Analyzing what makes a great speech

As we’ve mentioned here before, we love as a source for inspirational speeches and speakers. Regardless of the topics they cover, the presenters showcased there are first-rate in terms of their subject-matter expertise, storytelling abilities, sense of humor and poise. You can watch a video of a talk about business or biology and pick up good ideas for speaking in general.

Nancy Duarte, however, did an excellent TED talk about public speaking, so I wanted to share it with you:

Duarte shares her findings on the structure of great speeches and presentations. Just like stories have an arc, she proposes that presentations also have shape. It looks like this:

Duarte illustrates the structure using Steve Job’s 2007 iPhone launch speech and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech. Below is a screenshot of her slide about the first half of the famous King speech:

"I have a dream" speech analyzed

I’m very analytical myself, so I thought the whole presentation was fascinating. But what I really want to know is whether you’d consider it worthwhile to diagram your own presentation like Duarte has done with famous speeches—to see if they use this ideal structure. I imagine it would be time consuming but also very enlightening. What do you think?

[Image Source:]


One response to “Analyzing what makes a great speech

  1. Reblogged this on 365rainorshine and commented:
    This was of great help to me as I’m writing my first speech for my public speaking class!

    ~Jessica M.

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