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Analyzing Great Speeches

Or How To Sound Like Lincoln in 5 Easy Steps

Abraham Lincoln

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.

  1. Determine the purpose of the speech.
  2. Read through the speech, noting elements that aid in that purpose.
  3. Note elements that hinder that purpose.
  4. 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?
  5. 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.)

Happy Speaking!

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