I like how you focused on being an audience member. I think I am fairly sentimental, so I like moving speeches. One of the best ways to create your own really good speech is to look at famous, very successful speeches. One of the best is “I Have a Dream” by Martin Luther King, Jr. because it still inspires people today.
One of the reasons the speech is so effective is because it uses repetition, but it also includes all three of the rhetorical appeals that make for powerful persuasion: ethos, pathos, and logos.
Ethos is the development of speaker credibility. You need to convince people that you know what you are talking about. One way is to borrow from experts. Notice that King quotes Abraham Lincoln.
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. (para 1)
Not only is this an appeal to credibility, it is also an appeal to emotion. Note that King does not directly state Lincoln’s name. He also does not state Jefferson’s name when referring to the Declaration of Independence. This way, he borrows the credibility of the great men without taking focus away from himself.
Pathos continues when King directly appeals to our emotions.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. (para 20)
King’s use of the word “dream” repeatedly directly pulls on our heart strings.
The final effective technique is logos, or logic. King points out that there is no difference between the races, and people are people. He points out the history of declaring, but not living up to, equality.
For more on ethos, pathos and logos, see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhetoric
For more on this speech, see here:
For the text of the speech itself, see here:
"American Rhetoric: Martin Luther King, Jr. - I Have a Dream." American Rhetoric: The Power of Oratory in the United States. Web. 03 May 2012. <http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkihaveadream.htm>.