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13 All-Time Best TED Talks

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Jim Peterson has over 20 years experience on speech writing. He wrote over 300 free speech topic ideas and how-to guides for any kind of public speaking and speech writing assignments at My Speech Class.

Hello and welcome to my TED talk.

You probably know what TED is already – one of the most popular conferences worldwide , offering inspirational lectures on a broad range of topics… does that ring any bells?

While some associate conferences with dull, stale and business-y individuals talking about boring things on stage, TED is as far from that as you can get. It has a charming heart, fueled by passion and made up of exceptional individuals who strive to make a positive change in the world. With so much content produced by TED, though, which of these are the best TED talks?

As a religious follower of TED over the past few years, I decided to dig a bit deeper into the topic and lay them out for you. Chances are these will inspire your next great idea and convince you that nothing is impossible – given you approach something in the right way.

By the end of this article you will know:

  • What are the best TED talks?
  • What are the best TED talks of 2020?
  • What is TED conference?
  • Are TED talks worth it?
  • What does the acronym TED stand for?
  • And much more curiosities

Which are the most influential TED Talks?

As I dove deep into uncharted Internet territory, looking far and wide to answer this question, I stumbled upon some curiosities regarding TED. There is a chance that you, like myself, are interested in whimsical trivia and statistics, so I will share some with you:

  • TED was established in February 1984 , but became an annual conference from 1990 .
  • An average TED talk is 18 minutes or under 18 minutes long – which is backed by strategy and neuroscience.
  • The conference covers a broad spectrum of topics – from tech, business and innovation, to culture, feminism and spirituality.
  • It produces content in more than 100 languages .
  • TED.com currently hosts over 2,400 talks , with new additions daily.
  • There are 3,400 Youtube TED talks on the official TED channel.
  • The TedX Youtube channel hosts over 90,000 videos , with new additions daily.
  • Hans Rosling, a Swedish physician, holds the record for the most TED talks given by a single person – a whopping 8 .
  • There are more than 10,000 TedX events given out as of 2020.

Now that was refreshing, wasn’t it? With so many dazzling and insightfully good TED talks to pick from, one can get crosseyed and confused easily. This is why I took it upon myself to look into the creme de la creme of the best TED talks ever.

Ready? Hold your breath, because we are diving in.

13 Best TED Talks of All Time

TED talks are built on delivering fresh ideas, by original thinkers and writers, which aim to leave behind a better world. So out of all these inspiring talks, it is very difficult to compile a list of the best of the best. This is why I have focused on view count as a metric – the talks with the most audience surely have something in them that makes them stand out.

1. Do schools kill creativity?

Speaker: Sir Ken Robinson Views: 65.9M Category: best TED talks for middle school parents

All kids have tremendous talent. This is the main point that TED speaker Sir Ken Robinson argues for in one of the best TED talks ever made. In his eyes, however, education systems around the world are ruthlessly squandering that talent, which leads to its eventual death. Robinson is firm in his belief that creativity nowadays is just as important as literacy in the context of education, and should be cultivated the same way.

It’s no secret that math, science and literacy have been the focus of schools worldwide for the past who-knows-how-many-years. Children are discouraged from doing dance, art or theatre because “the money is not there”. But should this continue to be this way? If you ask Robinson – definitely not.

Through anecdotes and personal stories, the author and educationalist beautifully states that creativity is the freedom to willingly make mistakes, try out new things and be brave – which are all qualities that children possess. Children don’t lack creativity, but rather grow out of it, are educated out of it, he preaches with his soothing British accent. For me, this is the greatest speech on TED ever.

2. This is what happens when you reply to spam email

Speaker: James Veitch Views: 60.2M Category: best short TED talks

Do you know how much gold you’d need if you want to start running an illegal distribution business? 2kg? 9kg? How about 25kg? This, of course, is if witty comedian James Veitch and his alleged communication with the scammer Solomon is to be believed. Even if it’s not, this TED talk is cleverly funny and is bound to make your day a bit brighter.

That being said, spam makes up 45% of our emails . Of course, you rarely click on spam, unless you are above a certain age and want to check out that cool offer you got sent, only to find out that your laptop is now infected with viruses. Yes, I am talking about my dad. On average, spammers receive 1 response to every 12.500.000 emails . People often bash them, but at the end of the day, spamming is a tough and ungrateful job.

Curiously enough, this one is among the most popular TED talks, even though it’s entirely built on humour.

3. Your body language may shape who you are

Fun fact – using emojis in online negotiations can bring you more value. That is, if you know how to use them. 😉

Social psychologist Amy Cuddy uses this peculiar fact to introduce the broader topic of the importance of body language to the audience. According to her, our body language doesn’t only influence other people – it influences us as well. In fact, communication consists of 7% spoken words, 38% tone of voice, and 55% body language .

Cuddy’s experiment with low and high power body poses can be positively implemented in many fields – including tough job interviews. She has a “fake it till you make it approach”, which can impress others and give you the needed confidence to see difficult situations through. Cuddy also talks a lot about the connection between hormones, body language, and the importance of presence. This is a great TED talk for teens, who may be struggling with showing their confidence to the world.

4. How great leaders inspire action

Speaker: Simon Sinek Views: 50.8M Category: Best TED talks on leadership

Apple, Martin Luther King, the Wright brothers – what do these seemingly unrelated subjects have in common? It’s easy, they don’t think like you and I. They are innovators – they don’t get discouraged and have strong beliefs. They have dreams and the passion to see their dreams become a reality.

They start with Why?

Starting with Why? is the key component of the Golden Circle , a concept defined by leadership expert Simon Sinnek. It’s also the name of his bestselling book. The Golden Circle consists of three seemingly simple questions – Why? How? and What?, and is integral to making a company stand out from the rest. Everyone knows what they do, some know how they do it, very few know why they do it. And as it turns out, this is key. Sinnek explains all of this in one of the best TED talks for business there is.

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. People are drawn to purpose, cause, and belief. To inspiration. That is why you have to show them why you get out of bed in the morning and why they should care about that.

5. The power of vulnerability

Speaker: Brené Brown Views: 48.9M Category: most inspiring TED talks

Brene Brown delivers an extremely touching and human TED talk which explores the importance of human connection. From a neurobiological standpoint (Brown is a researcher-storyteller), this is the meaning of human life.

Brown defines shame as the fear of disconnection. It is the question that each of us has asked ourselves at one time or another – is there something about me that other people will see that will make me not worthy of connection?

Some, however, don’t perceive vulnerability as a flaw, but rather as a necessity. Being vulnerable is the personification of strength and the ultimate courage to love with our whole hearts, even though there is no guarantee that we will receive anything in return. To call your doctor, to tell her you love her first, to surrender – and see what’s on the other side, head held high.

One of the best motivational TED talks of all time, you wouldn’t want to miss out on this one.

6. How to speak so that people want to listen

Speaker: Julian Treasure Views: 42.8M Category: best audio TED talks

Ever felt like you are speaking logically and soundly, but no one seems to listen? Julian Treasure is here to lend a helping hand and explain why that might be. In this brisk and practical talk, he outlines 7 habits to try and stay away from, if you want to have meaningful conversations , where you have people’s attention. He also pinpoints 4 powerful cornerstones that can enhance our speech further . They spell out the word HAIL – can you guess what each letter stands for?

Finally, Treasure opens the toolbox of our voice and offers some good ideas on keeping track of our register, timbre, prosody, pace, pitch, and volume. This is one of the most famous TED talks because of how practical and easy to implement it is.

7. Inside the mind of a master procrastinator

Speaker: Tim Urban Views: 40.1M Category: best TED talks for college students

Master procrastinator Tim Urban tells a tale of laughter and woe – in what is one of the funniest TED talks out there. He introduces the audience to the deities living in his brain – the Rational-Decision Maker, who tries to sail the ship and achieve goals within a set timeframe, by spreading out the workload evenly. And the Instant Gratification Monkey, which solely exists to have fun and take the easy way out. Naturally, these two are in a constant struggle, with the Monkey prevailing most of the time, which kind of works… occasionally.

Luckily, procrastinators have a guardian angel – the Panic Monster, which keeps the procrastinator out of trouble and allows for them to do a substantial amount of work in very little time.

Procrastination is a serious issue – according to some surveys, 85-95% of students have problems associated with it . This is why this talk can be deemed among the best TED talks for students. Urban thinks that everyone is a procrastinator, as we are all procrastinating something. However, we should see the bigger picture, since before we know it, we might have procrastinated our lives away.

8. The next outbreak? We’re not ready

Speaker: Bill Gates Views: 36.3M Category: best prophetic TED talk

Bill Gates should consider scratching a lottery ticket, because apparently he can predict the future. In this 2015 TED Talk he talks about how the next big thing that humanity should be scared about isn’t nuclear war – it’s influenza. Here, he is talking in the context of Ebola, which was a big thing in 2015 – it had a 50% fatality rate .

This is one of the greatest TED talks, as it shows how credible the organization really is. Apparently, Bill was very well aware of what would happen in 2020, because in his prophetic talk he warns us that the world isn’t prepared to handle an outbreak such as this, and we should be wary. Turns out governments shouldn’t have skipped this great talk, as his words, more or less, came true.

9. My philosophy for a happy life

Speaker: Sam Berns Views: 35.1M Category: best motivational TED talks

In this touching and inspiring talk, then 17-year-old Sam Berns shares his philosophy for leading a happy life. Sam is the star of the HBO documentary “Life According to Sam”, which was considered to be nominated in the Documentary Feature category of the 86th Oscars .

Berns suffers from progeria, an extremely rare autosomal dominant genetic disorder, but he doesn’t let it dictate his life. Of course, there are some limitations to what he can and can’t do, but ultimately he chooses what to focus on, preferring to look at the bright side of things, rather than the grim one.

Unfortunately, Sam passed away in 2014 due to complications of his illness, but he delivered one of the most inspirational ted talks to this date. His simple philosophy can inspire people everywhere – being brave isn’t supposed to be easy.

10. Looks aren’t everything. Believe me, I’m a model.

Speaker: Cameron Russell Views: 34.7M Category: best TED talks for women

Cameron Russell, a Victoria’s Secret model, is here to share that being superficial often yields nothing good. She answers some of the most asked questions she gets about her modeling career and builds up to the conclusion that even though models seem perfect on the outside, they are often some of the most insecure people on the planet.

58% of college-aged girls feel pressured to be a certain weight . This presentation is especially good for them to hear, as Cameron talks with conviction and passion, hoping that her message comes across as intended. No wonder this is one of the most viewed TED talks of all time – women and body image have a complicated relationship and social pressure isn’t doing them good – even though Russell says that all the images we see in magazines are simply a skillful construct.

11. What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness

Speaker: Robert Waldinger Views: 34.1M Category: best psychology TED talks

What is the key ingredient to keeping us healthy and happy as we move through life? Many say that fame and fortune are the things that will greatly contribute to their happiness – but psychiatrist Robert Waldinger disagrees. In what is one of the most inspirational TED talks of all time, he explains the findings of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, which lasted for 75 years and tracked the lives of 724 men.

As it turns out, the secret to living a long and happy life is quite simple – maintaining good relationships. Quality close relationships make us thrive, and it has been discovered that loneliness kills. Waldinger shares some insight on how to best implement the study findings in our own lives and ensure that we are living mindfully and rich – metaphorically speaking.

12. Why people believe they can’t draw

Speaker: Graham Shaw Views: 32.6M Category: highest rated TED talks

Many people believe they can’t draw – I am guilty of that myself. Graham Shaw, however, doesn’t agree and argues that that has to do more with your limiting beliefs than your actual skills. He proceeds to show several easy cartoons that anyone can replicate and that the technique for each gets coded within our memory for future use.

This is the best example of what a TED talk stands for – it’s positive, easy to replicate immediately in our lives, and inspires people to keep an open mind.

13. 10 things you didn’t know about orgasm

Speaker: Mary Roach Views: 31.4M Category: best curious TED talk

It’s a bit curious how this is one of the most watched TED talks of all time – but then again, who isn’t guilty of being curious about the mysterious orgasm? Mary Roach treads through the matter effortlessly with her signature wit and humorous nature – and it makes for an informative listen.

It’s a bit funny how this one made it into the top TED talks of all time, but who am I to judge? People like what they like and there is no shame about it. Be sure to watch this fascinating talk for some fresh ideas and funny stories.

5 Most popular TED Talks of 2020 (+ a bonus)

It should come as no surprise that the best TED lectures this year are dedicated to COVID-19. A speaker who appeared in the above list appears not once, but two whole times – can you guess who this influencer is?

And since this whole COVID talk is making us globally anxious, I included a small bonus at the end of the list, which is something different but still communicates valid and important points.

So, without further ado – let’s see which the Best TED talks 2020 are.

1. How we must respond to the coronavirus pandemic

Speaker: Bill Gates Views: 7.3M

Bill Gates is one of the most Famous TED talk speakers when it comes to viruses, and no, I don’t mean computer ones. Here he gives his insights into the COVID-19 pandemic and argues why self-isolation and testing are of the utmost importance. He also discusses which medical advancements are promising, and what the world has to do to end this crisis.

2. Why COVID-19 is hitting us now — and how to prepare for the next outbreak

Speaker: Alanna Shaikh Views: 3.1M

One of the great TED talks regarding COVID gives a brief rundown on the virus – where did it come from, how did it spread so fast, and most importantly – what’s next? Global health expert Alanna Shaikh talks about all this and follows the spread of the virus, discussing why it’s not effective to restrict travel and highlights the much needed medical reforms worldwide to prepare for what’s coming. “We need to make sure that every country in the world has the capacity to identify new diseases and treat them,” she says.

3. What coronavirus means for the global economy

Speaker: Ray Dalio Views: 2.1M

Another one of the top TED talks of 2020 is corona-related. Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates, offers wide-spectrum insights on the best ways to recover from the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic – and use the opportunity to reconstruct the systems that help cultivate our economies. “I’m a capitalist. I believe in the system. I believe you can increase the size of the pie and you could divide it well,” he says.

4. It’s OK to feel overwhelmed. Here’s what to do next

Speaker: Elizabeth Gilbert Views: 1.7M

Fear and anxiety are common shared feelings amidst the pandemic. Author Elizabeth Gilbert offers a safe haven of understanding and hope by reflecting on how to stay present in the moment, accept negative emotions, and trust in the endurance of the human spirit. This is one of the more recent TED talks, and takes a different angle on the COVID-19 pandemic. “Resilience is our shared genetic inheritance,” Gilbert says.

5. How the pandemic will shape the near future

Speaker: Bill Gates Views: 1M

Bill Gates is at it again with one of the hottest TED talks topics of the year, discussing the best and worst scenarios that COVID-19 could cause in the months ahead. He further explains what the challenges are to reducing virus transmission, speaks about promising vaccine candidates, and even takes a second to consider conspiracy theories revolving around himself. He also makes an appeal to fellow philanthropists, whose action is needed now more than ever.

6. The perks of being a pirate

Speaker: Tom Nash Views: 2M

Harrr. I am so glad this one made it into the top TED talks of the year. DJ and self-proclaimed pirate Tom Nash is here to bushwack our hearts with his charm and humor, while pondering on how facing adversity due to disability welcomed pragmatism, patience and ambition into his life in enlightening ways. “We all have unique weaknesses,” he says. “If we’re honest about what they are, we can learn how to best take advantage of them.” One of the most popular TED talks of the year (which isn’t centered around COVID) will make you smile and reminisce a bit about life.

Some final words

The staggering combined view count of the best TED talks listed above is more than 550 million. I find it exhilarating that so many people are curious about the world that surrounds them and want to learn more and to feed new information into their brains. Knowledge is seductive and powerful, and in today’s day and age anyone can easily access it on the Internet. So make it count.

Which were your favorite TED talks from the list? Let us know!

Q: What is the best TED talk ever?

A: If you ask me, Sir Ken Robinson’s “Do schools kill creativity?” is absolutely awe-inspiring and deservedly stands on top of the most watched TED talks of all time. If you want to watch something different, you can always check out this playlist – TED actually have quite a few handy playlists that collect videos on similar topics. It’s useful if you don’t know where to start, or have very specific interests.

Q: What TED talk should I watch?

A: Any pick from this list should be a good place to start. The talks listed here are among the best TED talks of all time, the ones which people found great worth and inspiration in. After you get acquainted with the different topics that TED showcases, you can browse here to find more personalized content, suited to your taste.

Q: Are TED talks worth watching?

A: Definitely. TED’s entire philosophy is based on delivering innovative and inspirational content that is meant to ignite creative minds and spark a flame in their hearts. There are so many TED talks topics that it is virtually impossible to not find something you like – you can start with the ones listed in the article, as they are the most viewed TED talks of all time. Furthermore, TED talk science states that 18 minutes is the optimal time to assimilate new knowledge – and you’d be lying if you say you don’t have 18 minutes to spend in your day.

Q: What is TED short for in TED talks?

A: TED stands for: T echnology, E ntertainment and D esign. The conference’s early focus was mainly on technology and design, which was consistent with its Silicon Valley origins. However, given the conference’s 34-year lifespan, it has evolved and now welcomes a broad range of TED talk categories, including science, politics, culture and academia.

Q: What is a TEDx Talk?

A: TEDx talks are independent TED events which can be organized by anyone who obtains a licence from TED. As of October 2017, the TEDx archive surpassed 100,000 talks . TEDx events are quite versatile and can include films and live presentations as well. Understandably, TEDx talks 2020 are all held online.

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112 Persuasive Speech Topics That Are Actually Engaging

What’s covered:, how to pick an awesome persuasive speech topic, 112 engaging persuasive speech topics, tips for preparing your persuasive speech.

Writing a stellar persuasive speech requires a carefully crafted argument that will resonate with your audience to sway them to your side. This feat can be challenging to accomplish, but an engaging, thought-provoking speech topic is an excellent place to start.

When it comes time to select a topic for your persuasive speech, you may feel overwhelmed by all the options to choose from—or your brain may be drawing a completely blank slate. If you’re having trouble thinking of the perfect topic, don’t worry. We’re here to help!

In this post, we’re sharing how to choose the perfect persuasive speech topic and tips to prepare for your speech. Plus, you’ll find 112 persuasive speech topics that you can take directly from us or use as creative inspiration for your own ideas!

Choose Something You’re Passionate About

It’s much easier to write, research, and deliver a speech about a cause you care about. Even if it’s challenging to find a topic that completely sparks your interest, try to choose a topic that aligns with your passions.

However, keep in mind that not everyone has the same interests as you. Try to choose a general topic to grab the attention of the majority of your audience, but one that’s specific enough to keep them engaged.

For example, suppose you’re giving a persuasive speech about book censorship. In that case, it’s probably too niche to talk about why “To Kill a Mockingbird” shouldn’t be censored (even if it’s your favorite book), and it’s too broad to talk about media censorship in general.

Steer Clear of Cliches

Have you already heard a persuasive speech topic presented dozens of times? If so, it’s probably not an excellent choice for your speech—even if it’s an issue you’re incredibly passionate about.

Although polarizing topics like abortion and climate control are important to discuss, they aren’t great persuasive speech topics. Most people have already formed an opinion on these topics, which will either cause them to tune out or have a negative impression of your speech.

Instead, choose topics that are fresh, unique, and new. If your audience has never heard your idea presented before, they will be more open to your argument and engaged in your speech.

Have a Clear Side of Opposition

For a persuasive speech to be engaging, there must be a clear side of opposition. To help determine the arguability of your topic, ask yourself: “If I presented my viewpoint on this topic to a group of peers, would someone disagree with me?” If the answer is yes, then you’ve chosen a great topic!

Now that we’ve laid the groundwork for what it takes to choose a great persuasive speech topic, here are over one hundred options for you to choose from.

  • Should high school athletes get tested for steroids?
  • Should schools be required to have physical education courses?
  • Should sports grades in school depend on things like athletic ability?
  • What sport should be added to or removed from the Olympics?
  • Should college athletes be able to make money off of their merchandise?
  • Should sports teams be able to recruit young athletes without a college degree?
  • Should we consider video gamers as professional athletes?
  • Is cheerleading considered a sport?
  • Should parents allow their kids to play contact sports?
  • Should professional female athletes be paid the same as professional male athletes?
  • Should college be free at the undergraduate level?
  • Is the traditional college experience obsolete?
  • Should you choose a major based on your interests or your potential salary?
  • Should high school students have to meet a required number of service hours before graduating?
  • Should teachers earn more or less based on how their students perform on standardized tests?
  • Are private high schools more effective than public high schools?
  • Should there be a minimum number of attendance days required to graduate?
  • Are GPAs harmful or helpful?
  • Should schools be required to teach about standardized testing?
  • Should Greek Life be banned in the United States?
  • Should schools offer science classes explicitly about mental health?
  • Should students be able to bring their cell phones to school?
  • Should all public restrooms be all-gender?
  • Should undocumented immigrants have the same employment and education opportunities as citizens?
  • Should everyone be paid a living wage regardless of their employment status?
  • Should supremacist groups be able to hold public events?
  • Should guns be allowed in public places?
  • Should the national drinking age be lowered?
  • Should prisoners be allowed to vote?
  • Should the government raise or lower the retirement age?
  • Should the government be able to control the population?
  • Is the death penalty ethical?

Environment

  • Should stores charge customers for plastic bags?
  • Should breeding animals (dogs, cats, etc.) be illegal?
  • Is it okay to have exotic animals as pets?
  • Should people be fined for not recycling?
  • Should compost bins become mandatory for restaurants?
  • Should electric vehicles have their own transportation infrastructure?
  • Would heavier fining policies reduce corporations’ emissions?
  • Should hunting be encouraged or illegal?
  • Should reusable diapers replace disposable diapers?

Science & Technology

  • Is paper media more reliable than digital news sources?
  • Should automated/self-driving cars be legalized?
  • Should schools be required to provide laptops to all students?
  • Should software companies be able to have pre-downloaded programs and applications on devices?
  • Should drones be allowed in military warfare?
  • Should scientists invest more or less money into cancer research?
  • Should cloning be illegal?
  • Should societies colonize other planets?
  • Should there be legal oversight over the development of technology?

Social Media

  • Should there be an age limit on social media?
  • Should cyberbullying have the same repercussions as in-person bullying?
  • Are online relationships as valuable as in-person relationships?
  • Does “cancel culture” have a positive or negative impact on societies?
  • Are social media platforms reliable information or news sources?
  • Should social media be censored?
  • Does social media create an unrealistic standard of beauty?
  • Is regular social media usage damaging to real-life interactions?
  • Is social media distorting democracy?
  • How many branches of government should there be?
  • Who is the best/worst president of all time?
  • How long should judges serve in the U.S. Supreme Court?
  • Should a more significant portion of the U.S. budget be contributed towards education?
  • Should the government invest in rapid transcontinental transportation infrastructure?
  • Should airport screening be more or less stringent?
  • Should the electoral college be dismantled?
  • Should the U.S. have open borders?
  • Should the government spend more or less money on space exploration?
  • Should students sing Christmas carols, say the pledge of allegiance, or perform other tangentially religious activities?
  • Should nuns and priests become genderless roles?
  • Should schools and other public buildings have prayer rooms?
  • Should animal sacrifice be legal if it occurs in a religious context?
  • Should countries be allowed to impose a national religion on their citizens?
  • Should the church be separated from the state?
  • Does freedom of religion positively or negatively affect societies?

Parenting & Family

  • Is it better to have children at a younger or older age?
  • Is it better for children to go to daycare or stay home with their parents?
  • Does birth order affect personality?
  • Should parents or the school system teach their kids about sex?
  • Are family traditions important?
  • Should parents smoke or drink around young children?
  • Should “spanking” children be illegal?
  • Should parents use swear words in front of their children?
  • Should parents allow their children to play violent video games?

Entertainment

  • Should all actors be paid the same regardless of gender or ethnicity?
  • Should all award shows be based on popular vote?
  • Who should be responsible for paying taxes on prize money, the game show staff or the contestants?
  • Should movies and television shows have ethnicity and gender quotas?
  • Should newspapers and magazines move to a completely online format?
  • Should streaming services like Netflix and Hulu be free for students?
  • Is the movie rating system still effective?
  • Should celebrities have more privacy rights?

Arts & Humanities

  • Are libraries becoming obsolete?
  • Should all schools have mandatory art or music courses in their curriculum?
  • Should offensive language be censored from classic literary works?
  • Is it ethical for museums to keep indigenous artifacts?
  • Should digital designs be considered an art form? 
  • Should abstract art be considered an art form?
  • Is music therapy effective?
  • Should tattoos be regarded as “professional dress” for work?
  • Should schools place greater emphasis on the arts programs?
  • Should euthanasia be allowed in hospitals and other clinical settings?
  • Should the government support and implement universal healthcare?
  • Would obesity rates lower if the government intervened to make healthy foods more affordable?
  • Should teenagers be given access to birth control pills without parental consent?
  • Should food allergies be considered a disease?
  • Should health insurance cover homeopathic medicine?
  • Is using painkillers healthy?
  • Should genetically modified foods be banned?
  • Should there be a tax on unhealthy foods?
  • Should tobacco products be banned from the country?
  • Should the birth control pill be free for everyone?

If you need more help brainstorming topics, especially those that are personalized to your interests, you can  use CollegeVine’s free AI tutor, Ivy . Ivy can help you come up with original persuasive speech ideas, and she can also help with the rest of your homework, from math to languages.

Do Your Research

A great persuasive speech is supported with plenty of well-researched facts and evidence. So before you begin the writing process, research both sides of the topic you’re presenting in-depth to gain a well-rounded perspective of the topic.

Understand Your Audience

It’s critical to understand your audience to deliver a great persuasive speech. After all, you are trying to convince them that your viewpoint is correct. Before writing your speech, consider the facts and information that your audience may already know, and think about the beliefs and concerns they may have about your topic. Then, address these concerns in your speech, and be mindful to include fresh, new information.

Have Someone Read Your Speech

Once you have finished writing your speech, have someone read it to check for areas of strength and improvement. You can use CollegeVine’s free essay review tool to get feedback on your speech from a peer!

Practice Makes Perfect

After completing your final draft, the key to success is to practice. Present your speech out loud in front of a mirror, your family, friends, and basically, anyone who will listen. Not only will the feedback of others help you to make your speech better, but you’ll become more confident in your presentation skills and may even be able to commit your speech to memory.

Hopefully, these ideas have inspired you to write a powerful, unique persuasive speech. With the perfect topic, plenty of practice, and a boost of self-confidence, we know you’ll impress your audience with a remarkable speech!

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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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75 Persuasive Speech Topics and Ideas

October 4, 2018 - Gini Beqiri

To write a captivating and persuasive speech you must first decide on a topic that will engage, inform and also persuade the audience. We have discussed how to choose a topic and we have provided a list of speech ideas covering a wide range of categories.

What is persuasive speech?

The aim of a persuasive speech is to inform, educate and convince or motivate an audience to do something. You are essentially trying to sway the audience to adopt your own viewpoint.

The best persuasive speech topics are thought-provoking, daring and have a clear opinion. You should speak about something you are knowledgeable about and can argue your opinion for, as well as objectively discuss counter-arguments.

How to choose a topic for your speech

It’s not easy picking a topic for your speech as there are many options so consider the following factors when deciding.

Familiarity

Topics that you’re familiar with will make it easier to prepare for the speech.

It’s best if you decide on a topic in which you have a genuine interest in because you’ll be doing lots of research on it and if it’s something you enjoy the process will be significantly easier and more enjoyable. The audience will also see this enthusiasm when you’re presenting which will make the speech more persuasive.

The audience’s interest

The audience must care about the topic. You don’t want to lose their attention so choose something you think they’ll be interested in hearing about.

Consider choosing a topic that allows you to be more descriptive because this allows the audience to visualize which consequently helps persuade them.

Not overdone

When people have heard about a topic repeatedly they’re less likely to listen to you as it doesn’t interest them anymore. Avoid cliché or overdone topics as it’s difficult to maintain your audience’s attention because they feel like they’ve heard it all before.

An exception to this would be if you had new viewpoints or new facts to share. If this is the case then ensure you clarify early in your speech that you have unique views or information on the topic.

Emotional topics

Emotions are motivators so the audience is more likely to be persuaded and act on your requests if you present an emotional topic.

People like hearing about issues that affect them or their community, country etc. They find these topics more relatable which means they find them more interesting. Look at local issues and news to discover these topics.

Desired outcome

What do you want your audience to do as a result of your speech? Use this as a guide to choosing your topic, for example, maybe you want people to recycle more so you present a speech on the effect of microplastics in the ocean.

Jamie Oliver persuasive speech

Persuasive speech topics

Lots of timely persuasive topics can be found using social media, the radio, TV and newspapers. We have compiled a list of 75 persuasive speech topic ideas covering a wide range of categories.

Some of the topics also fall into other categories and we have posed the topics as questions so they can be easily adapted into statements to suit your own viewpoint.

  • Should pets be adopted rather than bought from a breeder?
  • Should wild animals be tamed?
  • Should people be allowed to own exotic animals like monkeys?
  • Should all zoos and aquariums be closed?

Arts/Culture

  • Should art and music therapy be covered by health insurance?
  • Should graffiti be considered art?
  • Should all students be required to learn an instrument in school?
  • Should automobile drivers be required to take a test every three years?
  • Are sports cars dangerous?
  • Should bicycles share the roads with cars?
  • Should bicycle riders be required by law to always wear helmets?

Business and economy

  • Do introverts make great leaders?
  • Does owning a business leave you feeling isolated?
  • What is to blame for the rise in energy prices?
  • Does hiring cheaper foreign employees hurt the economy?
  • Should interns be paid for their work?
  • Should employees receive bonuses for walking or biking to work?
  • Should tipping in restaurants be mandatory?
  • Should boys and girls should be taught in separate classrooms?
  • Should schools include meditation breaks during the day?
  • Should students be allowed to have their mobile phones with them during school?
  • Should teachers have to pass a test every decade to renew their certifications?
  • Should online teaching be given equal importance as the regular form of teaching?
  • Is higher education over-rated?
  • What are the best ways to stop bullying?
  • Should people with more than one DUI lose their drivers’ licenses?
  • Should prostitution be legalised?
  • Should guns be illegal in the US?
  • Should cannabis be legalised for medical reasons?
  • Is equality a myth?
  • Does what is “right” and “wrong” change from generation to generation?
  • Is there never a good enough reason to declare war?
  • Should governments tax sugary drinks and use the revenue for public health?
  • Has cosmetic surgery risen to a level that exceeds good sense?
  • Is the fast-food industry legally accountable for obesity?
  • Should school cafeterias only offer healthy food options?
  • Is acupuncture a valid medical technique?
  • Should assisted suicide be legal?
  • Does consuming meat affect health?
  • Is dieting a good way to lose weight?

Law and politics

  • Should voting be made compulsory?
  • Should the President (or similar position) be allowed to serve more than two terms?
  • Would poverty reduce by fixing housing?
  • Should drug addicts be sent for treatment in hospitals instead of prisons?
  • Would it be fair for the government to detain suspected terrorists without proper trial?
  • Is torture acceptable when used for national security?
  • Should celebrities who break the law receive stiffer penalties?
  • Should the government completely ban all cigarettes and tobacco products
  • Is it wrong for the media to promote a certain beauty standard?
  • Is the media responsible for the moral degradation of teenagers?
  • Should advertising be aimed at children?
  • Has freedom of press gone too far?
  • Should prayer be allowed in public schools?
  • Does religion have a place in government?
  • How do cults differ from religion?

Science and the environment

  • Should recycling be mandatory?
  • Should genetically modified foods be sold in supermarkets?
  • Should parents be allowed to choose the sex of their unborn children?
  • Should selling plastic bags be completely banned in shops?
  • Should smoking in public places be banned?
  • Should professional female athletes be paid the same as male athletes in the same sport?
  • Should doping be allowed in professional sports?
  • Should schools be required to teach all students how to swim?
  • How does parental pressure affect young athletes?
  • Will technology reduce or increase human employment opportunities?
  • What age should children be allowed to have mobile phones?
  • Should libraries be replaced with unlimited access to e-books?
  • Should we recognize Bitcoin as a legal currency?
  • Should bloggers and vloggers be treated as journalists and punished for indiscretions?
  • Has technology helped connect people or isolate them?
  • Should mobile phone use in public places be regulated?
  • Do violent video games make people more violent?

World peace

  • What is the safest country in the world?
  • Is planetary nuclear disarmament possible?
  • Is the idea of peace on earth naive?

These topics are just suggestions so you need to assess whether they would be suitable for your particular audience. You can easily adapt the topics to suit your interests and audience, for example, you could substitute “meat” in the topic “Does consuming meat affect health?” for many possibilities, such as “processed foods”, “mainly vegan food”, “dairy” and so on.

After choosing your topic

After you’ve chosen your topic it’s important to do the following:

  • Research thoroughly
  • Think about all of the different viewpoints
  • Tailor to your audience – discussing your topic with others is a helpful way to gain an understanding of your audience.
  • How involved are you with this topic – are you a key character?
  • Have you contributed to this area, perhaps through blogs, books, papers and products.
  • How qualified are you to speak on this topic?
  • Do you have personal experience in it? How many years?
  • How long have you been interested in the area?

While it may be difficult to choose from such a variety of persuasive speech topics, think about which of the above you have the most knowledge of and can argue your opinion on.

For advice about how to deliver your persuasive speech, check out our blog  Persuasive Speech Outline and Ideas .

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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 105 interesting persuasive speech topics for any project.

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Are you struggling to find good persuasive speech topics? It can be hard to find a topic that interests both you and your audience, but in this guide we've done the hard work and created a list of 105 great persuasive speech ideas. They're organized into ten categories and cover a variety of topics, so you're sure to find one that interests you.

In addition to our list, we also go over which factors make good persuasive speech topics and three tips you should follow when researching and writing your persuasive speech.

What Makes a Good Persuasive Speech Topic?

What makes certain persuasive speech topics better than others? There are numerous reasons, but in this section we discuss three of the most important factors of great topics for a persuasive speech.

It's Something You Know About or Are Interested in Learning About

The most important factor in choosing and creating a great persuasive speech is picking a topic you care about and are interested in. You'll need to do a lot of research on this topic, and if it's something you like learning about, that'll make the process much easier and more enjoyable. It'll also help you sound passionate and informed when you talk, both important factors in giving an excellent persuasive speech.

It's a Topic People Care About

In fourth grade, after being told I could give a persuasive speech on any topic I wanted to , I chose to discuss why the Saguaro cactus should be the United State's national plant. Even though I gave an impassioned talk and drew a life-size Saguaro cactus on butcher paper to hang behind me, I doubt anyone enjoyed the speech much.

I'd recently returned from a family vacation to Arizona where I'd seen Saguaro cacti for the first time and decided they were the coolest thing ever. However, most people don't care that much about Saguaro cacti, and most people don't care what our national plant is or if we even have one (for the record, the US has a national flower, and it's the rose).

Spare yourself the smattering of bored applause my nine-old self got at the end of my speech and choose something you think people will be interested in hearing about. This also ties into knowing your audience, which we discuss more in the final section.

It Isn't Overdone

When I was in high school, nearly every persuasive speech my classmates and I were assigned was the exact same topic: should the drinking age be lowered to 18? I got this prompt in English class, on standardized tests, in speech and debate class, etc. I've written and presented about it so often I could probably still rattle off all the main points of my old speeches word-for-word.

You can imagine that everyone's eyes glazed over whenever classmates gave their speeches on this topic. We'd heard about it so many times that, even if it was a topic we cared about, speeches on it just didn't interest us anymore.

The are many potential topics for a persuasive speech. Be wary of choosing one that's cliche or overdone. Even if you give a great speech, it'll be harder to keep your audience interested if they feel like they already know what you're going to say.

An exception to this rule is that if you feel you have a new viewpoint or facts about the topic that currently aren't common knowledge. Including them can make an overdone topic interesting. If you do this, be sure to make it clear early on in your speech that you have unique info or opinions on the topic so your audience knows to expect something new.

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105 Topics for a Persuasive Speech

Here's our list of 105 great persuasive speech ideas. We made sure to choose topics that aren't overdone, yet that many people will have an interest in, and we also made a point of choosing topics with multiple viewpoints rather than simplistic topics that have a more obvious right answer (i.e. Is bullying bad?). The topics are organized into ten categories.

Arts/Culture

  • Should art and music therapy be covered by health insurance?
  • Should all students be required to learn an instrument in school?
  • Should all national museums be free to citizens?
  • Should graffiti be considered art?
  • Should offensive language be removed from works of classic literature?
  • Are paper books better than e-books?
  • Should all interns be paid for their work?
  • Should employees receive bonuses for walking or biking to work?
  • Will Brexit hurt or help the UK's economy?
  • Should all people over the age of 65 be able to ride the bus for free?
  • Should the federal minimum wage be increased?
  • Should tipping in restaurants be mandatory?
  • Should Black Friday sales be allowed to start on Thanksgiving?
  • Should students who bully others be expelled?
  • Should all schools require students wear uniforms?
  • Should boys and girls be taught in separate classrooms?
  • Should students be allowed to listen to music during study hall?
  • Should all elementary schools be required to teach a foreign language?
  • Should schools include meditation or relaxation breaks during the day?
  • Should grades in gym class affect students' GPAs?
  • Should teachers get a bonus when their students score well on standardized tests?
  • Should children of undocumented immigrants be allowed to attend public schools?
  • Should students get paid for getting a certain GPA?
  • Should students be allowed to have their cell phones with them during school?
  • Should high school students be allowed to leave school during lunch breaks?
  • Should Greek life at colleges be abolished?
  • Should high school students be required to volunteer a certain number of hours before they can graduate?
  • Should schools still teach cursive handwriting?
  • What are the best ways for schools to stop bullying?
  • Should prostitution be legalized?
  • Should people with more than one DUI lose their driver's license?
  • Should people be required to shovel snow from the sidewalks in front of their house?
  • Should minors be able to drink alcohol in their home if they have their parent's consent?
  • Should guns be allowed on college campuses?
  • Should flag burning as a form of protest be illegal?
  • Should welfare recipients be required to pass a drug test?
  • Should white supremacist groups be allowed to hold rallies in public places?
  • Should assault weapons be illegal?
  • Should the death penalty be abolished?
  • Should beauty pageants for children be banned?
  • Is it OK to refuse to serve same-sex couples based on religious beliefs?
  • Should transgender people be allowed to serve in the military?
  • Is it better to live together before marriage or to wait?
  • Should affirmative action be allowed?
  • Should prisoners be allowed to vote?
  • Should Columbus Day be replaced with Indigenous Peoples' Day?

Government/Politics

  • Should the government spend more money on developing high-speed rail lines and less on building new roads?
  • Should the government be allowed to censor internet content deemed inappropriate?
  • Should Puerto Rico become the 51st state?
  • Should Scotland declare independence from the United Kingdom?
  • Whose face should be on the next new currency printed by the US?
  • Should people convicted of drug possession be sent to recovery programs instead of jail?
  • Should voting be made compulsory?
  • Who was the best American president?
  • Should the military budget be reduced?
  • Should the President be allowed to serve more than two terms?
  • Should a border fence be built between the United States and Mexico?
  • Should countries pay ransom to terrorist groups in order to free hostages?
  • Should minors be able to purchase birth control without their parent's consent?
  • Should hiding or lying about your HIV status with someone you're sleeping with be illegal?
  • Should governments tax soda and other sugary drinks and use the revenue for public health?
  • Should high schools provide free condoms to students?
  • Should the US switch to single-payer health care?
  • Should healthy people be required to regularly donate blood?
  • Should assisted suicide be legal?
  • Should religious organizations be required to pay taxes?
  • Should priests be allowed to get married?
  • Should the religious slaughter of animals be banned?
  • Should the Church of Scientology be exempt from paying taxes?
  • Should women be allowed to be priests?
  • Should countries be allowed to only accept refugees with certain religious beliefs?
  • Should public prayer be allowed in schools?

Science/Environment

  • Should human cloning be allowed?
  • Should people be allowed to own exotic animals like tigers and monkeys?
  • Should "animal selfies" in tourist locations with well-known animal species (like koalas and tigers) be allowed?
  • Should genetically modified foods be sold in grocery stores?
  • Should people be allowed to own pit bulls?
  • Should parents be allowed to choose the sex of their unborn children?
  • Should vaccinations be required for students to attend public school?
  • What is the best type of renewable energy?
  • Should plastic bags be banned in grocery stores?
  • Should the United States rejoin the Paris Agreement?
  • Should puppy mills be banned?
  • Should fracking be legal?
  • Should animal testing be illegal?
  • Should offshore drilling be allowed in protected marine areas?
  • Should the US government increase NASA's budget?
  • Should Pluto still be considered a planet?
  • Should college athletes be paid for being on a sports team?
  • Should all athletes be required to pass regular drug tests?
  • Should professional female athletes be paid the same as male athletes in the same sport?
  • Are there any cases when athletes should be allowed to use steroids?
  • Should college sports teams receive less funding?
  • Should boxing be illegal?
  • Should schools be required to teach all students how to swim?
  • Should cheerleading be considered a sport?
  • Should parents let their children play tackle football?
  • Will robots reduce or increase human employment opportunities?
  • What age should children be allowed to have a cell phone?
  • Should libraries be replaced with unlimited access to e-books?
  • Overall, has technology helped connect people or isolate them?
  • Should self-driving cars be legal?
  • Should all new buildings be energy efficient?
  • Is Net Neutrality a good thing or a bad thing?
  • Do violent video games encourage players to become violent in real life?

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3 Bonus Tips for Crafting Your Persuasive Speech

Of course, giving a great persuasive speech requires more than just choosing a good topic. Follow the three tips below to create an outstanding speech that'll interest and impress your audience.

Do Your Research

For a persuasive speech, there's nothing worse than getting an audience question that shows you misunderstood the issue or left an important piece out. It makes your entire speech look weak and unconvincing.

Before you start writing a single word of your speech, be sure to do lots of research on all sides of the topic. Look at different sources and points of view to be sure you're getting the full picture, and if you know any experts on the topic, be sure to ask their opinion too.

Consider All the Angles

Persuasive speech topics are rarely black and white, which means there will be multiple sides and viewpoints on the topic. For example, for the topic "Should people be allowed to own pit bulls?" there are two obvious viewpoints: everyone should be allowed to own a pit bull if they want to, and no one should be allowed to own a pit bull. But there are other options you should also consider: people should only own a pit bull if they pass a dog training class, people should be able to own pit bulls, but only if it's the only dog they own, people should be able to own pi tbulls but only if they live a certain distance from schools, people should be able to own pit bulls only if the dog passes an obedience class, etc.

Thinking about all these angles and including them in your speech will make you seem well-informed on the topic, and it'll increase the quality of your speech by looking at difference nuances of the issue.

Know Your Audience

Whenever you give a speech, it's important to consider your audience, and this is especially true for persuasive speeches when you're trying to convince people to believe a certain viewpoint. When writing your speech, think about what your audience likely already knows about the topic, what they probably need explained, and what aspects of the topic they care about most. Also consider what the audience will be most concerned about for a certain topic, and be sure to address those concerns.

For example, if you're giving a speech to a Catholic organization on why you think priests should be allowed to marry, you don't need to go over the history of Catholicism or its core beliefs (which they probably already know), but you should mention any research or prominent opinions that support your view (which they likely don't know about). They may be concerned that priests who marry won't be as committed to God or their congregations, so be sure to address those concerns and why they shouldn't worry about them as much as they may think. Discussing your topic with people (ideally those with viewpoints similar to those of your future audience) before you give your speech is a good way to get a better understanding of how your audience thinks.

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More Resources for Writing Persuasive Speeches

If you need more guidance or just want to check out some examples of great persuasive writing, consider checking out the following books:

  • Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches in History by William Safire—This collection of great speeches throughout history will help you decide how to style your own argument.
  • The Essentials of Persuasive Public Speaking by Sims Wyeth—For quick direct tips on public speaking, try this all-purpose guide.
  • Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World's Top Minds by Carmine Gallo—This popular book breaks down what makes TED talks work and how you can employ those skills in your own presentations.
  • We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Make Good Art by Neil Gaiman—These two recent speeches by contemporary writers offer stellar examples of how to craft a compelling (and engaging) argument.

Conclusion: Persuasive Speech Ideas

Good persuasive speech topics can be difficult to think of, but in this guide we've compiled a list of 105 interesting persuasive speech topics for you to look through.

The best persuasive speech ideas will be on a topic you're interested in, aren't overdone, and will be about something your audience cares about.

After you've chosen your topic, keep these three tips in mind when writing your persuasive speech:

  • Do your research
  • Consider all the angles
  • Know your audience

What's Next?

Now that you have persuasive speech topics, it's time to hone your persuasive speech techniques. Find out what ethos, pathos, logos, and kairos are and how to use them here .

Looking to take your persuasive technique from speech to sheets (of paper)? Get our three key tips on how to write an argumentative essay , or learn by reading through our thorough breakdown of how to build an essay, step by step .

Want a great GPA? Check out our step-by-step guide to getting good grades in high school so you can have a stellar transcript.

Interested in learning about other great extracurricular opportunities? Learn more about job shadowing , community service , and volunteer abroad programs.

Still trying to figure out your courses? Check out our expert guide on which classes you should take in high school.

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Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.

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25 iconic speeches you'll want to watch on repeat

We've compiled a list of the most moving, inspirational and unforgettable public addresses. Be prepared to laugh, cry and gasp. Here are the most iconic speeches of all time.

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From Martin Luther King to Margaret Thatcher, prepare to be moved by the most iconic speeches of all time...

1. Martin Luther King, I Have A Dream , 1963

2. Margaret Thatcher, The Lady's Not For Turning, 1980

3. Angelina Jolie , World Refugee Day, 2009

4. Winston Churchill, We Shall Fight On The Beaches, 1940

5. Barack Obama, The Audacity Of Hope, 2004

6. President Kennedy's Inaugural Address, 1961

7. Cuba Gooding Jr, Oscars Acceptance, 1997

8. Ronald Reagan, Brandenburg Gate, 1987

9. Elizabeth Gilbert, Your Creative Genius, 2009

10. Michelle Obama at Oxford University, 2011

The First Lady gave an inspirational speech telling a group of London schoolgirls they can achieve anything and when they do, to use that power to help others. *Melts*

11. Earl Spencer, Princess Diana 's Funeral, 1997

12. Nelson Mandela, Release From Prison, 1990

13. Steve Jobs, Stanford Commencement Address, 2005

14. J. K. Rowling , Harvard Commencement Address, 2011

J. K. Rowling gave a speech entitled The Fringe Benefits Of Failure And The Importance Of Imagination

15. Hillary Clinton, Women In The World, 2012

16. Maya Angelou, On the Pulse of Morning, 1993

17. Malala Yousafzai, Worldwide Access To Education, 2013

Her bravery stunned the world, and this speech marked her 16th birthday. Malala urged all assembled to 'fund new teachers, schools, books and recommit to getting every girl and boy in school by December 2015'.

18. Sir Ken Robinson, Do Schools Kill Creativity?, 2006

19. Stephen Hawking, Questioning The Universe, 2008

20. Oprah Winfrey , Stanford Address, 2008

21. The Queen's Speech, 1957

Although the footage seems quaint now, at the time, it was groundbreaking. She said: 'I very much hope that this new medium will make my Christmas message more personal and direct'. Her speech included the historic quote: 'I cannot lead you into battle, I do not give you laws or administer justice but I can do something else, I can give you my heart and my devotion to these old islands.'

22. Sheryl Sandberg, Why We have Too Many Female Leaders, 2010

COO of Facebook Sheryl looks at why a smaller percentage of women than men reach the top of their professions and advises women on how to get to the top.

23. Baz Luhrmann, Everybody's Free, 1999

Baz's speech is our only speech that's spoken over a score music. Narrated by the actor Lee Perry, the song reached number one in the UK and features witty advice like 'Be kind to your knees – you'll miss them when they're gone.' So true.

24. Scarlett Johansson, DNC Speech, 2012 

25. Sally Field, Oscars Acceptance, 1985

Famously gushing, and also misinterpreted, Sally Field's emotional speech saw her utter the lines 'I can't deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!'. She was parodying a line from her role in Norma Rae for which she had one the Oscar, but it went over many people's heads and the line has been satirised in many speeches since.

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Series Persuasive Speeches: Persuasive Speeches: Planning a Lesson Series

Common core State Standards

  • ELA:  English Language Arts
  • SL:  Speaking and Listening Standards 6-\x80\x9312
  • 8:  8th Grade
  • 3:  Delineate a speaker's argument and specific claims, evaluating the soundness of the reasoning and relevance and sufficiency of the evidence and identifying when irrelevant evidence is introduced.

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)

  • 4:  Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence, sound valid reasoning, and well-chosen details; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
  • SL:  Speaking and Listening Standards 6â\x80\x9312
  • 5:  Integrate multimedia and visual displays into presentations to clarify information, strengthen claims and evidence, and add interest.
  • Share social media

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Persuasive Speeches: Planning a Lesson Series

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Discussion and Supporting Materials

  • Supporting Materials

Thought starters

  • How does Ms. Manley use the Common Core State Standards when designing her lessons?
  • Notice the many different contexts in which students practice speaking and listening. How do the different parts of this lesson series build off of one another?

11 Comments

Private message to Shama Sankaran

Shama Sankaran Oct 9, 2020 2:04am

Thank you for this video.  I will certainly do this with my year 7 students.

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  • Transcript: Persuasive Speeches: Planning a Lesson Series
  • Lesson Slides - J.Manley.PDF
  • Speech Peer Viewing Guide_JM.PDF

Transcripts

TIMECODE SOT NOTES / TEXT ON SCREEN

00:00:01 JULIE MANLEY: My name is Julie Manley. I teach eighth grade language arts at Chinook Middle School in Bellevue, Washington. TEXT: Julie Manley 8th Grade ELA Teacher Chinook Middle School, Bellevue, WA TEXT: Common Core: ELA Classroom Overview: Speaking, Listening, and Speech Presentations 00:00:11 JULIE MANLEY: In the next two lessons, I am going to ask students to analyze, and write, and present persuasive speeches. I break this up into a few stages. First, we brainstorm what makes an effective speech. Then we evaluate a student model speech. 00:00:24 JULIE MANLEY: And then apply what students notice to their own speech writing. Ultimately, my students will present their speeches in the next class. TEXT: Day 1: Brainstorm and Analysis 00:00:34 JULIE MANLEY: So, at the beginning of the lesson, I wanted the kids to think about what they already know about argumentative writing. So, I asked them to brainstorm those elements. 00:00:44 JULIE MANLEY: And have you guys conduct a brainstorm and do that through quick writing. And that is because I want to see where you are in just knowing the elements of argumentation without looking at the rubric right now. So, somebody with a nice, loud voice read the question. Christoph? [sp] TEXT: Ask students to brainstorm and quick write 00:00:59 CHRISTOPH: What makes an effective, persuasive text? TEXT: Text = Transcribed Speech 00:01:01 JULIE MANLEY: Perfect. Thank you. 00:01:03 JULIE MANLEY: Write as much as you can in two minutes. Go. 00:01:07 JULIE MANLEY: During the brainstorm, I asked students to write down the essential elements of an argumentative speech that will prepare them for when they write their own speech. And I was satisfied they were all writing as a first step. TEXT: Common Core: Write on demand and access prior knowledge 00:01:18 JULIE MANLEY: Let's hear from Will first. 00:01:20 WILL: I said a counter argument to support the other side of the topic. TEXT: Counter-Argument 00:01:25 JULIE MANLEY: Awesome. 00:01:26 GIRL: I said, but, you need to make a poignant claim that you can credibly backup with logic and reason. TEXT: Poignant claim 00:01:32 JULIE MANLEY: The next part of the lesson, I transition students into reading a model text of a persuasive speech to look at that speech to analyze its argumentative elements. Now, I assigned each table group to read for a particular argumentative element. TEXT: Group #1 Claim/reasoning/evidence Group #2 – recognizing opposing claims Group #3 – appeals (logos, ethos, pathos)

00:01:49 JULIE MANLEY: So, I'm going to read aloud the first paragraph. You guys mark for your assigned topic as we go. So, healthier lunches, I step into the cafeteria and make my way over to the lunch line. I get into the line. As I get closer to getting my lunch, I see the variety of lunches I'm stuck with. TEXT: Common Core: Delineate a speaker’s argument and specific claims 00:02:05 JULIE MANLEY: So, I asked students to be listening as I read aloud and also be marking the text for evidence, text for evidence, that they could locate to support their element. 00:02:19 JULIE MANLEY: Already, what are we noticing? 00:02:22 GIRL: How it keeps being rhetorical with the words he's using. 00:02:26 JULIE MANLEY: Linnea, you had an idea. 00:02:27 LINNEA: She uses an anecdote to get the point across. TEXT: Common Core: Students engage effectively in discussion 00:02:31 JULIE MANLEY: From today's lesson, I am confident that my students will be able to take an initial idea of their claim and their reasoning, and begin to create a coherent argument, and then ultimately be able to write and deliver a persuasive speech. 00:02:49 JULIE MANLEY: So, welcome to class. You guys, I want you to do a couple of things before we get going with our persuasive speeches today. TEXT: Day 2: Speech Presentations 00:02:56 JULIE MANLEY: I start the class by reviewing the goal or the purpose of the day's learning and then also by reviewing and discussing with students the expectations I have of them. TEXT: Start class with review of goals 00:03:07 JULIE MANLEY: So, what I'd like for you to do is take a look at the speech number one. This is your viewing guide. This keeps you accountable as a listener, also allows you to take some notes and shows me that you are actively participating. 00:03:20 JULIE MANLEY: In today's class, students did one of two roles. Either they were the speaker or they were the listener in the audience. I had the audience participants look at a viewing guide to record each speaker's claim and then evaluate the speech. 00:03:36 JULIE MANLEY: Brett, you are up. 00:03:41 BRETT: My topic is obsessive gaming. Studies shown by Elizabeth Hartney, a specialist and consultant with gaming addictions, found 10 to 15% of video game players meet the criteria for addiction. TEXT: Common Core: Present claims and findings in a coherent manner 00:03:53 BRETT: Addictions are mainly affecting young men and boys and more consultants like Elizabeth Hartney looking to gaming addictions, the more they saw gaming was taking over the lives of kids. 00:04:04 JULIE MANLEY: What did you observe that Brett did well? TEXT: Actual speech : 4 minutes 00:04:06 GIRL: I thought he used really good logos and had a lot of, like, different fact which was really good. TEXT: Effective use of logos 00:04:11 JULIE MANLEY: Every time you are evaluating a peer up here, you can be thinking about how that's going to inform your revision and your rehearsal. So, I would agree his facts and figures were very strong. 00:04:23 GIRL: My topic is that we need to disconnect the plug in order to help our relationships in modern days. In recent studies conducted by the Harris Interactive Teen Research Society, teenagers are spending close to eight hours a day using technology. TEXT: Common Core: Emphasize salient points in a focused manner 00:04:37 GIRL: If we continue this pattern throughout the course of our lives, we will have spent forty-four years straight of waking hours just sitting behind a screen. 00:04:46 JULIE MANLEY: So, to focus the type of feedback that I was hoping students would give their peer who just spoke, I assigned a particular component of a rubric. TEXT: Actual Speech: 4 minutes 00:04:57 JULIE MANLEY: So, you two, these two tables, think about her ideas. So, look at the rubric and craft a statement of what you noticed that she did well having to do with ideas. 00:05:08 BOY: I think she made her ideas clear and we knew what her claim was. 00:05:13 BOY: Yes. The claim was important to know because if you know the claim, then you can know the entire speech, what it's about. TEXT: Clear presentation of ideas and claim 00:05:20 JULIE MANLEY: The standards addressed in this class revolve around many of the speaking and listening standards and, specifically, coming to a class prepared to deliver the speech. TEXT: Tch Classroom Takeaways: Common Core Speaking and Listening: 1. Come prepared to deliver speech 2. Present claims backed with sound evidence 3. Use multimedia to enhance ideas 4. Evaluate claims 00:05:31 JULIE MANLEY: Also to be able to deliver a oral presentation that can base a claim that is backed up with reasoning and evidence. Another important standard was their ability to use multimedia or a visual display to enhance their ideas. 00:05:47 JULIE MANLEY: And then last, as a listener, being able to evaluate one's claim and think about if one's own perspective is changed. LOGO: Tch TeachingChannel

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Copyblogger

Persuasive Video Strategies that Prompt Action

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Persuasive video can be a highly effective and engaging form of content. But all too often, it’s … well, not .

Videos must be engaging before they can be persuasive.

Just as with getting someone to read an entire piece of persuasive writing , the idea is to get someone to start watching, and keep watching until the end, or at least to the point where you prompt the viewer to take a desired action.

Let’s take a look at the things to keep in mind to make your video content — whether live-action or presentation-style — worth watching until the end.

Audio techniques and structure still apply … but differently

As you might have guessed, the four copywriting techniques that are great for audio content — stories and anecdotes, metaphors and analogies, mirroring, and mind eye’s projection — are all applicable to video.

In fact, they become even more powerful with the addition of select visuals.

And the structure we discussed in last week’s post — attention, empathy, solution, action — is also useful for short-form persuasive video (generally five minutes or less).

Longer-form video is tougher to pull off from an engagement standpoint, so you may want to consider borrowing a three-act structure used in movies (or infomercials).

The differences between audio and video are important

When you follow webinar guidelines , you’re aware that audio is a portable content format that allows for greater mobility and requires less of an attention investment.

Your podcast or audio presentation can be listened to in the car, at the gym, walking the dog, or while multitasking at a desk.

Video requires a greater attention investment due to the need to watch and listen. You’re restricting the options of the viewer significantly more than with audio, so you need to keep things tight and moving along.

In other words, your pre-writing becomes more important with video than with audio. The question becomes whether or not you script out every word.

To script or not to script?

With audio, a detailed outline is preferable to a script in my opinion. With video, I write out every word due to the need to say more in less time.

It’s really tough for most people to “wing” an effective short video, because it often becomes less effective and less short the more you improvise.

With presentation-style videos, you’re off camera. This allows you to use your script directly and still present with a conversational tone of voice. You don’t want to sound like you’re reading if at all possible.

One tip for achieving a conversational video presentation style is to record small sections of your script at a time, rather than trying to plow through the entire thing in one take.

You can do this with recording software like Audacity by creating separate audio tracks out of smaller sections of the script, and then blending each part into a single audio track that you then marry to your visual elements.

If you’re turning the camera on yourself instead of doing a presentation-style video, you’re in a different boat. You’re either going to have to learn your lines, or get really good at using some kind of teleprompter.

The good news, however, is that there’s no need to nail it all in one single take. In fact, as we’ll see below, it’s much smarter to string together a series of persuasive video clips than one stream of unedited footage.

Delivering your message payload

To keep your message focused and highly effective, keep your goal for the piece in mind at all times.

What point are you trying to make? What action are you trying to prompt?

With that goal firmly in mind, make sure that every single word of your script supports that goal — or cut it.

This can be slightly difficult, because leaving out key information will hurt your effectiveness. You need a method for determining what’s essential to achieving the goal, and how best to say it.

Think of it this way:

Imagine you’re at a cocktail party and you’re the center of attention. You’re telling a joke or humorous anecdote and you want to nail it.

It doesn’t always go that way in real life, right? But scripted video is a chance to present the story perfectly … as long as you work out every detail beforehand.

So when telling a joke, the punch line is the payload. Delivering it is the entire point of the exercise. But the way you set it up makes the difference between getting uproarious laughter, tepid giggles, or blank stares.

Now, simply substitute your goal for the punch line when crafting your video message. Writing your script with this mindset can be highly effective, and a whole lot more fun.

Show … don’t tell

So we know we’ve got to present our video message in a tight and fairly quick manner.

While this requires actual scriptwriting, the addition of visual elements takes a load off of our reliance on words, especially when it comes to educational content (which is what a good sales message really is).

This is due to what psychologists call the picture superiority effect . That’s a fancy way of saying that concepts are much more likely to be remembered if they are presented as pictures rather than words.

The trick is to identify the key concept in every sentence of your script, and pair it with a relevant and engaging visual element.

This accomplishes two things:

  • You take advantage of the picture superiority effect to make your spoken content more engaging and memorable
  • You’re changing the onscreen visual element approximately every three to six seconds, which keeps the viewer’s mind from drifting off. (Television editors figured this out long ago.)

Notice I said to use “visual elements,” not “bullet points.”

Beyond being lame, bullet-point presentations fail to effectively harness the power of picture superiority and result in the same drivel that has been boring people to tears since PowerPoint was invented.

The occasional use of reinforcing on-screen text is fine, and can even be a desirable part of the mix. But even then, just say no to bullet points.

When to become a talking head

Turning the camera on yourself and addressing the audience is less effective as an educational presentation, but it has other uses.

People love to see what you look like, so video can be an easy way to get closer to your audience.

Plus, your facial expressions, mannerisms, and body language can communicate a lot about you that goes well beyond your message. (I’ll leave it up to you to decide if that’s a good thing.)

And, like it or not, if you’re an attractive person, providing video of yourself on a regular basis will be very powerful.

Psychological studies have shown time and again that we rate good-looking people as more intelligent, more competent, and even more trustworthy than relatively unattractive people.

It’s not logical, but neither are we when it comes down to it.

Remember the importance of editing and changing visual perspective often, even with talking-head videos. Three-to-six-second edits are too quick for a talking-heading video, unless it’s really short.

Make sure you switch things up on a regular basis using transitions and/or new camera angles to avoid losing the viewer’s attention — and to keep your video persuasive.

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Brian Clark

Brian Clark is the founder of Copyblogger, the midlife personal growth newsletter Further, Unemployable, an educational community that provides smart strategies for freelancers and solopreneurs , and Creative Affiliate, affiliate marketing advice for creators .

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Reader Interactions

Reader comments (56).

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April 9, 2009 at 10:57 am

Hi Brian, I think if your primary talent is writing, you should use writing online to get your message across. If you have voice or acting talent, you should consider podcasts or videocasts. In other words, why stretch yourself into an area in which you aren’t an expert? What’s the benefit?

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April 9, 2009 at 11:07 am

I have been working on a lot of video and trying to figure things out, which means I have been consuming hours and hours of video. My favorites all seem to have in common the presenters enthusiasm and personality rather than the content as such, which shows how important packaging is. If you get great content combined with good presentation you have it made.

Sad about what you said about attractive presenters though … means I have to hide myself in future 😉

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April 9, 2009 at 11:19 am

Maria, the benefit would be if your target audience prefers video and you’re delivering text. Most people don’t (and won’t) read. The blogosphere is not representative of the general population at this point, but it’s changing quickly as blogs go more mainstream.

Chris, I think you’re pretty cute. Ummm… well, you know what I mean. 🙂

April 9, 2009 at 11:24 am

Aww thanks Brian, you are a bit of a hottie yourself 😉 – Bromance blossoms, heh

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April 9, 2009 at 11:44 am

Excellent post, Brian…

This really does a nice job of nailing down the importance of preparation, something I’m admittedly a big proponent of.

It seems like a fair amount of people are shunning off quality concerns these days due to laziness masked as raw transparency. As such, it’s great to see someone with as much of a ‘voice’ as yourself pushing the value of well thought-out writing for video production.

Finally, a reputable perspective to counter the @garyvee approach. Well done. 😉

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April 9, 2009 at 11:47 am

I’ve made some video tutorials (and am planning to make more soon), and they’ve all gotten a lot of positive feedback! Many topics have been covered extensively with articles all over the internet, but have very few videos.

Screencasting is an excellent way to make video content (especially educational video) if you don’t have a camera. I use the free CamStudio and then throw it into a video editor.

April 9, 2009 at 11:50 am

Dan, the Gary Vee approach works for Gary because of who he is. Most people couldn’t pull that off in a million years, and yet, because of Gary’s influence, people will likely try and embarrass themselves.

People are always seeing a rule in the exception. Strange aspect of human nature.

April 9, 2009 at 11:54 am

That’s true about Gary V *but* taken too far in the other way (like I have been prone to do) we lead ourselves to analysis paralysis – if perfection is the minimum we accept we will never achieve anything.

We have to accept nothing we do will ever be 100% and strive to make incremental improvements and learn from our mistakes. Don’t let preparation be your excuse for not pulling the trigger.

An imperfect video put into action will make more profit than a perfect video we don’t make 🙂

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April 9, 2009 at 11:56 am

Being a “physically challenged” individual (read as totoally blind) I wish to comment on video for those of us who have no clue as to what many of you are doing. If you refer to graphic items in a video presentation without explaining what you’re referring to, you’ve lost us. If you don’t take the time to describe non-audio items, then we have no or little idea of what you’re talking about. Please acknowledge that everyone is NOT like you — some of us need more care and understanding.

April 9, 2009 at 12:00 pm

Brian: Exactly.

Also, the availability of inexpensive cameras coupled with the instant gratification / efficiency of the wing it approach seem to be further fueling this ‘F* it’ movement.

Anyway, it’s nice to see others like yourself promoting the relevance of quality and focus.

Great topic. Perhaps if we keep hammering at it, others will eventually see the light. 😉

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April 9, 2009 at 12:02 pm

Great article. As always! I’m about to start working on a video campaign at my company and although someone else will be producing it for us, this article will be a great help to make sure that we’re on the right track to creating a successful, engaging video. Thanks!

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April 9, 2009 at 12:13 pm

Thanks for the detail Brian, worth reading a few times to take it all in. Just like last time… where is the video presentation on video presentations?

April 9, 2009 at 1:07 pm

Thanks for the explanation Brian, makes perfect sense. I had a bad experience with online video that scares me away from it—even though it was professionally shot. Too much leg showing + too much $$$ to edit the video = me horrified. 🙂

April 9, 2009 at 1:32 pm

Ryland, in line with my answer to Maria, the people who read Copyblogger are generally readers. I will have some examples for you soon though (which may have been the reason I did the series in the first place… sneaky me 🙂 ).

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April 9, 2009 at 1:41 pm

What a timely post!

I’ve been working on a video project for the recent launch of our blog but ran into several barriers that have now been shattered by your wisdom.

Simply put, video is powerful!

Your post echos eloquently what you teach within the Teaching Sells course. It all comes down to the learning style of the reader/viewer. In other words, it’s essential to cater to the different learning styles by providing content in various formats (text, audio, video, etc…) to drive home your point.

Personally, I’d lean more toward a presentational style format instead of the “talking head”. Primarily because I find myself in the same boat as Chris Garrett’s self-proclaimed classification of unattractiveness. I don’t think too many people would stick around to finish watching our video if it was just my talking head! 🙂

Plus, I think you can put more value into a presentationally-styled video since one would be utilizing both screen real estate as well as voice over.

All in all, an outstanding post that I’ve clipped into Evernote for future reference.

Thanks again, Brian!

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April 9, 2009 at 2:18 pm

I can safely say that talking into a camera has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And reading from a teleprompter is far more difficult than I though it would be.

But, with some practice I’ve improved a lot but still have a long way to go.

One tip I can offer that really helped me… I now use a 22″ monitor right behind my camera for my teleprompter. I used to use a smaller screen and it made it much harder as I had to really “concentrate” on the words. Now, since I use a larger screen the words really pop out and it’s much easier.

April 9, 2009 at 2:26 pm

I totally agree about people getting hung up on achieving perfection, and I know all too well the creative hesitation that you’re speaking of.

All that I’m suggesting is that people looking to leverage video actually ‘try’ to present well, and make an effort to craft their content with their audience in mind. There’s alot of chatter these days about video quality being somewhat irrelevant, and I’d like to get beyond that.

In short, quality matters, but pursuing perfection is a slippery slope that totally must be kept in-check. So, instead of throwing the idea of quality out completely, I’m rather proposing that we emphasize the idea of maximizing good results while minimizing wasted effort.

Great discussion!

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April 9, 2009 at 3:49 pm

I think you hit it on the head; Know your readers and deliver the message.

I have a tendency to be a little to stiff and formal so the following what makes good copy (anecdotes, stories etc.) is good advise for me.

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April 9, 2009 at 4:28 pm

It’s getting harder and harder to uniquely position a blog in the blogging/marketing niche and it seems like every topic has been covered and re-covered.

But I think video offers a great opportunity for bloggers who are trying standing out – if done well.

Maybe the Landing Page Makeover series could be expanded to look at Landing Page Videos? Most internet marketers like Frank Kern use video now and even live video on launch day.

But the number one detraction of video will always be that you usually can’t watch at work – and let’s face it – this is when most regular folks are on the computer.

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April 9, 2009 at 4:37 pm

I enjoyed this and will surely improve my future videos by taking all of this into account.

Only tips I might add myself is know you will get better with time as you make more and more vids, remember to have fun and do make it something worth watching, and do mix it up as you create more and more video’s don’t make each and every one the exact same style and format. Of course there are gray areas in each of these tips … smiles.

Lastly as another blind computer user but one with limited site do think of your viewers, those vids with just music and words on a screen limits who knows what is being said. But also on the other hand you are able to both have visuals for those who can see and audio for those who don’t overlapping thus reaching more when done right.

~Expect Miracles

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April 9, 2009 at 7:50 pm

Brian,Great information.I wish I had it before I started posting my videos.I’ve done both screencasts and live video now.I can relate to “conversational video presentation”you mentioned! Winging it is NOT a good way to present educational videos,I figured I knew my topic well enough that I did not need to script it.I was completely wrong.

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April 9, 2009 at 8:19 pm

Those talking head video’s with Flip cameras are horrible, no matter what internet video gurus may tell you.

You really need to be a Master Communicator to pull those off. Master. Communicator. Extraordinaire.

Presentation-style video’s or what some call slideshow videos seem to lend themselves to being created by “chunking’ the content, which works well for those with short timeframes for creating content or for repurposing text based content you already worked hard to create.

If you have 30 seconds of audio, that you can bundle with a visual element, you can blend 6-10 of those together for a 3 to 5 minute video, which can then become part of your blog, your membership site or your multimedia ecourse.

Here’s a tip for you: Count the number of words you speak in 1, 3 and 5 minute chunks. Then look thru your previously created content for text blocks that fit those quantities and timeframes and turn them into audios and/or slideshow style videos.

That will get you moving quickly and easily and inertia creates confidence, which creates excitement, which creates …, well, you get the idea.

Good post Brian. This series will help people.

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April 9, 2009 at 9:47 pm

Coppyblogger family,

This post applies primarily to people trying to market through online video campaigns.

As a curious onlooker to video persuasion marketing, I feel it has its high points – as many of them have been addressed here today. However, for me, I feel the negatives leave the positives in the dust and may have been breezed over in this article (because this wasn’t the article’s focus) making it seem easier then it actually is. But before you crucify me for my humble opinion, I’m going to spare all the side details and tell you the BIGGEST reason i’m against videos in online marketing campaigns (primarily the intrusive ones attached to websites)…

Brian hit the nail on the head when he said “online video MUST be engaging before it can be persuasive.” But this in itself is no easy task. Simply stated – To persuade YOU MUST keep the viewer’s attention by keeping them actively engaged with what you are saying. But unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Here’s why –

In a world full of background noise, children screaming, co-workers gossiping, tv’s playing, and spouses talking (you get my point with all this) you must determine what you focus on. EVERYDAY you have SEVERAL things competing for your attention at any given moment! And it is often impossible to commit 100% of your attention and focus to any one thing. However, let me take this a step further and explain how this translates to online video marketing…

If someone is looking at your video and they get distracted for a brief moment, it can hurt your sale – especially if it happened during a critical point in your sales presentation. Yea, you are right if you are thinking if they miss it, they can rewind it and see it again. But it isn’t always that easy – let me explain…

How many times have you fell asleep (or been distracted) while reading a book, realize you missed something, and reread it? I know i’m guilty. But the key point here is you “REALIZED” you missed something because the story just wasn’t flowing. Right? If you are distracted while watching a marketing video online (that you are not 110% serious about buying already – this is key), you probably don’t realize you missed anything – so you won’t rewind it. And this is a problem, but I’m not just going to give you problems, I’m here to provide solutions –

Just as all the great copywriters like Brian have advocated time and time again, strong headlines are KEY if you want to get readers to take a moment to read what you have to say. For online video marketing campaigns, YOU MUST prime the viewer for what they are about to see and what they will get out of it. How? You must PROPERLY introduce the video in a way that demands the viewers attention!

Please don’t have it set up so it starts playing as soon as someone visits your site. That is the most annoying thing! Plus there is a possibility they may already have music or something playing on their computer – which would make your video “invasive” and nothing could make them leave your website quicker.

But if you give a proper introduction that builds interest and desire – there is a definite possibility they will not only welcome your message, but they will take time away from the daily destractors to SEE what you have to say…

And that’s all i’m saying. Geez, if this was a simple explanation from me, I’d hate to see one where I actually explain myself…

Cheers –

April 9, 2009 at 10:08 pm

AJ, I agree. “Free” content is no longer a lock. You’ve got to sell the “free” just to get people to invest attention (which means free doesn’t quite mean what it used to).

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April 10, 2009 at 12:40 am

I think video is a great way to boost credibility. There are so many pretenders in the blogosphere who hide behind anonymity. If people can watch you in action, they can relate to you much better – even if you’re not as beautiful as Brian …[swoon]

Today I chanced upon John Gallagher, a blogger and Net entrepreneur who uses simple videos in a brilliant way: http://www.learningherbs.com/ His homely videos create a great community feeling – which he’s put to good use in building a thriving membership site.

I’m currently taking some lessons from a top documentary film maker. It’s great fun and I’m learning necessary skills, like how to plan and create a dynamic video, as well as how to cut.

Maybe you’re all naturally perfect at this stuff – but I’m having to move way out of my comfort zone in order to make videos. Oh well, inhabiting one’s comfort zone is boring 🙂

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April 10, 2009 at 5:58 am

I’m a huge proponent of videos and use videos to explain my blog topics, my services and every once in a while to rant on a topic. The response has been great! I use the “talking head” approach and hadn’t given too much thought to using them for more of an educational tool. I’ll have to start experimenting with that.

April 10, 2009 at 8:08 am

@AJ- I’m certainly not going to crucify you for an honest opinion, especially when that opinion is a great testimonial for online video 😉

Your paragraph that begins, “In a world full of background noise…” is EXACTLY why video is so effective, because people have a limited capacity for information, BUT they have an unlimited capacity for entertainment that’s filled with emotion and experiences.

Brian has proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that “E3S” will make you, …ummm, glad to be a blogger.

Oh yeah, E3S = Entertainment, Experiences, Emotion & Stories.

Make sure, AJ, that you don’t let your opinion overrule facts, truths, statistics, case studies, etc.

You aren’t your market…and if you are, you won’t sell enough to make it worth your while 😉

Remember, and you’ve read it here before, many times, there are 3 main ways to reach your market: text, audio and video. If you don’t use one of those, just because you personally don’t like it, your campaigns will suffer and you’ll never build enough credible data to enable making the best decisions about how to adapt, adjust and administer your marketing.

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April 10, 2009 at 8:15 am

Great post!

We started doing a weekly “Video Blog” about six weeks ago. It’s more news style, less educational, but our readers seem to like it. We tweak our approach and delivery a little bit every time. It’s definitely not where we want it to be yet, but we’re getting there.

If you want, you can see some examples here: http://www.freedombeginshere.org/blog/

Thanks again!

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April 10, 2009 at 12:47 pm

I think the raw nature of a video is cool. I feel that in todays world and in the future generation the “polished” look is not as important as some media experts think.

I think it depends on what you’re shooting video for but in regards to the internet, the raw quality, without editing and with mistakes along the video are what make the person in front of the camera HUMAN. Being human is more important to todays viewer than ever before and THAT is what attracts the audience. Not that mainstream media doesn’t achieve connecting to humanity, I’m just pointing out that unpolished media is just as credible in reaching people.

There is a growing hunger for something real and sincere and genuine. That is one of the beautiful things about video on the internet, it allows for people to be people. So what if you make a mistake? Who cares? Let’s stop putting pressure on ourselves to be perfect because in reality, we aren’t.

I think “polished” and “unpolished” both serve a significant purpose in our society today. One is not better than the other but both serve a specific purpose. It is a matter of how Content Creators leverage their own specific purpose according to what they want to achieve with their media. Both have a place in today’s world. Both are necessary and both have a format for communication.

Both are extremely powerful ways to relate and connect with your audience. It’s about knowing your audience and deciding how best you can provide value for them and you can only do that if you know yourself as well.

I’ve personally worked in professional media in movies and television and also work with online content. My advice is to know yourself, know your audience and know your goals. The rest will fall into place.

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April 10, 2009 at 1:39 pm

I really appreciate the fact you spurred on a lot of dialogue with your blog. Being a newbie blogger (taking the 31 day challenge to improve my blog) I wish to learn from the successful ones out there. Thanks.

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April 12, 2009 at 6:45 pm

This is great, Brian. I’ve a client who’s been toying with the idea of video for years. I’m sending him this link right now. Many thanks! P. 🙂

April 14, 2009 at 8:56 pm

I just saw an example of how NOT to do a video: Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Strategy video “Some of your questions answered…”

There was important information in the video and it was not supported by an audio or text version – bad news for those who couldn’t download the video.

This was a day before Jeff’s launch. I, like many others, wanted to get some more info about the product, pricing, plans etc.

But the first section was a taken up by Jeff going for a walk and talking about how he loves taking his dog for a walk, how beautiful the view is, how he loves taking time out in nature during a launch…and on and on. All of this had zilch to do with matter at hand.

The filming was amateurish. And Jeff wore a crumpled work-in-the-garden shirt under an op-shop jacket – great for taking the dog for a walk, but not for launching an expensive product. I think cool is good, but careless is stupid.

This video taught me 5 things:

#1 Stick to the point at hand #2 Make every word count #3 Link your background to your topic #4 Learn how to produce a video #5 Choose your clothes carefully

April 14, 2009 at 9:48 pm

Hi Mary. I think that Jeff is either buddies with…or copying Frank Kern. Frank does his videos EXACTLY as you described in your comment. The only difference: it’s at the beach instead of the mountains.

I know it sounds crazy, but they claim to be wildly successful with this approach. [shrugging shoulders]

April 14, 2009 at 10:27 pm

Hi Deidre! Yes, I agree Jeff is copying Frank Kern. But Frank does it so much better! I’m not a great fan of Frank’s, but I’m impressed by his video skills. His videos are well shot and entertaining.

I don’t know if you saw Frank’s video about desire? It started with Frank ambling along the beach – blond hair blowing in the wind. Then he showed his collection of surfboards. It was all linked to the theme ‘desire’. Frank explained that if you raise people’s desire, they want to buy not just one, but seven surfboards.

Good point. Memorable video.

Frank’s videos have inspired me to – no, not to buy his stuff – they’ve inspired me to learn how to film and produce videos!

April 15, 2009 at 3:26 am

Great point, Mary! Jeff clearly missed the reason behind Frank walking along the beach and sharing his surfboard collection. Jeff missed the boat thinking that Frank was just “rambling on” not seeing or realizing that those actions had an express purpose.

Thanks, Mary!!

April 15, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Yes, Deidre – but I bought Product Launch Formula all the same just a few minutes ago, dud video or not. Why? Because I absolutely loved the way Brian launched Teaching Sells and I trust his judgment when he recommends Product Launch Formula. ( Brian’s giving away Partnering Profits as a bonus when people click on Product Launch Formula from this site – that’s pretty awesome!)

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April 16, 2009 at 12:33 am

Video is indeed a great way to reach out to more readers or subscribers. But I think Infographics is also great too.

Infographics on my own definition are graphics that contain information. We see this a lot on billboards or newspapers and magazines. At times, it looks like a collage, only thing is, it is assembled properly in an aim to not only attract and get attention, but to inform as well. This is yet another way to creativity. But then again, who says that videos must compose of real moving people? Why not have it edited? Put a little of you speaking to your subscribers and then catchy clips that helps you expound more what you are saying.

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April 18, 2009 at 11:12 pm

It’s heartening (as a video producer) to read a copywriter’s explanation about how online video can be effective if used well. We often get enquiries from SME’s about producing web videos, and they ask whether we can produce a website video for a couple of hundred dollars – well … no we can’t usually. But if you look around online, there are some great information resources available about improving your production quality. @Dan Dashnaw, I notice you have some great tutorials on your blog too. If you’re planning on using video on a regular basis as part of your web strategy, why not invest some time in learning more about how to do it yourself? My local adult education college offers a video production techniques course run one night per week over eight weeks for about $300. If this isn’t an option because you’re time poor, then play to your own strengths by writing the script or outline yourself, and make an investment in hiring a professional to do the technical stuff – they won’t need nearly as much time if you’ve already planned it well. Also – have a look at some real examples of how some people have used online video really well. Some of my favourites are Common Craft’s explanations in Plain English ( http://www.commoncraft.com/show ) which use a stop motion technique.

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April 21, 2009 at 3:26 pm

If you need to be in several places at once talk to your video production resource about setting up a web-based streaming video presentation. Today’s “webinar” software and professional video equipment makes it relatively easy to get right in front of your sales staff, your best customers and your distributors via their computer monitors. You’ll save a bundle on airfare and lost time traveling from one location to the next. Even more bang for the buck – if this is a presentation that you’ll want to share down the road, have it recorded for replay on the Internet and for distribution via CD and/or DVD.

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April 25, 2009 at 7:22 pm

Great advice. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve “watched” videos that tell and don’t show, or where the audio and visual elements are redundant, and I end up just reading something else with that in the background.

One thing I think people should consider more, and which you do address here, is that editing happens both before and after you shoot the video. You have to figure out what to say beforehand, but you also have a second chance to tweak your message and medium afterward.

Because of the three different levels of work you’re putting into it (prep, shooting, editing), you should have something that’s working on three different levels to get your message across: through the story and ideas, the visuals and presentation, and the editing/juxtapositions. It may sound like a lot, but it all works in your favor.

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May 11, 2009 at 5:58 am

People love the interaction that videos provide for them. Let’s face it, people are lazy and things that are fun and interactive are more popular than just bog standard text and images. Text on a site is by far the most effective way of informing users but it is getting people to read this. Video give people the relevant information but in lazy way that makes for fantastic results.

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June 10, 2009 at 7:56 pm

How about that! This is allot to take in. You did awesome job Brian. Our audience is getting more and more visual not readable fortunately. But it sure helps to reach commercial goal. Thanks.

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September 25, 2009 at 3:08 pm

Thanks for the explanation Brian, makes perfect sense. I had a bad experience with online video that scares me away from it—even though it was professionally shot. Too much leg showing + too much $$$ to edit the video = me horrified

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Politics of language: jason stanley on speech as ‘hustle’.

Jason Stanley

Jason Stanley (Portrait by Mara Lavitt)

Since the publication of his 2018 bestseller, “How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them,” Yale’s Jason Stanley has become a familiar presence on radio and television news broadcasts. The Jacob Urowsky Professor of Philosophy in Yale’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Stanley is often called upon to explain the ways in which political language is being weaponized, especially when it seems to be for authoritarian ends.

“ There are very few philosophers in the media — people are usually historians or economists or psychologists,” Stanley said. “But I think philosophy has something to add.”

Stanley’s new book, “ The Politics of Language ” (Princeton University Press), which he co-authored with David Beaver, a professor of linguistics and philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin, argues that all speech is imbued with meanings that go well beyond what is being plainly said. Words evoke certain emotions and images in listeners depending on their historical associations. And those associations can be manipulated by politicians and spinmeisters for persuasive and possibly deceptive purposes.

A scholarly work eight years in the writing, “The Politics of Language” lays the intellectual foundation for this particular framing of speech practices, and then applies that framework to analyze harmful speech types such as slurs, “dog whistles,” and genocidal messaging.

Stanley spoke to Yale News about sneaky speech, the political power of plausible deniability, and his new teaching appointment in Ukraine.  

The primary focus of your book is a type of speech you call “hustle.” What is hustle?

Jason Stanley: Hustle is when you intend and give one message, but wrapped inside that message, as it were, is a sort of secret, other message that is not straightforward to your audience — and sometimes, not even straightforward to you. Straight talk is when everything’s transparent. You know what I intend, I know what you intend, and that’s all that’s going on. Hustle is everything else.

In linguistics, we assume transparency. The model of communication we assume is, “I want salt,” and you say, “I have salt,” and I say, “Good, can I have your salt?” But actually, communication isn’t like that at all, right? We always come out of conversations wondering what was really meant. A central novel move in our book, especially for the formal areas of linguistics and philosophy of language in which we work, is that we base our analysis of speech on speech practices  and use these practices to elucidate speech that is not transparent. A lot of hustle is based on the properties of the speech practices in which words are embedded — their histories of use. I think that everyone outside of the disciplines of linguistics and analytic philosophy of language is aware that we hustle, and many people outside of these disciplines recognize the importance of speech practices. But we are trying to ground these facts in a detailed and foundational way.

My 2015 book, “ How Propaganda Works ,” was an attempt to use the standard tools of philosophy of language and linguistics to model propaganda. These tools just didn’t work. They also don’t work for more ordinary phenomena, such as slurs. That led me to enlist the support of the great linguist David Beaver to come up with new foundations for the theory of meaning that would be adequate to this task. To do so, we had to bridge multiple disciplines.

Stanley: Speech can be used in devious ways, and there are tests you can use to show this. One test is plausible deniability. If I say, “I met Sally at the mathematics conference,” I cannot add, “and I never met Sally.” That’s an obvious contradiction. Now, suppose that a politician says, “There is rampant corruption in inner cities.” The politician is engaging in racist messaging, using a dog whistle — in this case, the term “inner cities.” They are suggesting that the voting practices of Black voters are corrupted. But they can deny, without obvious contradiction, that they intended to convey a racist message. The tools of our disciplines have a hard time explaining this.

Another example is emotion. Some expressions are associated with negative emotions, like disgust. Politicians even try to imbue certain words with disgust. The scholar Moira Weigel has argued that this is going on now with the term “Marxist .” Other words encourage violence towards things described that way, such as describing immigrants as “vermin.” Ordinary tools in our discipline are not adequate to explain these phenomena, which is why you haven’t seen many analytic philosophers of language or linguists on TV in the past few years. If you recognize the embeddedness of speech in living practices, you can easily explain all of this.

This non-transparency of speech practices makes all speech “political” then?  

Stanley: Each word is part of a speech practice and has a history. And when you use a given word, you’re evoking that history in peoples’ minds. If you use the word “professor,” a whole bunch of images come to mind. And they’re involuntary. If you use the word “doggy,” one set of images comes to mind. If you use the word “canine,” those same images don’t come to mind. Words have these histories and the words we use consciously and unconsciously evoke those histories. So when we speak one way, rather than another, we’re evoking different histories. It’s a fiction to think we can speak without a history. In much theorizing in our disciplines we have employed this fiction as an idealization, and it has shielded from us a lot of the interest of speech.

Politicians use language very deliberately to evoke certain images. How does repetition of language function in political speak and propaganda?

Stanley: It sort of embeds the propaganda in your head. If Republicans keep repeating CRT [for critical race theory] or DEI [for diversity, equity, and inclusion], and they associate them with a kind of negative feeling, then after a while, the listeners don’t even think about what they mean. They just know they don’t like them. The content becomes irrelevant. Consider how Trump adds those adjectives before nouns, like “crooked Hillary” or “little Marco Rubio.” It’s a very effective thing, right? Or take pro-life versus pro-choice. Who’s against life? Who’s against choice? That’s a different way of coding.

One of your chapters focuses on “harmful speech,” including a discussion of genocidal speech. You offer as a prime example Russia’s justification for its invasion of Ukraine. Would you talk about that?

Stanley: It’s impossible to deny that Russia is appealing to genocidal narratives. When you represent other people as an existential threat to you, that you need to eradicate them or you will be eradicated, that’s genocidal and has been genocidal since the time of Cleon. Putin says Ukrainian identity is fake, and that all it means is “anti-Russia.” There’s no other content to Ukrainian identity other than, “we hate Russians.” And so you must extinguish Ukrainian identity.

What’s distinct about what’s happening in the Ukraine war is that the Russians think the Ukrainians really are Russian but have adopted this anti-Russian identity and a fake language.

You have a close connection with Ukraine, don’t you?

Stanley: I was there in August teaching a two-week course on colonialism and fascism to 300 Ukrainians. And I just accepted a permanent visiting position in Kyiv, so I’ll be going back this summer for two weeks. I’m an anti-fascist, and that is a very clear case of a fascist country attacking a democracy, so I felt I had to be involved. I’m donating my salary to Come Back Alive, an organization that purchases equipment for the Ukrainian armed forces.

Is the timing of this book especially meaningful given all that’s happening politically in the world?

Stanley: Liberal democracy involves this idea that we’re trading arguments to figure out the best outcome for all of us. But that’s not what’s going on in politics now. To understand this authoritarian moment here and across the world, this attack on democracy, it’s also a linguistic attack. It’s emphasizing the uses of speech that are sneaky, that are hustle.

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27 Most Persuasive TV Ads of All Time

Brands spend millions on 30-second ads because they know the return could be in billions. That’s the power of persuasion.

Almost every ad is created with the same intent and goal: to persuade the audience to trust the brand. And how the creatives spin a concept around that intent makes all the difference.

Today, we will take a look at the 27 most persuasive TV ads of all time and find out what makes them so influential.

The Top 27 Most Persuasive TV Ads of All Time

1. i want to buy the world a coke.

  • Brand:  Coca-Cola
  • Agency:  McCann Erickson
  • Year:  1971

In our opinion, one of the best persuasive commercials is Coca-Cola’s “I Want to Buy the World a Coke”. Aside from the New Seekers’ catchy jingle, the ad is powerful because it focuses on the consumer rather than the product. This undoubtedly set a precedent for all future Coca-Cola campaigns.

Another factor that makes this one of the most influential TV commercials is the diversity of actors in the ad. This ad indeed established Coke as a universally beloved brand of soft drink.

With a  budget of $250,000,  it was the most expensive ad in its day. Initially released in Europe, the ad received a lukewarm response – but became a global phenomenon after massive success in the US.

2. 1984 Macintosh Computer

  • Brand:  Apple
  • Agency:  Fairbanks Films
  • Year:  1984

Mac’s 1984 is an excellent example of ads that are persuasive. It’s almost as iconic as George Orwell’s literary masterpiece that it refers to. But, instead of the terrifying dystopia predicted by Orwell, Steve Jobs promises a better and brighter future – a future everyone wants. And this is how they created a commercial that touched the right chords with the audience obsessed with the Sci-Fi genre.

It won’t be wrong to say that the ad was as innovative as you’d expect any Apple product to be. Despite taking inspiration from someone else’s work, the concept is the epitome of sheer creativity. The ad is credited for redefining the art of corporate storytelling. Pay attention, and you will realize that there is a subtle dig on IBM, Apple’s biggest competitor at the time.

This 30-second ad, costing  $1.5 million  at the time, was directed by Ridley Scott and was watched by 97 million Americans during Superbowl. And that is how the Mac was born.

Related reading, “ 100 Most Famous Paintings Of All Time “.

3. We All Win

  • Brand:   Microsoft
  • Agency: McCann NY

Another great example of ads that are persuasive is Microsoft’s “We All Win”. One can credit Microsoft for giving us dozens of brilliant ads over the years. Still, none of them stand out as much as the “We All Win” ad for Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Controller.

Aired during the Super Bowl, it had a powerful impact on millions of people due to its depiction of differently-abled children playing video games just like any other kid.

The ad is a testament to the power of inclusion, emphasizing how even the smallest amount of support can help a child reach greater heights.

Microsoft did an incredible job tugging at our heartstrings with real people using their product. The powerful conclusion, “when everyone plays, we all win,” demonstrates the profound impact technology can have on our lives and the lives of those around us.

4. Celebrate the Breakers

  • Brand:   KitKat
  • Agency: J. Walter Thompson

Next on the list of the most persuasive TV ads is KitKat’s “Celebrate the Breakers” ad. KitKat’s mission to remind us to take a break has been around for over 70 years, and it’s easy to see why. Taking a break isn’t just a good idea; it feels good to be given permission to do something for yourself.

In 2015, they took it to the next level by celebrating those who take a break. “Celebrate the Breakers” was a massive campaign that drew power from its audience. It is one of the finest examples of brands using TV ads to drive a global social media campaign.

Different ads were created in other countries, each following a similar format and encouraging people to share their breaks with the world.

This is one of the best commercials that persuade because not only do they encourage us to do something we all want to do, but they also tell us that it’s something to cherish and celebrate instead of feeling guilty about it.

5. Nike: Just Do It

  • Brand:   Nike
  • Agency: Wieden+Kennedy

Nike’s famous slogan, “Just Do It,” first burst onto the scene more than 30 years ago and has since been integral in defining the brand. With each new campaign, Nike has consistently raised the bar for its advertisements; however, the original “Just Do It” television commercial from 1988 still stands out as one of its best.

Like most iconic ads that have made history, the power of the narrative lies in its ability to focus on the consumer instead of the product. Nike’s slogan, for instance, speaks to and about the people who use their products. These are the ‘doers’ who refuse to be stopped or hindered by any excuses. They have the courage and tenacity to do whatever they put their minds to.

The ad conveys this message by featuring Walt Stack, the 80-year-old marathoner. The passionate story of Stack’s daily 17-mile run stirs us and motivates us to step out and pursue our dreams. It’s one of the best commercials that persuade.

6. When I Grow Up

  • Brand:   Monster

“When I Grow Up” is truly one of the best ads that are persuasive. Back in 1999, when people were taking their first tentative steps into a brave new world of trusting the internet with their careers,  Monster.com  posed a question that strikes fear into the heart of every adult: are you living your childhood dream?

But they did so in the most inspiring way imaginable. Rather than making anyone feel bad for their decisions, this ad motivated people to make a change and strive for something better.

On the surface, the ad is humorous when kids say lines like “When I grow up, I want to file all day.” But as soon as the bittersweet irony of this joke hits us, we realize that it is the kind of dreary job many of us have been forced to accept. That is why Monster.com provides a platform for people to break free from the monotony and take control of their own destinies.

7. We Believe: The Best Men Can Be

  • Brand:   Gillette
  • Agency: Somesuch

This may be one of the most persuasive TV ads and also one of the most controversial entries on our list. However, it definitely deserves the spot because it’s not every day we see a significant brand returning to its decades-old slogan.

With “The Best Man Can Be,” Gillette changes the idea of masculinity it has been promoting with its iconic “The Best a Man Can Get” ads.

The ad was a massive gamble on the brand’s part. While it hit the right chords with the woke generation, it also upset millions by challenging the traditional masculine traits now considered toxic. But if you ask us, the ad is more about promoting positive masculinity – and that’s the way forward.

Interesting fact : Many women who buy razors for their men said they would be switching to Gillette after seeing this ad.

8. Like a Girl

  • Brand:   Always
  • Agency: Leo Burnett

Puberty is a topic most would shy away from, even brands that make sanitary products. However, in 2014, Always, the leading brand in the sanitary napkin industry, came up with a campaign that focused on the problems faced by young girls during this phase.

The ad attempts to change the perception behind the phrase “Like a Girl.” It explores what it’s like to actually be a girl and discourages using this phrase as an insult.

The most persuasive aspect of this ad is the absence of the product itself. Instead, the entire narrative is built around a mission – a message that resonates with every single consumer. Nothing is more persuasive than a brand that genuinely cares for its customers, which is why “Like a Girl” is one of the best ads that are persuasive of all time.

9. Ed Sheeran’s Heinz Ad

  • Brand:   Kraft Heinz
  • Agency: David the Agency

With this ad, Heinz took celebrity endorsement to a whole new level – or was it the other way around? Ed Sheeran’s love for Heinz is no secret; he even has a  bottle tattooed on his arm .

Sheeran loves his ketchup so much that he actually reached out to the brand with an ad he wrote himself, featuring himself. And we have to admit, Ed’s scriptwriting is at par with his songwriting.

The ad simply follows Ed as he goes around his day with a bottle of his favorite ketchup at hand. We follow him to a posh restaurant where he complements his seemingly exotic, expensive meal with his favorite sauce, much to the waiter’s dismay and the audience’s amusement. Ed Sheeran’s Heinz ad is definitely one of the most notable ads that are persuasive, so marketers take note!

10. The Surfer

  • Brand:   Guinness
  • Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers

The iconic ad “Surfer” for Guinness gave us all something to remember when it hit our screens in 1999. This multi-award-winning ad shifted the perception of the brand from being an older man’s drink to a younger audience’s delight. It was a beautiful and brilliant concept, and it truly touched our hearts.

This black-and-white visual treat features three surfers waiting for the right wave. The surf later turns into white horses, depicting the power of water and the adventure of riding that wave. The inspiration behind horses was Neptune’s horses in Roman Mythology.

In essence, the ad shows that waiting for the right wave is the key to a gratifying experience, just like the time it takes to pour a pint of Guinness. The entire concept was built around that one moment.

  • Brand:  E-Trade
  • Agency:  Goodby Silverstein & Partners

Early in 2000, at the time of the Super Bowl XXXIV, when the Dot-com bubble was still blooming, and people were eager to take risks and reap rewards when it came to investment, this E-Trade ad was a revolutionary moment. It was a time of great optimism and enthusiasm, and this commercial captured those feelings perfectly.

In this ad, a chimpanzee and two idiots clap and lip-sync to “La Cucaracha” with the message, “Well, we just wasted 2 million bucks. What are you doing with your money?”

It was an ad that perfectly portrayed both the client and the event simultaneously. This ad became immensely popular, and the fact that it cost 2 million dollars to air left a crisp and clear message for the audience that we spend your money liberally yet speculatively. Trust us with your money!

12. The Most Interesting Man in The World

  • Brand:  Dos Equis
  • Agency:  Havas Worldwide
  • Year:  2006

The Dos Equis “Most Interesting Man in the World” commercial is one of the most persuasive TV ads due to its memorable and relatable message. The commercial features a sophisticated, distinguished older man who is described as the “Most Interesting Man in the World.”

Throughout the commercial, the narrator explains why he is the most interesting man, listing his various adventures and accomplishments. This creates a sense of admiration and envy, as viewers are encouraged to strive to be as interesting and accomplished as the “Most Interesting Man.”

The commercial also successfully conveys its message entertainingly and humorously. The narrator’s exaggerated and humorous descriptions of the most interesting man’s actions create a lighthearted tone and keep viewers engaged.

Additionally, the commercial’s catchy tagline, “Stay thirsty, my friends,” creates a sense of camaraderie and encourages viewers to join the “Most Interesting Man” on his journey. If this is not one of the best TV commercials that persuade, then we don’t know what is!

13. The Man Your Man Could Smell Like

  • Brand:  Old Spice
  • Agency:  Wieden+Kennedy
  • Year:  2010

The “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” TV ad by Old Spice is one of the most successful ads that are persuasive of all time. It features a charming man, Isaiah Mustafa, who confidently speaks directly to the viewer while delivering a humorous and compelling message. The ad stands out due to its clever use of humor, product placement, and memorable catchphrase, “The man your man could smell like.”

The ad utilizes humor to draw the viewer’s attention and keep them engaged. Mustafa’s delivery is light-hearted and humorous, making it entertaining to watch. Additionally, the ad is structured in a way that makes it easy to remember, with a catchy jingle and Mustafa’s iconic catchphrase.

The ad also does an effective job of illustrating the product’s benefits. Mustafa speaks directly to the viewer, emphasizing how Old Spice will make them smell and feel attractive. He also encourages viewers to use Old Spice to show they are confident and take pride in their appearance. This message is further reinforced by the product placement, which makes it clear to viewers that Old Spice is the product they should be using.

 14. One Story Away

  • Brand:  Netflix
  • Agency:  AKQA
  • Year:  2020

Next on the list of the most persuasive TV ads is “One Story Away” by Netflix. Stories are a powerful tool that helps us understand each other better; they unite us as a species. Netflix unveiled a new branding campaign across 27 countries bearing the “One Story Away” tagline. Capitalizing on their ability to give life to unique narratives that fuel imagination and give people perspectives they yearn for.

This marvelous ad by Netflix perfectly portrays that journey every Netflix subscriber goes through by streaming 100s of hours of content across numerous genres. It was a perfect way to capture and depict their viewers’ experiences in a unifying message.

 15. Whassup

  • Brand:  Budweiser
  • Agency:  DDB Worldwide
  • Year:  1999

One of the sure-shot ways for a brand to become immensely popular is for its ad to seamlessly work its way into popular culture. This is precisely what Budweiser managed to accomplish in its “Whassup” campaign in 1999. At the time, “Whassup!” was something used by everyone everywhere. It was the catchphrase.

By thoroughly ingraining themselves into the prevalent culture at the time that spanned across cultural barriers, they turned their brand into a global phenomenon, even becoming famous in countries where Budweiser wasn’t even sold. That’s why “Whassup” is on our list of the top ads that are persuasive.

 16. Designated Driver

  • Agency:  Downtown Partners
  • Year:   2005

Another way for a brand to catch on with the crowd is to show that it cares about the customers. This is exactly what Budweiser did in 2005 with their designated driver campaign, a far cry from their previous campaigns.

When marketing alcohol to young consumers, it is only ethical to ensure you squeeze in a message about responsible drinking, or in this case, being responsible enough to skip drinking for a night for the sake of your friends. This commercial managed to get the message across effectively using Cedric the Entertainer’s humor, a party scene with some catchy music, and a cool set of designated driver dance moves.

Related reading, “ The Top 20 Best Electric Guitar Players In The World “.

17. Nobody’s Watching

  • Brand:  HP
  • Agency:  Fred & Farid
  • Year:  2019

Number 17 on our list of most persuasive TV ads is “Nobody’s Watching” by HP. Now addressing consumers’ concerns and launching a product with specific features that tackle those said concerns is how HP chose to play their hand in its “Keep it Human” campaign. The trouble that comes with going digital cannot be underscored, considering the looming threat of being hacked at any time.

With this angle, the ad campaign specifically targets anyone who spends their time online very cautiously with a manual camera kill switch for HP’s new range of laptops. Giving this sense of added security offers people an added sense of security, allowing them to be themselves around their digital devices. Offering this utility to their customers is what made this campaign a successful one.

18. Find Your Place

  • Brand:  StreetEasy
  • Agency:  Office of Baby
  • Year:  2018

StreetEasy’s “Find Your Place” campaign showcases the genuine aspects of finding a place in the city of New York. The ad perfectly portrays the chaotic thought process of home-hunting to find someplace equidistant from your work, play, friends, and family.

It captures the fast-paced life of New York with a series of back-to-back shots of the city’s most popular residential locations brimming with life and luster. The concept revolves around every neighborhood’s unique qualities and the preferences of people who either wish to rent or purchase a home. A unique selling point that made this one of the greatest commercials that persuade.

 19. Cake

  • Brand:  Skoda
  • Agency:  Fallon Worldwide
  • Year:  2007

Next on our list of ads that are persuasive is the immensely popular ad from 2007 that unveils the new Skoda Fabia in the form of a cake baked by 15 people in a one-minute ad. The car is made from scratch entirely out of cake and other lovely edible things. Featuring jelly brake lights, chocolate fondant tires, and other internal features like the engine made out of licorice with golden syrup as an engine lubricant, this ad is a treat for the senses. 

The cake model took ten days to build and reportedly cost nearly £500,000 to make. This was a successful and impressive stunt that earned the brand millions of eyeballs. Also, the cake didn’t go to waste as it was distributed to many local bakeries where people got to taste the most expensive cake ever made.

20. The Cog

  • Brand:  Honda
  • Year:  2003

“The Cog” by Honda is next on the list of most persuasive TV ads of all time. In response to declining sales in 2002, Honda greenlit the Cog campaign with a budget of £1 million. To create this amazing chain-reaction video, the agency wasted no time recruiting a team of engineers, car designers, technicians, and even a sculptor to hash out the logistics in detail. The ad is a metaphor that depicts the brand’s commitment to brilliant design and engineering.  

The team spent more than a month with disassembled Honda Accord parts to figure out how the video would flow from start to finish. Honda insisted that they wished to focus on several features that the new Accord was offering, such as their rain-sensitive windscreen and a wing-mirror indicator.

21. The Showdown

  • Brand:  McDonald’s
  • Agency:  Leo Burnett
  • Year:  1993

Number 21 on our list of the best ads that are persuasive, and the winner of the USA Today’s Superbowl Ad Meter, this iconic showdown between Michael Jordan and Larry Bird for a Big Mac went as viral as viral could get in 1993. A great Super Bowl ad can stick to your mind for hours or perhaps days, but there are a select few ads that can withstand the test of time.

Ideally, a Superbowl commercial features football athletes, but McDonald’s went with basketball stars. This 1.5-minute spot became so popular that it was featured again in the movie “Space Jam” where Jordan went at it again with Marvin the Martian shooting nothing but net!

22. Where’s The Beef

  • Brand:  Wendy’s
  • Agency:  Dancer Fitzgerald Sample

Let’s travel back to 1984 when a simple question sparked a meat-craving frenzy across the nation. It was in this year that Wendy’s debuted their iconic “Where’s the Beef?” campaign starring Clara Peller. A brainchild of a top-tier agency of its time, the ad was an instant sensation that contributed to a 31% increase in Wendy’s annual revenue.

The ad shows three grannies examining a burger from another brand. Two grannies admire the fluffy new burger with a tiny patty, while Clara goes over the rails demanding a healthy serving of meat from that fictional fast-food competitor. In the process, the ad gave birth to the classic 80’s catchphrase. The competitors inferred in this ad were the big-name brands at the time, namely Burger King and McDonald’s!

23. The Cindy Crawford Ad

  • Brand:  Pepsi
  • Agency : BBDO
  • Year:  1992

Pepsi’s ad featuring supermodel Cindy Crawford is next on the list of the most persuasive TV ads, and here’s why. In 1992, Cindy Crawford changed everything one day when she got a wee bit thirsty. On that fateful day, wearing high-waisted denim cutoffs and a white tank top, she made a trip to a Pepsi vending machine, and all else was history. Talk about star power. That’s a classic Pepsi Co. success strategy. 

To this day, this commercial remains one of the most iconic for the brand. It was so successful that Pepsi decided to create a remake of the ad in 2016. Despite the well-known fact that Cindy hasn’t aged a day, Pepsi decided the remake would be in the form of an emoji.

24. Doritos: Live the Flavor

  • Brand:  Doritos
  • Agency:  The Marketing Arm

This Doritos marketing campaign was so successful that not only was it the most liked ad of Superbowl 2007, it paved the path for other companies to emulate.

By turning to customers for ad inspiration, Doritos changed the game. They asked fans to submit self-produced commercials for their brand. The first winner was the ad, “Live the Flavor” created by Wes Phillips and Dale Backus, who were in their early 20s at the time.

This was the most successful, if not the first, example of crowdsourced advertisement. The buzz created by that campaign played a major role in its success.

25. Once You Pop, You Can’t Stop

  • Brand:  Pringles
  • Agency:  Wells Rich Greene
  • Year:  1996

A brand can work its way into your mind and stay there to come up with a catchy phrase that sticks. The “Once you pop, you can’t stop” slogan for Pringles took the USA by storm and is responsible for its whopping 9.6% market share in the country.

Pringles ingrained itself into popular culture with this ad, just like KitKat’s take-a-break ads. This paid off for the company in more ways than one and has managed to solidify the company’s standing among a slew of competitors that are just waiting to take each other’s space.

26. Good Call

  • Brand: Foster’s
  • Agency: Adam & Eve DDB

The Foster’s “Good Call” TV ad is widely considered to be one of the most persuasive commercials ever created. It was released in 2005 and was an instant hit, with many viewers finding it to be an entertaining and memorable ad.

It uses humor to get its point across. It follows a man who is drinking a Foster’s beer and is trying to get a group of people to join him in the pub. He keeps trying to persuade them in different ways, such as offering them his beer, but they keep turning him down. Finally, he says, “It’s a good call,” and they all immediately agree to come.

The ad effectively conveys the message that Foster’s is a great beer, and that it’s a “good call” to drink it. At the same time, it uses humor to make it enjoyable and memorable. The use of humor is a powerful persuasive technique, as it helps to create an emotional connection with the audience and makes it more likely that they will remember the ad.

27. Man on The Moon

  • Brand: John Lewis
  • Agency: Adam&Eve DDB

The last on our list of the most persuasive TV ads and certainly not the least is the “Man on the Moon” ad by John Lewis. It is widely considered one of the most persuasive TV ads of all time due to its powerful message and vibrant visuals. The ad follows a young girl who, on Christmas Eve, spots a man on the moon through her telescope. So she packs a few gifts and sets off to deliver them, leading to a heartwarming ending.

The ad was successful because it captured the essence of the holiday season while also conveying the message of kindness and generosity. The visuals were also compelling, with the imagery of a lonely man on the moon being particularly striking. Additionally, the ad evoked strong emotions in the viewer, with the combination of the visuals and the accompanying music creating an atmosphere that was both memorable and touching.

Related reading, “ Top 10 Fun Facts About Christmas That Will Make You Smile “.

27 Most Persuasive TV Ads of All Time – In Conclusion

As you can see, TV ads are more than just a way to sell a product. They can also convey a powerful message and influence how viewers think and act.

While the ads listed here are some of the most persuasive, countless other creative and effective ads are out there. So the next time you watch TV, be sure to pay attention to the ads and the messages they’re trying to convey.

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USA TODAY

Michael J. Fox gets out of wheelchair to present at BAFTAs, receives standing ovation

Michael J. Fox surprised BAFTA attendees Sunday with an appearance to present the award for best film.

The "Back to the Future" actor, who lives with Parkinson's disease, came onstage in a wheelchair but insisted on standing up at the podium to present the award to Christopher Nolan for " Oppenheimer ."

Introduced by host David Tennant as a "true legend of cinema," the audience rose to give Fox, 62, a standing ovation, including Robert Downey Jr. and " Barbie " star Ryan Gosling .

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When presenting the nominees for best film, Fox described movies as "magic" that can "change your life."

The 2023 documentary "Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie," which traces the life and career of the beloved actor, was a nominee at the BAFTAs. The film lost out to the The Associated Press and PBS' film "20 Days In Mariupol."

Michael J. Fox says he became an alcoholic, hid Parkinson's diagnosis: 'There's no way out'

The fastest-growing neurodegenerative condition in the U.S., Parkinson’s is an incurable brain disorder, a progressive disease "that causes unintended or uncontrollable movements, such as shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with balance and coordination," according to the  National Institute on Aging .

Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson's when he was 29 and publicly shared the news seven years later, in 1998.

The "Spin City" actor has sustained injuries in recent years, including breaking his upper arm  while recovering from  a risky spinal surgery  to remove a noncancerous tumor in 2018.

"I was lying on the floor in my kitchen with a shattered arm waiting for the ambulance to show up," Fox told USA TODAY in 2020. "I kind of went, 'What an idiot. All this time you've been telling everybody to be optimistic, chin-up, and you're miserable now. There's nothing but pain and regret. There's no way to put a shine on this.'"

The accident kicks off Fox's 2020 book, "No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality," in which the actor goes on to detail his harrowing recovery from spinal surgery, insights from his battle with Parkinson's disease and his return to positivity after, quite literally, falling into despair.

"That was a real breakthrough moment for me, because I realized that I've been selling that optimism to people for so long," he told USA TODAY at the time. "I believe it's true to my core, but it struck me that at that point I questioned it, and I questioned it really severely. And so the rest of the book is this journey through finding my way back with gratitude. And I think gratitude is what makes optimism sustainable."

Contributing: KiMi Robinson, Charles Trepany and Patrick Ryan

Celine Dion's surprise Grammys appearance gets standing ovation amid health battle

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Michael J. Fox gets out of wheelchair to present at BAFTAs, receives standing ovation

Michael J. Fox left his wheelchair to stand at the podium and present the award for best film at the BAFTA Film Awards.

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I’d like to thank … the prankster on stage during Emma Thomas’s speech.

YouTube prankster invades stage during Oppenheimer’s best picture Bafta presentation

YouTuber who has a history of infiltrating awards ceremonies got on stage while the Oppenheimer team were receiving their award

A “social media prankster” invaded the stage during the best picture presentation at the Bafta film awards in London on Sunday.

Bafta said in a statement: “A social media prankster was removed by security last night after joining the winners of the final award on stage – we are taking this very seriously, and don’t wish to grant him any publicity by commenting further.”

In footage screened on BBC One, the man, wearing a dark suit, walked on to the stage as Oppenheimer producer Emma Thomas was making her acceptance speech, alongside the film’s director Christopher Nolan and lead actor Cillian Murphy. Having stood behind Thomas as she spoke, he left the stage along with the film-makers, and according to Bafta was subsequently detained by security.

Looks like @LizwaniYT broke onto stage during #Oppenheimer winning at @BAFTA #Oppenheimer #BAFTA pic.twitter.com/fWvpWGN1oC — HeWhoGeeks (@he_who_geeks) February 19, 2024

The prankster was identified on social media as a YouTuber using the name Lizwani; the same user posted on Instagram that police had taken some of his footage away. Lizwani has a history of infiltrating awards ceremonies, including the Fifa Ballon d’Or and Brit awards in 2022.

While Bafta has been spared stage invasions in the past, the Oscars has had its share, notably the celebrated appearance of a streaker in 1974, while David Niven was about to introduce another presenter.

Bafta reports that the audience for the TV broadcast of the awards show was the highest since 2020, rising to 3.8 million at its peak.

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Baftas 2024 highlights: The big winners... in two minutes

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Hollywood stars and the elite of the UK's film-makers gathered for the 77th British Academy Film Awards in London.

The film Oppenheimer won the most awards of the night and Poor Things had a successful evening too - winning five awards.

American Fiction, The Zone of Interest, and The Holdovers were among the other winners.

Video edited by Sophie van Brugen

  • Subsection Entertainment & Arts
  • Published 3 days ago

Best BAFTAs moments: Michael J. Fox gets standing ovation, 'Oppenheimer' sweeps

"Oppenheimer" notched seven wins at the London awards show.

"Oppenheimer" swept at the star-studded 77th British Academy Film Awards, as Christopher Nolan, Cillian Murphy and Robert Downy Jr. all took home wins Sunday night at the Royal Festival Hall in London's Southbank Centre.

PHOTO: British film producer and director Christopher Nolan poses with the award for Best film and Best director for "Oppenheimer" during the BAFTA British Academy Film Awards ceremony in London, on February 18, 2024.

The film garnered a total of 7 wins on the evening, including Best Film, Leading Actor, Supporting Actor and Director.

"I want to thank my fellow nominees and my oppen-homies," Murphy said with a laugh at his attempt to rhyme.

Murphy's co-star and Best Supporting Actor winner Robert Downey Jr. gave a special shoutout in his acceptance speech to his wife: "I place this at the feet of my alpha and omega, Susan Downey."

PHOTO: Irish actor Cillian Murphy poses with the award for Best leading actor for his role in "Oppenheimer" during the BAFTA British Academy Film Awards ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, in London, on February 18, 2024.

And Nolan hinted at the cast and crew's bright outlook for the rest of awards season.

"The BAFTAs are often seen as an indicator of what’s to come at the academy awards," the winning director said.

The cast of the dark comedy fantasy "Poor Things" also notched multiple victories, five on the night, including Best Actress for Emma Stone.

"I really want to just thank my mom. Because she's the best person I know in the whole world and she inspires me every single day and she's always made me believe this kind of crazy idea that I could do something like this and I'm beyond grateful," Stone said. "Without her none of this exists. Including my life, so thank you for that too mom."

PHOTO: Da'Vine Joy Randolph poses in the winner's room with her award for Supporting Actress for "The Holdovers" during the 2024 British Academy of Film and Television Awards (BAFTA) in London, February 18, 2024.

Da'Vine Joy Randolph continued her awards season sweep after winning at both the Golden Globes and Critic's Choice Awards, she tearfully accepted the BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Mary Lamb in “The Holdovers."

"There have been countless Marys throughout history who have never got the chance to wear a beautiful gown and stand on this stage here in London," she said. "Telling her story is a responsibility that I do not take lightly."

To close out the night on a high note, the crowd gave Michael J. Fox a standing ovation as he introduced the night's top honors with the award for Best Film.

PHOTO: Britain's Prince William, Prince of Wales, arrives to attend the BAFTA British Academy Film Awards at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, in London, on February 18, 2024.

There was also royalty on the red carpet, with Prince William, who arrived solo as Princess Kate continues to recover from abdominal surgery.

The Prince of Wales serves as president of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, which presents the annual awards.

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Hugh Grant Channels ‘Wonka’ Oompa Loompa Character While Presenting Best Director BAFTA Award: ‘Most of These Films Were Frankly Too Long’

By Ellise Shafer

Ellise Shafer

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LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18: Hugh Grant presents the Director Award on stage during the EE BAFTA Film Awards 2024 at The Royal Festival Hall on February 18, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Kate Green/BAFTA/Getty Images for BAFTA)

Hugh Grant channeled his inner Oompa Loompa at the BAFTA Awards on Sunday night, where the “ Wonka ” actor was on hand to present the award for best director.

After taking the stage, Grant dryly recited a spoken-word version of his character’s song: “Oompa Loompa doompety dee/ now the best director category. Oompa Loompa doompety dong/ Most of these films were frankly too long. Oompa Loompa doompety dah/ But for some reason the nominees are…”

The award ended up going to Nolan, who used his speech to recognize the organizations who have “fought long and hard to reduce the number of nuclear weapons in the world.”

“In accepting this I do just want to acknowledge their efforts and point out they show the necessity and potential of efforts for peace,” he added.

Grant played an Oompa Loompa in Paul King’s “Wonka,” which starred Timothée Chalamet in an origin story of the zany chocolatier. In order to convince Grant to accept the role, King said he wrote the “Love Actually” actor a letter to tell him he was great at playing “washed-up old hams.”

“It was really just thinking about that character – someone who can be a real shit,” King told Empire Magazine. “And I went, ‘Ah, Hugh [Grant]!’ Because he’s the funniest, most sarcastic shit that I’ve ever met!”

“Oppenheimer” ended up dominating the BAFTA Awards , taking home seven wins in total, including best film and lead actor for Cillian Murphy.

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  1. Famous Persuasive Speeches

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  3. 25 Best Speeches of 2020

    1. Killer Mike's press conference during Atlanta protests, 'It is your duty not to burn your house down' As someone from outside the rap world, I would have bet against someone called Killer Mike delivering two of the greatest speeches I heard this year, but it happened, and he's now my most coveted guest for the podcast. What a speaking talent!

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  9. 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.

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  11. 105 Interesting Persuasive Speech Topics for Any Project

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