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Oprah Winfrey Commencement Speech Essay

Oprah’s audience was very receptive of her mainly because she is a respected icon known all over America. The audience was a group of diverse faculty, staff, graduates, family and friends. When Oprah started her speech welcoming the audience, she gave them an icebreaker saying she wanted to let them in on a secret to personalize her speech. She lets the audience know that her god daughter Kirby attends Stanford and she is very proud of her. Oprah uses humor throughout her speech as she says the name “Stanford” engaging the audience as she speaks. She gives personal experience in her speech to show her audience that she too had experiences throughout college that could have hindered her from being the icon she is today.

Oprah uses great eye contact throughout her speech. She did not read word for word what was on her paper because most of her speech was based off her experience as a student in the past at the beginning of the speech. She gave quotes of her father and B.B. King about learning that is beautiful. She lets the graduates know that your education had just started. Her speech lead on to elaborate on how the world has so many lessons to teach. She lets the audience know that earth is like a school and our lives are the classrooms. Life will have detours and road block but the secret to learn to be open to the lessons. Self improvement will help evolve as human beings.

Oprah speaks with an inviting tone keeping her audience engaged. Even though the speech is lengthy, Oprah was not repetitive. She explained a few life lessons of her own journey but still gave humor as she spoke about the main lessons of her speech. The audience was still engaged throughout her speech. Oprah was very familiar with her speech content. She spoke as if she was graduating herself and speaking like she would want to be spoken to as a graduate. Oprah’s posture was appropriate and the gestures she uses with her hands and tone of her voice made the speech stand out more towards her audience.

The overall tone of the message was exciting, funny and receptive. Oprah’s speech was spoken to relate to those who were not graduates also. She wants the audience to understand that a degree is important and you can not allow yourself or others to defer you of a goal or dream. The speech Oprah gave was ethical. She realized the majority of her audience was of the white race and she included her own racial experiences in her speech with the stories she shared. Her own experiences made up the entire speech. The graduates seemed like they were listening and understanding the speech based off the feedback they gave after she spoke. There were interactions from the audience when Oprah spoke about how she made it as the icon talk show host.

Oprah conveys to her audience to learn that life is more than just making money. You have to earn it and making money has to have meaning. If you do not have meaning in making your money and making a difference to the world then money doesn’t matter. Oprah shows much inspiration in her speech that should make the audience aspire to be like her or even more. Overall, Oprah did a great job catering to the diverse audience with her speech. It did not seem rehearsed, she gave eye contact and her audience seemed engaged in her speech for the 30 minutes I analyzed it. She did a great job and kept me engaged myself.


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