2 Powerful ‘I Have a Dream’ Speech Techniques

Written by Golzar Meamar

January 15, 2018


Martin Luther King Jr. delivered approximately 450 speeches a year. As a great orator, his speeches were informed and delivered with power, persistence, and effective messaging. On August 28, 1963, Dr. King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Here are just two techniques he used to inform and inspire a country:

Strong Take Off

Dr. King starts with a large statistic and a clear point.

“Five score years ago a great American in whose symbolic shadow we stand today signed the Emancipation Proclamation… But 100 years later the Negro still is not free.”

In 1953, the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. 100 years later, black men and women in the United States were still not considered free. This entry into his speech sets up the point straightaway, while giving us a number to think about and absorb.


Throughout his speech, Dr. King emphasizes on his main points with repetition. His beginning statistic is emblazoned with repetition, driving home the long journey to true emancipation. With following repeated phrases like “We cannot be satisfied…” he establishes the continuing need.

With the famous “I have a dream” he repeats the hopeful answer to the problem 10 times.