensure that each person who retires will be able to live comfortably for the rest of his or her natural life.”

14) Make a Strong Statement, Then Ask a Question

You can start by making a strong statement and then ask a question. You then follow with an answer and ask another question. This gets people immediately involved and listening to your every word.

Here’s an example:

“Twenty percent of the people in our society make 80 percent of the money. Are you a member of the top 20 percent? If not, would you like to join the top 20 percent or even the top 10 percent? Well, in the next few minutes, I am going to give you some ideas to help you become some of the highest-paid people in our society. Would that be a good goal for our time together today?”

15) Tell a Story

You can start your talk with a story. Some of the most powerful words grab the complete attention of the audience are, “Once upon a time…”

From infancy and early childhood, people love stories of any kind. When you start off with the words, “Once upon a time…” you tell the audience that a story is coming. People immediately settle down, become quiet, and lean forward like kids around a campfire.

When I conduct full-day seminars and I want to bring people back to their seats after a break, I will say loudly, “Once upon a time there was a man, right here in this city…”

As soon as I say these words, people hurry back to their seats and begin to listen attentively to the rest of the story.

The story technique is very effective.

In fact, its probably one of the best public speaking tips I’ve learned to this day.

Bonus Tip: Tell Them About Yourself

Very often, I will start a speech to a business, sales, or entrepreneurial group by saying:

“I started off without graduating from high school. My family had no money. Everything I accomplished in life I had to do on my own with very little help from anyone else.”

It is amazing how many people come up to me after a talk that began with those words and tells me that was their experience as well.

They tell me that they could immediately identify with me because they too had started with poor grades and limited funds, as most people do. As a result, they were open to the rest of my talk, even a full-day seminar, and felt that everything I said was more valid and authentic than if I had been a person who started off with a successful background.

Building a bridge like this is very helpful in bringing the audience onto your side.

Bonus Tip: Get Them Talking to One Another

You can ask people to turn to the person next to them to discuss a particular point.

For instance, you could say:

“Tell the person next to you what you would like to learn from this seminar.”

Whatever you ask your audience members to do, within reason, they will do it for you. Your commands and your thought leadership will easily influence them, as long as you ask them with confidence.

By following any one of these tips for starting your speech, you are sure to grab your audience’s attention every time. How do you start a speech? Let me know in the comments.

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About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Twitter , Facebook , Pinterest , Linkedin and Youtube .

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Speech Writing

Barbara P

The 10 Key Steps for Perfect Speech Writing

13 min read

Published on: Oct 9, 2018

Last updated on: Nov 2, 2023

speech writing

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Speech writing is a crucial skill that transcends academic settings and finds its place in various aspects of our lives. 

Whether you're a student preparing for a class presentation, or someone looking to inspire an audience on a special occasion, speech writing is an invaluable asset. 

In this guide, we will look into the steps, outline, tips, and examples that will empower you to become a proficient speechwriter. With these insights, you'll be well-equipped to not only engage your audience but leave a lasting impact with your words. 

Let’s start with the basics!

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What is Speech?

Speech, often regarded as the art of effective communication, is the act of expressing thoughts, ideas, or messages verbally in a structured manner. It involves the use of language, tone, and body language to convey information to an audience. 

Speech serves a variety of purposes, from informing and persuading to entertaining and inspiring. In essence, it's the spoken word's ability to connect people, convey meaning, and invoke emotions.

What is Speech Writing?

Speech writing is the process of creating a well-structured, coherent script for a spoken presentation. It involves crafting the content, tone, and organization of a speech to ensure that the message is conveyed clearly and effectively to the intended audience. 

Speech writers carefully choose words , phrases , and rhetorical devices to maximize the impact of the spoken words. They aim to engage, inform, persuade, or inspire the listeners. Effective speech writing is a skill that requires careful planning, research, and attention to detail.

Next up we will look into the steps to write a good speech.

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How to Write a Speech?

Writing a compelling speech that captivates your audience requires careful planning and execution.  Whether you're preparing a persuasive presentation or an informative talk the following ten steps will guide you from the initial concept to the final delivery:

Step 1: Define Your Purpose and Audience

  • Purpose: Begin by identifying the main objective of your speech. Are you looking to inform, persuade, entertain, or inspire your audience? Understanding your purpose will shape the tone, content, and structure of your speech.
  • Audience: Know your audience's demographics, interests, and expectations. Consider factors such as age, education, beliefs, and cultural background. Tailor your speech to resonate with your specific audience.

Step 2: Choose a Topic

  • Select a topic that aligns with your purpose and engages your audience's interest. 
  • Ensure your topic is not too broad or too narrow. You should be able to cover it effectively within your allotted time.

Step 3: Research and Gather Information

  • Thoroughly research your chosen topic. Utilize reputable sources such as books, articles, academic journals, and trusted websites.
  • Take detailed notes during your research to have a wealth of information and supporting evidence for your speech.

Step 4: Create a Strong Thesis or Central Message

  • Your thesis statement is the core message of your speech. It should be clear, concise, and specific. It encapsulates the key idea you want to convey to your audience. This statement will guide the content and structure of your speech.

Step 5: Develop an Outline

  • Divide your speech into three main sections: Introduction, Body, and Conclusion. Each section serves a distinct purpose.
  • Outline the main points you want to cover within the body of the speech. Organize them logically, and ensure each point supports your thesis.

Step 6: Write the Introduction

  • Craft a compelling introduction that captures your audience's attention. Use a hook, such as a relevant quote, story, or question, to pique their interest.
  • Provide context to help your audience understand the topic, and introduce your thesis statement to set the direction for your speech.

Step 7: Build the Body

  • In this section, expand on the main points outlined earlier. Each main point should be a clear and distinct idea.
  • Support your points with evidence, examples, and data. Use transitions to guide your audience smoothly from one point to the next, creating a coherent flow.

Step 8: Craft a Memorable Conclusion

  • Summarize the key points you've made in the body of your speech. Reiterate your thesis statement to reinforce your central message.
  • End with a compelling closing statement that leaves a lasting impression on your audience. This can be a call to action, a thought-provoking statement, or a memorable quote.

Step 9: Edit and Revise

  • Review your speech for clarity, grammar, and coherence. Check for any inconsistencies or unclear language.
  • Seek feedback from peers, mentors, or speech coaches. Consider their suggestions and make necessary improvements to refine your speech.

Step 10: Practice and Rehearse

  • Practice your speech multiple times to become familiar with the content and the order of your points.
  • Work on your delivery skills, including tone, pace, and body language. Practicing in front of a mirror or recording yourself can help you identify areas for improvement.

Bonus Step: Get Feedback

  • If possible, conduct a practice run in front of a small audience. This can be friends, family, or classmates.
  • Listen to their feedback and address any concerns or suggestions. Incorporating feedback can significantly enhance your speech.

Speech Writing Format

Creating an effective speech requires following a structured speech format to ensure that your message is conveyed clearly and engages your audience. 

Here is a standard speech writing format to guide you through the process:

1. Introduction:

  • Hook: Start the speech with a compelling hook, such as a question, quote, anecdote, or startling fact, to grab the audience's attention.
  • Provide Context: Give your audience a brief overview of the topic and its relevance.
  • Thesis Statement: Present your central message or thesis statement, which sets the direction for the speech.
  • Main Points: Divide the body of your speech into two to five main points or sections, each supporting your thesis statement.
  • Supporting Evidence: For each main point, provide supporting evidence, data, examples, or anecdotes to make your argument compelling.
  • Transitions: Use clear transitions between points to maintain a smooth and coherent flow throughout the speech.

3. Conclusion:

  • Summarize Key Points: Briefly recap the main points you've covered in the body of your speech.
  • Restate Thesis: Rewrite your thesis statement to reinforce your central message.
  • Closing Statement: End with a memorable closing statement that leaves a lasting impression, which can be a call to action, a thought-provoking idea, or a final quote.

Types of Speech Writing

There are many types of speeches , and they are combined into different categories. We will take a look at some basic types of speech writing:

Informative Speeches

Persuasive speeches, entertaining speeches, motivational speeches, special occasion speeches.

Now, let's explore each type in more detail:

An informative speech aims to educate or provide information to the audience. These speeches typically focus on facts, data, and explanations.

Examples: Informative speeches can cover a wide range of topics, such as scientific discoveries, historical events, technological advancements, or explanations of complex concepts.

A persuasive speech aims to convince the audience to adopt a particular viewpoint or take a specific action. These speeches often employ persuasive techniques and emotional appeals.

Examples: Persuasive speeches can address issues like climate change, social justice, political candidates, or consumer choices, urging the audience to support a particular stance or take action.

Entertaining speeches are designed to amuse and entertain the audience. They often include humor, anecdotes, and storytelling.

Examples: Stand-up comedy routines, humorous storytelling, and funny anecdotes are examples of entertaining speeches.

Motivational speeches are meant to motivate and uplift the audience. They often incorporate personal stories, motivational quotes, and themes of resilience and hope.

Examples: Speeches by notable figures like Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" address social change. Others like commencement speeches inspire graduates to embrace the future.

Special occasion speeches are delivered during specific events or celebrations. These speeches can include toasts, eulogies, wedding speeches, and more.

Examples: A eulogy at a funeral, a wedding toast, or a commencement address at a graduation ceremony are all examples of special occasion speeches.

Speech Writing Topics

The topic is the first and foremost thing that you need to write a speech. Here are some amazing speech-writing topic ideas to help you get started.

Persuasive Speech Topics

  • The impact of climate change on our future
  • Social media and mental health: is it time for regulation?
  • The importance of vaccination in preventing disease outbreaks
  • The ethics of artificial intelligence and privacy
  • The benefits of renewable energy for a sustainable future

Informative Speech Topics

  • The science behind Covid-19 vaccines
  • Exploring the history and impact of the internet
  • The art of sustainable gardening and urban farming
  • Understanding cryptocurrency and blockchain technology
  • The wonders of space exploration: mars missions and beyond

Demonstration Speech Topics

  • How to create a delicious and healthy smoothie bowl
  • DIY home renovation: painting techniques and tips
  • The art of crafting homemade natural soap
  • Mastering Yoga: a guided sun salutation sequence
  • Gardening for beginners: planting your first vegetable garden

Impromptu Speech Topics

  • If I could travel anywhere in the world right now, I would go to...
  • The most influential person in my life and why.
  • What superpower I wish I had and how I'd use it.
  • A book that changed my perspective on life.
  • The best piece of advice I've ever received and how it impacted me.

For more inspiring topics check out our impromptu speech topics blog!

Entertaining Speech Topics

  • The art of dad jokes: Making people laugh with cheesy humor.
  • Embarrassing moments at family gatherings: A humorous take.
  • Hilarious autocorrect fails in text messaging.
  • The funny side of pets and their quirky behaviors.
  • Epic food mishaps in the kitchen: Tales of culinary disasters.

Check out our blog for more entertaining speech topics !

Motivational Speech Topics

  • “I’m proud of you my son” someday, my dad will say this to me
  • Positive thinking boosts your self-confidence.
  • It is perfectly fine for a boy to cry.
  • Same-sex couples should be allowed to adopt a child
  • I will make my parents proud

Looking for more inspirational speech topics? Read our motivational speech topics blog to get inspired!

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Speech Writing Examples

When it comes to learning the art of speech writing, practical guidance is important. To illustrate effective techniques and structure, here are some short speech-writing examples for students. 

These speech writing samples will help you understand how to craft compelling speeches that resonate with your audience.

For additional samples, read through our speech examples blog!

Speech Writing Tips

Follow these tips for writing a speech that not only informs but also inspires and persuades.

  • Audience Analysis: Before you start, conduct a thorough audience analysis. Understand their interests, knowledge, and expectations.
  • Engaging Speech: Craft an engaging speech that captures your audience's attention from the start. Use rhetorical questions or captivating anecdotes.
  • Short Sentences: Keep your sentences concise and easy to follow. Short sentences are more impactful.
  • Connect with the Audience: Make your audience feel involved. Use relatable examples and stories to establish a connection.
  • Great Speech Structure: Organize your speech with a clear structure, including an introduction, body, and conclusion.
  • Rhetorical Questions: Utilize rhetorical questions to stimulate thought and engagement.
  • Memorable Sentence Structures: Create memorable sentence structures that stick in their memory and the audience remembers the key message.
  • Public Speaking: Remember that public speaking requires practice, so rehearse your speech multiple times to boost confidence and delivery.

Moving towards the end, for effective communication, speech writing is a skill that can empower you to inform, persuade, and inspire your audience. This comprehensive guide has walked you through the essential steps, outlines, and examples to help you craft a compelling and memorable speech.

If you think you are good at speaking but not so good at writing and this thing bothers you a lot, then there is no harm in getting some help. We at MyPerfectWords.com can save you from embarrassment by helping you write an outstanding speech. 

Our best essay writing service is here to assist you in crafting a compelling speech. With our expertise, we can help you not only effectively convey your message but also captivate your audience.

Don't wait – place your order now and get assistance from our experienced writers to fulfill your " Write my speech " requirements.

Barbara P (Literature, Marketing)

Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.

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Frantically Speaking

50 Speech Closing Lines (& How to Create Your Own) | The Ultimate Guide

Hrideep barot.

  • Public Speaking , Speech Writing

speech closing lines

While speech openings are definitely one of the most important components of a speech, something that is equally as important is the way you conclude your speech.

There are few worse ways to end your speech than with a terse ‘thank you’–no elaboration or addition whatsoever.

Speech endings are just as crucial to the success of your speech as speech openings, and you must spend just as much time picking the perfect ending as you do to determine your best possible speech opening.

The words you speak at the beginning and end of your speech are words that your audience will pay the most attention to, and remember longer than any other part of your speech.

Speech endings can put even the most experienced speaker in flux, and increase their anxiousness manifold as they sit there attempting to figure out the perfect way to end your speech.

If you’re someone who’s in flux about your speech ending too, don’t worry. We’ve got some amazing ways to conclude your speech with a bang!

1. Circling Back To The Beginning

The idea behind circling back to the beginning of your speech is to reinforce the idea of your speech being a complete whole. By circling back to the beginning and connecting it to your ending, you let the audience understand that the idea of your speech is complete & standalone.

Circling back to the beginning of your speech also acts as an excellent way of reinforcing the central idea of your speech in the audience’s mind, and makes it more likely that they will remember it after the speech ends.

Need more inspiration for speech opening lines? Check out our article on 15 Powerful Speech Opening Lines & Tips To Create Your Own.

How To Circle Back To The Beginning

The easiest way to do this is to set up your beginning for the conclusion of your speech. That is, if you’re saying something like, say, a story or joke in the beginning, then you can leave your audience in a cliffhanger until the ending arrives.

Another great way to circle back to the beginning is by simply restating something you said at the start. The added knowledge from attending the rest of your speech will help the audience see this piece of information in a new–and better–light.

1. Will Stephen

Ending Line: “I’d like you to think about what you heard in the beginning, and I want you to think about what you hear now. Because it was nothing & it’s still nothing.”

2. Canwen Xu

Speech Ending: My name is Canwen, my favorite color is purple and I play the piano but not so much the violin…

Think of a memorable moment from your life, and chances are you’ll realize that it involved a feeling of happiness–something that we can associate with smiling or laughter. And what better way to generate laughter than by incorporating the age-old strategy of good humor.

The happy and lighthearted feeling you associate with good memories is the kind of emotional reaction you want to create in your audience too. That’s what will make your speech stick in their memory.

Done incorrectly, humor can be a disaster. Done right, however, it can entirely transform a speech.

Humor doesn’t only mean slapstick comedy (although there’s nothing wrong with slapstick, either). Humor can come in many forms, including puns, jokes, a funny story…the list is endless.

How To Incorporate Humor In Your Speech Ending

The simplest way to incorporate humor into your speech ending is by telling a plain old joke–something that’s relevant to your topic, of course.

You can also tell them a short, funny anecdote–may be an unexpected conclusion to a story you set up in the beginning.

Another way would be by employing the power of repetition. You can do this by associating something funny with a word, and then repeating the word throughout your speech. During the end, simply say the word or phrase one last time, and it’s likely you’ll leave off your audience with a good chuckle.

1. Woody Roseland

Ending Line: “Why are balloons so expensive? Inflation.”

2. Andras Arato

Ending Line: “There are three rules to becoming famous. Unfortunately, nobody knows what they are.”

3. Hasan Minhaj

Ending Line: “And you want to know the scariest part? Pretty soon every country on the earth is going to have its own TLC show.”

4. Sophie Scott

Speech Ending: In other words, when it comes to laughter, you and me baby, ain’t nothing but mammals.

5. Tim Urban

Speech Ending: We need to stay away from the Instant Gratification Monkey. That’s a job for all of us. And because there’s not that many boxes on there. It’s a job that should probably start today. Well, maybe not today, but, you know, sometime soon.

6. Hasan Minhaj

Speech Ending: Showing my legs on TV is probably the scariest thing I’ve ever done. And keep in mind last week I went after the Prince of Saudi Arabia.

3. Question

The idea behind posing a question at the end of your speech is to get the wheels in your audience’s minds turning and to get them thinking of your speech long after it has ended. A question, if posed correctly, will make your audience re-think about crucial aspects of your speech, and is a great way to prompt discussion after your speech has ended.

How To Add Questions To Your Speech Ending

The best type of questions to add to your speech ending is rhetorical questions. That’s because, unlike a literal question, a rhetorical question will get the audience thinking and make them delve deeper into the topic at hand.

Make sure your question is central to the idea of your speech, and not something frivolous or extra. After all, the point of a question is to reinforce the central idea of your topic.

1. Lexie Alford

Speech Ending: Ask yourself: How uncomfortable are you willing to become in order to reach your fullest potential?

2. Apollo Robbins

Speech Ending: If you could control somebody’s attention, what would you do with it?

Quotes are concise, catchy phrases or sentences that are generally easy to remember and repeat.

Quotes are an age-old way to start–and conclude–a speech. And for good reason.

Quotes can reinforce your own ideas by providing a second voice to back them up. They can also provoke an audience’s mind & get them thinking. So, if you add your quote to the end of your speech, the audience will most likely be thinking about it for long after you have finished speaking.

How To Use Quotes In Your Speech Ending

While adding quotes to your speech ending, make sure that it’s relevant to your topic. Preferably, you want to pick a quote that summarizes your entire idea in a concise & memorable manner.

Make sure that your quote isn’t too long or complicated. Your audience should be able to repeat it as well as feel its impact themselves. They shouldn’t be puzzling over the semantics of your quote, but its intended meaning.

1. Edouard Jacqmin

Speech Ending: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”

2. Chris Crowe

Speech Ending: “It’s more certain than death and taxes.”

3. Olivia Remes

Speech Ending: I’d like to leave you with a quote by Martin Luther King: “You don’ have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.”

4. Tomislav Perko

Speech Ending: Like that famous quote says, “In twenty years from now on, you’ll be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did do.

5. Diana Nyad

Speech Ending: To paraphrase the poet, Mary Oliver, she says, “So, what is it? What is it you’re doing with this one wild and precious life of yours?”

5. Piece Of Advice

The point of giving a piece of advice at the end of your speech is not to pull your audience down or to make them feel bad/inferior about themselves. Rather, the advice is added to motivate your audience to take steps to do something–something related to the topic at hand.

The key point to remember is that your advice is included to help your audience, not to discourage them.

How To Add Piece Of Advice To Your Speech Ending

To truly make your audience follow the advice you’re sharing, you must make sure it resonates with them. To do so, you need to inject emotions into your advice, and to present it in such a manner that your audience’s emotions are aroused when they hear it.

Your advice shouldn’t be something extra-complicated or seemingly impossible to achieve. This will act as a counter-agent. Remember that you want your audience to follow your advice, not to chuck it away as something impossible.

Our article, 15 Powerful Speech Ending Lines And Tips To Create Your Own , is another great repository for some inspiration.

1. Ricardo Lieuw On

Speech Ending: “Learn something new, or a new way of approaching something old because there are a few skills are valuable as the art of learning.”

2. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic

Speech Ending: “If we want to improve the competence level of our leaders, then we should first improve our own competence for judging and selecting leaders.”

3. Sharique Samsudheen

Speech Ending: “Some people love money, some people hate money, some people crave money, some people even kill for money. But what they miss is they just need to learn how to manage money well, and that will give them financial freedom.”

4. Kate Simonds

Speech Ending: Teens, you need to believe in your voices and adults, you need to listen.

5. Melissa Butler

Speech Ending: When you go home today, see yourself in the mirror, see all of you, look at all your greatness that you embody, accept it, love it and finally, when you leave the house tomorrow, try to extend that same love and acceptance to someone who doesn’t look like you.

6. Iskra Lawrence

Speech Ending: Speak to your body in a loving way. It’s the only one you got, it’s your home, and it deserves your respect. If you see anyone tearing themselves down, build them back up And watch your life positively grow when you give up the pursuit of perfection.

6. Contemplative Remark

As the name itself suggests, contemplative remarks are intended to make your audience contemplate or mull over something. The ‘something’ in question should be the idea central to your speech, or a key takeaway that you want them to return home with.

The idea is to get your audience thinking and to keep them thinking for a long, long time.

How To Add A Contemplative Remark To Your Speech Ending

To add a contemplative remark to your speech ending, you first need to figure out your key takeaway or main theme. Then, you want to arrange that as a question, and propose it to your audience at the end of your speech.

Remember that your question shouldn’t be something too wordy or complicated to understand. As with the quotes, you don’t want your audience stuck on the semantics. Rather, you want them to focus on the matter at hand.

1. Lisa Penney

Speech Ending: “So I invite you to pay more attention to your thoughts & consider the legacy you leave behind.”

2. Grant Sanderson

Speech Ending: “Some of the most useful math that you can find or teach has its origin in someone who was just looking for a good story.”

3. Greta Thunberg

Speech Ending: “We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up & change is coming whether you like it or not.”

4. Bill Eckstrom

Speech Ending: Now, think about this: it’s not the complexity-triggering individuals or events you should fear the most, but it’s your own willingness to accept or seek discomfort that will dictate the growth of not just you, but our entire world.

5. Robert Hoge

Speech Ending: Choose to accept your face, choose to appreciate your face, don’t look away from the mirror so quickly; understand all the love, and the life, and the pain that is the part of your face, that is the art of your face. Tomorrow when you wake up, what will your choice be?

7. Personal Anecdote

Personal anecdotes, as the name suggests, are anecdotes that are personal to the speaker or instances from their life. Personal anecdotes are a great way to incorporate the magical powers of storytelling in your speech, as well as to make a personal connection with the audience. Using personal anecdotes, you can hit two birds with one stone!

How To Add Personal Anecdotes To Your Speech Ending

To add personal anecdotes to your speech ending, you need to filter through your life experiences to find out ones that directly relate to your topic at hand. You don’t want to include an anecdote, no matter how compelling it is, if it doesn’t relate to your topic.

Remember to not keep your anecdote too long. Your audience will most likely lose their attention if you do so.

1. Sheila Humphries

Speech Ending: “Why do you go work for these people?” My answer to them was, “If I could help one child make it in this world, it’ll be worth it all.”

8. Call To Action

A call-to-action is one of the absolute best ways to conclude a speech with a bang. A well-written speech should aim to alter the audience’s mind or belief system in some way and to make them take an action in that direction. One crucial way to assure your audience does this is by using a call to action.

How To Add A Call To Action To Your Speech Ending

A call to action comes right before the ending of your speech to provide your audience with a clear idea or set of instructions about what they’re supposed to do after your talk ends.

A call to action should provide a roadmap to the audience for their future steps, and to outline clearly what those future steps are going to be.

1. Armin Hamrah

Speech Ending: “So tonight, after you finish your Math homework & before you lay your head down on that fluffy pillow, bring a piece of paper and pen by your bedside…”

2. Graham Shaw

Speech Ending: “So I invite you to get your drawings out there & spread the word that when we draw, we remember more!”

3. Andy Puddicombe

Speech Ending: You don’t have to burn any incense, and you definitely don’t have to sit on the floor. All you need to do is to take out 10 minutes out a day to step back, familiarize yourself with the present moment so that you get to experience a greater sense of focus, calm, and clarity in your life.

4. Amy Cuddy

Speech Ending: Before you go into the next stressful evaluative situation, for two minutes, try doing this in the elevator…

5. Jia Jiang

Speech Ending: When you are facing the next obstacle or the next failure, consider the possibilities. Don’t run! If you just embrace them, they might become your gifts as well.

9. Motivational Remark

As the name clearly explains, a motivational remark motivates your audience to carry out a plan of action. It ruffles the audience’s mind and emotions and has a powerful impact on the steps that your audience will take after you’ve finished speaking.

How To Add A Motivational Remark To Your Speech Ending

The key to a good motivational remark is to inspire your audience. Your motivational remark should act as a ray of hope to your audience and positively inspire them to take a desired course of action.

Your motivational remark should not be negative in any way. You don’t want to guilt or coerce your audience into doing something or feeling a certain way. You want to leave them on a positive note to move forward with their life.

1. Khanh Vy Tran

Speech Ending: “No matter what you’re going through right now & no matter what the future holds for you, please don’t change yourself. Love yourself, accept yourself & then transform yourself.”

2. Mithila Palkar

Speech Ending: “Get a job, leave a job, dance, sing, fall in love. Carve your own niche. But most importantly: learn to love your own randomness.”

3. Andrew Tarvin

Speech Ending: “Anyone can learn to be funnier. And it all starts with a choice. A choice to try to find ways to use humor. A choice to be like my grandmother, to look at the world around you and say WTF–wow, that’s fun.”

4. Laura Vanderkam

Speech Ending: There is time. Even if we are busy, we have time for what matters. And when we focus on what matters, we can build the lives we want in the time we’ve got.

5. Julian Treasure

Speech Ending: Let’s get listening taught in schools, and transform the world in one generation into a conscious listening world, a world of connection, a world of understanding, and a world of peace.

6. Mariana Atencio

Speech Ending: Let’s celebrate those imperfections that make us special. I hope that it teaches you that nobody has a claim on the word ‘normal’. We are all different. We are all quirky and unique and that is what makes us wonderfully human.

10. Challenge

Much like a call to action, the aim of proposing a challenge at the end of your speech is to instigate your audience to take some desired course of action. A challenge should make an appeal to your audience’s emotion, and motivate them to meet it.

How To Add A Challenge To Your Speech Ending

To apply a challenge effectively to your speech ending, you need to make sure that it’s something relevant to your topic. Your challenge should drive the central topic of your speech forward, and make your audience engage in real-life steps to apply your idea in the real world.

While its always a good idea to set a high bar for your challenge, make sure its an achievable one too.

1. Jamak Golshani

Speech Ending: “I challenge you to open your heart to new possibilities, choose a career path that excites you & one that’s aligned to who you truly are.”

2. Ashley Clift-Jennings

Speech Ending: So, my challenge to you today is, “Do you know, would you even know how to recognize your soulmate?” If you are going out in the world right now, would you know what you are looking for?

11. Metaphor

Metaphors are commonly used as a short phrase that draws a comparison between two ideas in a non-literal sense. People use metaphors quite commonly in daily life to explain ideas that might be too difficult or confusing to understand otherwise. Metaphors are also great tools to be used in speech, as they can present your main idea in a simple and memorable way.

How To Add Metaphors To Your Speech Ending

To add a metaphor to your speech ending, you need to first decide on the main idea or takeaway of your speech. Your metaphor should then be organized in such a way that it simplifies your main idea and makes it easier for your audience to understand & remember it.

The key is to not make your metaphor overly complicated or difficult to retain and share. Remember that you’re trying to simplify your idea for the audience–not make them even more confused.

1. Ramona J. Smith

Speech Ending: “Stay in that ring. And even after you take a few hits, use what you learned from those previous fights, and at the end of the round, you’ll still remain standing.”

2. Shi Heng YI

Speech Ending: “If any of you chooses to climb that path to clarity, I will be very happy to meet you at the peak.”

3. Zifang “Sherrie” Su

Speech Ending: “Are you turning your back on your fear? Our life is like this stage, but what scares are now may bring you the most beautiful thing. Give it a chance.”

12. Storytelling

The idea behind using stories to end your speech is to leave your audience with a good memory to take away with them.

Stories are catchy, resonating & memorable ways to end any speech.

Human beings can easily relate to stories. This is because most people have grown up listening to stories of some kind or another, and thus a good story tends to evoke fond feelings in us.

How To Incorporate Stories In Your Speech Ending

A great way to incorporate stories in your speech ending is by setting up a story in the beginning and then concluding it during the end of your speech.

Another great way would be to tell a short & funny anecdote related to a personal experience or simply something related to the topic at hand.

However, remember that it’s the ending of your speech. Your audience is most likely at the end of their attention span. So, keep your story short & sweet.

1. Sameer Al Jaberi

Speech Ending: “I can still see that day when I came back from my honeymoon…”

2. Josephine Lee

Speech Ending: “At the end of dinner, Jenna turned to me and said…”

Facts are another excellent speech ending, and they are used quite often as openings as well. The point of adding a fact as your speech ending is to add shock value to your speech, and to get your audience thinking & discussing the fact even after your speech has ended.

How To Add Facts To Your Speech Ending

The key to adding facts to your speech ending is to pick a fact that thrusts forward your main idea in the most concise form possible. Your fact should also be something that adds shock value to the speech, and it should ideally be something that the audience hasn’t heard before.

Make sure that your fact is relevant to the topic at hand. No matter how interesting, a fact that doesn’t relate to your topic is going to be redundant.

1. David JP Phillips

Speech Ending: 3500 years ago, we started transfering knowledge from generation to generation through text. 28 years ago, PowerPoint was born. Which one do you think our brain is mostly adapted to?

14. Rhethoric Remark

Rhetoric remarks are another excellent way to get the wheels of your audience’s minds turning. Rhetoric remarks make your audience think of an imagined scenario, and to delve deeper into your topic. Rhetoric remarks or questioned don’t necessarily need to have a ‘right’ or one-shot answer, which means you can be as creative with them as possible!

How To Add Rhethoric Remarks To Your Speech Ending

Since rhetorical questions don’t need to have a definite answer, you have much freedom in determining the type of question or statement you wish to make. However, as with all other speech endings, a rhetorical question shouldn’t be asked just for the sake of it.

A rhetorical question should make your audience think about your topic in a new or more creative manner. It should get them thinking about the topic and maybe see it from an angle that they hadn’t before.

Rhetorical questions shouldn’t be too confusing. Use simple language & make sure it’s something that the audience can easily comprehend.

1. Mona Patel

Speech Ending: Pick your problem, ask “What if?” Come up with ideas. Bring them down. Then execute on them. Maybe you’re thinking, “What if we can’t?” I say to you, “What if we don’t?”

2. Lizzie Velasquez

Speech Ending: I want you to leave here and ask yourself what defines you. But remember: Brave starts here.

Another great way to end your speech with a literal bang is by using music! After all, if there’s something that can impact the human mind with just as much force as a few well-placed words, it’s the correct music.

How To Add Music To Your Speech Ending

To add music to your speech ending, you must make sure that the music has something to do with your speech theme. Remember that you’re not playing music in your concert. The piece of music that you choose must be relevant to your topic & work to have a contribution in your overall speech.

1. Tom Thum

Speech Ending: *ends the TED Talk with beat boxing*

16. Reitirate The Title

The title of your speech is its most important component. That’s why you need to pay careful attention to how you pick it, as it is something that your viewers will most likely remember the longest about your speech.

Your title will also act as a guiding hand towards how your audience forms an initial idea about your speech and is what they will associate your entire speech with.

By repeating your title at the end of your speech, you increase the chances that your audience will remember it–and your speech–for a long time.

How To Retierate The Title In Your Speech Ending

Your title is something that your audience associates your entire speech with. However, you don’t want to simply add the title in your speech end for the sake of adding it. Instead, make it flow naturally into your speech ending. This will make it seem less forced, and will also increase the chances of your audience remembering your entire speech ending and not just the title of your speech.

1. Ruairi Robertson

Speech Ending: I feel we can all contribute to this fight worth fighting for our own health, but more importantly, our future generations’ health by restoring the relationship between microbe and man. There is SOME FOOD FOR THOUGHT!

Need more inspiration for speech closing lines? Check out our article on 10 Of The Best Things To Say In Closing Remarks.

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To sum up, speech endings are just as imperative to the success of your speech as speech openings, and you must spend just as much time picking the perfect ending as you do to determine your best possible speech opening. The words you speak at the beginning and end of your speech are words that your audience will pay the most attention to, and remember longer than any other part of your speech.

Still looking for inspiration? Check out this video we made on closing remarks:

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40 famous persuasive speeches you need to hear.

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Written by Kai Xin Koh

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Across eras of calamity and peace in our world’s history, a great many leaders, writers, politicians, theorists, scientists, activists and other revolutionaries have unveiled powerful rousing speeches in their bids for change. In reviewing the plethora of orators across tides of social, political and economic change, we found some truly rousing speeches that brought the world to their feet or to a startling, necessary halt. We’ve chosen 40 of the most impactful speeches we managed to find from agents of change all over the world – a diversity of political campaigns, genders, positionalities and periods of history. You’re sure to find at least a few speeches in this list which will capture you with the sheer power of their words and meaning!

1. I have a dream by MLK

“I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification – one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day. This will be the day, this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning “My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my father’s died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!”

Unsurprisingly, Martin Luther King’s speech comes up top as the most inspiring speech of all time, especially given the harrowing conditions of African Americans in America at the time. In the post-abolition era when slavery was outlawed constitutionally, African Americans experienced an intense period of backlash from white supremacists who supported slavery where various institutional means were sought to subordinate African American people to positions similar to that of the slavery era. This later came to be known as the times of Jim Crow and segregation, which Martin Luther King powerfully voiced his vision for a day when racial discrimination would be a mere figment, where equality would reign.

2. Tilbury Speech by Queen Elizabeth I

“My loving people, We have been persuaded by some that are careful of our safety, to take heed how we commit our selves to armed multitudes, for fear of treachery; but I assure you I do not desire to live to distrust my faithful and loving people. Let tyrants fear. I have always so behaved myself that, under God, I have placed my chiefest strength and safeguard in the loyal hearts and good-will of my subjects; and therefore I am come amongst you, as you see, at this time, not for my recreation and disport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live and die amongst you all; to lay down for my God, and for my kingdom, and my people, my honour and my blood, even in the dust. I know I have the body of a weak, feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm; to which rather than any dishonour shall grow by me, I myself will take up arms, I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field. I know already, for your forwardness you have deserved rewards and crowns; and We do assure you on a word of a prince, they shall be duly paid. In the mean time, my lieutenant general shall be in my stead, than whom never prince commanded a more noble or worthy subject; not doubting but by your obedience to my general, by your concord in the camp, and your valour in the field, we shall shortly have a famous victory over these enemies of my God, of my kingdom, and of my people.”

While at war with Spain, Queen Elizabeth I was most renowned for her noble speech rallying the English troops against their comparatively formidable opponent. Using brilliant rhetorical devices like metonymy, meronymy, and other potent metaphors, she voiced her deeply-held commitment as a leader to the battle against the Spanish Armada – convincing the English army to keep holding their ground and upholding the sacrifice of war for the good of their people. Eventually against all odds, she led England to victory despite their underdog status in the conflict with her confident and masterful oratory.

3. Woodrow Wilson, address to Congress (April 2, 1917)

“The world must be made safe for democracy. Its peace must be planted upon the tested foundations of political liberty. We have no selfish ends to serve. We desire no conquest, no dominion. We seek no indemnities for ourselves, no material compensation for the sacrifices we shall freely make. We are but one of the champions of the rights of mankind. We shall be satisfied when those rights have been made as secure as the faith and the freedom of nations can make them. Just because we fight without rancor and without selfish object, seeking nothing for ourselves but what we shall wish to share with all free peoples, we shall, I feel confident, conduct our operations as belligerents without passion and ourselves observe with proud punctilio the principles of right and of fair play we profess to be fighting for. … It will be all the easier for us to conduct ourselves as belligerents in a high spirit of right and fairness because we act without animus, not in enmity toward a people or with the desire to bring any injury or disadvantage upon them, but only in armed opposition to an irresponsible government which has thrown aside all considerations of humanity and of right and is running amuck. We are, let me say again, the sincere friends of the German people, and shall desire nothing so much as the early reestablishment of intimate relations of mutual advantage between us—however hard it may be for them, for the time being, to believe that this is spoken from our hearts. We have borne with their present government through all these bitter months because of that friendship—exercising a patience and forbearance which would otherwise have been impossible. We shall, happily, still have an opportunity to prove that friendship in our daily attitude and actions toward the millions of men and women of German birth and native sympathy who live among us and share our life, and we shall be proud to prove it toward all who are in fact loyal to their neighbors and to the government in the hour of test. They are, most of them, as true and loyal Americans as if they had never known any other fealty or allegiance. They will be prompt to stand with us in rebuking and restraining the few who may be of a different mind and purpose. If there should be disloyalty, it will be dealt with with a firm hand of stern repression; but, if it lifts its head at all, it will lift it only here and there and without countenance except from a lawless and malignant few. It is a distressing and oppressive duty, gentlemen of the Congress, which I have performed in thus addressing you. There are, it may be, many months of fiery trial and sacrifice ahead of us. It is a fearful thing to lead this great peaceful people into war, into the most terrible and disastrous of all wars, civilization itself seeming to be in the balance. But the right is more precious than peace, and we shall fight for the things which we have always carried nearest our hearts—for democracy, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own governments, for the rights and liberties of small nations, for a universal dominion of right by such a concert of free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all nations and make the world itself at last free. To such a task we can dedicate our lives and our fortunes, everything that we are and everything that we have, with the pride of those who know that the day has come when America is privileged to spend her blood and her might for the principles that gave her birth and happiness and the peace which she has treasured. God helping her, she can do no other.”

On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson of the USA delivered his address to Congress, calling for declaration of war against what was at the time, a belligerent and aggressive Germany in WWI. Despite his isolationism and anti-war position earlier in his tenure as president, he convinced Congress that America had a moral duty to the world to step out of their neutral observer status into an active role of world leadership and stewardship in order to liberate attacked nations from their German aggressors. The idealistic values he preached in his speech left an indelible imprint upon the American spirit and self-conception, forming the moral basis for the country’s people and aspirational visions to this very day.

4. Ain’t I A Woman by Sojourner Truth

“That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get it – and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman? … If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.”

Hailing from a background of slavery and oppression, Sojourner Truth was one of the most revolutionary advocates for women’s human rights in the 1800s. In spite of the New York Anti-Slavery Law of 1827, her slavemaster refused to free her. As such, she fled, became an itinerant preacher and leading figure in the anti-slavery movement. By the 1850s, she became involved in the women’s rights movement as well. At the 1851 Women’s Rights Convention held in Akron, Ohio, she delivered her illuminating, forceful speech against discrimination of women and African Americans in the post-Civil War era, entrenching her status as one of the most revolutionary abolitionists and women’s rights activists across history.

5. The Gettsyburg Address by Abraham Lincoln

“Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.” With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

President Abraham Lincoln had left the most lasting legacy upon American history for good reason, as one of the presidents with the moral courage to denounce slavery for the national atrocity it was. However, more difficult than standing up for the anti-slavery cause was the task of unifying the country post-abolition despite the looming shadows of a time when white Americans could own and subjugate slaves with impunity over the thousands of Americans who stood for liberation of African Americans from discrimination. He urged Americans to remember their common roots, heritage and the importance of “charity for all”, to ensure a “just and lasting peace” among within the country despite throes of racial division and self-determination.

6. Woman’s Rights to the Suffrage by Susan B Anthony

“For any State to make sex a qualification that must ever result in the disfranchisement of one entire half of the people is to pass a bill of attainder, or an ex post facto law, and is therefore a violation of the supreme law of the land. By it the blessings of liberty are for ever withheld from women and their female posterity. To them this government has no just powers derived from the consent of the governed. To them this government is not a democracy. It is not a republic. It is an odious aristocracy; a hateful oligarchy of sex; the most hateful aristocracy ever established on the face of the globe; an oligarchy of wealth, where the right govern the poor. An oligarchy of learning, where the educated govern the ignorant, or even an oligarchy of race, where the Saxon rules the African, might be endured; but this oligarchy of sex, which makes father, brothers, husband, sons, the oligarchs over the mother and sisters, the wife and daughters of every household–which ordains all men sovereigns, all women subjects, carries dissension, discord and rebellion into every home of the nation. Webster, Worcester and Bouvier all define a citizen to be a person in the United States, entitled to vote and hold office. The only question left to be settled now is: Are women persons? And I hardly believe any of our opponents will have the hardihood to say they are not. Being persons, then, women are citizens; and no State has a right to make any law, or to enforce any old law, that shall abridge their privileges or immunities. Hence, every discrimination against women in the constitutions and laws of the several States is today null and void, precisely as in every one against Negroes.”

Susan B. Anthony was a pivotal leader in the women’s suffrage movement who helped to found the National Woman Suffrage Association with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and fight for the constitutional right for women to vote. She courageously and relentlessly advocated for women’s rights, giving speeches all over the USA to convince people of women’s human rights to choice and the ballot. She is most well known for her act of righteous rebellion in 1872 when she voted in the presidential election illegally, for which she was arrested and tried unsuccessfully. She refused to pay the $100 fine in a bid to reject the demands of the American system she denounced as a ‘hateful oligarchy of sex’, sparking change with her righteous oratory and inspiring many others in the women’s suffrage movement within and beyond America.

7. Vladimir Lenin’s Speech at an International Meeting in Berne, February 8, 1916

“It may sound incredible, especially to Swiss comrades, but it is nevertheless true that in Russia, also, not only bloody tsarism, not only the capitalists, but also a section of the so-called or ex-Socialists say that Russia is fighting a “war of defence,” that Russia is only fighting against German invasion. The whole world knows, however, that for decades tsarism has been oppressing more than a hundred million people belonging to other nationalities in Russia; that for decades Russia has been pursuing a predatory policy towards China, Persia, Armenia and Galicia. Neither Russia, nor Germany, nor any other Great Power has the right to claim that it is waging a “war of defence”; all the Great Powers are waging an imperialist, capitalist war, a predatory war, a war for the oppression of small and foreign nations, a war for the sake of the profits of the capitalists, who are coining golden profits amounting to billions out of the appalling sufferings of the masses, out of the blood of the proletariat. … This again shows you, comrades, that in all countries of the world real preparations are being made to rally the forces of the working class. The horrors of war and the sufferings of the people are incredible. But we must not, and we have no reason whatever, to view the future with despair. The millions of victims who will fall in the war, and as a consequence of the war, will not fall in vain. The millions who are starving, the millions who are sacrificing their lives in the trenches, are not only suffering, they are also gathering strength, are pondering over the real cause of the war, are becoming more determined and are acquiring a clearer revolutionary understanding. Rising discontent of the masses, growing ferment, strikes, demonstrations, protests against the war—all this is taking place in all countries of the world. And this is the guarantee that the European War will be followed by the proletarian revolution against capitalism”

Vladimir Lenin remains to this day one of the most lauded communist revolutionaries in the world who brought the dangers of imperialism and capitalism to light with his rousing speeches condemning capitalist structures of power which inevitably enslave people to lives of misery and class stratification. In his genuine passion for the rights of the working class, he urged fellow comrades to turn the “imperialist war” into a “civil” or class war of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie. He encouraged the development of new revolutionary socialist organisations, solidarity across places in society so people could unite against their capitalist overlords, and criticised nationalism for its divisive effect on the socialist movement. In this speech especially, he lambasts “bloody Tsarism” for its oppression of millions of people of other nationalities in Russia, calling for the working class people to revolt against the Tsarist authority for the proletariat revolution to succeed and liberate them from class oppression.

8. I Have A Dream Speech by Mary Wollstonecraft

“If, I say, for I would not impress by declamation when Reason offers her sober light, if they be really capable of acting like rational creatures, let them not be treated like slaves; or, like the brutes who are dependent on the reason of man, when they associate with him; but cultivate their minds, give them the salutary, sublime curb of principle, and let them attain conscious dignity by feeling themselves only dependent on God. Teach them, in common with man, to submit to necessity, instead of giving, to render them more pleasing, a sex to morals. Further, should experience prove that they cannot attain the same degree of strength of mind, perseverance, and fortitude, let their virtues be the same in kind, though they may vainly struggle for the same degree; and the superiority of man will be equally clear, if not clearer; and truth, as it is a simple principle, which admits of no modification, would be common to both. Nay, the order of society as it is at present regulated would not be inverted, for woman would then only have the rank that reason assigned her, and arts could not be practised to bring the balance even, much less to turn it.”

In her vindication of the rights of women, Mary Wollstonecraft was one of the pioneers of the feminist movement back in 1792 who not only theorised and advocated revolutionarily, but gave speeches that voiced these challenges against a dominantly sexist society intent on classifying women as irrational less-than-human creatures to be enslaved as they were. In this landmark speech, she pronounces her ‘dream’ of a day when women would be treated as the rational, deserving humans they are, who are equal to man in strength and capability. With this speech setting an effective precedent for her call to equalize women before the law, she also went on to champion the provision of equal educational opportunities to women and girls, and persuasively argued against the patriarchal gender norms which prevented women from finding their own lot in life through their being locked into traditional institutions of marriage and motherhood against their will.

9. First Inaugural Speech by Franklin D Roosevelt

“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and of vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. And I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days. … More important, a host of unemployed citizens face the grim problem of existence, and an equally great number toil with little return. Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment. Our greatest primary task is to put people to work. This is no unsolvable problem if we face it wisely and courageously. There are many ways in which it can be helped, but it can never be helped merely by talking about it. We must act and act quickly. … I am prepared under my constitutional duty to recommend the measures that a stricken Nation in the midst of a stricken world may require. These measures, or such other measures as the Congress may build out of its experience and wisdom, I shall seek, within my constitutional authority, to bring to speedy adoption. But in the event that the Congress shall fail to take one of these two courses, and in the event that the national emergency is still critical, I shall not evade the clear course of duty that will then confront me. I shall ask the Congress for the one remaining instrument to meet the crisis — broad Executive power to wage a war against the emergency, as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.”

Roosevelt’s famous inaugural speech was delivered in the midst of a period of immense tension and strain under the Great Depression, where he highlighted the need for ‘quick action’ by Congress to prepare for government expansion in his pursuit of reforms to lift the American people out of devastating poverty. In a landslide victory, he certainly consolidated the hopes and will of the American people through this compelling speech.

10. The Hypocrisy of American Slavery by Frederick Douglass

“What to the American slave is your Fourth of July? I answer, a day that reveals to him more than all other days of the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mock; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are to him mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy – a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation of the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of these United States at this very hour. Go search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.”

On 4 July 1852, Frederick Douglass gave this speech in Rochester, New York, highlighting the hypocrisy of celebrating freedom while slavery continues. He exposed the ‘revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy’ of slavery which had gone unabolished amidst the comparatively obscene celebration of independence and liberty with his potent speech and passion for the anti-abolition cause. After escaping from slavery, he went on to become a national leader of the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts and New York with his oratory and incisive antislavery writings. To this day, his fierce activism and devotion to exposing virulent racism for what it was has left a lasting legacy upon pro-Black social movements and the overall sociopolitical landscape of America.

11. Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

“You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I’ll rise. Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom? ’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells Pumping in my living room. Just like moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high, Still I’ll rise. Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes? Shoulders falling down like teardrops, Weakened by my soulful cries? Does my haughtiness offend you? Don’t you take it awful hard ’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines Diggin’ in my own backyard. You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I’ll rise. Does my sexiness upset you? Does it come as a surprise That I dance like I’ve got diamonds At the meeting of my thighs? Out of the huts of history’s shame I rise Up from a past that’s rooted in pain I rise I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide, Welling and swelling I bear in the tide. Leaving behind nights of terror and fear I rise Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear I rise Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise I rise I rise.”

With her iconic poem Still I Rise , Maya Angelou is well-known for uplifting fellow African American women through her empowering novels and poetry and her work as a civil rights activist. Every bit as lyrical on the page, her recitation of Still I Rise continues to give poetry audiences shivers all over the world, inspiring women of colour everywhere to keep the good faith in striving for equality and peace, while radically believing in and empowering themselves to be agents of change. A dramatic reading of the poem will easily showcase the self-belief, strength and punch that it packs in the last stanza on the power of resisting marginalization.

12. Their Finest Hour by Winston Churchill

“What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour.””

In the darkest shadows cast by war, few leaders have been able to step up to the mantle and effectively unify millions of citizens for truly sacrificial causes. Winston Churchill was the extraordinary exception – lifting 1940 Britain out of the darkness with his hopeful, convicted rhetoric to galvanise the English amidst bleak, dreary days of war and loss. Through Britain’s standalone position in WWII against the Nazis, he left his legacy by unifying the nation under shared sacrifices of the army and commemorating their courage.

13. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

“Life for both sexes – and I looked at them (through a restaurant window while waiting for my lunch to be served), shouldering their way along the pavement – is arduous, difficult, a perpetual struggle. It calls for gigantic courage and strength. More than anything, perhaps, creatures of illusion as we are, it calls for confidence in oneself. Without self-confidence we are babes in the cradle. And how can we generate this imponderable quality, which is yet so invaluable, most quickly? By thinking that other people are inferior to oneself. By feeling that one has some innate superiority – it may be wealth, or rank, a straight nose, or the portrait of a grandfather by Romney – for there is no end to the pathetic devices of the human imagination – over other people. Hence the enormous importance to a patriarch who has to conquer, who has to rule, of feeling that great numbers of people, half the human race indeed, are by nature inferior to himself. It must indeed be one of the great sources of his power….Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size. Without that power probably the earth would still be swamp and jungle. The glories of all our wars would be on the remains of mutton bones and bartering flints for sheepskins or whatever simple ornament took our unsophisticated taste. Supermen and Fingers of Destiny would never have existed. The Czar and the Kaiser would never have worn their crowns or lost them. Whatever may be their use in civilised societies, mirrors are essential to all violent and heroic action. That is why Napoleon and Mussolini both insist so emphatically upon the inferiority of women, for if they were not inferior, they would cease to enlarge. That serves to explain in part the necessity that women so often are to men. And it serves to explain how restless they are under her criticism; how impossible it is for her to say to them this book is bad, this picture is feeble, or whatever it may be, without giving far more pain and rousing far more anger than a man would do who gave the same criticism. For if she begins to tell the truth, the figure in the looking-glass shrinks; his fitness in life is diminished. How is he to go on giving judgment, civilising natives, making laws, writing books, dressing up and speechifying at banquets, unless he can see himself at breakfast and at dinner at least twice the size he really is?”

In this transformational speech , Virginia Woolf pronounces her vision that ‘a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction’. She calls out the years in which women have been deprived of their own space for individual development through being chained to traditional arrangements or men’s prescriptions – demanding ‘gigantic courage’ and ‘confidence in oneself’ to brave through the onerous struggle of creating change for women’s rights. With her steadfast, stolid rhetoric and radical theorization, she paved the way for many women’s rights activists and writers to forge their own paths against patriarchal authority.

14. Inaugural Address by John F Kennedy

“In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility–I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it–and the glow from that fire can truly light the world. And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man. Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.”

For what is probably the most historically groundbreaking use of parallelism in speech across American history, President JFK placed the weighty task of ‘asking what one can do for their country’ onto the shoulders of each American citizen. Using an air of firmness in his rhetoric by declaring his commitment to his countrymen, he urges each American to do the same for the broader, noble ideal of freedom for all. With his crucial interrogation of a citizen’s moral duty to his nation, President JFK truly made history.

15. Atoms for Peace Speech by Dwight Eisenhower

“To pause there would be to confirm the hopeless finality of a belief that two atomic colossi are doomed malevolently to eye each other indefinitely across a trembling world. To stop there would be to accept helplessly the probability of civilization destroyed, the annihilation of the irreplaceable heritage of mankind handed down to us from generation to generation, and the condemnation of mankind to begin all over again the age-old struggle upward from savagery towards decency, and right, and justice. Surely no sane member of the human race could discover victory in such desolation. Could anyone wish his name to be coupled by history with such human degradation and destruction?Occasional pages of history do record the faces of the “great destroyers”, but the whole book of history reveals mankind’s never-ending quest for peace and mankind’s God-given capacity to build. It is with the book of history, and not with isolated pages, that the United States will ever wish to be identified. My country wants to be constructive,not destructive. It wants agreements, not wars, among nations. It wants itself to live in freedom and in the confidence that the peoples of every other nation enjoy equally the right of choosing their own way of life. So my country’s purpose is to help us to move out of the dark chamber of horrors into the light, to find a way by which the minds of men, the hopes of men, the souls of men everywhere, can move forward towards peace and happiness and well-being.”

On a possibility as frightful and tense as nuclear war, President Eisenhower managed to convey the gravity of the world’s plight in his measured and persuasive speech centred on the greater good of mankind. Using rhetorical devices such as the three-part paratactical syntax which most world leaders are fond of for ingraining their words in the minds of their audience, he centers the discourse of the atomic bomb on those affected by such a world-changing decision in ‘the minds, hopes and souls of men everywhere’ – effectively putting the vivid image of millions of people’s fates at stake in the minds of his audience. Being able to make a topic as heavy and fraught with moral conflict as this as eloquent as he did, Eisenhower definitely ranks among some of the most skilled orators to date.

16. The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action by Audre Lorde

“I was going to die, if not sooner then later, whether or not I had ever spoken myself. My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you. But for every real word spoken, for every attempt I had ever made to speak those truths for which I am still seeking, I had made contact with other women while we examined the words to fit a world in which we all believed, bridging our differences. What are the words you do not have yet? What do you need to say? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? Perhaps for some of you here today, I am the face of one of your fears. Because I am a woman, because I am black, because I am myself, a black woman warrior poet doing my work, come to ask you, are you doing yours?”

Revolutionary writer, feminist and civil rights activist Audre Lorde first delivered this phenomenal speech at Lesbian and Literature panel of the Modern Language Association’s December 28, 1977 meeting, which went on to feature permanently in her writings for its sheer wisdom and truth. Her powerful writing and speech about living on the margins of society has enlightened millions of people discriminated across various intersections, confronting them with the reality that they must speak – since their ‘silence will not protect’ them from further marginalization. Through her illuminating words and oratory, she has reminded marginalized persons of the importance of their selfhood and the radical capacity for change they have in a world blighted by prejudice and division.

17. 1965 Cambridge Union Hall Speech by James Baldwin

“What is dangerous here is the turning away from – the turning away from – anything any white American says. The reason for the political hesitation, in spite of the Johnson landslide is that one has been betrayed by American politicians for so long. And I am a grown man and perhaps I can be reasoned with. I certainly hope I can be. But I don’t know, and neither does Martin Luther King, none of us know how to deal with those other people whom the white world has so long ignored, who don’t believe anything the white world says and don’t entirely believe anything I or Martin is saying. And one can’t blame them. You watch what has happened to them in less than twenty years.”

Baldwin’s invitation to the Cambridge Union Hall is best remembered for foregrounding the unflinching differences in white and African Americans’ ‘system of reality’ in everyday life. Raising uncomfortable truths about the insidious nature of racism post-civil war, he provides several nuggets of thought-provoking wisdom on the state of relations between the oppressed and their oppressors, and what is necessary to mediate such relations and destroy the exploitative thread of racist hatred. With great frankness, he admits to not having all the answers but provides hard-hitting wisdom on engagement to guide activists through confounding times nonetheless.

18. I Am Prepared to Die by Nelson Mandela

“Above all, My Lord, we want equal political rights, because without them our disabilities will be permanent. I know this sounds revolutionary to the whites in this country, because the majority of voters will be Africans. This makes the white man fear democracy. But this fear cannot be allowed to stand in the way of the only solution which will guarantee racial harmony and freedom for all. It is not true that the enfranchisement of all will result in racial domination. Political division, based on colour, is entirely artificial and, when it disappears, so will the domination of one colour group by another. The ANC has spent half a century fighting against racialism. When it triumphs as it certainly must, it will not change that policy. This then is what the ANC is fighting. Our struggle is a truly national one. It is a struggle of the African people, inspired by our own suffering and our own experience. It is a struggle for the right to live. During my lifetime I have dedicated my life to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal for which I hope to live for and to see realised. But, My Lord, if it needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

Apartheid is still considered one of these most devastating events of world history, and it would not have ended without the crucial effort and words of Nelson Mandela during his courageous political leadership. In this heartbreaking speech , he voices his utter devotion to the fight against institutionalised racism in African society – an ideal for which he was ‘prepared to die for’. Mandela continues to remind us today of his moral conviction in leading, wherein the world would likely to be a better place if all politicians had the same resolve and genuine commitment to human rights and the abolition of oppression as he did.

19. Critique on British Imperialism by General Aung San

“Do they form their observations by seeing the attendances at not very many cinemas and theatres of Rangoon? Do they judge this question of money circulation by paying a stray visit to a local bazaar? Do they know that cinemas and theatres are not true indicators, at least in Burma, of the people’s conditions? Do they know that there are many in this country who cannot think of going to these places by having to struggle for their bare existence from day to day? Do they know that those who nowadays patronise or frequent cinemas and theatres which exist only in Rangoon and a few big towns, belong generally to middle and upper classes and the very few of the many poor who can attend at all are doing so as a desperate form of relaxation just to make them forget their unsupportable existences for the while whatever may be the tomorrow that awaits them?”

Under British colonial rule, one of the most legendary nationalist leaders emerged from the ranks of the thousands of Burmese to boldly lead them towards independence, out of the exploitation and control under the British. General Aung San’s speech criticising British social, political and economic control of Burma continues to be scathing, articulate, and relevant – especially given his necessary goal of uniting the Burmese natives against their common oppressor. He successfully galvanised his people against the British, taking endless risks through nationalist speeches and demonstrations which gradually bore fruit in Burma’s independence.

20. Nobel Lecture by Mother Teresa

“I believe that we are not real social workers. We may be doing social work in the eyes of the people, but we are really contemplatives in the heart of the world. For we are touching the Body Of Christ 24 hours. We have 24 hours in this presence, and so you and I. You too try to bring that presence of God in your family, for the family that prays together stays together. And I think that we in our family don’t need bombs and guns, to destroy to bring peace–just get together, love one another, bring that peace, that joy, that strength of presence of each other in the home. And we will be able to overcome all the evil that is in the world. There is so much suffering, so much hatred, so much misery, and we with our prayer, with our sacrifice are beginning at home. Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the action that we do. It is to God Almighty–how much we do it does not matter, because He is infinite, but how much love we put in that action. How much we do to Him in the person that we are serving.”

In contemporary culture, most people understand Mother Teresa to be the epitome of compassion and kindness. However, if one were to look closer at her speeches from the past, one would discover not merely her altruistic contributions, but her keen heart for social justice and the downtrodden. She wisely and gracefully remarks that ‘love begins at home’ from the individual actions of each person within their private lives, which accumulate into a life of goodness and charity. For this, her speeches served not just consolatory value or momentary relevance, as they still inform the present on how we can live lives worth living.

21. June 9 Speech to Martial Law Units by Deng Xiaoping

“This army still maintains the traditions of our old Red Army. What they crossed this time was in the true sense of the expression a political barrier, a threshold of life and death. This was not easy. This shows that the People’s Army is truly a great wall of iron and steel of the party and state. This shows that no matter how heavy our losses, the army, under the leadership of the party, will always remain the defender of the country, the defender of socialism, and the defender of the public interest. They are a most lovable people. At the same time, we should never forget how cruel our enemies are. We should have not one bit of forgiveness for them. The fact that this incident broke out as it did is very worthy of our pondering. It prompts us cool-headedly to consider the past and the future. Perhaps this bad thing will enable us to go ahead with reform and the open policy at a steadier and better — even a faster — pace, more speedily correct our mistakes, and better develop our strong points.”

Mere days before the 4 June 1989 Tiananmen Square uprising, Chinese Communist Party leader Deng Xiaoping sat with six party elders (senior officials) and the three remaining members of the Politburo Standing Committee, the paramount decision-making body in China’s government. The meeting was organised to discuss the best course of action for restoring social and political order to China, given the sweeping economic reforms that had taken place in the past decade that inevitably resulted in some social resistance from the populace. Deng then gave this astute and well-regarded speech, outlining the political complexities in shutting down student protests given the context of reforms encouraging economic liberalization already taking place, as aligned with the students’ desires. It may not be the most rousing or inflammatory of speeches, but it was certainly persuasive in voicing the importance of taking a strong stand for the economic reforms Deng was implementing to benefit Chinese citizens in the long run. Today, China is an economic superpower, far from its war-torn developing country status before Deng’s leadership – thanks to his foresight in ensuring political stability would allow China to enjoy the fruits of the massive changes they adapted to.

22. Freedom or Death by Emmeline Pankhurst

“You won your freedom in America when you had the revolution, by bloodshed, by sacrificing human life. You won the civil war by the sacrifice of human life when you decided to emancipate the negro. You have left it to women in your land, the men of all civilised countries have left it to women, to work out their own salvation. That is the way in which we women of England are doing. Human life for us is sacred, but we say if any life is to be sacrificed it shall be ours; we won’t do it ourselves, but we will put the enemy in the position where they will have to choose between giving us freedom or giving us death. Now whether you approve of us or whether you do not, you must see that we have brought the question of women’s suffrage into a position where it is of first rate importance, where it can be ignored no longer. Even the most hardened politician will hesitate to take upon himself directly the responsibility of sacrificing the lives of women of undoubted honour, of undoubted earnestness of purpose. That is the political situation as I lay it before you today.”

In 1913 after Suffragette Emily Davison stepped in front of King George V’s horse at the Epsom Derby and suffered fatal injuries, Emmeline Pankhurst delivered her speech to Connecticut as a call to action for people to support the suffragette movement. Her fortitude in delivering such a sobering speech on the state of women’s rights is worth remembering for its invaluable impact and contributions to the rights we enjoy in today’s world.

23. Quit India by Mahatma Gandhi

“We shall either free India or die in the attempt; we shall not live to see the perpetuation of our slavery. Every true Congressman or woman will join the struggle with an inflexible determination not to remain alive to see the country in bondage and slavery. Let that be your pledge. Keep jails out of your consideration. If the Government keep me free, I will not put on the Government the strain of maintaining a large number of prisoners at a time, when it is in trouble. Let every man and woman live every moment of his or her life hereafter in the consciousness that he or she eats or lives for achieving freedom and will die, if need be, to attain that goal. Take a pledge, with God and your own conscience as witness, that you will no longer rest till freedom is achieved and will be prepared to lay down your lives in the attempt to achieve it. He who loses his life will gain it; he who will seek to save it shall lose it. Freedom is not for the coward or the faint-hearted.”

Naturally, the revolutionary activist Gandhi had to appear in this list for his impassioned anti-colonial speeches which rallied Indians towards independence. Famous for leading non-violent demonstrations, his speeches were a key element in gathering Indians of all backgrounds together for the common cause of eliminating their colonial masters. His speeches were resolute, eloquent, and courageous, inspiring the hope and admiration of many not just within India, but around the world.

24. 1974 National Book Award Speech by Adrienne Rich, Alice Walker, Audre Lorde

“The statement I am going to read was prepared by three of the women nominated for the National Book Award for poetry, with the agreement that it would be read by whichever of us, if any, was chosen.We, Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich, and Alice Walker, together accept this award in the name of all the women whose voices have gone and still go unheard in a patriarchal world, and in the name of those who, like us, have been tolerated as token women in this culture, often at great cost and in great pain. We believe that we can enrich ourselves more in supporting and giving to each other than by competing against each other; and that poetry—if it is poetry—exists in a realm beyond ranking and comparison. We symbolically join together here in refusing the terms of patriarchal competition and declaring that we will share this prize among us, to be used as best we can for women. We appreciate the good faith of the judges for this award, but none of us could accept this money for herself, nor could she let go unquestioned the terms on which poets are given or denied honor and livelihood in this world, especially when they are women. We dedicate this occasion to the struggle for self-determination of all women, of every color, identification, or derived class: the poet, the housewife, the lesbian, the mathematician, the mother, the dishwasher, the pregnant teen-ager, the teacher, the grandmother, the prostitute, the philosopher, the waitress, the women who will understand what we are doing here and those who will not understand yet; the silent women whose voices have been denied us, the articulate women who have given us strength to do our work.”

Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, and Alice Walker wrote this joint speech to be delivered by Adrienne Rich at the 1974 National Book Awards, based on their suspicions that the first few African American lesbian women to be nominated for the awards would be snubbed in favour of a white woman nominee. Their suspicions were confirmed, and Adrienne Rich delivered this socially significant speech in solidarity with her fellow nominees, upholding the voices of the ‘silent women whose voices have been denied’.

25. Speech to 20th Congress of the CPSU by Nikita Khruschev

“Considering the question of the cult of an individual, we must first of all show everyone what harm this caused to the interests of our Party. Vladimir Ilyich Lenin had always stressed the Party’s role and significance in the direction of the socialist government of workers and peasants; he saw in this the chief precondition for a successful building of socialism in our country. Pointing to the great responsibility of the Bolshevik Party, as ruling Party of the Soviet state, Lenin called for the most meticulous observance of all norms of Party life; he called for the realization of the principles of collegiality in the direction of the Party and the state. Collegiality of leadership flows from the very nature of our Party, a Party built on the principles of democratic centralism. “This means,” said Lenin, “that all Party matters are accomplished by all Party members – directly or through representatives – who, without any exceptions, are subject to the same rules; in addition, all administrative members, all directing collegia, all holders of Party positions are elective, they must account for their activities and are recallable.””

This speech is possibly the most famed Russian speech for its status as a ‘secret’ speech delivered only to the CPSU at the time, which was eventually revealed to the public. Given the unchallenged political legacy and cult of personality which Stalin left in the Soviet Union, Nikita Khruschev’s speech condemning the authoritarian means Stalin had resorted to to consolidate power as un-socialist was an important mark in Russian history.

26. The Struggle for Human Rights by Eleanor Roosevelt

“It is my belief, and I am sure it is also yours, that the struggle for democracy and freedom is a critical struggle, for their preservation is essential to the great objective of the United Nations to maintain international peace and security. Among free men the end cannot justify the means. We know the patterns of totalitarianism — the single political party, the control of schools, press, radio, the arts, the sciences, and the church to support autocratic authority; these are the age-old patterns against which men have struggled for three thousand years. These are the signs of reaction, retreat, and retrogression. The United Nations must hold fast to the heritage of freedom won by the struggle of its people; it must help us to pass it on to generations to come. The development of the ideal of freedom and its translation into the everyday life of the people in great areas of the earth is the product of the efforts of many peoples. It is the fruit of a long tradition of vigorous thinking and courageous action. No one race and on one people can claim to have done all the work to achieve greater dignity for human beings and great freedom to develop human personality. In each generation and in each country there must be a continuation of the struggle and new steps forward must be taken since this is preeminently a field in which to stand still is to retreat.”

Eleanor Roosevelt has been among the most well-loved First Ladies for good reason – her eloquence and gravitas in delivering every speech convinced everyone of her suitability for the oval office. In this determined and articulate speech , she outlines the fundamental values that form the bedrock of democracy, urging the rest of the world to uphold human rights regardless of national ideology and interests.

27. The Ballot or The Bullet by Malcolm X

“And in this manner, the organizations will increase in number and in quantity and in quality, and by August, it is then our intention to have a black nationalist convention which will consist of delegates from all over the country who are interested in the political, economic and social philosophy of black nationalism. After these delegates convene, we will hold a seminar; we will hold discussions; we will listen to everyone. We want to hear new ideas and new solutions and new answers. And at that time, if we see fit then to form a black nationalist party, we’ll form a black nationalist party. If it’s necessary to form a black nationalist army, we’ll form a black nationalist army. It’ll be the ballot or the bullet. It’ll be liberty or it’ll be death.”

Inarguably, the revolutionary impact Malcolm X’s fearless oratory had was substantial in his time as a radical anti-racist civil rights activist. His speeches’ emancipatory potential put forth his ‘theory of rhetorical action’ where he urges Black Americans to employ both the ballot and the bullet, strategically without being dependent on the other should the conditions of oppression change. A crucial leader in the fight for civil rights, he opened the eyes of thousands of Black Americans, politicising and convincing them of the necessity of fighting for their democratic rights against white supremacists.

28. Living the Revolution by Gloria Steinem

“The challenge to all of us, and to you men and women who are graduating today, is to live a revolution, not to die for one. There has been too much killing, and the weapons are now far too terrible. This revolution has to change consciousness, to upset the injustice of our current hierarchy by refusing to honor it, and to live a life that enforces a new social justice. Because the truth is none of us can be liberated if other groups are not.”

In an unexpected commencement speech delivered at Vassar College in 1970, Gloria Steinem boldly makes a call to action on behalf of marginalized groups in need of liberation to newly graduated students. She proclaimed it the year of Women’s Liberation and forcefully highlighted the need for a social revolution to ‘upset the injustice of the current hierarchy’ in favour of human rights – echoing the hard-hitting motto on social justice, ‘until all of us are free, none of us are free’.

29. The Last Words of Harvey Milk by Harvey Milk

“I cannot prevent some people from feeling angry and frustrated and mad in response to my death, but I hope they will take the frustration and madness and instead of demonstrating or anything of that type, I would hope that they would take the power and I would hope that five, ten, one hundred, a thousand would rise. I would like to see every gay lawyer, every gay architect come out, stand up and let the world know. That would do more to end prejudice overnight than anybody could imagine. I urge them to do that, urge them to come out. Only that way will we start to achieve our rights. … All I ask is for the movement to continue, and if a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door…”

As the first openly gay elected official in the history of California, Harvey Milk’s entire political candidature was in itself a radical statement against the homophobic status quo at the time. Given the dangerous times he was in as an openly gay man, he anticipated that he would be assassinated eventually in his political career. As such, these are some of his last words which show the utter devotion he had to campaigning against homophobia while representing the American people, voicing his heartbreaking wish for the bullet that would eventually kill him to ‘destroy every closet door’.

30. Black Power Address at UC Berkeley by Stokely Carmichael

“Now we are now engaged in a psychological struggle in this country, and that is whether or not black people will have the right to use the words they want to use without white people giving their sanction to it; and that we maintain, whether they like it or not, we gonna use the word “Black Power” — and let them address themselves to that; but that we are not going to wait for white people to sanction Black Power. We’re tired waiting; every time black people move in this country, they’re forced to defend their position before they move. It’s time that the people who are supposed to be defending their position do that. That’s white people. They ought to start defending themselves as to why they have oppressed and exploited us.”

A forceful and impressive orator, Stokely Carmichael was among those at the forefront of the civil rights movement, who was a vigorous socialist organizer as well. He led the Black Power movement wherein he gave this urgent, influential speech that propelled Black Americans forward in their fight for constitutional rights in the 1960s.

31. Speech on Vietnam by Lyndon Johnson

“The true peace-keepers are those men who stand out there on the DMZ at this very hour, taking the worst that the enemy can give. The true peace-keepers are the soldiers who are breaking the terrorist’s grip around the villages of Vietnam—the civilians who are bringing medical care and food and education to people who have already suffered a generation of war. And so I report to you that we are going to continue to press forward. Two things we must do. Two things we shall do. First, we must not mislead the enemy. Let him not think that debate and dissent will produce wavering and withdrawal. For I can assure you they won’t. Let him not think that protests will produce surrender. Because they won’t. Let him not think that he will wait us out. For he won’t. Second, we will provide all that our brave men require to do the job that must be done. And that job is going to be done. These gallant men have our prayers-have our thanks—have our heart-felt praise—and our deepest gratitude. Let the world know that the keepers of peace will endure through every trial—and that with the full backing of their countrymen, they are going to prevail.”

During some of the most harrowing periods of human history, the Vietnam War, American soldiers were getting soundly defeated by the Vietnamese in guerrilla warfare. President Lyndon Johnson then issued this dignified, consolatory speech to encourage patriotism and support for the soldiers putting their lives on the line for the nation.

32. A Whisper of AIDS by Mary Fisher

“We may take refuge in our stereotypes, but we cannot hide there long, because HIV asks only one thing of those it attacks. Are you human? And this is the right question. Are you human? Because people with HIV have not entered some alien state of being. They are human. They have not earned cruelty, and they do not deserve meanness. They don’t benefit from being isolated or treated as outcasts. Each of them is exactly what God made: a person; not evil, deserving of our judgment; not victims, longing for our pity ­­ people, ready for  support and worthy of compassion. We must be consistent if we are to be believed. We cannot love justice and ignore prejudice, love our children and fear to teach them. Whatever our role as parent or policymaker, we must act as eloquently as we speak ­­ else we have no integrity. My call to the nation is a plea for awareness. If you believe you are safe, you are in danger. Because I was not hemophiliac, I was not at risk. Because I was not gay, I was not at risk. Because I did not inject drugs, I was not at risk. The lesson history teaches is this: If you believe you are safe, you are at risk. If you do not see this killer stalking your children, look again. There is no family or community, no race or religion, no place left in America that is safe. Until we genuinely embrace this message, we are a nation at risk.”

Back when AIDS research was still undeveloped, the stigma of contracting HIV was even more immense than it is today. A celebrated artist, author and speaker, Mary Fisher became an outspoken activist for those with HIV/AIDS, persuading people to extend compassion to the population with HIV instead of stigmatizing them – as injustice has a way of coming around to people eventually. Her bold act of speaking out for the community regardless of the way they contracted the disease, their sexual orientation or social group, was an influential move in advancing the human rights of those with HIV and spreading awareness on the discrimination they face.

33. Freedom from Fear by Aung San Suu Kyi

“The quintessential revolution is that of the spirit, born of an intellectual conviction of the need for change in those mental attitudes and values which shape the course of a nation’s development. A revolution which aims merely at changing official policies and institutions with a view to an improvement in material conditions has little chance of genuine success. Without a revolution of the spirit, the forces which produced the iniquities of the old order would continue to be operative, posing a constant threat to the process of reform and regeneration. It is not enough merely to call for freedom, democracy and human rights. There has to be a united determination to persevere in the struggle, to make sacrifices in the name of enduring truths, to resist the corrupting influences of desire, ill will, ignorance and fear. Saints, it has been said, are the sinners who go on trying. So free men are the oppressed who go on trying and who in the process make themselves fit to bear the responsibilities and to uphold the disciplines which will maintain a free society. Among the basic freedoms to which men aspire that their lives might be full and uncramped, freedom from fear stands out as both a means and an end. A people who would build a nation in which strong, democratic institutions are firmly established as a guarantee against state-induced power must first learn to liberate their own minds from apathy and fear.”

Famous for her resoluteness and fortitude in campaigning for democracy in Burma despite being put under house arrest by the military government, Aung San Suu Kyi’s speeches have been widely touted as inspirational. In this renowned speech of hers, she delivers a potent message to Burmese to ‘liberate their minds from apathy and fear’ in the struggle for freedom and human rights in the country. To this day, she continues to tirelessly champion the welfare and freedom of Burmese in a state still overcome by vestiges of authoritarian rule.

34. This Is Water by David Foster Wallace

“Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom all to be lords of our tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the centre of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talk about much in the great outside world of wanting and achieving…. The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day. That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.”

Esteemed writer David Foster Wallace gave a remarkably casual yet wise commencement speech at Kenyon College in 2005 on the importance of learning to think beyond attaining a formal education. He encouraged hundreds of students to develop freedom of thought, a heart of sacrificial care for those in need of justice, and a consciousness that would serve them in discerning the right choices to make within a status quo that is easy to fall in line with. His captivating speech on what it meant to truly be ‘educated’ tugged at the hearts of many young and critical minds striving to achieve their dreams and change the world.

35. Questioning the Universe by Stephen Hawking

“This brings me to the last of the big questions: the future of the human race. If we are the only intelligent beings in the galaxy, we should make sure we survive and continue. But we are entering an increasingly dangerous period of our history. Our population and our use of the finite resources of planet Earth are growing exponentially, along with our technical ability to change the environment for good or ill. But our genetic code still carries the selfish and aggressive instincts that were of survival advantage in the past. It will be difficult enough to avoid disaster in the next hundred years, let alone the next thousand or million. Our only chance of long-term survival is not to remain inward-looking on planet Earth, but to spread out into space. The answers to these big questions show that we have made remarkable progress in the last hundred years. But if we want to continue beyond the next hundred years, our future is in space. That is why I am in favor of manned — or should I say, personned — space flight.”

Extraordinary theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author Stephen Hawking was a considerable influence upon modern physics and scientific research at large, inspiring people regardless of physical ability to aspire towards expanding knowledge in the world. In his speech on Questioning the Universe, he speaks of the emerging currents and issues in the scientific world like that of outer space, raising and answering big questions that have stumped great thinkers for years.

36. 2008 Democratic National Convention Speech by Michelle Obama

“I stand here today at the crosscurrents of that history — knowing that my piece of the American dream is a blessing hard won by those who came before me. All of them driven by the same conviction that drove my dad to get up an hour early each day to painstakingly dress himself for work. The same conviction that drives the men and women I’ve met all across this country: People who work the day shift, kiss their kids goodnight, and head out for the night shift — without disappointment, without regret — that goodnight kiss a reminder of everything they’re working for. The military families who say grace each night with an empty seat at the table. The servicemen and women who love this country so much, they leave those they love most to defend it. The young people across America serving our communities — teaching children, cleaning up neighborhoods, caring for the least among us each and every day. People like Hillary Clinton, who put those 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling, so that our daughters — and sons — can dream a little bigger and aim a little higher. People like Joe Biden, who’s never forgotten where he came from and never stopped fighting for folks who work long hours and face long odds and need someone on their side again. All of us driven by a simple belief that the world as it is just won’t do — that we have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be. That is the thread that connects our hearts. That is the thread that runs through my journey and Barack’s journey and so many other improbable journeys that have brought us here tonight, where the current of history meets this new tide of hope. That is why I love this country.”

Ever the favourite modern First Lady of America, Michelle Obama has delivered an abundance of iconic speeches in her political capacity, never forgetting to foreground the indomitable human spirit embodied in American citizens’ everyday lives and efforts towards a better world. The Obamas might just have been the most articulate couple of rhetoricians of their time, making waves as the first African American president and First Lady while introducing important policies in their period of governance.

37. The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama

“I’m not talking about blind optimism here — the almost willful ignorance that thinks unemployment will go away if we just don’t think about it, or the health care crisis will solve itself if we just ignore it. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about something more substantial. It’s the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs; the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores; the hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta; the hope of a millworker’s son who dares to defy the odds; the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too. Hope — Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope! In the end, that is God’s greatest gift to us, the bedrock of this nation. A belief in things not seen. A belief that there are better days ahead.”

Now published into a book, Barack Obama’s heart-capturing personal story of transformational hope was first delivered as a speech on the merits of patriotic optimism and determination put to the mission of concrete change. He has come to be known as one of the most favoured and inspiring presidents in American history, and arguably the most skilled orators ever.

38. “Be Your Own Story” by Toni Morrison

“But I’m not going to talk anymore about the future because I’m hesitant to describe or predict because I’m not even certain that it exists. That is to say, I’m not certain that somehow, perhaps, a burgeoning ménage a trois of political interests, corporate interests and military interests will not prevail and literally annihilate an inhabitable, humane future. Because I don’t think we can any longer rely on separation of powers, free speech, religious tolerance or unchallengeable civil liberties as a matter of course. That is, not while finite humans in the flux of time make decisions of infinite damage. Not while finite humans make infinite claims of virtue and unassailable power that are beyond their competence, if not their reach. So, no happy talk about the future. … Because the past is already in debt to the mismanaged present. And besides, contrary to what you may have heard or learned, the past is not done and it is not over, it’s still in process, which is another way of saying that when it’s critiqued, analyzed, it yields new information about itself. The past is already changing as it is being reexamined, as it is being listened to for deeper resonances. Actually it can be more liberating than any imagined future if you are willing to identify its evasions, its distortions, its lies, and are willing to unleash its secrets.”

Venerated author and professor Toni Morrison delivered an impressively articulate speech at Wellesley College in 2004 to new graduates, bucking the trend by discussing the importance of the past in informing current and future ways of living. With her brilliance and eloquence, she blew the crowd away and renewed in them the capacity for reflection upon using the past as a talisman to guide oneself along the journey of life.

39. Nobel Speech by Malala Yousafzai

“Dear brothers and sisters, the so-called world of adults may understand it, but we children don’t. Why is it that countries which we call “strong” are so powerful in creating wars but so weak in bringing peace? Why is it that giving guns is so easy but giving books is so hard? Why is it that making tanks is so easy, but building schools is so difficult? As we are living in the modern age, the 21st century and we all believe that nothing is impossible. We can reach the moon and maybe soon will land on Mars. Then, in this, the 21st century, we must be determined that our dream of quality education for all will also come true. So let us bring equality, justice and peace for all. Not just the politicians and the world leaders, we all need to contribute. Me. You. It is our duty. So we must work … and not wait. I call upon my fellow children to stand up around the world. Dear sisters and brothers, let us become the first generation to decide to be the last. The empty classrooms, the lost childhoods, wasted potential-let these things end with us.”

At a mere 16 years of age, Malala Yousafzai gave a speech on the severity of the state of human rights across the world, and wowed the world with her passion for justice at her tender age. She displayed tenacity and fearlessness speaking about her survival of an assassination attempt for her activism for gender equality in the field of education. A model of courage to us all, her speech remains an essential one in the fight for human rights in the 21st century.

40. Final Commencement Speech by Michelle Obama

“If you are a person of faith, know that religious diversity is a great American tradition, too. In fact, that’s why people first came to this country — to worship freely. And whether you are Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh — these religions are teaching our young people about justice, and compassion, and honesty. So I want our young people to continue to learn and practice those values with pride. You see, our glorious diversity — our diversities of faiths and colors and creeds — that is not a threat to who we are, it makes us who we are. So the young people here and the young people out there: Do not ever let anyone make you feel like you don’t matter, or like you don’t have a place in our American story — because you do. And you have a right to be exactly who you are. But I also want to be very clear: This right isn’t just handed to you. No, this right has to be earned every single day. You cannot take your freedoms for granted. Just like generations who have come before you, you have to do your part to preserve and protect those freedoms. … It is our fundamental belief in the power of hope that has allowed us to rise above the voices of doubt and division, of anger and fear that we have faced in our own lives and in the life of this country. Our hope that if we work hard enough and believe in ourselves, then we can be whatever we dream, regardless of the limitations that others may place on us. The hope that when people see us for who we truly are, maybe, just maybe they, too, will be inspired to rise to their best possible selves.”

Finally, we have yet another speech by Michelle Obama given in her final remarks as First Lady – a tear-inducing event for many Americans and even people around the world. In this emotional end to her political tenure, she gives an empowering, hopeful, expressive speech to young Americans, exhorting them to take hold of its future in all their diversity and work hard at being their best possible selves.

Amidst the bleak era of our current time with Trump as president of the USA, not only Michelle Obama, but all 40 of these amazing speeches can serve as sources of inspiration and hope to everyone – regardless of their identity or ambitions. After hearing these speeches, which one’s your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

Article Written By: Kai Xin Koh

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Informative Speeches — Types, Topics, and Examples

Daniel Bal

What is an informative speech?

An informative speech uses descriptions, demonstrations, and strong detail to explain a person, place, or subject. An informative speech makes a complex topic easier to understand and focuses on delivering information, rather than providing a persuasive argument.

speeches word examples

Types of informative speeches

The most common types of informative speeches are definition, explanation, description, and demonstration.

Types of informative speeches

A definition speech explains a concept, theory, or philosophy about which the audience knows little. The purpose of the speech is to inform the audience so they understand the main aspects of the subject matter.

An explanatory speech presents information on the state of a given topic. The purpose is to provide a specific viewpoint on the chosen subject. Speakers typically incorporate a visual of data and/or statistics.

The speaker of a descriptive speech provides audiences with a detailed and vivid description of an activity, person, place, or object using elaborate imagery to make the subject matter memorable.

A demonstrative speech explains how to perform a particular task or carry out a process. These speeches often demonstrate the following:

How to do something

How to make something

How to fix something

How something works

Demonstrative speeches

How to write an informative speech

Regardless of the type, every informative speech should include an introduction, a hook, background information, a thesis, the main points, and a conclusion.

Introduction

An attention grabber or hook draws in the audience and sets the tone for the speech. The technique the speaker uses should reflect the subject matter in some way (i.e., if the topic is serious in nature, do not open with a joke). Therefore, when choosing an attention grabber, consider the following:

What’s the topic of the speech?

What’s the occasion?

Who’s the audience?

What’s the purpose of the speech?

Attention grabbers/hooks

Common Attention Grabbers (Hooks)

Ask a question that allows the audience to respond in a non-verbal way (e.g., a poll question where they can simply raise their hands) or ask a rhetorical question that makes the audience think of the topic in a certain way yet requires no response.

Incorporate a well-known quote that introduces the topic. Using the words of a celebrated individual gives credibility and authority to the information in the speech.

Offer a startling statement or information about the topic, which is typically done using data or statistics. The statement should surprise the audience in some way.

Provide a brief anecdote that relates to the topic in some way.

Present a “what if” scenario that connects to the subject matter of the speech.

Identify the importance of the speech’s topic.

Starting a speech with a humorous statement often makes the audience more comfortable with the speaker.

Include any background information pertinent to the topic that the audience needs to know to understand the speech in its entirety.

The thesis statement shares the central purpose of the speech.

Demonstrate

Include background information and a thesis statement

Preview the main ideas that will help accomplish the central purpose. Typically, informational speeches will have an average of three main ideas.

Body paragraphs

Apply the following to each main idea (body) :

Identify the main idea ( NOTE: The main points of a demonstration speech would be the individual steps.)

Provide evidence to support the main idea

Explain how the evidence supports the main idea/central purpose

Transition to the next main idea

Body of an informative speech

Review or restate the thesis and the main points presented throughout the speech.

Much like the attention grabber, the closing statement should interest the audience. Some of the more common techniques include a challenge, a rhetorical question, or restating relevant information:

Provide the audience with a challenge or call to action to apply the presented information to real life.

Detail the benefit of the information.

Close with an anecdote or brief story that illustrates the main points.

Leave the audience with a rhetorical question to ponder after the speech has concluded.

Detail the relevance of the presented information.

Informative speech conclusion

Before speech writing, brainstorm a list of informative speech topic ideas. The right topic depends on the type of speech, but good topics can range from video games to disabilities and electric cars to healthcare and mental health.

Informative speech topics

Some common informative essay topics for each type of informational speech include the following:

Informative speech examples

The following list identifies famous informational speeches:

“Duties of American Citizenship” by Theodore Roosevelt

“Duty, Honor, Country” by General Douglas MacArthur

“Strength and Dignity” by Theodore Roosevelt

Explanation

“Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” by Patrick Henry

“The Decision to Go to the Moon” by John F. Kennedy

“We Shall Fight on the Beaches” by Winston Churchill

Description

“I Have a Dream” by Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Pearl Harbor Address” by Franklin Delano Roosevelt

“Luckiest Man” by Lou Gehrig

Demonstration

The Way to Cook with Julia Child

This Old House with Bob Vila

Bill Nye the Science Guy with Bill Nye

Speech transitions: words and phrases to connect your ideas

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Speech transitions: words and phrases to connect your ideas

June 28, 2018 - gini beqiri.

When delivering presentations it's important for your words and ideas to flow so your audience can understand how everything links together and why it's all relevant.

This can be done using speech transitions because these act as signposts to the audience - signalling the relationship between points and ideas. This article explores how to use speech transitions in presentations.

What are speech transitions?

Speech transitions are words and phrases that allow you to smoothly move from one point to another so that your speech flows and your presentation is unified.

This makes it easier for the audience to understand your argument and without transitions the audience may be confused as to how one point relates to another and they may think you're randomly jumping between points.

Types of transitions

Transitions can be one word, a phrase or a full sentence - there are many different types, here are a few:

Introduction

Introduce your topic:

  • We will be looking at/identifying/investigating the effects of...
  • Today I will be discussing...

Presentation outline

Inform the audience of the structure of your presentation:

  • There are three key points I'll be discussing...
  • I want to begin by..., and then I'll move on to...
  • We'll be covering... from two points of view...
  • This presentation is divided into four parts...

Move from the introduction to the first point

Signify to the audience that you will now begin discussing the first main point:

  • Now that you're aware of the overview, let's begin with...
  • First, let's begin with...
  • I will first cover...
  • My first point covers...
  • To get started, let's look at...

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Shift between similar points

Move from one point to a similar one:

  • In the same way...
  • Likewise...
  • This is similar to...
  • Similarly...

Presentation transitions at a meeting

Shift between disagreeing points

You may have to introduce conflicting ideas - bridging words and phrases are especially good for this:

  • Conversely...
  • Despite this...
  • On the contrary...
  • Now let's consider...
  • Nonetheless...
  • We can't ignore...
  • On the other hand...

Transition to a significant issue

  • Fundamentally...
  • A major issue is...
  • The crux of the matter...
  • A significant concern is...

Referring to previous points

You may have to refer to something that you've already spoken about because, for example, there may have been a break or a fire alarm etc:

  • Let’s return to...
  • We briefly spoke about X earlier; let's look at it in more depth now...
  • Let’s revisit...
  • Let’s go back to...
  • Do you recall when I mentioned...

This can be also be useful to introduce a new point because adults learn better when new information builds on previously learned information.

Introducing an aside note

You may want to introduce a digression:

  • I'd just like to mention...
  • That reminds me...
  • Incidentally...

Physical movement

You can move your body and your standing location when you transition to another point. The audience find it easier to follow your presentation and movement will increase their interest.

A common technique for incorporating movement into your presentation is to:

  • Start your introduction by standing in the centre of the stage.
  • For your first point you stand on the left side of the stage.
  • You discuss your second point from the centre again.
  • You stand on the right side of the stage for your third point.
  • The conclusion occurs in the centre.

Emphasising importance

You need to ensure that the audience get the message by informing them why something is important:

  • More importantly...
  • This is essential...
  • Primarily...

Internal summaries

Internal summarising consists of summarising before moving on to the next point. You must inform the audience:

  • What part of the presentation you covered - "In the first part of this speech we've covered..."
  • What the key points were - "Precisely how..."
  • How this links in with the overall presentation - "So that's the context..."
  • What you're moving on to - "Now I'd like to move on to the second part of presentation which looks at..."

Speech transitions during a team meeting

Cause and effect

You will have to transition to show relationships between factors:

  • Therefore...
  • Consequently...
  • As a result...
  • This is significant because...

Elaboration

  • What's more...
  • In addition/additionally...
  • Moreover...
  • Furthermore...

Point-by-point or steps of a process

  • First/firstly/The first one is...
  • Second/Secondly/The second one is...
  • Third/Thirdly/The third one is...
  • Last/Lastly/Finally/The fourth one is...

Introduce an example

  • This is demonstrated by...
  • For instance...
  • Take the case of...
  • For example...
  • You may be asking whether this happens in X? The answer is yes...
  • To show/illustrate/highlight this...
  • Let me illustrate this by...

Transition to a demonstration

  • Now that we've covered the theory, let's practically apply it...
  • I'll conduct an experiment to show you this in action...
  • Let me demonstrate this...
  • I'll now show you this...

Introducing a quotation

  • X was a supporter of this thinking because he said...
  • There is a lot of support for this, for example, X said...

Transition to another speaker

In a group presentation you must transition to other speakers:

  • Briefly recap on what you covered in your section: "So that was a brief introduction on what health anxiety is and how it can affect somebody"
  • Introduce the next speaker in the team and explain what they will discuss: "Now Gayle will talk about the prevalence of health anxiety."
  • Then end by looking at the next speaker, gesturing towards them and saying their name: "Gayle".
  • The next speaker should acknowledge this with a quick: "Thank you Simon."

From these examples, you can see how the different sections of the presentations link which makes it easier for the audience to follow and remain engaged.

You can tell personal stories or share the experiences of others to introduce a point. Anecdotes are especially valuable for your introduction and between different sections of the presentation because they engage the audience. Ensure that you plan the stories thoroughly beforehand and that they are not too long.

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Using questions

You can transition through your speech by asking questions and these questions also have the benefit of engaging your audience more. There are three different types of questions:

Direct questions require an answer: "What is the capital of Italy?" These are mentally stimulating for the audience.

Rhetorical questions do not require answers, they are often used to emphasises an idea or point: "Is the Pope catholic?

Loaded questions contain an unjustified assumption made to prompt the audience into providing a particular answer which you can then correct to support your point: You may ask "Why does your wonderful company have such a low incidence of mental health problems?".

The audience will generally answer that they're happy. After receiving the answers you could then say "Actually it's because people are still unwilling and too embarrassed to seek help for mental health issues at work etc."

Speech transitions during a conference

Transition to a visual aid

If you are going to introduce a visual aid you must prepare the audience with what they're going to see, for example, you might be leading into a diagram that supports your statement. Also, before you show the visual aid , explain why you're going to show it, for example, "This graph is a significant piece of evidence supporting X".

When the graphic is on display get the audience to focus on it:

  • The table indicates...
  • As you can see...
  • I'd like to direct your attention to...

Explain what the visual is showing:

  • You can see that there has been a reduction in...
  • The diagram is comparing the...

Using a visual aid to transition

Visual aids can also be used as transitions and they have the benefit of being stimulating and breaking-up vocal transitions.

You might have a slide with just a picture on it to signify to the audience that you're moving on to a new point - ensure that this image is relevant to the point. Many speakers like to use cartoons for this purpose but ensure its suitable for your audience.

Always summarise your key points first in the conclusion:

  • Let's recap on what we've spoken about today...
  • Let me briefly summarise the main points...

And then conclude:

If you have a shorter speech you may choose to end your presentation with one statement:

  • In short...
  • To sum up...
  • In a nutshell...
  • To summarise...
  • In conclusion...

However, using statements such as "To conclude" may cause the audience to stop listening. It's better to say:

  • I'd like to leave you with this...
  • What you should take away from this is...
  • Finally, I want to say...

Call to action

Requesting the audience to do something at the end of the presentation:

  • You may be thinking how can I help in this matter? Well...
  • My aim is to encourage you to go further and...
  • What I'm requesting of you is...

Common mistakes

When transitions are used poorly you can annoy and confuse the audience. Avoid:

  • Using transitions that are too short - transitions are a key part of ensuring the audience understands your presentation so spend sufficient time linking to your next idea.
  • Too many tangents - any digressions should still be relevant to the topic and help the audience with their understanding, otherwise cut them out.
  • Incompatible transitions - for example, if you're about to introduce an example that supports your statement you wouldn't introduce this by saying "but". Use transitions that signify the relationship between points.
  • Over-using the same transition because this is boring for the audience to hear repeatedly. Ensure that there is variety with your transitions, consider including visual transitions.
  • Miscounting your transitions - for example, don't say "first point", "second point", "next point" - refer to your points consistently.

Speech transitions are useful for unifying and connecting your presentation. The audience are more likely to remain engaged since they'll be able to follow your points. But remember that it's important to practice your transitions beforehand and not just the content of your arguments because you risk looking unprofessional and confusing the audience if the presentation does not flow smoothly.

10 Great American Speeches for the 7-12 Classroom

Readability and Rhetoric Ratings of Literary and Informational Texts

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Speeches can inspire students. Teachers in every subject area can use the texts of inspirational speeches to increase their students' background knowledge about a variety of topics. Speeches also address the  Common Core Literacy Standards for Science, History, Social Studies, and Technical Subject Areas as well as the  Standards for English Language Arts . They also guide teachers to ensure that their students understand word meanings, appreciate the nuances of words, and steadily expand their range of vocabulary and phrases.

Here are 10 great American speeches that helped define America during its first two centuries with a link to word count, readability level, and an example of a prominent rhetorical device that is contained within each text. 

The Gettysburg Address

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Abraham Lincoln gave this speech , which began with the famous line, "Fourscore and seven years ago . . .," at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery near the battlefield in Gettysburg. The address occurred four and a half months after the  Battle of Gettysburg .

Delivered by : Abraham Lincoln Date : November 19, 1863 Location: Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Word Count: 269 words Readability score :  Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease  64.4 Grade Level : 10.9 Rhetorical device used : Anaphora : Repetition of words at the start of clauses or verses.

"But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground."

Abraham Lincoln's 2nd Inaugural Address

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The dome of the United States Capitol was unfinished when Lincoln delivered this Inaugural Address beginning his second term. It is notable for its theological argument. The following month, Lincoln was assassinated.

Delivered by : Abraham Lincoln Date : March 4, 1865 Location: Washington, D.C. Word Count: 706 words Readability score : Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease 58.1 Grade Level : 12.1 Rhetorical device used :   Allusion : A brief and indirect reference to a person, place, thing, or idea of historical, cultural, literary, or political significance. 

"It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged." 

Keynote Address at the Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention

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The  Seneca Falls Convention  was the first women's rights convention organized to "discuss the social, civil, and religious condition and rights of woman."

Delivered by :  Elizabeth Cady Stanton Date : July 19, 1848 Location: Seneca Falls, New York Word Count:  1427 words Readability score : Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease 64.4 Grade Level : 12.3 Rhetorical device used :  Asyndeton (" unconnected" in Greek): A stylistic device used in literature to intentionally eliminate conjunctions between the phrases and in the sentence, yet maintain grammatical accuracy. 

"The right is ours. Have it we must. Use it we will."

George Washington's Response to the Newburgh Conspiracy

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When the officers of the Continental Army threatened to march on the Capitol to demand back pay, George Washington stopped them with this short speech. At the conclusion, he took out his glasses and said, “Gentlemen, you must pardon me. I have grown old in the service of my country and now find that I am growing blind.” Within minutes, the officers-eyes filled with tears-voted unanimously to express confidence in Congress and their country.

Delivered by : General George Washington Date : March 15, 1783 Location: Newburgh, New York Word Count:  1,134 words Readability score : Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease 32.6 Grade Level : 13.5 Rhetorical device used :   Rhetorical Questions : Asked for effect or to lay emphasis on some point discussed when no real answer is expected. 

"My God! what can this writer have in view, by recommending such measures? Can he be a friend to the Army? Can he be a friend to this Country? Rather, is he not an insidious Foe?"

Patrick Henry 'Give Me Liberty, or Give Me Death'

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Patrick Henry's speech was an attempt to persuade the Virginia House of Burgesses, meeting at St. John's Church in Richmond, to pass resolutions favoring Virginia joining the American Revolutionary War.

Delivered by : Patrick Henry Date : March 23, 1775 Location: Richmond, Virginia Word Count:  1215 words Readability score : Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease 74 Grade Level : 8.1 Rhetorical device used : Hypophora:  Asking a question and immediately answering it.

"Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us: they can be meant for no other."

Sojourner Truth 'Ain't I A Woman?'

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This speech was delivered extemporaneously by Sojourner Truth , who was enslaved from the time of her birth in New York State. She spoke at the Women's Convention in Akron, Ohio, 1851.  Frances Gage , the president of the convention, recorded the speech 12 years later.

Delivered by : Sojourner Truth Date : May 1851 Location: Akron, Ohio Word Count: 383   words Readability score : Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease 89.4 Grade Level : 4.7 Rhetorical device used : Metaphor:  To make an implicit, implied, or hidden comparison between two things or objects that are poles apart from each other but have some characteristics common between them. Metaphor of pints and quarts to discuss the rights held by Black women in comparison to others.

"If my cup won't hold but a pint, and  yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?"

Fredrick Douglass 'The Church and Prejudice'

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Douglass was enslaved from the time of his birth on a Maryland plantation, but in 1838, at age 20, he self-liberated in New York. This lecture was one of his first major anti-enslavement oratories.

Delivered by : Fredrick Douglass Date : November 4, 1841 Location: Plymouth County Anti-Slavery Society in Massachusetts. Word Count:  1086 Readability score : Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease 74.1 Grade Level : 8.7 Rhetorical device used : Anecdote : A short and interesting story or an amusing event often proposed to support or demonstrate some point and make readers and listeners laugh. Douglass tells the story of a young lady recovered from a trance: 

"...she declared she had been to heaven. Her friends were all anxious to know what and whom she had seen there; so she told the whole story. But there was one good old lady whose curiosity went beyond that of all the others—and she inquired of the girl that had the vision, if she saw any Black folks in heaven? After some hesitation, the reply was, 'Oh! I didn't go into the kitchen!'"

Chief Joseph 'I Will Fight No More Forever'

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Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce, pursued 1500 miles through Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana by the U.S. Army, spoke these words when he finally surrendered. This speech followed the final engagement of the Nez Perce War. The transcript of the speech was taken by Lieutenant C.E.S. Wood. 

Delivered by : Chief Joseph Date : October 5th, 1877 Location:   Bears Paw (Battle of the Bears Paw Mountains), Montana Word Count:  156 words Readability score : Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease 104.1 Grade Level : 2.9 Rhetorical device used : Direct Address : The use of a term or name for the person spoken to, as in securing the attention of that person; use of a vocative form.

"Hear me, my Chiefs!"

Susan B. Anthony and Women's Right to Vote

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Susan B. Anthony gave this speech on multiple occasions after her arrest for casting an illegal vote in the presidential election of 1872. She was tried and then fined $100 but refused to pay.

Delivered by : Susan B. Anthony Date : 1872 - 1873 Location:  Stump Speech delivered in all 29 postal districts of Monroe County, New York Word Count: 451 words Readability score : Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease 45.1 Grade Level : 12.9 Rhetorical device used : Parallelism : The use of components in a sentence that are grammatically the same; or similar in their construction, sound, meaning or meter.

"It is an odious aristocracy; a hateful oligarchy of sex; the most hateful aristocracy ever established on the face of the globe; an oligarchy of wealth, where the right govern the poor. An oligarchy of learning, where the educated govern the ignorant, or even an oligarchy of race, where the Saxon rules the African, might be endured; but this oligarchy of sex, which makes father, brothers, husband, sons, the oligarchs over the mother and sisters, the wife and daughters of every household..."

'Cross of Gold' Speech

This "Cross of Gold" speech thrust William Jennings Bryan into the national spotlight where his dramatic speaking style and rhetoric roused the crowd to a frenzy. Reports from those in the audience noted that at the conclusion of the speech, he thrust his arms wide, a visual representation of the speech's last line. The next day the convention nominated Bryan for President on the fifth ballot.

Delivered by : William Jennings Bryan Date : July 9, 1896 Location:  Democratic National Convention in Chicago Word Count:  3242 words Readability score : Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease 63 Grade Level : 10.4 Rhetorical device used : Analogy : A comparison in which an idea or a thing is compared to another thing that is quite different from it.  Gold standard to a "crown of thorns" to "crucify mankind." 

"....we shall answer their demands for a gold standard by saying to them, you shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns. You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold ."

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15 Short Memorized Speech Examples

  • Tom Clayton
  • October 22, 2021

Short Memorized Speech Examples

Giving a speech feels hard and that feeling is so common that a majority of people would rather die than speak publicly. But when it is inevitable, maybe as the best man, mother of the bride, or a speech assignment for class, we turn to memorization.

Why? Because we assume that if we know and remember what to say, we won’t embarrass ourselves. Slightly effective, but it comes with its own limitations.

Here, I will show you how to memorize a speech with 15 examples worth referencing.

But first, let’s go over how to write a speech, because it doesn’t matter how well you memorize one if the content is bad.

How to Write a Speech

The anxiety that fuels the need to memorize a speech comes from either not knowing what to say or how to say it. A sure fire way to overcome that is by writing the speech.

And contrary to what you might think, it is not hard to write a good speech. If you know how to have a meaningful conversation, moving from point A to point B, you can write a speech. You just need to follow these tips.

Set the stage with an introduction

How exactly you start depends on the context of your speech. For instance, you may need to introduce yourself if your audience isn’t familiar with you. This is unnecessary if you’ve been introduced or you’re speaking among your peers.

But the main point here is about how you start your speech. The goal is to explain the what and why in a way that captures the audience’s attention.

It could be a famous quote, a shocking statement, or a rhetorical question. As long as it gets ears to perk up and eyes to focus on you.

Create and follow a structure

Now that you have their attention, it is time to hold it. As the speaker, the audience expects a path and destination from you. They want to know where the gist leads and why the point matters.

Ergo, structure.

Each paragraph in your speech must have a central point and connect with the next. Don’t try and stuff everything you know about the subject in the paragraphs. Focus on the key issues and maintain clear, logical transitions from idea to idea.

That is why it is crucial to understand the purpose of the speech. Are you trying to entertain, argue a point, inspire, or educate? The answer will inform the structure and overall tone of the speech.

Use Anecdotes to illustrate key points

When you write a speech, tailor your language and ideas to your audience. The way you speak in a school seminar is different from how you will talk at your best friend’s wedding, and there is no place where this matters more than in your anecdotes.

Countless studies have shown that our brains remember stories pretty well. That means if you want your speech to be memorable, you have to sprinkle some of them in there to illustrate your points.

That way, even if the facts and figures fly over their heads, the story will stick. And the good thing about anecdotes is, you don’t have to memorize them.

Use Transitions

No matter how great every line in your speech is, there will be moments when the audience drifts off. Use transitions to recall their attention. It signals to them that the oncoming part is worth paying attention to.

There are different ways to deploy this. It could be a rhetorical question like “Why does this matter?” followed by a pause, just long enough to create anticipation.

Other examples include “So here’s the lesson” or “In a similar fashion.”

Summarize with a call to action

Your audience won’t remember everything you say, but they are more likely to remember the last thing you said to them. That means, alongside the introduction, this is an integral part of your speech.

Summarize the speech using sentences that drive home the main point. You can do this by repeating a few key takeaways or sharing an anecdote that illustrates the point.

How to Memorize a Speech

speeches word examples

Image by Rodnae Productions ( Pexels )

Hopefully, after reading that section, you are starting to get the idea. Once you know what to say and how to say it, you’ve cracked the first step to memorizing a speech.

The next thing is to observe a few steps, and you are well on your way to delivering a captivating speech from memory.

Rehearse the Speech

After writing the speech, try reading it out loud. The goal here is to figure out how it sounds to fix what doesn’t work.

You can add, delete, or reorder parts of the speech until it sounds compelling and natural during this phase. Like something you wouldn’t mind sitting through yourself.

This process could take a few times, so feel free to pause and come back with fresh eyes and ears. You could also try reading it to someone for a different perspective.

Memorize the main ideas

The best way to memorize a speech is to learn the main points. This is where you benefit from writing the speech. Once you understand the subject matter and the goal of the speech, your mind has a framework to follow.

Instead of trying to capture the entire speech word-for-word, you have memorized the main ideas. Enough to talk about it to an audience as if you are having a regular conversation.

There are two main benefits to this. One, it gives a natural feel to your speech. Regurgitating a speech word-for-word makes you seem like a robot. There is no warmth, and it makes your content less engaging.

Two, it makes you immune to a slip-up. When you forget a word or sentence, it has little to zero impact because you know what you are trying to say and how to say it. You have maximum flexibility.

A practical way to memorize each idea is by quizzing yourself over each paragraph. “What is it about?” “What problem is it describing?” “Why does this matter?”

Practice your delivery

Finally, a speech is only as good as its delivery. Think about the most remarkable speeches you’ve heard or seen. What made them stand out?

One thing that is for sure is it isn’t because they remembered every single word. Not that you would know. But instead how the speaker spoke, entertainingly and informatively.

It is possible to memorize this by rehearsing over and over again.

Since you are more concerned about the meaning than the syntax of your sentence, you start to get a feel of when it’s okay to make a joke, change the timing or intonation.

That is how to memorize a speech, and it all starts with focusing on the content. Now, let’s see some good examples of these tips being put to use in different scenarios.

Short Memorized Speech Examples

Short memorized speech for a college paper.

speeches word examples

This example might not align with your definition of “short,” but it gets a whole lot right when it comes to speeches.

First, it starts with a question that piques attention, then immediately establishes what and why they are talking about it. The sentence structure is also conversational, and the author doesn’t have to memorize each word.

The rest of the speech maintains that tone, and the thought flows logically. From explaining what dreaming big is to its downsides and negative impact, all told through anecdotal lenses.

Not only is this speech easier to memorize because it is their story, but it makes it more engaging. More than what a rollout of psychological facts would have been.

Finally, the speaker ties it up in a compelling conclusion that summarizes the key point with a call to action.

Short speech for a company event

speeches word examples

This is a much shorter speech than the previous example, but it still follows the same principles. In the introduction, the author uses the scale of time to capture the audience’s attention. With a few sentences, it transports their mind to the past and the future. Engaging!

That thought continues its logical progression in the body. The CEO (presumably) zeroes in on the implications and impact of that journey in time on members of the organization. Relatable!

Finally, they tie up the speech with a nice bow with a call back to the beginning.

Not only does this speech have the perfect length for the occasion, but it is also stirring enough to leave a lasting impression.

Short wedding speech

speeches word examples

If you have ever attended a wedding, you are probably familiar with speeches like this. What makes them so common yet effective is how much it understands its audience.

A wedding reception is a relaxed atmosphere, which means the audience experts jokes and laughter. The author doesn’t waste time and delivers right from the beginning. Humor makes us attractive, and with that, the audience is interested in what the writer has to say.

Another thing that makes this speech good and easy to memorize is a total familiarity with the subject matter. In this case, that’s Josh. Because of that, the author can craft a structural narrative that establishes Josh’s personality and character and its relevance to the current event.

Short memorized speech for a presentation

speeches word examples

Here is a nice example of a proper introduction if you ever have to give a speech to your peers at school, work, or any other setting. They already know who you are, which means your primary focus is to give them something to listen to.

Next, dive into the what and why it matters. Here, the writer offers both at the end of the first paragraph and in the next. In two paragraphs, the audience knows why she’s talking about her future and why it matters to the speaker and them.

The next logical question is how the speaker plans to achieve that, and they answer in the final paragraph.

Short introductory speech for a college seminar

speeches word examples

What if you had to come up with an introductory speech for an event? Well, you still follow the same beats as other types of speeches. Establish the what and the why.

For What, this college seminar speech covers the relevance of the seminar by mentioning the dignitaries that have supported it. Without explicitly stating that it is an important event, the roster of those in attendance and the organizing team conveys that to the audience.

To answer Why, the principal plainly states the value of the seminar. The audience understands they are part of a long history, and the content is valuable enough for commercial publication.

Short Personal Introductory Speech

speeches word examples

When you have to introduce yourself, you have a limited time to establish who you are and why you should be listened to.

Thankfully there is not much to learn in this scenario because you are the subject, and no one knows you better than you. Start with your name and your experience like this example to prove your credibility.

Since it is a personal introduction, the body of your content should be something that humanizes you. That way, you go from a name and title to a person, and in this example, a relatable one.

The good thing about this type of speech is it is fun to memorize, and you can rehearse and shape it by giving it to as many people as possible.

Short persuasive speech to students

speeches word examples

In the game of attention that is speech writing and delivery, there are multiple paths to victory. This example deploys the rhetorical question method to command the attention of its audience.

By asking questions audience members have most likely asked themselves, the speaker has positioned himself as someone with answers. After all, if you know about these questions, then they have probably figured it out.

Furthermore, each point builds on the one before it, in the direction of a typical day. Because it follows the logical progression of their regular day, the audience has permission to insert themselves into the narrative, making them more receptive to the advice and suggestion.

Persuasive for a diverse audience

speeches word examples

What if you are trying to write and memorize a speech for a diverse audience? First, you need to find something that unites you all. In this short excerpt from a speech, the speaker has chosen their identity as residents of Thailand.

It would be difficult for the speaker to memorize every single word in this speech. However, by crafting points around how the central purpose of the speech benefits everyone, they don’t have to.

All that needs memorizing are the broader supporting points. To provide jobs, improve the local economy. Each point is bolstered with verifiable facts, which makes it more convincing.

Short speech for an argumentative speech

speeches word examples

If you ever find yourself having a debate, the trick to making a convincing argument is to display a complete understanding of the topic interspersed with your opinions and verifiable facts.

This example does two of those things excellently. It starts by recognizing the conflict. Phones are helpful, and they serve an essential role in modern society, but it has its downsides. Then there’s the referenced medical fact that adds credibility to the conflict.

These points are connected by transitional phrases and words like “On the other hand” and “Worryingly” that make it easy for the audience to follow the speaker’s train of thought.

Short Memorizable speech for a proposal

speeches word examples

Found the perfect partner and want to propose? Besides the content, writing and delivering your proposal speech is no different from any other kind of speech. It is all about connecting with your audience.

That means, like this example, you need to speak in the first person a lot, i.e., lots of Is. Your key points, as shown here, should focus on how your partner makes you feel and what their presence in your life means to you.

Memorizing the main points of your proposal is especially important in this context because your speech should come from the heart. Or at least feel like it did.

Memorized acceptance speech

speeches word examples

Suppose you’ve received an award or recorded an accomplishment that requires a speech. In that case, the majority of your content should focus on showing appreciation.

First, start by thanking the people giving you the award, then move on to thank everyone else, specifically those who contributed to the achievement.

Feel free to introduce humor into your speech, but it should be appropriate for the event and place.

As always, when you memorize this kind of speech, you should focus more on each section than on the exact words. For instance, you could thank the awarding body first, then move to your peers, then family last.

That way, even after rehearsing multiple times in front of a mirror, it still feels natural and spontaneous.

Short acceptance speech with commentary

speeches word examples

There are occasions when you want to do more than simply thank you in your acceptance speech. In scenarios like that, find a way to connect your appreciation with your commentary, as seen in this example.

Start by appreciating the organization or people responsible for the award or accomplishment. Then use transitional phrases or a topic sentence to segue into your commentary.

The example above used “…all the effort of my entire team…” to segue into an inspiring comment. It also used an anecdote to illustrate the point further.

Finally, end with a note of thanks to close the circle.

When crafted this way, you only need to memorize the broad strokes of your speech and perhaps the connective phrase if you came up with the perfect line in your draft.

Short Goodwill speech

speeches word examples

Above is an excerpt of the famous Ich bin ein Berliner speech by President John F. Kennedy in 1963. You can watch and read the whole thing here .

The popular name appears at the very end of the speech, but it would have made zero sense or had little impact if it wasn’t the conclusion of logically progressive thought.

Goodwill speeches should be informative and persuasive, and this example does that brilliantly from the first paragraph. It starts by showing great respect to the city and sticks to the theme by highlighting the shared values and beliefs.

If you ever have to deliver one, focus your memorization efforts on what you have in common with your hosts and build out from there.

Short memorized speech for a funeral

speeches word examples

Many of us will have to deliver a speech at a funeral someday. When that time comes, it is better to memorize the order of your thoughts than the exact words.

A good order starts with introducing yourself and your relationship with the deceased. Then spend the following paragraphs talking about their life and personality. This includes speaking about their accomplishments, major life events. Each talking point should connect back to the impact on you.

Finally, summarize with a final takeaway from the theme, how you want others to remember the individual, and a thank you to attendees.

Short Farewell Speech after leaving a place or position

speeches word examples

Your farewell speech is your last time to leave an impression on your audience. This could be your colleagues, boss, or students. Whoever they are, they will determine the exact tone and style you choose in your speech.

Depending on your experience and emotional attachment to the organization, your speech could be a simple thank you. It could also be exciting stories that highlight your history and journey there.

Whatever you decide, make sure it is personal. The second half of the first paragraph and the second paragraph above is an excellent example of this.

Wrapping it Up

That makes it 15, and depending on the scenario, each one is a useful reference when crafting your speech. Remember, the first step to memorizing a speech is to write one.

It gives you a chance to organize your thoughts, deepen your understanding of the topic, and familiarize yourself with the audience. In turn, you get the confidence to deliver in a way that is both engaging and convincing.

By following these tips and examples, you too will be able to deliver a speech that makes you proud.

speeches word examples

Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.

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A Simple Hack to Help You Communicate More Effectively

  • Matt Abrahams

speeches word examples

Break down your message into three parts: What? So what? Now what?

Using a structured approach when communicating can help you prioritize what you need to convey. In this article, the author introduces his “What, So What, Now What” framework. Much like the Swiss Army knife, known for its versatility and reliability, this structure is flexible and can be used in many different communication situations. The structure is comprised of three simple questions: 1) What: Describe and define the facts, situation, product, position, etc. 2) So What: Discuss the implications or importance for the audience. In other words, the relevance to them. 3) Now What: Outline the call-to-action or next steps such as taking questions or setting up a next meeting.

Effective communication has never been more critical in our rapidly evolving world, where every conversation, negotiation, meeting, or pitch could impact our personal and professional success. We are much more likely to achieve our communication goals if we package our messages in a clear, concise, logical manner.

speeches word examples

  • Matt Abrahams is a lecturer in organizational behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business. He hosts Think Fast, Talk Smart: The Podcast and is the author of Think Faster, Talk Smarter: How to Speak Successfully When You’re Put on the Spot .

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Transcript: Biden’s first campaign speech of the 2024 election year

President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pa., Friday, Jan. 5, 2024. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pa., Friday, Jan. 5, 2024. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Transcript of President Joe Biden’s campaign speech delivered Friday, Jan. 5, in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, as prepared by the AP.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Please, thank you.

Please, thank you very, very much.

Today, the topic of my speech today is deadly serious and I think it needs to be made at the outset of this campaign.

In the winter of 1777, it was harsh and cold as the Continental Army marched to Valley Forge. General George Washington knew he faced the most daunting of tasks, to fight and win a war against the most powerful empire in existence in the world at the time. His mission was clear: liberty, not conquest. Freedom. Not domination. National independence. Not individual glory.

America made a vow: Never again would we bow down to a king.

Months ahead would be incredibly difficult. But General Washington knew something in his bones. Something about the spirit of the troops he was leading. Something, something about the soul of the nation he was struggling to be born. In his general order, he predicted, and I quote, with one heart and one mind, with fortitude and with patience, they would overcome every difficulty, the troops he was leading. And they did. They did.

This army that lacked blankets and food, clothes and shoes. This army, whose march left bloody bare footprints in the snow. This ragtag army made up of ordinary people.

Their mission, George Washington declared, was nothing less than a sacred cause. That was the phrase he used. A sacred cause. Freedom, Liberty. Democracy. American democracy.

I just visited the grounds of Valley Forge. I’ve been there a number of times since the time I was a Boy Scout years ago.

You know, it’s the very site that I think every American should visit, because it tells the story of the pain and the suffering and the true patriotism it took to make America.

Today, we gather in a new year, some 246 years later, just one day before January 6, a day forever seared in our memory because it was on that day that we nearly lost America, lost it all.

Today, we’re here to answer the most important of questions. Is democracy still America’s sacred cause? I mean it.

This is not rhetorical, academic or hypothetical. Whether democracy is still America’s sacred cause is the most urgent question of our time.

And it’s what the 2024 election is all about.

The choice is clear.

Donald Trump’s campaign is about him, not America, not you.

Donald Trump’s campaign is obsessed with the past, not the future. He’s willing to sacrifice our democracy, put himself in power.

Our campaign is different. For me and Kamala, our campaign is about America. It’s about you. It’s about every age and background that occupy this country.

It’s about the future we’re going to continue to build together. And our campaign is about preserving and strengthening our American democracy.

Three years ago tomorrow, we saw with our own eyes the violent mob stormed the United States Capitol. It was almost in disbelief as you first turned on the television.

For the first time in our history, insurrectionists had come to stop the peaceful transfer, transfer of power in America. First time.

Smashing windows, shattering doors, attacking the police.

Outside, gallows were erected as the MAGA crowd chanted, “Hang Mike Pence.”

Inside, they hunted for Speaker Pelosi. The House was chanting as they marched through and smashed windows, “Where’s Nancy?”

Over 140 police officers were injured.

Jill and I attended the funeral of police officers who died as a result of the events of that day.

Because Donald, because of Donald Trump’s lies, they died because these lies brought a mob to Washington.

He promised it would be wild. And it was.

He told the crowd to “fight like hell” and all hell was unleashed.

He promised he would write them, write them, everything they did. He would be side by side with them.

Then, as usual, he left the dirty work to others.

He retreated to the White House.

As America was attacked from within, Donald Trump watched on TV in a private, small dining room off my oval, off the Oval Office.

The entire nation watched in horror.

The whole world watched in disbelief.

And Trump did nothing.

Members of his staff, members of his family. Republican leaders who were under attack at that very moment pled with him.

Act. Call off the mob. Imagine had he gone out and said, “Stop.”

Still, Trump did nothing.

It was among the worst derelictions of duty by a president in American history.

An attempt to overturn a free and fair election by force and violence. A record 81 million people voted for my candidacy and to end his presidency.

Trump lost the popular vote by 7 million.

Trump’s claims about the 2020 election never could stand up in court. Trump lost 60 court cases. Sixty.

Trump lost the Republican-controlled states. Trump lost before a Trump-appointed judge, and then judges, and Trump lost before the United States Supreme Court.

All of it. He lost.

Trump lost recount after recount after recount and state after state.

But in desperation and weakness, Trump and his MAGA followers went after election officials who ensured your power as a citizen would be heard.

These public servants had their lives forever upended by attacks and death threats for simply doing their jobs.

In Atlanta, Georgia, a brave Black mother and her daughter, Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, were doing their jobs as election workers until Donald Trump and his MAGA followers targeted and threatened them, forcing them from their homes, unleashing racist vitriol on them.

Trump’s personal lawyer. Rudy Giuliani, was just hit with a 148 million-dollar judgment for cruelty and defamation that he inflicted against them.

Other state and local elected officials across the country faced similar personal attacks. In addition, Fox News agreed to pay a record eight, 787 million dollars for the lies they told about voter fraud.

Let’s be clear about the 2020 election.

Trump exhausted every legal avenue available to him to overturn the election. Every one, but the legal path just took Trump back to the truth, that I’d won the election and he was a loser.

Well, so knowing how his mind works now, he had one, he had one act left.

One desperate act available to him, the violence of January the sixth.

Since that day, more than 1,200 people have been charged with assault in the Capitol. Nearly 900 of them have been convicted or pled guilty. Collectively to date, they have been sentenced to more than 840 years in prison.

What’s Trump done?

Instead of calling them criminals, he’s called these insurrectionists patriots. They’re patriots. And he promised to pardon them if he returns to office. Trump said that there was a lot of love on January the sixth.

The rest of the nation, including law enforcement, saw a lot of hate and violence.

One Capitol Police officer called it a medieval battle.

That same officer called vile, was called vile, racist names.

He said he was more afraid in the Capitol of the United States of America, in the chambers, than when he was fighting as a soldier in the war in Iraq. He said he was more afraid inside the halls of Congress than fighting in war in Iraq.

In trying to rewrite the facts of January sixth, Trump was trying to steal history, the same way he tried to steal the election.

But he, we knew the truth, because we saw it with our own eyes. So it wasn’t like something, a story being told. It was on television repeatedly. We saw it with our own eyes.

Trump’s mob wasn’t a peaceful protest. It was a violent assault.

They were insurrectionists, not patriots.

They weren’t there to uphold the Constitution. They were there to destroy the Constitution.

Trump won’t do what an American president must do.

He refuses to denounce political violence.

So hear me clearly.

I’ll say what Donald Trump won’t. Political violence is never, ever acceptable in the United States political system. Never, never, never.

It has no place in a democracy. None.

You can’t be pro-insurrectionist and pro-American.

You know, Trump and his MAGA supporters not only embrace political violence, but they laugh about it.

At his rally, he jokes about an intruder, whipped by the big Trump lie, taking a hammer to Paul Pelosi’s skull, and echoing the very same words used on January 6th. “Where’s Nancy?”

And he thinks that’s funny. He laughed about it. What a sick ...

I, I think it’s despicable. Seriously. Not just for a president, for any person to say that.

But to say it to the whole world listening. When I was overseas, anyway ...

Trump’s assault on democracy isn’t just part of his past. It’s what he’s promising for the future. He’s been straightforward.

He’s not hiding the ball.

His first rally for the 2024 campaign opened with a choir of January sixth insurrectionists singing from prison on a cellphone while images of the January sixth riot played on the big screen behind him at his rally.

Can you believe that?

This is like something out of a fairy tale, a bad fairy tale.

Trump began his 2024 campaign by glorifying the failed violent insurrectionist, insurrection at our, on our Capitol.

The guy who claims law and order sows lawlessness and disorder.

Trump’s not concerned about your future. I promise you.

Trump is now promising a full-scale campaign of revenge and retribution, his words, for some years to come.

They were his words, not mine. He went on to say he’d be a dictator on day one.

I mean, if I were writing a book of fiction, and I said an American president said that, and not in jest.

He called and I quote, the terminate, quote, this is a quote, the termination of all the rules, regulations and articles, even those found in the U.S. Constitution should be terminated if it fits his will.

It’s really kind of hard to believe.

Even found in the Constitution, he could terminate.

He’s threatened the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff with the death penalty.

He says he should be put to death because the chairman put his oath to the Constitution ahead of his personal loyalty to Trump.

This coming from a president who called, when he visited his cemetery, called dead soldiers “suckers and losers.” Remember that?

Sometimes I’m really happy the Irish in me can’t be seen.

It was right around the time was at Beau’s grave. Tommy.

How dare he?

Who in God’s name does he think he is?

With former aides, Trump plans to invoke the Insurrectionist Act, Insurrection Act, which would allow him to deploy, he’s not allowed to do it in ordinary circumstances, allow him to deploy U.S. military forces on the streets of America.

He said it.

He calls those who opposed, oppose him vermin.

He talks about the blood of America’s is being poisoned, echoing the same exact language used in Nazi Germany.

He proudly posts on social media the words that best describe his 2024 campaign. Quote, revenge, quote, power, and quote, dictatorship.

There’s no confusion about who Trump is, what he intends do.

I placed my hand on our family Bible, and I swore an oath on the very same steps of the Capitol just 14 days after the attack on January the sixth.

As I looked out over the capital city, whose streets were lined with National Guard to prevent another attack, I saw an American that had been pushed to the brink, an America that had been pushed to the brink.

But I felt enormous pride, not in winning. I felt enormous pride in America, because American democracy had been tested.

American democracy had held together.

And when Trump had seen weakness in our democracy and continued to talk about it, I saw strength.

Your strength, it’s not hyperbole.

Your strength, your integrity, American strength and integrity.

Ordinary citizens, state election officials, the American judicial system, had put the Constitution first, and sometimes at their peril, at their peril.

Because of them.

Because of you.

The will of the people prevailed.

Not the anger of the mob or the appetites of one man.

When the attack on January sixth happened, there was no doubt about the truth.

At the time, even Republican members of Congress and Fox News commentators publicly and privately condemned the attack.

As one Republican senator said, Trump’s behavior was embarrassing and humiliating for the country. But now that same senator and those same people have changed their tune.

As time has gone on, gone on, politics, fear, money, all have intervened.

And now these MAGA voices, who know the truth about Trump on January sixth, have abandoned the truth and abandoned the democracy.

They made their choice.

Now, the rest of us, Democrats, independents, mainstream Republicans, we have to make our choice.

I know mine, and I believe I know America’s.

We’ll defend the truth, not give in to the big lie.

We’ll embrace the Constitution of the Declaration, not abandon it.

We’ll honor the sacred cause of democracy, not walk away from it.

Today, I make this sacred pledge to you: The defense, protection and preservation of American democracy will remain, as it has been, the central cause of my presidency.

America, as we begin this election year, we must be clear: Democracy is on the ballot. Your freedom is on the ballot.

Yes, we’ll be voting on many issues: on the freedom to vote, and have your vote counted. On the freedom of choice.

The freedom to have a fair shot.

The freedom from fear.

And we’ll debate and disagree.

Without democracy, no progress is impossible. Think about it.

The alternative to democracy is dictatorship. The rule of one, not the rule of we, the people.

That’s what the soldiers of Valley Forge understood.

So was me, we have to understand it as well.

We’ve been blessed so long with a strong, stable democracy, it’s easy to forget why so many before us risked their lives and strengthened democracy.

What our lives would be without it.

Democracy means having the freedom to speak your mind, to be who you are, to be who you want to be.

Democracy is about being able to bring about peaceful change.

Democracy. Democracy is how we open the doors of opportunity wider and wider with each successive generation, not notwithstanding our mistakes.

But if democracy falls, we’ll lose that freedom, we’ll lose the power of we, the people, to shape our destiny.

If you doubt me, look around the world.

Travel with me as I meet with other heads of state throughout the world.

Look at the authoritarian leaders and dictators Trump says he admires. He out loud says he admires.

I won’t go through them all. It would take too long.

Look, remember how he first, how he refers to what he calls love letter exchanges between he and the dictator of North Korea?

Those women and men out there in the audience who’s ever fought for an American military. Did you ever believe you’d hear a president say something like that?

His admiration for Putin?

I could go on.

And look at what these autocrats are doing to limit freedom in their countries.

They’re limiting freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom to assemble, women’s rights, LGBQ rights, people are going to jail. So much more.

It’s true. The push and pull of American history is not a fairy tale.

Every stride forward in America is met with ferocious backlash, many times, from those who fear progress and those who exploit that fear for their own personal gain.

From those who traffic in lies, told for power and profit. For those who are driven by grievance and grift, consumed by conspiracy and victimhood.

From those who seek to bury history and ban books.

Did you ever think you’d be at a political event and talk about book banning, for a presidential and a presidential election?

The choice in contest between those forces, those competing forces, between solidarity and division, is perennial. But this time it’s so different.

You can’t have a contest, you can’t have a contest, if you see politics as an all-out war instead of a peaceful way to resolve our differences.

All-out war is what Trump wants.

That’s why he doesn’t understand the most fundamental truth about this country.

Unlike other nations on Earth, America is not built on ethnicity, religion, geography.

We’re the only nation in the history of the world built on an idea, not hyperbole, built on an idea.

We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men and women are created equal.

It’s an idea, declared in the Declaration, created in a way that we’ve viewed everybody as equal and should be treated equal throughout their lives.

We’ve never fully lived up to that. We have a long way to go, but we’ve never walked away from the idea.

We’ve never walked away from it.

And I promise you, I will not let Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans force us to walk away now.

We’re living in an era where a determined minority is doing everything in its power to try to destroy our democracy for their own agenda.

The American people know it, and they’re standing bravely in the breach.

Remember, after 2020, January sixth insurrection to undo the election in which more Americans had voted than any other in American history.

America saw the threat posed to the country and they voted them out in 2022. Historic midterm election. In state after state, election after election, the election deniers were defeated.

Now, in 2024, Trump is running as the denier-in-chief, the election denier-in-chief.

Once again, he’s saying he won’t honor the results of the election if he loses.

Trump says he doesn’t understand, or he still doesn’t understand the basic truth. That is, you can’t love your country only when you win.

You can’t love your country only when you win.

I’ll keep my commitment to be president for all of America. Whether you voted for me or not, I’ve done it for the last three years and I’ll continue to do it.

Together, we can keep proving that America is still a country that believes in decency, dignity, honesty, honor, truth.

We still believe that no one, not even the president, is above the law.

We still believe the vast majority of us still believe that everyone deserves a fair shot at making.

We’re still a nation that gives hate no safe harbor.

I tell you from my experience working with leaders around the world, and I mean this sincerely, not a joke, that America is still viewed as a beacon of democracy for the world.

I can’t tell you how many, how many world leaders, and I know all of them, virtually all of them, grab my arm in private and say, “He can’t win. Tell me. No, my country will be at risk.”

Think of how many countries, Tommy, you know that are on the edge.

We still believe in we the people, and that includes all of us. Not some of us.

Let me close with this.

In the cold winter of 1777, George Washington and his American troops to Valley Forge waged a battle on behalf of a revolutionary idea, that everyday people like where I come from, and the vast majority of you, not a king or a dictator, that everyday people can govern themselves without a king or a dictator.

In fact, in the rotunda of the Capitol, there’s a giant painting of General George Washington, not President Washington.

And he is resigning his commission as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army.

A European king at the time said after he won the revolution, now’s the time for him to declare his kingship.

But instead, the mob that attacked the Capitol, waving Trump flags and Confederate flags, stormed right past that portrait.

That image of George Washington gave them no pause, but it should have.

The artist who painted that portrait memorialized that moment because he said it was, quote, one of the highest moral lessons ever given to the world, end of quote.

George Washington was the height of his power, having just defeated the most powerful empire on Earth.

Could have held on to power as long as he wanted.

He could have made himself not a future president, but a future monarch, in effect.

And by the way, when he got elected president, he could have stayed for two, three, four or five terms till he died.

But that wasn’t the America he and the American troops at Valley Forge had fought for.

In America, genuine leaders, democratic leaders with a small D don’t hold on to power relentlessly.

Our leaders return power to the people and they do it willingly because that’s the deal.

You do your duty.

You serve your country.

And ours is a country worthy of service as many Republican presidents and Democratic presidents have shown over the years.

We’re not perfect, but at our best, we face on, we face head on the good, the bad, the truth of who we are.

We look in the mirror and ultimately never pretend we’re something we’re not.

That’s what great nations do.

And we’re a great nation. We’re the greatest nation on the face of the earth. We really are.

That’s the America I see in our future.

We get up. We carry on.

We never bow. We never bend.

We speak of possibilities, not carnage. We’re not weighed down by grievances.

We don’t foster fear. We don’t walk around as victims.

We take charge of our destiny. We get our job done with the help of the people we find in America, who find their place in a changing world and dream and build a future that not only they but all people deserve a shot at.

We don’t believe, none of you believe America is failing.

We know America is winning.

That’s American patriotism.

It’s not winning because of Joe Biden. It’s winning.

This is the first national election since January sixth insurrection placed a dagger at the throat of American democracy. Since that moment.

We all know who Donald Trump is. The question we have to answer is who are we?

That’s what’s at stake. Who are we?

In the year ahead, as you talk to your family and friends, cast your ballots, the power is in your hands.

After all we’ve been through in our history, from independence to civil war to two world wars to a pandemic to insurrection, I refuse to believe that in 2024 we Americans will choose to walk away from what’s made us the greatest nation in the history of the world.

Freedom, liberty. Democracy is still a sacred cause, and there’s no country in the world better positioned to lead the world than America.

That’s why, I’ve said it many times, that’s why I’ve never been more optimistic about our future, and I’ve been doing this a hell of a long time.

Just to remember who we are.

With patience and fortitude, with one heart, we are the United States of America, for God’s sake. I mean it.

There’s nothing. I believe with every fiber there’s nothing beyond our capacity if we act together and decently with one another.

Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.

I mean it. We’re the only nation in the world that’s come out of every crisis stronger than we went into that crisis. And that was true yesterday.

It is true today. And I guarantee you will be true tomorrow.

God Bless you all. And may God protect our troops.

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What to know about the latest plagiarism accusations against Claudine Gay.

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Claudine Gay sits at hearing table, speaking into a microphone.

By Anemona Hartocollis

  • Jan. 2, 2024

New plagiarism allegations that surfaced on Monday against Claudine Gay threatened to mire Harvard deeper in debate over what constitutes plagiarism and whether the university would hold its president and its students to the same standard.

The accusations were circulated through an unsigned complaint published Monday in The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative online journal that has led a campaign against Dr. Gay over the past few weeks.

The new complaint added additional accusations of plagiarism to about 40 that had already been circulated in the same way, apparently by the same accuser.

Dr. Gay has strongly defended her work. “I stand by the integrity of my scholarship,” she said in a statement on Dec. 11, when the initial plagiarism charges were being circulated by conservative activists online and the Harvard Corporation was considering whether she should remain as president. “Throughout my career, I have worked to ensure my scholarship adheres to the highest academic standards,” Dr. Gay said.

The documents by the unnamed accuser that The Free Beacon links to on its website show 39 examples in the first complaint, rising to 47 in total in the second complaint. Separately, Harvard’s investigations have found instances of inadequate citation in her dissertation and at least two of her articles.

She has not been accused of stealing big ideas, but rather of copying language in the papers of other scholars, with small changes to substitute words or phrases or to arrange them differently. Often the language in question is technical boilerplate.

The new complaint against Dr. Gay is preceded by a five-page chronology, written in a tone ranging from somber to sarcastic — under the jaunty salutation, “Happy New Year!” The chronology notes that the unnamed accuser submitted the first batch of allegations to Harvard on Dec. 19.

In one paragraph, the accuser, who seems to be familiar with Harvard’s policies on plagiarism, explains why he or she was unwilling to be identified by name: “I feared that Gay and Harvard would violate their policies, behave more like a cartel with a hedge fund attached than a university, and try to seek ‘immense’ damages from me and who knows what else.”

The New York Post has reported that it approached Harvard with plagiarism accusations against Dr. Gay in October, and said that Harvard responded through a defamation lawyer.

The accuser goes on to wonder why Harvard was so intent on exposing him or her: “Did Gay wish to personally thank me for helping her to improve her work even if I drove her harder than she wanted to be driven?”

The sentence is an allusion to a phrase in the acknowledgments of Dr. Gay’s 1997 dissertation, where she says that her family “drove me harder than I sometimes wanted to be driven.”

It is one of the phrases she is accused of copying, from the acknowledgments of a 1996 book, “Facing Up to the American Dream: Race, Class, and the Soul of the Nation,” by the Harvard political scientist Jennifer L. Hochschild, who was thanking another academic.

Anemona Hartocollis is a national reporter for The Times, covering higher education. More about Anemona Hartocollis

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WATCH: Biden lambastes Trump for Jan. 6 Capitol riot, a day ‘we nearly lost America’

VALLEY FORGE, Pa. (AP) — President Joe Biden warned Friday that Donald Trump’s efforts to retake the White House in 2024 pose a grave threat to the country, the day before the third anniversary of the violent riot at the U.S. Capitol by then-President Trump’s supporters aiming to keep him in power.

Watch Biden’s remarks in the player above.

Speaking near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, where George Washington and the Continental Army spent a bleak winter nearly 250 years ago, Biden said that Jan. 6 2021, marked a moment where “we nearly lost America — lost it all.” He said the presidential race — a likely rematch with Trump, who is the far and away GOP frontrunner — is “all about” whether American democracy will survive.

The speech, the president’s first political event of the election year, was intended to clarify the expected choice for voters this fall. Biden, who reentered political life because he felt he was best capable of defeating Trump in 2020, believes focusing on defending democracy to be central for persuading voters to reject Trump once again.

“We all know who Donald Trump is,” Biden said. “The question we have to answer is who are we?”

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Biden, laid out Trump’s role in the Capitol attack, as a mob of the Republican’s supporters overran the building while lawmakers were counting Electoral College votes that certified Democrat Biden’s win. More than 100 police officers were bloodied, beaten and attacked by the rioters who overwhelmed authorities to break into the building.

WATCH: How citizen investigators are helping the FBI track down Jan. 6 rioters

“What’s Trump done? He’s called these insurrectionists ‘patriots,’” Biden said, “and he promised to pardon them if he returns to office.” He excoriated Trump for “glorifying” rather than condemning political violence

At least nine people who were at the Capitol that day died during or after the rioting, including several officers who died of suicide, a woman who was shot and killed by police as she tried to break into the House chamber, and three other Trump supporters who authorities said suffered medical emergencies.

Biden said that by “trying to rewrite the facts of Jan. 6, Trump is trying to steal history the same way he tried to steal the election.”

Trump, who faces 91 criminal charges stemming from his efforts to overturn his loss to Biden and three other felony cases, argues that Biden and top Democrats are themselves seeking to undermine democracy by using the legal system to thwart the campaign of his chief rival.

“Donald Trump’s campaign is about him,” Biden said, saying it was Trump’s aim to get retribution on his political enemies. “Not America. Not you. Donald Trump’s campaign is obsessed with the past, not the future.”

Rep. Jamie Raskin will discuss threats to democracy three years after Jan. 6 attack in a news conference at 11:00 a.m. EST. Watch in the video below.

He added: “There’s no confusion about who Trump is or what he intends to do.”

Before his remarks, Biden, joined by his wife Jill, participated in a wreath laying ceremony at Valley Forge National Arch, which honors the troops who camped there from December 1777 to June 1778. He also toured the home that served as Washington’s headquarters.

Biden invoked Washington’s decision to resign his commission as the leader of the Continental Army after American independence was won — and the painting commemorating that moment that resides in the Capitol Rotunda — to cast Trump as unworthy of Washington’s legacy.

“He could have held onto that power as long as he wanted,” Biden said of Washington. “But that wasn’t the America he and the American troops of Valley Forge had fought for. In America, our leaders don’t hold on to power relentlessly. Our leaders return power to the people – willingly.”

Although the chaos of Jan. 6 came down on members of both political parties, it is being remembered in a largely polarized fashion now, like other aspects of political life in a divided country.

READ MORE: Trump asks Supreme Court to review Colorado ruling barring him from the 2024 ballot

In the days after the attack, 52 percent of U.S. adults said Trump bore a lot of responsibility for Jan. 6, according to the Pew Research Center. By early 2022, that had declined to 43 percent. The number of Americans who said Trump bore no responsibility increased from 24 percent in 2021 to 32 percent in 2022.

A Washington Post-University of Maryland poll released this week found that about 7 in 10 Republicans say too much is being made of the attack. Just 18 percent of GOP supporters say that protesters who entered the Capitol were “mostly violent,” down from 26 percent in 2021, while 77 percent of Democrats and 54 percent of independents say the protesters were mostly violent, essentially unchanged from 2021.

Biden said that “politics, fear, money” have led many Republicans to abandon their criticism of Trump after the Jan. 6 attack.

“These MAGA voices who know the truth about Trump and Jan. 6th have abandoned the truth and abandoned democracy,” Biden said. “They’ve made their choice. Now the rest of us – Democrats, Independents, mainstream Republicans – we have to make our choice. I know mine. And I believe I know America’s.”

READ MORE: Supreme Court to hear a case that could erase 2020 Capitol riot charge against hundreds, including Trump

Biden has frequently invoked the dangers of Jan. 6 since his 2021 inauguration on the same Capitol steps where police officers were struggling to battle back rioters just two weeks earlier. On the first anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack, Biden had stood in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall , a historic spot where the House of Representatives used to meet before the Civil War. On Jan. 6, rioters filled the area, some looking for lawmakers who had run for cover.

“They weren’t looking to uphold the will of the people,” Biden said of the rioters. “They were looking to deny the will of the people.”

On the second anniversary , Biden presented the nation’s second highest civilian award to 12 people who were involved in defending the Capitol during the attack.

Friday’s appearance included supporters and young people motivated by the attack to get involved in politics, campaign advisers said.

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  1. 20+ Free Speech Examples to Craft the Best Speech

    Speech Examples Written by Barbara P 20+ Outstanding Speech Examples for Your Help 8 min read Published on: Oct 21, 2018 Last updated on: Nov 2, 2023 Public speaking can be daunting for students. They often struggle to start, engage the audience, and be memorable. It's a fear of forgetting words or losing the audience's interest.

  2. 40 Big Words That Make an Impact In Speech and Writing

    Sentence Examples of Big Words Used in Speeches and Debates Knowing the words and knowing how to use them are different things, so make sure you look at some sentence examples to get a good handle on proper usage. The two candidates have fundamentally different opinions on the price of pizza. Stage magic was an essential part of her upbringing.

  3. 13 Main Types of Speeches (With Examples and Tips)

    Some examples of entertaining speeches include a best man's speech at a wedding or a principal's speech before a school talent show.

  4. 10 famous speeches in English and what you can learn from them

    From historic moments to the present day, the English language has given us some extraordinary examples of the spoken word. A powerful tool in the right - or wrong - hands, spoken English can, and has, changed the world. We've chosen ten of the most famous speeches in English.

  5. Speech examples: many different types to read before you write

    The 4 main speech types Example speeches Bridesmaid Commemorative Declamation Demonstration Eulogy Farewell Icebreaker Impromptu Introduction One minute Persuasive Retirement Student Council Thank you Tribute Speech topics Poems to read aloud How to write a speech Using props/visual aids Acute anxiety help Breathing exercises

  6. Here's How to Write a Perfect Speech

    1 Tips to write (and live) by Let's start with the 30,000 foot, big-picture view. These are the tenets that will guide you in your speech writing process (and pretty much anything else you want to write). Know the purpose: What are you trying to accomplish with your speech? Educate, inspire, entertain, argue a point?

  7. 13 Speeches in English for Listening and Speaking Practice

    1. Speech on Kindness by a 10-year-old Girl 2. "The Effects of Lying" by Georgia Haukom 3. "Education for All" by Cameron Allen 4. Gender Equality Speech by Emma Watson 5. "Rocky Balboa Speech" by Sylvester Stallone 6. 2008 Presidential Acceptance Speech by President Barack Obama 7. "This Is Water" Speech by David Foster Wallace 8.

  8. Speeches

    Most speeches invite audiences to react in one of three ways: feeling, thinking, or acting. For example, eulogies encourage emotional response from the audience; college lectures stimulate listeners to think about a topic from a different perspective; protest speeches in the Pit recommend actions the audience can take.

  9. Speech Format

    1. How to Write a Speech Format? 2. How to Rehearse a Speech 3. Speech Format Examples for Different Academic Levels 4. Speech Format Examples for Different Occasions How to Write a Speech Format? Speech writing gives you a chance to leave an everlasting and meaningful impression on the audience.

  10. 15 Ways to Start a Speech + Bonus Tips

    1) Thank the Organizers and Audience. You can start by thanking the audience for coming and thanking the organization for inviting you to speak. Refer to the person who introduced you or to one or more of the senior people in the organization in the audience. This compliments them, makes them feel proud and happy about your presence, and ...

  11. 35 Greatest Speeches in History

    Style: A great speech must be masterfully constructed. The best orators are masters of both the written and spoken word, and use words to create texts that are beautiful to both hear and read. Substance: A speech may be flowery and charismatically presented, and yet lack any true substance at all. Great oratory must center on a worthy theme; it ...

  12. Famous Speeches: A List of the Greatest Speeches of All-Time

    Bill Gurley, "Runnin Down a Dream" Richard Hamming, "Learning to Learn" Richard Hamming, "You and Your Research" Steve Jobs, "2005 Stanford Commencement Address" Peter Kaufman, "The Multidisciplinary Approach to Thinking" Admiral William H. McRaven, "Make Your Bed" Arno Rafael Minkkinen, "Finding Your Own Vision"

  13. Learn Speech Writing in 10 Easy Steps with Examples

    1. What is Speech? 2. How to Write a Speech? 3. Speech Writing Format 4. Types of Speech Writing 5. Speech Writing Topics 6. Speech Writing Examples 7. Speech Writing Tips What is Speech? Speech, often regarded as the art of effective communication, is the act of expressing thoughts, ideas, or messages verbally in a structured manner.

  14. Speech Writing Format, Samples, Examples

    Speech Writing Team Leverage Edu Updated on Dec 1, 2023 11 minute read The power of good, inspiring, motivating, and thought-provoking speeches can never be overlooked. If we retrospect, a good speech has not only won people's hearts but also has been a verbal tool to conquer nations.

  15. 15 Powerful Speech Opening Lines (And How to Create Your Own)

    Analyze their response and tweak the joke accordingly if necessary. Starting your speech with humour means your setting the tone of your speech. It would make sense to have a few more jokes sprinkled around the rest of the speech as well as the audience might be expecting the same from you. 4. Mohammed Qahtani.

  16. 50 Speech Closing Lines (& How to Create Your Own)

    5. Piece Of Advice. The point of giving a piece of advice at the end of your speech is not to pull your audience down or to make them feel bad/inferior about themselves. Rather, the advice is added to motivate your audience to take steps to do something-something related to the topic at hand.

  17. 40 Most Famous Speeches In History

    1. I have a dream by MLK "I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification - one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

  18. Informative Speeches

    The most common types of informative speeches are definition, explanation, description, and demonstration. A definition speech explains a concept, theory, or philosophy about which the audience knows little. The purpose of the speech is to inform the audience so they understand the main aspects of the subject matter.

  19. Speech transitions: words and phrases to connect your ideas

    Speech transitions are words and phrases that allow you to smoothly move from one point to another so that your speech flows and your presentation is unified. ... From these examples, you can see how the different sections of the presentations link which makes it easier for the audience to follow and remain engaged.

  20. 10 Great American Speeches for the 7-12 Classroom

    Patrick Henry 'Give Me Liberty, or Give Me Death'. benoitb / Getty Images. Patrick Henry's speech was an attempt to persuade the Virginia House of Burgesses, meeting at St. John's Church in Richmond, to pass resolutions favoring Virginia joining the American Revolutionary War. Delivered by: Patrick Henry.

  21. 15 Short Memorized Speech Examples

    Short Memorized Speech for a College Paper. This example might not align with your definition of "short," but it gets a whole lot right when it comes to speeches. First, it starts with a question that piques attention, then immediately establishes what and why they are talking about it.

  22. Speech

    100+ Speech Examples | MS Word, PDF Speeches are given for different reasons. The most common ones are for special occasions like wedding speeches, welcome speeches, thank you speeches, special occasion speeches, and even for persuading people through the power of speech.

  23. 20 Types of Figures of Speech, With Definitions and Examples

    Some figures of speech, like metaphor, simile, and metonymy, are found in everyday language. Others, like antithesis, circumlocution, and puns take more practice to implement in writing. Below are some common figures of speech with examples, so you can recognize them and use them in your writing. Give your writing extra polish.

  24. A Simple Hack to Help You Communicate More Effectively

    Much like the Swiss Army knife, known for its versatility and reliability, this structure is flexible and can be used in many different communication situations. The structure is comprised of ...

  25. Transcript: Biden's first campaign speech of the 2024 election year

    President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pa., Friday, Jan. 5, 2024. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough) WASHINGTON (AP) — Transcript of President Joe Biden's campaign speech delivered Friday, Jan. 5, in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, as prepared by the AP. Thank you.

  26. Adjective

    100+ Adjective Examples | MS Word, PDF. "She is beautiful.". Here is a short example for you to get to know an adjective. In general there are five very common or very well known parts of speech. We have nouns, pronouns, verbs, preposition, adverbs, gerunds, and adjectives.

  27. Trump augurs divisive year in angry Christmas rant

    Most global political, spiritual and national leaders mark Christmas with a plea for peace, or by stressing the virtues of family and unity.

  28. The Latest Plagiarism Accusations Against Clauide Gay, Explained

    The New York Post has reported that it approached Harvard with plagiarism accusations against Dr. Gay in October, and said that Harvard responded through a defamation lawyer. The accuser goes on ...

  29. WATCH LIVE: Biden marks Jan. 6 anniversary with campaign speech on

    Biden warned Friday that Trump's efforts to retake the White House in 2024 pose a grave threat to the country, the day before the third anniversary of the violent riot at the U.S. Capitol by then ...