10 Of The Greatest Leadership Speeches Of All Time

by Elizabeth Harmon
Posted: May 26, 2016

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The world may be dominated by social media these days, but we should never underestimate the power of a great speech.
 

In fact, despite the prevalence of Facebook and Twitter, videos of some of the greatest leadership speeches are still immensely popular. Here are 10 examples of fantastic, motivational speeches that will show you why.


1.    Martin Luther King: I have a dream


Any article featuring inspirational speeches must include this ground-breaking speech. 

On 28th August 1963, Martin Luther King addressed a crowd of over 250,000. In it, he calls for an end to racism and equality for all. In 1999, this speech was ranked the top American speech of the 20th century in a 1999 poll of scholars of public address.

2.    Steve Jobs: How to live before you die


In 2005, Steve Jobs gave a Commencement Address to Stanford University that will leave you with goosebumps. It’s a brilliant speech, and also a great lesson from one of the most influential presenters in history.

3.    President Obama: Seeking a new beginning


In June 2009, President Obama gave a rousing speech at Cairo University. This speech shows Obama at his best, building a fantastic rapport with his audience.

4.    Randy Pausch: The last lecture


Carnegie Mellon Professor, Randy Pausch, gave his last lecture to a crowded auditorium. 

This presentation is about achieving your childhood dreams and it’s a great one to study for tips on building a connection with your audience and really getting them on your side.

5.    Rosalinde Torres: What it takes to be a great leader


In this incredibly inspirational speech, Torres describes 25 years of observing great leaders at work and then shares ways to learn how to lead.  

6.    Bill Clinton: 2008 Speech to the Democratic National Convention


If you’re looking for an example of fantastic communication skills, look no further than this former US President. This speech shows how great content, teamed with exceptional delivery, can really bring the house down.

7.    J.K. Rowling: Harvard Commencement


Commencement addresses are always very inspirational speeches and this is no exception. Rowling immediately gets her audience on side, inspiring and delighting as she goes.

8.    John Wooden: The difference between winning and succeeding


As the coach of UCLA basketball team, John Wooden led his team to record wins that remain unbeaten. In this speech, he redefines success with incredible simplicity.

9.    Richard St. John: 8 secrets of success


In this amazing TED Talk, Richard St. John delivers an incredibly motivational speech asking why people are successful. Is it because they’re clever, or lucky?

10.    Nelson Mandela: Inauguration speech


When you’re thinking about leadership speeches, Nelson Mandela’s inauguration speech in 1994 must be on the list. Mandela was the first democratically elected president of South Africa. He led his country through the end of apartheid and into a united history they had never seen before. 


These 10 examples of leadership speeches show you just how powerful the spoken word can be. These speakers are all experts in their field and captivate their audiences to give incredible, motivational speeches, which lift and inspire

Want more inspiration? Get motivated by other brilliant famous team leaders here
 

 

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Elizabeth Harmon

Elizabeth Harmon

is a Social Media Consultant with a number of years of experience in the field. She has worked with a growing list of clients around the world, helping to build successful social media strategies, create effective content and much more. She is a writer and journalist for the Open Colleges Careers Blog.

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