Motivational speech | Top 10 speeches students should listen to

Motivational speech Top 10 speeches students should listen to Words have power. Sometimes, you hear a speech that inspires you and completely changes your life. This is why we have curated a list of the top 10 motivational speeches for students that will change your life. Stick with us till the end to find some bonus speeches!

Motivational speech for students | An overview
Do you remember the time you felt discouraged and needed some motivation to move forward? Well, a lot of things can help you move past this feeling, including good sleep or some motivational speeches. Motivational speeches can help you resonate with the speaker and believe that you are not alone. You can also gain some insights into solving the challenges life throws at you by listening to these speeches.

Over the years, leaders and motivational speakers have been sharing great ideas and capturing the human imagination. Every speaker has, in one way or another, influenced us to visualize a better future. But some speakers have entirely changed the way we see the world. These are the ones who have inspired us the most. And we have made sure to include every such speaker’s motivational speech in this blog. Read on!

Steve Jobs: How to Live Before You Die

The man, the myth, the legend. At his Stanford University commencement speech, Steve Jobs, CEO, and co-founder of Apple and Pixar, speaks about trusting your gut. It somehow already knows where you need to be. He also speaks about “connecting the dots.”

When you look back at your life, he says, you will see that everything was connected. It led you to a meaningful and fated destination. This talk by Steve Jobs is a life-changing motivational speech for students. It gives you a sense of love and appreciation for this innovative entrepreneur and visionary, who had a reputation for being tough on his subordinates.

Elizabeth Gilbert: Your Elusive Creative Genius

Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of the best-selling book “Eat, Pray, Love,” speaks about her ideas on creativity. She delves into the history of creative genius and gives a background on the various definitions, as well as the evolution of beliefs on creativity throughout the centuries.

In this motivational speech, Elizabeth shares her own experience with creative genius and her struggle with the ability to connect to it again. I love this talk because she makes creativity sound like a mystical and divine gift that must be caught by those who are lucky enough to harness it. She presents some very interesting concepts, and the historical background is also very thought-provoking.

J.K. Rowling: The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination

J.K. Rowling is not only a spellbinding writer (pun intended) but also one of the best motivational speakers in the world. Her Commencement Speech at Harvard shared her story with millions of students, urging them to not be afraid of failure and inspiring them to tap into the power of imagination.

Before her work was recognized, Rowling was a poor single mother who used to teach English at night school and write during her free time. It was facing failure head-on that taught her the lessons that she needed to succeed in life. In her motivational speech, she also talks about how imagination is “the power that enables us to empathize with humans” and implores us to use it for the good of others. 

Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership, all starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?”. The author and ethnographer (an anthropologist who studies specific human subcultures) speak about his findings on the most effective method to inspire change. He goes into detail about the parts of the brain that a leader must affect to influence others, as well as the type of behavior that inspires others to take action for a cause.

Start with the Why” is Simon’s main tag line and is based on the idea that if you can appeal to people’s hearts and make them truly believe what you believe, then they will trust and follow you. This motivational English speech is interesting for students because it gives you a scientific breakdown of the human brain and thinking patterns for decision-making.

Brené Brown: The Power of Vulnerability

Dr. Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She is also the author of a #1 New York Times bestselling book and the speaker of this motivational speech on the power of vulnerability.

According to Brené, the popular opinion that being vulnerable makes us emotional and weak is wrong. In this motivational speech, she invites us to drop the armor that “protects” us. According to Brown, “when we open our minds to new experiences, we find joy, belonging, creativity, authenticity, and love.

Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts

It can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert in a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else. But, as Susan Cain argues in this motivational speech, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world and should be encouraged and celebrated. 

Business and entrepreneurship are often thought to be a game played best by the outgoing. However, in this passionate case for introverted value, Cain shares that really the best environment for every person to be in is the one that stimulates their productivity and creativity best. While introverts might brainstorm best in small groups or in isolation, it does not matter how they do their best work. It’s the quality and contribution of the work brought forth that matters most for all personality types, introverts included.

Tim Urban: Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator

Tim Urban’s TED speech on how procrastination works is super-insightful and motivational. According to Tim, the brains of procrastinators work differently. The Rational Decision-Maker in us wants to do things the right way, but our Instant-Gratification Monkey (who likes to sit back and relax) always gets in the way. Until…the Panic Monster in our minds starts screaming about deadlines.

One of the funniest and most inspirational speeches for students, ‘Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator’ does not give you an excuse for procrastinating. Instead, the ending of this motivational speech will push you to get out of bed and start working RIGHT NOW!

Sarah Lewis: Embrace the Near Win

At her first museum job, art historian Sarah Lewis noticed something important about an artist she was studying: Not every artwork was a total masterpiece.

In this motivational speech, she asks us to consider the role of the almost-failure, the near win, in our own lives. In our pursuit of success and mastery, is it actually our near wins that push us forward?

Al Pacino: Inch by Inch

Next on our list is Al Pacino’s speech in the American Football drama. This famous motivational speech gets your blood flowing; it’s perfect for watching before you know you have to tackle a difficult day. The motivational speech revolves around inches being crucial in American Football, even if we tend to overlook them. 

He discusses how his squad can get an advantage over opponents, even if it’s only by an inch. “When we add all those inches up, that’s what makes the difference between winning and losing,” he declares. This holds true in many situations; individuals who go above and beyond are more likely to succeed. And while you may not realize it at first, it is the sum of all the minor efforts that leads to triumph. Motivational speeches like this one give will you a boost right when you need it.

Kal Penn: DePauw University Commencement Speech 

Kal Penn addressed DePauw University’s class of 2014, where he motivated the graduates to always strive for excellence and success.

His simple speech hit the right chords as he talked about keeping in touch with people and not worrying unnecessarily. He talked about innovation being the future and how the lives of the students are full of potential. 

Bonus speeches

As promised, here are the 5 bonus motivational speeches students should listen to-

  • How to make stress your friend, Kelly McGonigal
  • Your body language may shape who you are, by Amy Cuddy
  • What I learned from 100 days of rejection, Jia Jiang
  • The danger of a single story, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • 10 ways to have a better conversation, Celeste Headlee

Besides these, check out some fictional motivational speeches- 

  • The Pursuit of Happyness –  Protect your dream by Will Smith
  • Rocky – Take the hits by Sylvester Stallone 
  • Miracle – You were born for this by Kurt Russel 
  • Independence Day – President Whitmore’s Speech
  • Peaceful Warrior– Take Out the Trash by Socrates

What are the benefits of listening to a motivational speech for students?

Although we have mentioned various motivational speeches for you to listen to, do these help? It turns out that there are various benefits of listening to these speeches, such as-

  • Motivational speeches for students help in changing their perspective toward things. This can help you sail through the challenges life throws at you with a positive attitude. 
  • If you are listening to a motivational speaker from your industry, it might help you gain new skills by listening to their innovative ideas. 
  • You can enhance your knowledge about different career fields by following motivational speakers of diverse fields, and being well-informed always gives you an edge. 
  • You might find something to relate to while listening to these best speeches for students. Listening to their struggles and how they moved past them can help you face your challenges head-on. 

Besides listening to motivational speeches, you can also research some written motivational speeches for students to get inspired.

Qualities of the best motivational speakers

If you are confused about which motivational speeches for students you should listen to, check out these qualities in the motivational speaker to follow.

  • Passion- Motivational speakers are often passionate about doing good for the world or giving back to society. They are aware that words have power, and their passion can be seen in how they present their motivational speech.
  • Confidence- If motivational speakers do not have confidence, the audience won’t be interested in listening to them. When they deliver motivational speeches for students, their conviction and the delivery of speech can also inspire others to engage in discussions. 
  • Empathy- One of the essential qualities of successful motivational speakers is empathy. These speakers talk about what they have gone through and understand where the audience is coming from and what they need to listen to. They can put themselves in the shoes of the audience and tailor their motivational speech to inspire them.
  • Knowledge- Motivational speakers have years of experience in their industry and possess excellent knowledge. They are aware of their struggles, strengths, and weaknesses and talk about these things in their motivational speeches for students.

Structure of motivational speeches for students

We have talked endlessly about the best motivational speeches for students and the amazing qualities of the speakers. It’s time to share a bit about how to structure your speeches, in case you want to give one. 

  • The first and the most important aspect is knowing the purpose of giving a motivational speech. Choose a theme that aligns with your ideas and structure your speech around that theme. 
  • Understand the kind of audience you will be interacting with. It will help you write for the right audience and build a connection with them. Besides, following this tip can make the speech engaging and interactive. 
  • Be creative and begin with a hook statement that will help you get the attention of your audience. Also, include personal experiences in your motivational speeches for students as they might find them relatable, making the speech engaging.
  • Conclude your speech by resharing your purpose and the speech’s main point. Besides, it is a good idea to add a call to action by either asking the audience a question, telling them to take action, etc. 
  • Do not forget to review your speech by reciting it aloud before presenting it to the audience. It will help you make the necessary edits and tailor it as needed. 

What’s next?

We hope you enjoyed these speeches on student life and found as much value in them as we have! It is important to take these powerful words to your heart and pursue your dreams. iSchoolConnect helps you do just that. We encourage students to follow their dreams of studying abroad and help them every step of the way to achieve them. So, if you have any questions about studying abroad, feel free to reach out to us! 

Read more: Top 100 graduate schools with low GPA requirements


Q1. How to begin a motivational speech to capture people’s attention?

Answer- Here are some tips that can help you make your motivational speech engaging-

  1. Begin with creating a hook. You can do this by starting your speech with a question to make it conversational. 
  2. Include storytelling in your speech. You can include your personal story or a story of a historical event, personality, etc. 
  3. Include the unexpected; people love the surprise element and something different from regular speeches. 

Q2. What are some self-motivation techniques? 

Answer- Try these techniques to motivate yourself in difficult situations-

  1. Always be a student, i.e., keep learning from different people and situations as everyone and everything will teach you something. Besides, the more you learn, the more you know, enhancing your confidence. 
  2. Break your goals into smaller chunks. It will be easier this way to fulfill every part of that goal. This, in turn, will always keep you motivated to move forward. 
  3. Keep a check on your patterns. Know what makes you feel demotivated and try to improve those situations or change your perspective. 

Q3. What is positive motivation?

Answer- Positive motivation refers to a situation in which a person works towards a goal to get a reward or appreciation in return.

Q4. What is the best topic for motivational speeches for students?

Answer- Some of the best motivational speech topics include-

  1. Why prioritizing your daily goals is important?
  2. Becoming a role model.
  3. Why is patience the best virtue? 
  4. Focus on self-improvement
  5. Education- a catalyst for personal growth

Q5. How does inspiration impact people?

Answer- Inspiration can help people change their perspective toward things. It can also motivate them to be creative and progress towards their goals. They can definitely move past their limitations with some dose of inspiration. 

Q6. Who is the best motivational speaker in the world?

Answer- Don’t miss out on listening to the motivational speeches of these amazing motivational speakers-

  1. Dave Ramsey
  2. Tony Robbins
  3. Louise Hay
  4. Les Brown
  5. Suze Orman

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