Community & Government

Studying Persuasive Speakers

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Lesson time 15:10 min

Hillary walks through techniques that she’s observed from three persuasive and effective speakers: Barbara Jordan, Barack Obama, and Bill Clinton.

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Topics include: Studying Persuasive Communicators • Barbara Jordan: Cadence and Tone • Barack Obama: Personal Connection • Bill Clinton: “Explainer in Chief” •


- I think persuasion is important for everybody. [MUSIC PLAYING] If you've ever been a parent or you've ever been a child, or you've ever been a student, or you've ever been a worker or an employer-- I mean, go down the line-- you will have used persuasion at some point, and probably many times over and again. Persuasion is not just for people on big stages, people running for office or being public officials. It's for everybody. And so I hope that you really believe that learning how to be more persuasive will be important in whatever you decide to pursue. [MUSIC PLAYING] If you are hoping to get better at public speaking, study public speakers. Look at people making speeches. How do they engage the audience? How do they get the audience to listen? How do they tell stories? How do they make points? - I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation. [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] HILLARY CLINTON: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech, "I Have a Dream," is such an amazing, profound speech, but it's a beautifully written speech. And it's something that if you read it and practice it, you might very well understand the rhythm of it. And there are so many other examples that you could look to. In this lesson, I'm going to walk through some of the techniques that I've observed from three of the most persuasive and effective speakers that I've encountered-- Barbara Jordan, Barack Obama, and my husband, Bill Clinton. [MUSIC PLAYING] BARBARA JORDAN: There is something different about tonight. There is something special about tonight. What is different? What is special? I, Barbara Jordan, am a keynote speaker. [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] HILLARY CLINTON: Ah, Barbara Jordan, the extraordinary Congresswoman from Houston, Texas, was on the impeachment inquiry staff when I was a young staffer. She had just gotten to the Congress, and she was put on that committee because she had one of the most commanding voices and compelling presences of anybody I've ever met in my entire life. And I've met a lot of people. Her cadence and the tone of her voice-- she had a low, almost contralto voice, and she spoke slowly and enunciated every syllable. And because I was working on the committee that was investigating President Nixon, when it came time to present the evidence and for the committee to make a decision, I was glued to the TV, watching from our offices. And Barbara Jordan gave one of the most important speeches in American history that day. - When that document was completed on the 17th of September in 1787, I was not included in that "we, the people." I felt somehow, for many years, that George Washington and Alexander Hamilton just left me out by mistake. But through the process of amendment, interpretation, and court decision, I have finally been included in "we the people." And I am not going to sit here...

About the Instructor

With a lifetime of smashing barriers and achieving at the highest levels of public service, Hillary Rodham Clinton has learned to tap deep wells of resilience to reach her goals. Now the former U.S. senator and secretary of state is teaching the values, lessons, and practical tools that help her rise above, even sharing her never-before-heard 2016 presidential victory speech. Be inspired to own your ambition and make your mark.

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Hillary Rodham Clinton

Barrier-smashing leader Hillary Rodham Clinton teaches you how to overcome setbacks and build a life of principle and purpose.

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