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Elements of a Great Speech: How to be Memorable

Whether you are speaking to your team or to a client, you want what you say to resonate with them so they stand up and say, “I am with you!”  But how do you do that?  What makes some speeches last for years and others are forgotten as soon as they are spoken?

Yes, there are elements to a great speech and you too can be a great speaker.

Let’s look at one great speech together- Dr. Martin Luther King’s Speech.

Here are the elements that make it stand out:

  1. Dr. King spoke with drive and passion.  He believed in what he was saying, the importance of it and that change would happen.
  2. Spoke visually with descriptive words.  What he said came to life as he used words that brought images and feelings into our minds.  Words like manacles, chains, lone island, vast ocean and phrases like “exile in his own land.”  These descriptive words were usually done in pairs so that one built on the other.
  3. Repeated phrases for emphasis.  He used “now is the time,” five times, “I have a dream,” 10 times, and “Let freedom ring,” about 10 times.  After each line he would then give a descriptive phrase.
  4. He broke his speech into three key parts:
    1. Tied past to present & why we need change
    2. Told how to proceed
    3. Created a vision for the future

Most of all, he created a vision of hope and a future we all could aspire to no matter what your race or religion.

It is interesting to note, that what is most remembered about his speech is his line, “I have a dream,” yet that didn’t come into his speech until ¾ of the way through his speech.  He did such a brilliant job of painting his picture that we all landed with him on the words, “I have a dream.”

Take Action: Amp up the elements to your speeches today! Will you leave a vision of hope or will they hope you get a vision?


As the leading Outcome Strategist, Anne Warfield shows people how to say the right thing at the right time every time.  The revolutionary Outcome Focus® Approach shows how to build a candid corporate culture of communication that allows you to lead, present and negotiate transformationally rather than transactionally. When applying Outcome Thinking® our client’s results include sales cycles reducing by 75%, turnover reducing by 30%, silos evaporating, and a 25% savings of time by executives.  Find out how you can maximize your corporate culture for greater productivity and results!  Contact us at 888-imp-9421, visit  www.impressionmanagement.com,  or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .