What Are Some Effective Motivational Speeches?

Some effective motivational speeches include John F. Kennedy's "Inaugural Address" of 1961 and Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech, given in 963. Historians also recognize Helen Keller's Lions Clubs International Convention speech from 1925 as one of the most effective motivational speeches of all time.

John F. Kennedy's "Inaugural Address" covered a range of topics and announced his intent to change the face of the country. He encouraged the nation to join him in his effort to combat tyranny, war, poverty and disease. The speech is the source of his famous quote, "Ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country."

Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech combined political and religious elements that listeners related to. King energized the audience with his dramatic delivery, offering many inspirational maxims and spiritual quotes such as, "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal'" and "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Helen Keller's Lions Clubs International Convention speech addressed opportunities to help the blind. Keller asked the Lions to recognize the importance of the American Foundation for the Blind as a tool to improve quality of life for the blind worldwide. She concluded her speech with a direct request to the organization, which resulted in the Lions starting programs aimed at preventable blindness: "I appeal to you Lions, you who have your sight, your hearing, you who are strong and brave and kind. Will you not constitute yourselves Knights of the Blind in this crusade against darkness?"