Video, Other

Some videos that have reminded me of the power of oratory and/or the magic of science and engineering.

Two short segments of a phenomenal speech:
(1) Defining the Engineering Challenges & (2) Inspiring the Engineering Team

On September 12, 1962, President John F. Kennedy delivered his “We Choose To Go To The Moon” speech to a crowd of ~35,000 at Rice University Stadium in Houston TX.

This speech bridges the worlds of oratory and engineering/project management magnificently! It demonstrates, beyond any doubt, that soaring rhetoric can be grounded in pragmatism.

It reminds us of the possibilities open to each of us. It allows us to appreciate anew what can happen when the power of oratory and power of human ingenuity, as expressed through engineering/project management combine. All things become possible

It is my hope that every project manager and every engineer on our planet is at least aware that they too can speak as eloquently and powerfully as this: or at the very least, is willing to dream of (and visualize) being able to do so!

Click here for a gift pdf version of Necessary Bridges RNK Chapter 4. It covers this speech.

A Speech That Made a POTUS

On July 27th, 2004, a young and largely unknown state senator gave a keynote address at the DNC 2004 convention in Boston MA.

According to speech analysis from THNKR, had Barrack Obama not given that speech, he would not have become president. Such is the potential power of public speaking/oratory.

It would really be a good idea to have public speaking, debating, impromptu speaking, poetry reciting, and declamation (a genre of ancient rhetoric and a mainstay of the Roman higher education system) reintroduced as compulsory subjects in school and college education.

Any STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) professional who has to present and has 5 minutes to spare would benefit by watching Melissa Marshall’s TED talk: Talk Nerdy To Me.

At times, history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man’s unending search for freedom.  WE SHALL OVERCOME

10 minutes from one of the great US Presidential speeches.

Historians widely regard this “We Shall Overcome” speech, as one of the greatest presidential speeches in American history.

American Rhetoric, Top 100 Speeches (of the 20th century) ranks this speech, delivered on March 15, 1965, at #10.

The speech has an inspiring backstory too. It was written in 8 hours by Richard Goodwin, who was in his early 30s. It has even been reported that “Goodwin held on to a speech until the last moment, to prevent the speaker from messing around with it.”

Segments from “A Strategy of Peace”.  JFK. June 10, 1963. With Visuals to reinforce key ideas.

On June 10th 1963, President John F. Kennedy delivered “A Strategy of Peace”, also known as “American University Commencement Address” speech at the The American University.

Some historians rate this as the greatest and most important peace speech of the last century.

After the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis—where the world came perilously close to nuclear catastrophe—both leaders and adversarial combatants, USA-Kennedy & USSR-Khrushchev said “ENOUGH!” and turned all their attention towards making peace.

Their efforts resulted in the October 1963 Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty—signed  August 5, 1963: effective October 10, 1093.

This speech was part of a great turning point in the Cold War, the stepping back from the nuclear abyss, and political acts of grace and courage by President John F. Kennedy, and his Soviet counterpart, Communist Party Chairman Nikita Khrushchev. The two men, in their distinct ways said, “Enough.”

This video extracts some segments from that speech, with visuals to reinforce and reiterate key ideas.

American Rhetoric, Top 100 Speeches (of the 20th century) ranks this oration , at #37.

This one belongs to the ages
Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln, November 19, 1863

From 2014 PBS Ken Burns documentary “The Address”.

Here is a powerful example of a brilliant scientist evangelizing scientifically enlightened governance.

There is no reason why all STEM professionals cannot aspire to speak as eloquently and convincingly as this scientist. And there is absolutely no reason why all STEM professionals cannot evangelize STEM enlightened policies and best practices while doing so.

One and a half centuries ago, civil war divided these United States of America, yet in it’s wake we would anneal as one nation, indivisible.

During the bloody year of his Gettysburg address, President Lincoln chartered the National Academy of Sciences. Comprised of 50 distinguished American researchers, whose task was then as now, to advise Congress and the Executive branch of all the ways the frontier of science may contribute to the health, wealth and security of it’s residents.

As a young nation, just four score and seven years old, we had plucked the engineering fruits of the industrial revolution that had shaped Europe, but Americans had yet to embrace the meaning of science to society.

Now with more than 2000 members, the National Academy encompasses dozens of fields undreamt of at the time of Lincoln’s charter.

Quantum physics discovered in the nineteen twenties now drives nearly one third of the world’s wealth, forming the basis for our computer revolution in the creation, storage and retrieval of information.

And as we continue to warm our planet, climatology may be our only hope to save us from ourselves.

During the centennial of his charter, President Kennedy addressed the academy membership, noting: “For the range and depth of scientific achievement, represented in this room, constitutes the seedbed of our nation’s future.”

In this, the twenty-first century, innovations in science and technology form the primary engines of economic growth.

While most remember honest Abe for war and peace and slavery and freedom, the time has come to remember him for setting our nation on a course of scientifically enlightened governance, without which, we may all perish from this earth.

Here he is again.
Is there any valid reason why all STEM professionals cannot speak like this?

Top 10 Famous Speeches – as selected by

      1. Gettysburg Address (1863) Abraham Lincoln
      2. I Have a Dream (1963) Martin Luther King Jr.
      3. We Shall Fight on the Beeches (1940) Winston Churchill
      4. Inaugural Address (1933) Franklin D. Roosevelt
      5. Quit India (1942) Mahatma Gandhi
      6. Inaugural Address (1961) John F. Kennedy
      7. Second Virginia Convention (1775) Patrick Henry
      8. Funeral Oration (431 BC) Pericles
      9. Germany Declares War on USA (1941) Adolf Hitler
      10. Campaign Into India, (326 BC) Alexander the Great

Honorable Mentions

    • Women’s Right to Suffrage (1873) Susan B. Anthony
    • This Lady’s Not For Turning (1980) Margaret Thatcher
    • Apology (399 BC) Socrates
      • Brandenburg Gate (1987) Ronald Reagan
    • Farewell to Baseball (1939) Lou Gehrig

Top 10 Most Powerful Orators in History – as selected by

      1. Winston Churchill
      2. John F. Kennedy
      3. Martin Luther King Jr.
      4. Adolf Hitler
      5. Franklin D. Roosevelt
      6. Nelson Mandela
      7. Ronald Reagan
      8. Margaret Thatcher
      9. Marcus Tullius Cicero
      10. Mahatma Gandhi

Honorable Mentions

    • Abraham Lincoln
      • Harvey Milk
    • Charles de Gaulle

TED Talk: Richard Greene: 7 Secrets of the Greatest Speeches in History

“Never give a “Speech”, says Richard Greene. In this masterful talk, he explains how the great speakers in history use 7 secrets and how we can all become a great speaker by following these secrets and by not just giving a “speech” but rather creating “conversations” from the heart.

What do I do with hands? Effective presentation gestures: Matt Abrahams

This clip provides specific, academically validated, advice for how to effectively gesture during a presentation. By using gestures appropriately, a speaker will appear more confident and compelling. This clip is a good companion to a recent Toastmasters Magazine article. To learn more, go to

TEDx Talk: Allan Pease. Body Language: The Power is in the Palm of Your Hands

TED Talk. Speaking with Confidence. Caroline Goyder

Caroline shares a story of moving from stage-paralysis to expressive self. Accompanied by an unusual prop, she encourages us to use our voice as an instrument and really find the confidence within.

Debating Related Videos
Advantage: Superior Speaker–not Superior Argument

In this Mandela vs. De Klerk clip, Mandela’s vocal variety, pauses, body language, gestures, facial expressions are vastly superior. De Klerk’s reading & speaking at the same time does not help him at all. I judge Mandela to have clearly won this debate—despite the very valid point that de Klerk raised.


In this Major vs. Blair clip, I judge Blair to (narrowly) be the debate winner, even though, in my opinion, Major has the superior argument. The turning point comes when Blair uses two rhetorical devices (rule of 3: & repetition) effectively when he retorts “weak … weak … weak.” Major’s come back was strong, but not enough to entirely overcome the energy that Blair created.

Great acting all around! Excellent use of notes too—specially Major.

Some of my favorite thoughts, quotes and spoken words. And a tribute to Toastmasters International whose TAG line is Where Leaders Are Made

All human problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings

An Epic Injustice & An Epic Reconciliation

For anyone interested in solving man-made problems with Leadership and Negotiations, watch “Miracle Rising“. It is a (1.5 hours) documentary covering 4 years of South Africa ‘s history:
FROM February 11, 1990 = Nelson Mandela’s release from prison
TO April 27, 1994 =  successful 1-person, 1-vote democratic elections.

This transition has been hailed as a political miracle and a conflict resolution model. A transition FROM implacable foes locked into very different histories TO An Epic Reconciliation. Repeat: An Epic Reconciliation. It has been the subject of countless studies. This 33-minute video clip highlights the leadership and negotiations skills and practices that were utilized during that unique transition.

Poetry, short clips:
Winds of Fate, Psalm of Life, Think Different, Bag of Tools, Invictus, If

Mindfulness / Attention Training / Meditation are now a “new-normal”. This video is a good entry ramp. You cannot got wrong by following along 3 or more times a week.