The Greatest Speech I Never Delivered

"Today’s public figures can no longer write their own speeches or books, and there is some evidence that they can’t read them either."

Gore Vidal

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The Greatest Speech I Never Delivered

George Torok

Source article: The Greatest Speech I Never Delivered


© George Torok is The Speech Coach for Executives. He helps business leaders deliver million dollar presentations. For free presentation tips visit To arrange presentation coaching or training visit or call 905-335-1997 Learn about the next public seminar at

I was a shy student but I wanted to be popular - especially with the girls. I believed that if I became president of the high school student council I would become popular.

It was apparent to me that the way to become president of the high school council was to deliver a popularity-winning speech to the school assembly. I noticed that the one who became president was the one who delivered the best speech.

So I devised a plan. I would run for student council president and win because I would deliver the best speech. The first part of my plan was to create an incredible speech.

I started to write that speech. It included a strong opening. There were quotes from famous people. I would appeal to the interest of my audience without pandering to silly whims. I would be bold but humble. I would make them laugh with me. And we would end with a rousing chorus of the school song from the band. I figured that I could arrange that because I was a trombone player in the high school band.

It was a great speech. It would be the best speech that they ever heard in the high school auditorium. Students and teachers would talk about it for years. Every future speaker at our school would see it as the ultimate example.

But I never delivered that speech.

I chickened out. I didn't run for high school president. I told no one about my presidential dreams or public speaking plans. I was afraid to speak. I was afraid to try. I was afraid that I would mess up. I was afraid that they would laugh at me.

I never became high school president. No one ever knew - until now - of my hopes.

It could have been the greatest speech I ever delivered. But it never happened.

I wish I had had the courage and the wisdom to deliver that speech - even if I failed. But I can't change what happened yesterday.

The reason that I share this story with you is that you can't go back but you can go forward. It took me 25 years to become a professional speaker. Today I have delivered over 1,000 professional presentations and I coach and train others to deliver million-dollar presentations. Audiences often describe me as an entertaining and motivational speaker.

It doesn't matter where you were yesterday. If you want to be a better speaker tomorrow you can start improving today. Focus on where you want to be - not on your past.

Effective public speaking is neither a right nor a natural talent. It is a skill set that you can learn, practice and improve. Don't strive to deliver the perfect speech. Work to be a successful speaker. And sometimes success simply means getting up, falling down and getting up again.

To be a more successful speaker you must learn the techniques, practice the skills and speak.

The Greatest Speech I Never Delivered

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