The Opening Speech: Envisioning the Future

  • Bård Norheim
  • Joar HagaEmail author


This chapter presents and analyses opening speeches from a wide variety of speakers such as Sir Winston Churchill, Barack Obama, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Angela Merkel, Sheryl Sandberg, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs and Brenè Brown. We argue that the opening speech addresses suffering by calling the audience to invest time, energy, and talents in the preferred future the leader envisions. An efficient speaker will draw the listeners into this vision, which may include suffering and sacrifice. The leader will learn to present himself to the audience, “name” reality, create and appeal to a greater “we,” draw out a compelling vision of the future worth suffering for, and learn how to constantly repeat his opening speech.


Leadership rhetoric Rhetorical persuasion Suffering Credibility Vision 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Theology, Religion and PhilosophyNLA University CollegeBergenNorway

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