“Every great movement on this earth owes its growth to great speakers and not to great writers” – Adolf Hitler
The renaissance, revolutionary movements, independence etc have all been the end result of the influence of the great leaders who were extraordinary orators as well. In the contemporary world, the role of industrialists, entrepreneurs and political leaders as well is vital in shaping the global scenario. They need to inspire the people around them. Change happens only when a chord is struck, and only a powerful communicator can do it. The following are brief insights into the some of the greatest orations ever:
#1 – “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears…” – Antony in Julias Caesar
Brutus had ended his speech by justifying his assassination of Julius Caesar and gained the good will of the mob. Antony now had an opportunity to address the gathering without blaming assassins, yet seeking revenge for Caesar’s death. His speech begins outwardly justifying Brutus’s actions, but with repetitive use of the words ‘ Honorable Men’ – his implied sarcasm becomes obvious. Despite being forbidden from blaming Brutus and other assassins, he used deceitful rhetorism and clever choice of words to spark the mob fury and turn the entire crowd hostile to Brutus. The first great oration ever.
#2- “I Have A Dream…” – Martin Luther King:
The speech by Martin Luther King during the year 1963 still stands as the epitome of speeches. This was a speech delivered to 250,000 civil rights supporters to end racism in United States of America. One of the most striking feature of his speech was that the orginal script which was penned under several names like ‘Normalcy Speech’ and ‘A Cancelled Check’ was ditched 10 minutes before the delivery. The most famous climax sequence was never a part of the original script. King chose to respond to audience directly and connect with them. A risk very few would have taken. But, it was this risk which gave King a raw power and edge to his speech. King was living the words he spoke when he said – ‘I have a dream…’!
Keypoint of King’s speech was his powerful body language. On watching the video, it is clear from his stance and hand movement, showed the conviction and self-belief. Another vital point to be noted in the structure of all the great speeches is that, they followed a rhythm and repetition. The constant reinforcement of the words ‘ I have a dream, a dream deeply rooted in the American dream…’ made sure the public became a part of the dream.
#2- Seig Heil – Adolf Hitler:
Hitler was considered a lunatic and megalomaniac who was so obsessed with racial purity that he had no qualms in exterminating millions of people. All that we see from the videos available are a wide eyed man with uncontrollable rage. But, in fact he is one of the greatest orators with careful, far-sighted strategies with clever audience manipulation. Hitler needed to gather an army, and he knew his way out. He used the Hitler salute to infuse patriotism!
Hail Hitler, one of the most infamous slogans, became the primary propaganda weapon during the Nazi regime. The power of a slogan is not to be underestimated. When millions of people together chant the same repeatedly, the people get charged and inspired. Hitler believed in a cause and his propaganda showed his dedication and commitment. The Hitler salute became a universal signifier of the destruction of the establishments like the church in Germany and became a nation of conformists with singular allegiance to Hitler.
#3- Yes We Can – Barack Obama:
Barack Obama, the 44th President of United States of America, is a gifted orator who took USA by storms with his presidential campaign slogan – YES WE CAN! He defeated John McCain in his 2008 presidential elections and went on to take the second term in 2013.
These three simple words have united a nation, inspired a generation transcending all the cultural differences. His speeches were peppered heavily with personal stories, gratitude, overflowing humility, inspiration and most importantly an amazing sense of intimacy.
#4 – Aab Ki Baar Modi Sarkar:
One character apart from Modi who stood out in the recent ‘Dance of Democracy’ was Arnab Goswami. Arnab with his trademark high decibel voice has enlightened India that there exists a character called Rahul Gandhi in Congress party. The entire nation responded to the interview between Arnab and Rahul. Best part was on the election result day when Arnab made Diwali look like a kid. The same statistics were printed in the editorial column of all the leading newspapers. Very few bothered to read.
Modi is an exceptional character who stood out in the Indian Political arena. His language had multiple meanings and were rhetoric. However, the structure of his speeches were similar to the one’s used by the counterparts in the west. Also, the metaphors he used remained the same in all the speeches he delivered throughout India. Nevertheless, Modi had done justice. He was able to inspire the youth, convince the young nation that he was the beacon of light that India badly needed. Today, he is the 15th Prime Minister of India carrying the hope and dreams of the nation on his shoulders.
I may not have done justice to the content of the speeches, yet, I hope the message is properly conveyed. The world today needs dynamic leaders who are capable of connecting with the public. For every change to happen, there is need for an influential leader with extraordinary oratory skills. Throughout history, leaders have been the change the world needed, leaders have the beacon of hope the public wanted. But, it doesn’t end here. An impressive speech without any implications would be a pitfall for the entire movement. Actions are what defines men!