The Gettysburg Address

If you want to be a more powerful speaker learn from other powerful speakers. Take the best lessons and find ways to apply those in your presentations. Don't copy them. Instead ask yourself, "Why does this work so well?" and "How can you use that principle or technique?"

Lincoln's Gettysburg address is known as one of the most powerful speeches of all time. What made it so powerful? Listen to it below. It's about two and 1/2 minutes.

No, it's not Lincoln speaking. Listen to the words, structure and style.

What do you think made this speech so powerful?

I suggest that it was the precise words, the rhythmic phrasing and the short phrases. Some of the sentences are long but the phrasing makes it easily digestible.

There are no wasted words or confusing tangents. The imagery is graphic and the message is clear. The poetry of words is captivating and memorable - "four score and seven years".

This is an example where the success of the speech was determined by the care in writing the words.

And the best part - it was less that 150 seconds.

Imagine if every boardroom presentation was limited to 150 seconds.

Below is the text of the Gettysburg address.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.

The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

George Torok

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