Friday, February 14, 2014

4 famous speeches by women athletes from The Eloquent Woman Index

With the Winter Olympics in full swing, it feels right to turn Famous Speech Friday over to some women athletes whose words are as powerful as their performances in sport. Fielding this team of four, drawn from The Eloquent Woman Index of Famous Speeches by Women, I was struck by the barriers they've overcome, barriers far tougher than any distant finish line. From injury and physical disabilities to scandals and discrimination, these four women all come out winners in their sports and in their speeches. Click through to see video or read texts of these speeches, and find lessons you can use to improve your own public speaking:
  1. "This body couldn't make it:" Distance swimmer Diana Nyad's 2011 TEDMED talk takes you stroke by stroke through her failed attempt to swim 70 hours straight from Cuba to Florida. It's a mesmerizing, funny, and physical talk that veers from dreams to defeat. Nyad finally completed that swim in 2013, but this story, with its determination theme, is just as satisfying as winning.
  2. "Worth a thousand Lances:" British Olympic cyclist Nicole Cook's retirement speech took on Lance Armstrong and the cyclist doping scandal, how poorly women are treated in the sport, and the need for future protections for women and girl riders. She minces no words, tackling the tough issues of her sport just as she would any tough turn or daunting hill. It's a scorcher.
  3. "It's part of who I am:" Golfer Sophie Gustafson's speech on her stuttering was a rare speech, funny and self-reflective, and recorded on video to accept an award from a group of sports journalists. It took her eight hours to record this six-and-a-half-minute statement, just another indicator of the grit that makes her a champion on the links and off.
  4. "Disabled people need to find their voice again:" Before she became a paralympic athlete and amember of the UK Parliament, she was inspired by another parliamentarian with a disability. Tanni Grey-Thompson's "shout a bit louder" speech about disability was given as a memorial tribute to him, and as a call to action for others with disabilities to speak up for their rights.
I'm offering a new workshop on women and public speaking. Be The Eloquent Woman will take place in Washington, DC, on Feb. 28, and in Oxford, UK, on April 2. The day-long workshop will help you build confidence and competence as a speaker, and help you subvert the expectations that many women face when they speak. Please join me for these unique professional development sessions!

No comments: