Video Spotlight: Obama’s Speech to Future Leaders

In our first video spotlight, we’d like to take the opportunity to showcase Barack Obama’s Speech to the Class of 2020, for their virtual graduation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the message in the video is memorable, we chose it specifically for three educational reasons – and those are the points we would like you to focus on, when you watch it. First, in his speech, Obama gives a great example of a leader knowing his audience and speaking to his audience. Every time you present, it’s important that you do so in order to connect directly with the people you are addressing. If you don’t, no matter how great your speech, you will be ignored.


Secondly, the speech is a great example of a leader empowering other leaders… in this case new and aspiring leaders at the crucial times in their careers. It’s a congratulatory speech, but it’s also very much an empowering speech, and the past president does a good job at both.

Finally, the video also showcases strong presentation skills. Barack Obama is well dressed and well groomed, speaks against a relatively neutral background, keeps strong eye contact, speaks slowly, takes pauses to let us process the information, is not rushed, looks confident and appears relaxed and enjoying himself. Well done.

So, watch for the message, but pay attention to those three aspects of the presentation. Enjoy!

Barrack Obama’s speech is provided here courtesy of the YouTube channel of his foundation.

Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter, for more tips and lessons on presentation, speaking and addressing others as a leader!

Greg Bobkiewicz
Gregory Bobkiewicz is a leadership instructor and coach in the Canadian Armed Forces and the head honcho of Online Leadership Network. His military career has taken him all over the world and exposed him to many leadership challenges in demanding circumstances. He shares his passion for leadership with all new and aspiring leaders.


  1. “We are going to have to go a lot faster than some generations.” I liked that and I’ve always liked the man. It was such an inspiring speech and just gives me hope that there is still light at the end of the tunnel. I’m not really a graduate yet, still got 2 more years to go but right now this can motivate anyone through the Crisis. Lots of love Obama. Thanks Greg for sharing this.


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