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20 Best Inspirational Speeches from the Movies

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20 Best Inspirational Speeches from the Movies

When inspiration does not come, I go for a walk, go to the movies, talk to a friend, let go… The muse is bound to return again, especially if I turn my back!

~Judy Collins

People watch movies for a lot of different reasons. Some watch for escapism—to leave their everyday lives and experience the exotic, exciting lands that are in the movies they watch. Some watch movies to be thrilled or even scared, They watch action movies and horror movies to get the blood pumping. I watch movies for another reason—to be inspired. I love inspirational speeches. When I come out of a movie, I want to feel like I can conquer the world, that everything is possible, and that good will win out in the end.

Inspirational Movie Speeches

I have racked up twenty movies that are on my list to watch over and over again, at least for the inspirational speeches in them. Ready to be inspired? In no particular order, here we go:

1. Independence Day (1996) – President Whitmore Speech

The aliens have pretty much conquered Earth. The US President has put together a rag tag fleet to go against them. None of the pilots know if they will return or even be successful. President Whitmore gives them a speech to go for it. In the context of the 4th of July, he speaks of teamwork, freedom, and not giving up.

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2. Gladiator (2000) – As One

Former Roman General Maximus is standing before a blood thirsty crowd with a motley crew of gladiators. He recognizes what has beenlanned for their death and organizes the gladiators together to form an effective fighting unit. His message is stand alone, you die. Stand together and we can win.

3. Braveheart (1995) – William Wallace

Leader of the rebel Scots, William Wallace exhorts his people to fight for their freedom and not live one further day in slavery. This is based on the real speech that William Wallace gave before the Battle of Stirling. Makes you want to go out and buy a kilt.

4. Network (1976) – Mad as Hell

Fired TV broadcaster Howard Beale pleads with people not to believe what they see on TV and not to feel powerless against the political and media forces of the world. For a film that is thirty-seven years old, it still hits a lot of the issues that are relevant today.

5. Peaceful Warrior (2006) – Take Out the Trash

The centuries old teacher Socrates teaches Dan about taking out the trash. “The trash is anything that is keeping you from the only thing that matters… this moment, here and now.”

6. Rocky (1976) – It Ain’t How Hard You Hit

Rocky gives his grown up son a heart to heart on stop blaming others and taking charge of his own life. It is a great speech from a father to a son about taking responsibility.

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7. The Legend of Bagger Vance (2006) – Authentic Swing

Caddy Bagger Vance gives advice on looking inside of yourself and finding what is your true nature. Great inspiration when it gets hectic and crazy.  .

8. The Blind Side (2009) – The Charge of the Light Brigade

Through a recital of the “The Charge of the Light Brigade” a struggling student and football player learns about courage and honor. Great linkage of the historic charge to teamwork and responsibility in the modern age.

9. Secondhand Lions (2003) – Everything a Boy Needs to Know

Great uncle Hub McCann teaches his nephew Walter about what it takes to be a man. He speaks of honor, courage, virtue and power of good.

10.  Forever Strong (2008) – Haka Chant

Not really a speech, the Haka chant before the rugby match will get your blood going. Got a hard contest ahead of you? Watch this and get it done!

11.  Faith Like Potatoes (2006) – White African

While putting on a demonstration of his native country of Scotland, South African farmer Angus is challenged by one of the locals about his national loyalties. Angus talks about how you can love your heritage and still love your new home. He speaks of diversity and acceptance. Great story for those who have moved away from home and feel torn.

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12.  Miracle on Ice (2004) – You Were Born for This

US Hockey Team Coach Herb Brooks put together a team of amateurs to play against the world’s elite hockey player. Prior to the semi final game against the Russians he speaks to the team as they sit in the locker room. “Great moments are born from great opportunity.”

13. We are Marshall (2006) – We Cannot Lose

The coach of a football team delivers a speech honoring the memory of the prior team that had been killed in a plane crash. How do you pick it up when all seems lost? “This is your opportunity to rise from the ashes and grab glory!”

14. Invictus (2009) – This Is Our Country

In overtime, South African Rugby Captain François Pienaar urges his team to fight on for victory. It’s short, sweet, and to the point.

15. Any Given Sunday (1999) – Inch By inch

An aging football coach takes a good look at himself and asks his team do the same. You can accept your present, miserable circumstances or you can fight your way out of it.

16. The Shawshank Redemption (1994) – Get Busy Living

Convict Andy would not allow grim circumstances keep him from hoping and following his dreams. This speech is great to watch when you are feeling sorry for yourself.

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17. Remember the Titans (2000) – Coach Boone speech

Football coach Boone reminds his players of the Battle of Gettysburg and the need to come together as a team.

18. Hoosiers (1986) – I Don’t Care What the Scoreboard Says

Coach Dale talks about the need to be winners. Forget about the distractions, just put out the effort and concentration to win at what you want.

19. Facing the Giants (2006) – Death Crawl

Coach Taylor urges his team to give their best for the game. Don’t ever give up before you started. There is a lot more inside of yourself than you might believe.

20. Don Juan DeMarco (1994) – Four Questions

Finally Don Juan explains that love conquers all. It is the reason for living and dying. Nice!

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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