Great Leadership Speeches

transformational mind-set is difficult to define since it consists of a number of beliefs, attitudes and values. Three examples are presented below.

Text Only

Bill Moyers— A Great But Broken Promise.

It’s difficult to construct a great speech that’s transformational in its nature, but this graduation speech to the students at SMU is worth looking looking into.

Video Only

Martin Luther KingI Have a Dream

This 17 minute video captured the powerful words of a truly great speaker. While it is hard to tell from the video, it appears Dr. King started his presentation by reading from a script, then stopped reading from his prepared notes and started speaking extemporaneously.

Steve JobsiPhone Introduction

Most business presentations are pretty boring but Jobs has mastered the art of the presentation. You don’t have to watch the entire presentation, but one can see why the iphone generated so much publicity.

Barack Obama— Seeking A New Beginning

This was a speech made on June 4, 2009 at Cairo University. The focus of the speech was not so much to discuss policy, as it was to build good will. By studying this speech, one can learn a number of techniques for building rapport with an audience.

Randy Pausch— The Last Lecture

University professors are not generally known for making awesome lectures. However, this is one exception to the rule. In the video, we hear words of wisdom from a professor who knew he was dying of cancer. This has been a viral classic for a long-time, one that has a timeless quality about it.

Speeches With Text and Videos

One can learn to become a great speaker but one needs to have both great content and great delivery. This is not an easy thing to do. The following are examples of video which has a transcript so you can follow along and get a feel for how to deliver the words.

Steve Jobs — 2005 Graduation Speech as Stanford—Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

This is one case where I do prefer the text to the video version, but you should enjoy the live version if you enjoy a few good stories.



Bill Clinton — 2008 Speech at the Democratic National Convention

In terms of polishing communication skills, you might like to look at a recent speech by Bill Clinton. Although it is fairly ethnocentric, focused as it is on the American politics, you get a feel for how to good delivery interacts with good content.



Edward Kennedy, Jr. —Eulogy For A Father, August 2009

A great speech does not have to be long, this one is about 12 minutes but it captured many elements that make for a great presentation—there was emotion, there was fluency and there was humor. You also will hear a number of great teaching story, especially one great teaching story, which I call, “The Hill.”



Elizabeth Warren — December 12, 2013

It is not that often that a single speech can capture the imagination of many, but that is what happened with this 2013 speech made by Senator Warren. Essentially, this ten minutes speech was a populist that catapulted the Senator into the position of a national spokesperson for the Democratic Party.

Text Summary

Saxton Speaker’s BureauGreat Speeches

Saxton has put together a number of great speeches, from the not so well known to extremely famous individuals. On the well known side, you will find speeches by:

  • Napoleon Bonaparte
  • Margaret Thatcher
  • Maximilien Robespierre
  • Franklin D Roosevelt
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • John F Kennedy
  • Nelson Mandela


Growing Skills Needed by Leaders