Standing in front of a crowd and delivering an address – whether it’s to a global audience or a conference call involving a handful of colleagues – is no easy task.
Public speaking comes naturally to few people, although many more of us are expected to do it, often much more regularly than we would like. Thankfully, movies are fantastic for watching inspirational speakers showing us just how it can be done.
Here are six monologues which could help you deliver that perfect speech…
1. Any Given Sunday – Inch By Inch
Theme: The slow burner
In what is arguably the best motivational speech on film, Al Pacino’s washed up football coach is delivering a team talk to his side. Pacino’s character begins by stressing the importance of teamwork, of fighting together ‘inch by inch, play by play until we crumble’. He then throws in a long list of regrets from his own miserable life.
His speech is delivered with his head bowed, almost resigned to defeat, before switching his demeanour. Standing tall, stronger, he tells his charges they don’t have to waste their lives as he did. He now has their full attention.
“You know, when you get old in life things get taken away from you. I mean, that’s part of life. But you only learn that when you start losing stuff. You find out life’s a game of inches,” he begins as the mob begins to take on his energy.
He then cranks his enthusiasm and bravado up another level:
“On this team, we fight for that inch.”
Cue a standing ovation, air punching and an inspired team ready to go out fighting.
2. Rocky Balboa – It Ain’t How Hard You Hit
Theme: From the heart
In another iconic performance, Sylvester Stallone’s eponymous hero delivers a stark warning to his son. Stood casually in the street, there is no hidden agenda as he speaks openly from the heart about the importance of taking responsibility and not blaming others for your shortcomings.
“It ain’t about how hard you hit but about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward,” he says.
“How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.”
3. Gladiator – As One
This is easily the shortest of the speeches on this list, but it still gets great results.
Russell Crowe is Maximus, a Gladiator stood before a ragtag band of men preparing to fight for their lives in the Coliseum. The Spaniard stands motionless and speaks bluntly, but with authority, getting to the points with no sugar coating.
“Whatever comes through these gates; we’ve got a better chance of survival if we work together,” he tells them.
The stakes are high, but his brutal honesty and confidence transcend immediately.
4. The Wolf Of Wall Street – Motivational Speech
Playing city slicker Jordan Belfort, Leonardo DiCaprio’s Oscar-nominated performance is no stronger than when addressing his assembled staff of stockbrokers. Effectively, he’s just telling them to do their daily job. But the motivation is turned up to 1,000 and his enthusiasm is intoxicating.
Grasping the mic and strutting from one side of his makeshift stage to the other – interacting with his audience – he has the I’m-in-control demeanour of a stand-up up comedian on top form. But there are no jokes, just demands of hard work interspersed with buzzwords.
5. The King’s Speech – World War Speech
Theme: You can do it
Is there any better movie to watch if you want to become a better public speaker? After all, that is the very theme of this film – George VI overcoming his speech impediment to broadcast to the nation as war is declared on Germany.
Shot beautifully, the tense, nervous build-up is something everyone can relate to. But after a few deep breaths, the nation is addressed almost perfectly.
6. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery – Throw Me A Frickin Bone Here
Theme: Plan ahead
You’ve seen how to deliver a speech. This is exactly how not to do it. Dr Evil discusses his get-rich-quick extortion plans with a band of criminal allies… terribly. This cringe-worthy scene should remind you to always come prepared, plan ahead and never underestimate the intelligence of your audience. Watch the body language too.