Secret Behind Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream”

Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech is famous because he uses musical techniques, making his speech not just heard but felt. This makes his message powerful and memorable.

The secret behind being unforgettable:

(Martin Luther King Jr. used this in “I Have a Dream”):

The best speakers “sing” their speeches.

Here’s what it means:

Let’s look at the most iconic speech of all time:

Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

There’s a secret behind why it became unforgettable.

King’s speech has a “melody”.

The speech isn’t just heard. It’s felt.

Want the audience to feel your message too?

Pay attention to these three elements:

→ Tempo: MLK Jr. starts slow but then picks up speed.
This shows a buildup.

→ Melody: His voice is 76% more harmonic vs others.
This makes it pleasing to listen to.

→ Rhythm: MLK Jr. varies his pauses.
This gives his speech a “beat.”

Check out the video where I explain how MLK Jr. builds his talk to a crescendo using musical principles.

Don’t aim to just educate when you speak.

Aim to inspire, entertain and mesmerize.

You can be unforgettable every time you talk.


What is the secret behind Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech being so iconic? He delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech more than 60 years ago, and we still think of it as one of the greatest speeches of all time. Why? One answer. Music.

Let me show you.

“I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.”

When MLK Jr. starts with the I Have a Dream section of his speech, he starts slow. Regular conversational speed is 150 to 170 words per minute. He starts at about 80, and then he builds up his speed so that it sounds like a song building up to a crescendo.

Check how fast he is now.

“To struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together.”

Do you see how he’s building up the speed bit by bit by bit? That’s true musicality.

By the time he gets to “Let Freedom Ring”, he’s speaking at 150 words per minute. The speech is literally music to your ears. The words are powerful, but the way he delivers the words is how the speech sticks in your head.

How will you use musicality when you speak?

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