Essay Example on Barack Obama: The Master Orator

Published: 2022-12-26
Essay Example on Barack Obama: The Master Orator
Type of paper:  Speech
Categories:  Politics Barack Obama
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1278 words
11 min read

Ladies and gentlemen, I want to start by expressing my appreciation for this gracious opportunity to present my speech on a man that we have come to know and admire quite well over the past decade or so. The man I am about to talk about has completely revolutionized our thinking and changed our perspective of life for the better. His achievements and undeniable success has broken barriers and opened up doors for many like him - the marginalized, discriminated and the minority - not only where he comes from, but across the entire world as well.

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Barack Hussein Obama was known to us for many things such as his policies on the LGBT community, gun control, healthcare reforms, environmental policy, as well as various other foreign policies. His most significant legacy is perhaps the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), which sought to provide healthcare to every American citizen. However, what caught most of our attention from the very beginning was his way with words that could move and touch masses globally.

I remember the first time I listened to Obama speak was at his first speech during his Illinois Senate campaign in 2004. He gave the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention that year, a speech that received worldwide recognition for the issues that he raised. One of the most memorable phrases in that speech was when he said, 'there is not a liberal America and a conservative America - there is the United States of America' (Blake, 2017). I remember very well to this day the feeling that specific speech gave me; a feeling of patriotism and belonging.

It was this very speech that propelled Barack Obama to be the next president of the United States of America just four years later with the famous tag line, 'yes we can' (Gallo, 2012). There is no denying the importance of public speaking in Obama's journey from a student of political science at Colombia University to a Senator for Illinois State to the President of the United States of America. Very few presidents and politicians can be defined by the speeches they give; among these personalities in former President Barack Obama. Throughout his political career, his marking points have been solidified by the speeches he has made.

During his presidential campaign in 2008, Obama gave a moving speech that focused on America's racial struggles as well as the need for the country to be united in solving the problems that it faces. He also mentioned issues surrounding white privilege and inequality in the country; appealing to the nation to move past racial discrimination in addressing social problems that affect the entire nation. This speech was defined by the Pew Research Centre as the 'best political event of the 2008 campaign'. This is the speech that got him elected.

Obama has made several great speeches after that such as his Nobel Peace Prize address that touched on the grim necessity of war as well as the speech he gave during the eulogy of the nine parishioners who were killed in Charleston, South Carolina. Other notable speeches were his victory speech in 2008, the State of the Union address in 2010, and his final speech when he left office in 2017.

So what exactly made Obama's speeches so effective and moving? The answer to that is simple - as the Washington Post puts it, 'Obama's speeches were beautifully written, meticulously crafted and theatrically delivered'. Not only did his speeches reveal our fears, shortcomings, and flaws, it also revealed our achievements not just as a country but as a human race. Although these speeches were mostly given to American citizens, it reflected issues being faced across the world and that is what made him popular globally.

According to Jaffe (2016), the former president was and still is an inspiration to many, including myself, for his articulate way with words and his vast power over the masses. This characteristic about him makes him a role model to me, most specifically, and I am quite sure that I am not alone when I say that I want to be just like him. Obama gave his all in his speeches; it was a medium for him to change the world one word at a time. He not only put great effort into what he said during his speeches but also applied great technique while doing so. These techniques, as well as his artistic way with words, made him a master orator of his generation and a lot can be learned from him.

In analyzing what made the former President Barack Obama's speeches memorable, there are three techniques, according to Blake (2017), that Obama used in any given occasion. The first technique was transcendence, which its literal meaning refers to existence, or experience that goes beyond the normal or physical level or human experience. This is exactly the feeling that people felt while listening to Barack Obama - a feeling of being transported to another place of hope and possibilities. He used specific phrases of words that would make a listener picture what he was saying and move with it.

Another technique that Barack Obama applied during his speeches was the use of repetition. This technique is also known by speechwriters as 'anaphora' and it helps an orator emphasize his or her ideas by making them as memorable as possible. The former president was known globally by his catchphrase 'Yes we can'; which he repeated continuously throughout his many speeches especially during his campaign period. This technique has also been employed by other famous orators such as Martin Luther King Jnr. who constantly repeated the phrase, 'I have a dream that one day...' - a phrase that makes his legacy to live on to this day.

The third technique that Barack Obama employed was the use of his voice and gestures. It is without a doubt that famous orators have appealing and strong voices that match their personality and ideas in their speeches. It is also well observed that confident orators use a lot of hand gestures while delivering their speeches -it gives a feeling of reliability and confidence in their leadership skills.

According to Gallo (2012), the use of intonation while giving a speech is also very essential as it reveals the speaker's desires, goals, and passions. It also helps the audience relate better with the speaker by giving them hope and a passion for what is being spoken about. The same applies to the pace of speaking as well as deliberate pauses to add a dramatic effect on the speech.

In conclusion, to be a master orator like Barack Obama or Martin Luther King Jnr. among other great orators, one needs to be skillful in their approach and delivery. There has to be passion behind the speech; the speaker needs to believe in what they are saying in order to make others believe in them as well. It is also important to organize the speech well so that it can flow both in content and in emotions. Overall, the speech needs to have a theme, a message, and a call to action. Therefore, in the spirit of Barack Obama, we too say 'Yes we can' to being master orators ourselves.

Thank you all for your time.


Blake, A. (2017, January 10). President Obama's farewell speech transcript, annotated. Retrieved from

Gallo, C. (2012, November 20). Barack Obama: A Master Class in Public Speaking. Retrieved from

Jaffe, G. (2016, July 22). Which Barack Obama speech is the one for the history books? Retrieved from

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