As a professional speaker myself, I’m obsessed with motivational speeches and watch inspirational videos constantly on Youtube. Here are some of my favorite motivational speeches:

Al Pacino in “Any Given Sunday”

I’ve watched this video dozens of times. Listen for the word “inch” and how he comes back to it again and again throughout the speech. Notice how he starts out somber, matching the initial energy of the room, and how he builds the energy during the speech. Within two minutes, he’s screaming at the players, and they’re loving it. This is an awesome model for a motivational speech.

Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa in “Rocky IV”

I don’t believe this speech is particularly well written, but the passion is what sells it. Sylvester gets angry. He scolds his son. This is key to any effective motivational speech. People gravitate to passionate people. Passionate politicians get the votes, passionate singers sell the most music and passionate speakers are the ones that leave the biggest impact.

Ray Lewis speaking to the basketball team at Stanford University

“We’re pissed off for greatness!” Brilliant. “Nobody can judge effort because effort is between YOU and YOU!” This short 2-minute video is so chuck full of awesomeness, it’s not even funny. Notice how he gets the players thinking right from the very first sentence. He immediately shifts the energy and delivers significance.

Steve Jobs delivering the commencement address at Stanford University

Steve Jobs is a legend and this speech is full of valuable insights. Keep in mind that he had already been diagnosed with his terminal illness when he delivered this speech.

Randy Pausch delivering “The Last Lecture” at Carnegie Mellon about Achieving Childhood Dreams

“The Last Lecture” went viral in 2008. Randy Pausch died on July 25 of that year from pancreatic cancer. This speech was effectively his last speech and he used the occasion to inspire greatness from the attendees.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger (that’s me) sharing his monthly credit card balances for the past 7 years

I was asked to speak at “The Big Event” in Sacramento on January 9th, 2014, and the audience was full of self-employed professionals, just like me. I used this opportunity to share the struggle that characterized my journey as a professional speaker, including my monthly credit card balances over a 7-year period.