By reading, hearing, and studying prime examples of oratory and address, we can begin to analyze the communicative means and modes that best aid persuasion and that best cultivate consensus and empathy in our audience. Below are listed a number of resources that provide access to historic and contemporary instances of public speaking.
In addition to free, web-based video from providers like YouTube and Vimeo, Memorial Library provides access to streaming educational and documentary film via Films on Demand. Along with their subject specific “Communications Collection,” Films on Demand offers a wide variety of clips and samples of notable public addresses.
These open-access resources connect audiences with classic and contemporary oratory.
TED [Technology, Education, and Design] is a non-profit, non-partisan organization devoted to the free dissemination of information and ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks intended to bring compelling, often specialized, concepts to a general and interdisciplinary audience. Watching TED talks can not only be informative, but can also provide a great model for public presentation. In fact, from voice control to body language, there are a number of worthwhile and handy TED talks on the very techniques of public speaking. Check out this custom playlist, TED -- Before Public Speaking, or search TED for more valuable insights.
This longstanding monthly periodical anthologizes key speeches on key issues of the day, ensuring that "readers gain a sound knowledge of public questions and [are provided with] models of excellence in contemporary oratory." Memorial Library maintains a current subscription, as well as select bound and digital editions ranging back to 1941. The Vital Speeches web site also offers transcripts, audio, and video examples of topically significant addresses.