We are all familiar with Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. It is regarded as one of the great speeches of all time. But what is it about the content of the speech and the delivery of the speaker that have made it memorable?
The reiteration of phrases beginning “Let freedom ring,” the reiteration of the phrase “I have a dream,” and the challenge that his children “will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character” are universally familiar. In this video, you may listen to a five-minute excerpt of this speech.
What makes the speech so compelling? One of my favorite TED Talks was given by Nancy Duarte. She outlines what makes a presentation great, and uses “I Have a Dream” and Steve Jobs’ introduction of the iPhone as examples.
In the TED Talk, Nancy Duarte argues a great presentation has a beginning, middle, and end. The beginning establishes “what is” and compares it “what could be.” Throughout the presentation, the juxtaposition of the “what is” versus “what could be” moves the audience to accept the speaker’s ideas. The end includes a “call to action” and paints the “new bliss” of the future. Nancy Duarte’s message was that an idea can change the world. Martin Luther King, Jr. proved it can happen.
Nancy Duarte also composed a 5-minute video on her blog where she further analyzes the “I Have a Dream” speech. I think you will enjoy watching her video.