The Power of Words, Just Words – Barack Obama Speech Extract

The Power of Words – an example

This extract from Barack Obama’s Feb 2008 speech shows how powerful words can make powerful messages.

This was in response to criticism Obama received about being ‘all words.’ See how Obama harnesses the power of words to make his point:


Don’t tell me words don’t matter.

I have a dream – Just words?

We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal – Just words?

We have nothing to fear but fear itself – Just words?  Just speeches?

It’s true that speeches don’t solve all problems.

But what is also true is that if we can’t inspire our country to believe again, then it doesn’t matter how many policies and plans we have, and that is why I’m running for president of the United States of America.

And that’s why we just won 8 elections straight because the American people want to believe in change again.

Don’t tell me words don’t matter!

In the context of President Barack Obama’s speech, the phrase “words, just words” was used to emphasise the importance of taking action and not just relying on words alone to bring about change.

The phrase was used in Obama’s campaign for the presidency and emphasises his vision for a more united and equal America. In his speech, Obama argued that politicians had been using empty rhetoric and empty promises for too long, and that it was time for real action to bring about meaningful change.

By using the phrase “words, just words,” Obama was highlighting the importance of not just talking about change, but actually taking the steps to bring it about. He argued that it was not enough to simply pay lip service to issues like racial equality and healthcare reform – real progress required concrete actions and solutions.

Overall, the phrase “words, just words” was used to emphasize the need for action and to call out those who were not living up to their promises. By using this phrase, Obama sought to rally support for his campaign and to inspire people to take meaningful action to bring about the change they wanted to see.

How are you using words in your speeches and presentations?  Do you need help to use better words?

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About Benjamin Ball Associates

Benjamin Ball Associates Team

At Benjamin Ball Associates, we help clients to communicate better.

Over the years the BBA team has coached thousands of senior executives globally to present powerfully. You get access to a transformational toolbox of techniques to help you become a clear, confident communicator.

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