Sunday, August 25, 2013

Analyzing "I Have a Dream"

This coming Wednesday marks the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. Excerpts from this speech have been quoted countless times. 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 the speech in its entirety.
 


What makes the speech so compelling? One of my favorite TED Talks was given by Nancy Duarte. She outlines what makes a presentations 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 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. Scroll to the second video in the page.

Nancy Duarte's message was that an idea can change the world. Martin Luther King, Jr. proved it can happen.
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