Famous Speeches

Browse through this collection of famous speeches. Be prepared to be inspired!

Words are the elemental building blocks of speeches. I've included some of my favorite quotes about words.

Collection of Famous Speeches Index



Martin Luther King, Jr - "I Have a Dream" (full written transcript and video) - is probably the best known and most inspiring speech of all times. It had been a century since slavery had been abolished, yet in 1963, the black people in America were still treated like second class citizens forced to sit in the back of the bus, use separate bathrooms, and be targets of discrimination. It took tremendous courage for Martin Luther King, Jr. to stand up and defend his people in a climate of such racial hatred.



Oprah Winfrey - Commencement Speech for Stanford Class of 2008 (full written transcript and video) - is a very inspirational speech for any new graduate seeking to find his or her way in this world. Has very good advice!



Steve Jobs (Apple co-founder) - Graduation Speech for Stanford Class of 2005 (full written transcript and video) - is a very motivational speech for any new graduate with Steve telling 3 teaching stories from his life. Must see!


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Editor's Favorite Quotes about Words

"Handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs."
~ Pearl Strachan

"Speech is the mirror of the soul; as a man speaks, so he is."
~ Publilius Syrus

"Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks."
~ Jesus Christ

"No man means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery and thought is viscous."
~ Henry B. Adams

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something."
~ Plato

"To speak and to speak well are two things. A fool may talk, but a wise man speaks."
~ Ben Jonson

"The words we say will teach if we practice what we preach."
~ Unknown

"But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned."
~ Jesus Christ (Matthew 12:36-38)

"Among my most prized possessions are words that I have never spoken."
~ Orson Rega Card

"Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret."
~ Ambrose Bierce

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"It is with words as with sunbeams, the more they are condensed, the deeper they burn."
~ Robert Southey

"Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after."
~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh

"The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment."
~ Dorothy Nevill

"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug."
~ Mark Twain

"I am annoyed by individuals who are embarrassed by pauses in a conversation. To me, every conversational pause refreshes."
~ George Sanders

"Don't speak unless you can improve on the silence."
~ Spanish Proverb

"The more the words, the less the meaning, and how does that profit anyone?"
~ Ecclesiastes 6:11

"Don't, Sir, accustom yourself to use big words for little matters."
~ Dr Samuel Johnson

"Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people."
~ William Butler Yeats

"Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill."
~ Buddha

"Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man."
~ Colossians 4:6

"One half the troubles in this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough."
~ Josh Billings

"If you think little of a person, you ought to say as little as you think."
~ Benjamin Franklin

"Great minds talk about ideas, Average minds talk about things, Small minds talk about other people."
~ Unknown

"Kind words do not cost much. They never blister the tongue or lips. They make other people good-natured. They also produce their own image on men's souls, and a beautiful image it is."
~ Blaise Pascal

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The Dash

It's not the date you were born, or the date you died, that really matters. It's "the dash" between those years and what you do with it, to make a difference with your life.