Dear speech-fans and -friends,

Welcome back!

Here’s your selection of the best quotes and speeches delivered over the summer. 

Stories emerge as a leading theme.

Why do we tell stories?

Why is it important to tell them? 

Why do they work so powerfully in speeches?

Of course, I mean well-chosen and well-told stories. The Bibliography section on this website has several references that explain what a story is (in contrast to anecdotes), how to set the scene and build the character so that the audience will be eager to listen to what happens next and will remember your message. 

You’ll find these and more examples of what good rhetoric is below.

Best wishes,

Great speeches,



Why do we tell stories ?

Many (people) have already forgotten.

Little by little, perspectives have changed.

Stories have been misremembered.

The danger of memories is that they do not die suddenly –

they fade, and they are distorted.

It's in all of our interests to constantly refresh them.

Read the full speech here: Cecilia Malmström, Transatlantic trade in turbulent times, Brussels, 19 July 2018


I mention this story for three reasons. First, I want to pay tribute to Mr Brookins and all other American soldiers for their courage and bravery (…). Secondly, because many (…) who were there that day in December 1944 are no longer around to tell the story themselves. (…)The third reason is that this story shows the unbreakable bond that makes the transatlantic partnership what it is. This bond explains a lot about how we have been able to come so far together.

Read the full speech here: Jean-Claude Juncker, 'Transatlantic relations at a crossroads', Washington, 25 July 2018


Stories are memorable

(English below)

Solche Schilderungen lassen mich nicht los.

Die ganze Rede auf Deutsch: Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Gespräch mit Bürgern aus der Nachbarschaft, 22. August 2018


I can’t forget these stories.

Read the full speech: Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Turkish-German coffee afternoon, 22 August 2018, translated into Englishand in Turkish, given the subject and the audience.


When people tend to forget their past

(English below)

Der 23. August 1939 – ich fürchte, in Deutschland ist dieses Datum nicht mehr jedem gegenwärtig – ist der Tag …

Die ganze Rede auf Deutsch: Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Verleihung des Internationalen Preises des Westfälischen Friedens, 14. Juli 2018.


On 23 August 1939 – I am afraid that not everyone in Germany is still familiar with this date –

To find out what happened on that day that would change the destiny of some European countries

Read the full speech here: Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Awarding of the Peace of Westphalia Prize, 14 July 2018

The whole speech is also translated into EstonianLatvianand Lithuanian, given the subject and the audience.


Speaking of stories, here’s one :

In 1946, the nations of the world were meeting in San Francisco to design the Charter of the United Nations. Their focus was on the main problems of that day- preventing war and preserving peace. They did not want to talk about global health – let alone build a single organisation to protect it.

But three delegates thought otherwise. And they were stubborn. Of course, they were the only three doctors in the room.

Karl Evang from Norway, Smezing Sze from China and Geraldo Souza from Brazil. Simply because they shared a profession, they decided to meet and enjoy lunch together.

Who doesn’t want to know what these three stubborn doctors managed to get out of this lunch ? 

To see how to weave the theme of the day in the speech and how the story comes full circle

Read the full speech: Margrethe Vestager, Making markets deliver essential medicines, Copenhagen, 20 August 2018


The power of the Why question: Why are we (the speaker and the audience) here together?

This (event) is a unique occasion to jointly reflect on our future. After all, a continent does not wake up every morning and asks itself difficult questions about where it wants to be in 30 years, how it wants to get there, what kind of legacy it will pass on to the next generations, and what kind of economy and society it will leave behind. We always tend to have more urgent tasks, closer objectives, lower hanging fruits, and quicker wins. There's always 'someone else' to think about the longer term.

Read the full speech: Maroš Šefčovič, The EU's Vision of a modern, clean and competitive economy, Brussels, 10 July 2018



Trade wars have no winners – they only leave scars.

Tariffs will not protect national security – they will only undermine economic security.

Read the full speech here: Jean-Claude Juncker, 'Transatlantic relations at a crossroads', Washington, 25 July 2018


Antithesis and anaphora

Hate is taught. People aren’t born hating. 

People aren’t born xenophobes. 

People aren’t born racist. 

People aren’t born homophobes.

Read the full speech here: Frans Timmermans, Opening Roverway 2018, The Hague, 23 July 2018


Comme Jean Monnet, Simone Veil s’est battue pour la paix et, donc, pour l’Europe (…)

Elle voulut l’Europe 

par réalisme, non par idéalisme ; 

par expérience, non par idéologie ; 

par lucidité, non par naïveté.

Retrouvez le discours complet: Emmanuel Macron, Hommage solennel de la nation à Simone Veil, 1er juillet 2018


Call to action

If every single one of you - future leaders of Europe - are able to inspire at least ten people around you, you will change Europe in your image. 

You will create a Europe 

where people understand each other better, 

where people like the fact that we are all different, 

where different cultures are a source of inspiration, and 

where this diversity is going to show the rest of the world that Europe is able to shape its own future.

Read the full speech here: Frans Timmermans, Opening Roverway 2018, The Hague, 23 July 2018


A litany to show the extent of your point

introduced by an anaphora, build with a crescendo

As political leaders, we can fight to give women a voice.

As husbands, we can make sure that equality starts at home.

As fathers, we can teach our little boys to respect their fellow girl fiends.

As men, we can spread the word that women’s empowerment is also our business and that we will stand for it.

As human beings, we can decide that gender is not what defines us. We can decide that what unites us is our common humanity.

Read the full speech: Neven Mimican African Union Summit: "Women in Power", Nouakchott, 30 June 2018