Why Michelle Obama’s farewell is a masterclass in speech making

In her last speaking engagement as First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama showed how to give a speech that resonates.

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Michelle Obama, pictured by Gage Skidmore under Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0 license.

Hope springs

There’s another crucial dynamic at work here too. When I teach presentation skills in my own classes, I myself draw on these speeches too and more besides, including my students’s own choices of the best presenters or presentations they have seen. Sometimes, a female speaker gets added to the equation, such as Emma Watson via her 2014 address to the UN’s HeforShe Campaign — but nonetheless, the great majority of notable speeches are associated with men.

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