Oprah Winfrey's Speech at Stanford Graduation 2008

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Speech Analysis Paper

Oprah Winfrey
Stanford University Graduation 2008

This speech was about three lessons that Oprah Winfrey has come across in her professional and personal life. She talked about striving to be yourself and not anyone else and how you can grasp failure and turn it around by embracing it and finding the solution, and lastly how happiness comes when you give back to others.
Her first lesson was about striving to be your own self; she talked about in the beginning of her professional career when she had a job in Baltimore as a news anchor. She was constantly holding Barbara Walters as the image she wanted to be in her career and wanted to be like. So she was always trying to talk like Barbara, look like Barbara
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She expressed that giving back is the greatest lesson of all to her. She talked about how in her career how she has given back in numerous amounts of ways and gave advice for whenever you’re in a mess, you help someone else get out of a mess… whenever you are in pain, help someone else in pain, whenever you have a loss help someone else with a loss…. She talked about how the founders of Stanford University lost their son and how they took their pain and sorrow and channeled it into grace and started the University and helped other people with children like their son. She told the students that whatever their career may be that they use their ability to help others and pass along greatness. She ended with a Martin Luther King, Jr. quote.

Speech Analysis

Oprah gained the audience’s attention right away because she is a widely known influential media leader. She is the Oprah Winfrey. She started by telling the audience she had a secret and that one of the students Kirby (Gail King’s daughter) was her god daughter and gave a quick story of how she knows Kirby and how proud she was of her god daughter for graduating. This was also part of an attention getter.
Oprah used good eye contact and her voice manner was very pronounced and sure of herself. She is obviously a very experienced speaker, being Oprah. She used humor throughout her speech such as saying “Stanford” with a serious tone in her voice. She kept her

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