It’s okay to understand the problem. It’s better if you offer a solution to it.

Following our first speech analysis of this Speak Academy series, we’d like to draw your attention to one of the most relevant speeches of today given by a great tech entrepreneur and businessman. In recent years Bill Gates dived and invested into the topic of epidemiology. He can speak about it with credibility. As we’d like to understand the current situation more, this speech is a valuable investment of nine minutes.

Mr. Gates starts in a simple but powerful way. He brings a security survival barrel to the stage. His appearance is simple, rather like a high school teacher than a technological entrepreneur. He wears a simple shirt and sweater with ironed pants, not a suit and tie, nor jeans and sneakers. This way he grabs your attention and earns your sympathy at the beginning of your speech.

He starts with a personal story, introducing the analogy of war. He builds on it throughout the presentation. When he explains the risk of a global epidemic, he compares visually the nuclear explosion to a virus. Later, when he offers a solution he compares war simulation games to epidemic simulation games. This way he teaches you to choose a simple analogy for your speech. Then build on it throughout your whole speech.

He uses repetition to emphasize different parts of his speech. Let’s see some examples from it. Virus rather than a war. Not missiles, but microbes. A system that didn’t work well enough, we didn’t have a system at all. In your speech, you can as well emphasize different ideas by repeating the same sound or word.

What makes this speech special is that Mr. Gates doesn’t only analyze and interpret the problem. He doesn’t even stop at sharing his abstract thoughts. He explains his solution concretely. Health systems, medical corps, pair medical and military, germ games, and research & development. Then he finishes his speech by inviting the audience to act. If you act, you will be ready for the next epidemic.


This is a relevant speech today, but it’s also relevant for us because we can learn a lot from it rhetorically. Appropriate analogyrepetition to emphasize, and offering a solution to a problem. These will be useful for you when you craft your motivational speech for your colleagues. They’ll appreciate it if they can “sink their teeth” into your solution. It is our responsibility as speakers to use our tools to deliver easy-to-remember solutions and courses of action. There has never been a better time to do that than now!

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