The Most Difficult Speech: Ranking the Ultimate Communication Challenge

Choose the speech you think is the most difficult!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 13, 2024 06:41
Step right up and prepare to dive into the world of perplexing pronunciations and tongue-twisting talks! At StrawPoll, we've curated a thrilling ranking of the most difficult speeches ever spoken, and we need your valuable vote to crown the ultimate champion. Whether it's a passion for poetry, love for lightning-fast lyrics, or intrigue in intricate monologues, we've got it all under one roof. So, flex those voting muscles, brace your linguistic senses, and join us in this exhilarating journey to discover the most challenging speech that has left even the most skilled orators gasping for breath. Don't forget, if you think we've missed a daunting discourse that deserves a spot on our list, feel free to suggest and let the battle of the baffling speeches begin!

What Is the Most Difficult Speech?

  1. 1
    A speech given at a funeral or memorial service, eulogies are difficult because they require the speaker to express their grief while also celebrating the life of the deceased. The speech must be emotional yet respectful, and often requires the speaker to find the right balance between humor and solemnity.
    A eulogy is a speech or piece of writing that honors and commemorates someone who has passed away. It is often delivered at a funeral or memorial service to express admiration, love, and respect for the deceased.
    • Emotional content: Eulogies typically evoke strong emotions and feelings of grief, sadness, and loss.
    • Personal connection: The speaker shares personal anecdotes, memories, and experiences with the deceased to illustrate their impact on their life and others.
    • Reflection: Eulogies often reflect on the deceased person's character, achievements, values, and contributions to society or their community.
    • Honoring the deceased: The primary purpose of a eulogy is to honor and pay tribute to the person who has passed away.
    • Comforting the bereaved: Eulogies aim to offer solace, support, and words of encouragement to those mourning the loss.
  2. 2
    Given by a person who has just received an award, acceptance speeches are difficult because they require the speaker to express gratitude while also being humble and gracious. The speech must be well-crafted and delivered with confidence, but without coming across as boastful or insincere.
    An acceptance speech is a type of speech given by an individual or group who has been honored or awarded for their achievements or contributions. It is typically delivered at an awards ceremony or special event to express gratitude and appreciation.
    • Length: Acceptance speeches can vary in length, but are typically kept within a few minutes to ensure brevity and engagement.
    • Content: Acceptance speeches generally include expressions of gratitude to the awarding body, acknowledgement of supporters, mentors, and colleagues, and often touch upon the work or achievements that led to the recognition.
    • Emotional tone: Acceptance speeches often reflect emotions such as happiness, excitement, surprise, humility, and gratitude.
    • Delivery style: Acceptance speeches are typically delivered in a heartfelt and sincere manner, with the speaker maintaining eye contact and using appropriate body language to convey their emotions.
    • Structure: Acceptance speeches usually follow a structured format, starting with a brief introduction, expressing gratitude, sharing personal anecdotes or insights, and concluding with a memorable closing statement.
  3. 3
    Political speech
    Júlio Prestes · Public domain
    Whether it's a campaign speech or a speech given in office, political speeches require the speaker to communicate complex ideas and policies in a way that is accessible to a wide audience. The speech must be persuasive and inspiring, while also being factual and informative.
    A political speech is a type of speech that is delivered by political leaders or candidates to inform, persuade, or motivate people on political and social issues. It is often given during political rallies, campaigns, or important events. Political speeches aim to articulate the goals, beliefs, and policies of the speaker or their political party, with the objective of gaining support or influencing public opinion.
    • Audience: Political speeches are delivered to a diverse audience, including supporters, undecided voters, and members of the opposing parties.
    • Purpose: The primary purpose of a political speech is to convince and mobilize listeners to support the speaker's political ideology, agenda, or campaign.
    • Persuasion Techniques: Political speeches often employ techniques such as emotional appeal, logical reasoning, rhetorical devices, and storytelling to sway the audience.
    • Length: Political speeches can vary in length, ranging from a few minutes to over an hour, depending on the occasion and the speaker's strategy.
    • Content: They typically cover a wide range of topics, including economic policies, social issues, foreign affairs, healthcare, education, and national security.
  4. 4
    Given at a graduation ceremony, commencement speeches are difficult because they must inspire and motivate graduates while also providing practical advice for the future. The speech must be memorable and engaging, while also being relevant to the graduates' experiences and aspirations.
    A commencement speech is a speech given to graduating students at a commencement ceremony, typically delivered by a notable figure from various fields such as politics, business, or entertainment. It aims to inspire, motivate, and provide guidance to the graduates as they embark on the next phase of their lives.
    • Length: Usually between 10 to 20 minutes.
    • Audience: Graduating students, faculty, family, and guests.
    • Purpose: To reflect on the achievements of the graduates, offer advice for their future, and encourage them to embrace challenges and make a positive impact in the world.
    • Tone: Generally celebratory, inspirational, and occasionally humorous.
    • Themes: Common themes include pursuing passions, embracing failures, making a difference, and following one's dreams.
  5. 5
    Given by a best man or maid of honor, wedding toasts are difficult because they must be heartfelt and personal while also being appropriate for a diverse audience. The speech must be well-rehearsed and delivered with confidence, but without being too long or too sentimental.
    The wedding toast is a traditional speech given at a wedding reception, usually by a close friend or family member of the couple, to honor and celebrate the newlyweds.
    • 1: Length: Typically around 2-5 minutes.
    • 2: Content: Expresses heartfelt wishes, anecdotes, and stories about the couple, and often includes humorous and light-hearted moments.
    • 3: Emotional Tone: Strikes a balance between sentimental, funny, and uplifting.
    • 4: Audience Interaction: Usually involves engaging the audience through toasts or applause.
    • 5: Structure: Begins with an introduction, followed by personal stories, well-wishes, and a concluding toast to the couple's future.
  6. 6
    Whether it's pitching a product or a service, sales pitches are difficult because they must be persuasive and compelling while also being honest and ethical. The speech must be tailored to the needs and interests of the audience, while also being respectful of their time and attention.
    A sales pitch is a persuasive presentation or speech used to promote a product, service, or idea and convince potential customers or stakeholders to buy or invest. It aims to capture attention, generate interest, and ultimately close a sale or gain support.
    • Length: Typically, a sales pitch should be concise and to the point, lasting anywhere from a couple of minutes to around 30 minutes depending on the context.
    • Target audience: A sales pitch is tailored to a specific target audience, considering their needs, motivations, and demographics.
    • Structure: A sales pitch usually follows a structured format: introduction, problem identification, solution presentation, benefits demonstration, credibility establishment, call to action, and closing.
    • Emotional appeal: An effective sales pitch often incorporates emotional appeals to connect with the audience on a deeper level and create a positive association with the product or service.
    • Benefits-focused: A sales pitch emphasizes the unique benefits and value proposition of the product or service being promoted, focusing on how it can address the audience's pain points or fulfill their desires.
    Sales pitch in other rankings
  7. 7
    Given at a professional conference, keynote speeches are difficult because they must be informative and inspiring while also being relevant to the audience's interests and expertise. The speech must be well-researched and well-delivered, while also being engaging and memorable.
    A conference keynote speech is typically the most important and high-profile presentation delivered at a conference. It serves as the opening speech and sets the tone and theme for the entire event, aiming to engage, motivate, and inspire the audience. The keynote speech is usually delivered by a well-known industry expert or influential individual who has significant knowledge and experience in the subject matter of the conference. It often includes personal anecdotes, storytelling, and multimedia elements to captivate the audience.
    • Importance: Typically the most crucial speech at a conference
    • Duration: Usually between 30 minutes to 1 hour
    • Audience: Intended for all attendees, often including industry professionals, experts, and executives
    • Engagement: Designed to captivate and involve the audience through storytelling and multimedia elements
    • Motivation: Aims to inspire and motivate attendees to think differently or take action
  8. 8

    Inspirational speech

    Various speakers
    Whether it's a motivational speech or a speech given at a charity event, inspirational speeches are difficult because they must be uplifting and empowering while also being grounded in reality. The speech must be authentic and relatable, while also being ambitious and aspirational.
    An inspirational speech is a type of speech that aims to motivate and uplift the audience, leaving them feeling inspired and empowered. It often includes personal anecdotes, powerful storytelling, and a strong emotional appeal to invoke positive change or action.
    • Length: Varies, typically between 10 to 30 minutes
    • Content: Includes personal anecdotes, storytelling, and emotional appeal
    • Purpose: To motivate, uplift, and inspire the audience
    • Delivery style: Passionate, energetic, and engaging
    • Audience interaction: May involve call and response, asking questions, or interactive elements to engage the audience
  9. 9
    Given after a mistake or wrongdoing, apology speeches are difficult because they must be sincere and contrite while also being accountable and responsible. The speech must acknowledge the harm caused, express regret and remorse, and outline steps for making amends and preventing future mistakes.
    The 'Apology speech' is a type of speech where an individual or organization acknowledges and expresses remorse for a mistake, wrongdoing, or harm caused to others. It is meant to show remorse, take responsibility, and offer apologies or make amends.
    • Context: The speech is usually delivered in response to a specific incident, controversy, or public outcry where the person or organization's actions are deemed inappropriate, offensive, or harmful.
    • Audience: The speech is addressed to the affected individuals or groups, as well as the general public who may have been impacted or offended by the actions.
    • Sincerity: A genuine apology that reflects true remorse and a desire to make amends is crucial for the effectiveness of the speech.
    • Acknowledgement: The speech should acknowledge the specific actions, behaviors, or decisions that led to the harm caused, without making excuses or shifting blame.
    • Responsibility: Taking personal or organizational responsibility for the actions and accepting the consequences is an essential element of the apology speech.
  10. 10
    Given in a formal debate, debate speeches are difficult because they must be logical and persuasive while also being respectful and civil. The speech must present a strong argument and rebuttal, while also acknowledging the opponent's perspective and avoiding personal attacks.
    Debate speech is a type of speech that involves presenting arguments and engaging in verbal discourse with opponents in a structured debate setting. It requires participants to research a given topic, develop a clear thesis statement, and provide evidence and reasoning to support their position. Participants must also be able to anticipate counterarguments and effectively refute them. The goal of a debate speech is to persuasively present one's arguments and convince the audience of the validity of their viewpoint.
    • Time limits: Debate speeches typically have time limits, ranging from a few minutes to several minutes, depending on the format and level of the debate.
    • Structure: Debate speeches are organized into sections, including an opening statement, rebuttals, and a conclusion. The structure may vary depending on the specific debate format.
    • Research: Debate speeches require thorough research on the given topic to gather evidence and supporting arguments.
    • Logical reasoning: Strong debate speeches rely on logical reasoning and sound arguments to persuade the audience.
    • Refutation: Participants must be prepared to anticipate and refute counterarguments presented by their opponents.

Missing your favorite speech?


Ranking factors for difficult speech

  1. Complexity of the content
    The difficulty of understanding the subject matter and concepts presented in the speech can make it more difficult. Highly technical, scientific, or philosophical topics can be challenging for the audience to comprehend.
  2. Speaker's delivery
    The speaker's clarity, pace, vocal variety, and pronunciation can impact the difficulty of a speech. If the speaker has a strong accent or speaks too quickly, it may be harder to understand their message.
  3. Vocabulary and language
    The use of complex or obscure words and phrases, as well as the use of jargon or technical terms related to a specific field, can make a speech more challenging to follow.
  4. Structure and organization
    A well-organized and logically structured speech is easier to follow and understand than one that jumps around between topics or lacks a clear progression of ideas.
  5. Audience familiarity
    The background knowledge and familiarity of the audience with the topic can significantly impact the difficulty of a speech. If the audience has little to no knowledge of the subject matter, they may struggle to understand the key points and arguments.
  6. Length of the speech
    Longer speeches can be more challenging to follow and understand, as they require the listener to maintain attention and retain information over an extended period of time.
  7. Use of visual aids and supporting materials
    Visual aids can help clarify complex concepts and information, making a speech easier to understand. However, if these materials are poorly designed or presented, they can be confusing and detract from the overall message.
  8. Context and setting
    The environment in which the speech takes place can impact its difficulty. Factors such as noise level, lighting, and distractions can make it harder for the audience to focus and understand the speech.
  9. Audience engagement
    The speaker's ability to engage the audience, maintain their interest, and encourage interaction can affect the difficulty of the speech. Highly engaging speakers are often easier to follow and understand.
  10. Emotional content and tone
    Emotionally-charged speeches can be more challenging to process, as the listener must navigate both the factual content and the emotions being conveyed. Additionally, a speaker who comes across as aggressive, condescending, or dismissive can make the speech difficult to listen to and understand.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most difficult speech. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or speech is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 178 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each speech once every 24 hours. The rank of each speech is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most difficult speech

When it comes to speeches, there are a few that stand out as particularly challenging. One of the most difficult types of speeches is the impromptu speech, where the speaker is given a topic on the spot and must deliver a coherent and engaging speech without any prior preparation. Another challenging type of speech is the persuasive speech, which requires the speaker to convince their audience to agree with their viewpoint on a controversial or complex topic. Finally, the eulogy speech can also be incredibly difficult, as it requires the speaker to honor the memory of a loved one while also providing comfort to those in mourning. While each type of speech comes with its own unique set of challenges, with practice and preparation, anyone can become an effective public speaker.

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