Analyzing Great Speeches
Or How To Sound Like Lincoln in 5 Easy Steps
Analyzing great speeches is a shortcut to becoming great yourself public speaking. What if you could speak like Lincoln, Churchill, Reagan, or Obama? Here's how to analyze a great speech.
- Determine the purpose of the speech.
- Read through the speech, noting elements that aid in that purpose.
- Note elements that hinder that purpose.
- Consider the audience and historical context.
- What is the historical context that motivated the speaker's purpose?
- What does the audience think the purpose is?
- Finally, consider how to use those elements and ideas to your advantage.
Great Speeches to Analyze
- Abraham Lincoln: "Gettysburg Address"; "Second Inaugural Address" (Lincoln considered this to be his greatest speech)
- Winston Churchill: "I Have Nothing to Offer But Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat"; "We Shall Fight Them on the Beaches"
- Martin Luther King, Jr: "I Have A Dream"
- Ronald Reagan: "Tear Down This Wall" (Speech at the Brandenburg Gate)
- Barack Obama: "Yes We Can" (Why do you like - or dislike - Obama's speeches? Tell us! Share your thoughts with the community. Then read and comment on other's opinions.)
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