Examples of Short Oratorical Pieces

, Staff Writer
Updated December 16, 2020
oration speech in front of live audience
    oration speech in front of live audience
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An oratorical piece may be a stirring speech, a funny story or a discourse meant to call the listener to action. Before giving an oration speech, the speaker needs to fully understand the purpose of the piece so they can use the proper tone of voice to portray intent. Get an in-depth explanation of what an oratorical piece is along with several examples.

Types of Oratorical Pieces

An oration is defined as a short narrative speech given for a specific audience or event. An oration can include formal speeches such as eulogies, graduation speeches and inaugural addresses. However, an oratorical piece can also include short toasts at a wedding or retirement party. Explore ideas for oratorical piece examples like toasts and more formal oratorical pieces like presidential speeches and eulogies.


Famous Short Oratorical Speeches

Formal short oratorical speeches include presidential speeches, eulogies and graduation speeches.

John F. Kennedy's Address at Rice University

One example of a formal oration is John F. Kennedy's speech about sending a man to the moon, delivered at Rice University in 1962. Here is an excerpt from the narration and the conclusion:

"But if I were to say, my fellow citizens, that we shall send to the moon, 240,000 miles away from the control station in Houston, a giant rocket more than 300 feet tall, the length of this football field, made of new metal alloys, some of which have not yet been invented, capable of standing heat and stresses several times more than have ever been experienced, fitted together with a precision better than the finest watch, carrying all the equipment needed for propulsion, guidance, control, communications, food and survival, on an untried mission, to an unknown celestial body, and then return it safely to earth, re-entering the atmosphere at speeds of over 25,000 miles per hour, causing heat about half that of the temperature of the sun — almost as hot as it is here today — and do all this, and do it right, and do it first before this decade is out — then we must be bold."

Coretta Scott King's Eulogy by Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou's heartfelt oratorical piece for Coretta Scott King showed her admiration in 2006. Follow her words through this excerpt:

"In the midst of national tumult, in the medium of international violent uproar, Coretta Scott King’s face remained a study in serenity. In times of interior violent storms she sat, her hands resting in her lap calmly, like good children sleeping.

Her passion was never spent in public display. She offered her industry and her energies to action, toward righting ancient and current wrongs in this world.

She believed religiously in non-violent protest."

Ellen DeGeneres’ Commencement Speech at Tulane University

Formal short oratorical pieces also include graduation speeches. Dive into this graduation speech by Ellen DeGeneres.

"When I was asked to make the commencement speech, I immediately said yes. Then I went to look up what commencement meant, which would have been easy if I had a dictionary, but most of the books in our house are Portia’s, and they’re all written in Australian. So I had to break the word down myself, to find out the meaning.

Commencement: common, and cement, common cement. You commonly see cement on sidewalks. Sidewalks have cracks, and if you step on a crack, you break your mother’s back. So there’s that. But I’m honored that you’ve asked me here to speak at your common cement."

Ideas for Short Oratorical Toasts

A toast is one example of an oratorical piece that is often short. At a wedding, for example, there may be several toasts or short oratorical speeches that go something like this:

  • Good evening, everyone. I would like to offer a toast to the happy couple. May their days be filled with love and laughter.
  • I've known John since we were in kindergarten. I could not possibly imagine a better person for him than Maria. I know you both will be ecstatically happy for a very long time.
  • I raise my glass to my daughter and her husband. She has found her Prince Charming, who will make all her dreams come true. Join me in wishing them a happy life together filled with much joy and love.

Graduation Toasts

Toasts are common at graduations as well as weddings. Some short oratorical toasts you may offer at a graduation include:

  • To all who have graduated, may you now get educated.
  • May you go on to do great things, but never lose touch with each other.
  • Here's to your future.
  • Graduation is a major milestone, and we're all very proud of what you have accomplished.
  • May you always follow your heart in your future endeavors.
  • To the graduate, who is in a class by himself.
  • We wish you a bright future filled with the promise of a wonderful life.

Birthday Toasts

Spice up a special birthday with a funny or heartfelt toast. Explore a few short toasts to use at your next birthday party.

  • Although another year has passed, you're no older than the last.
  • Wishing you great joy on your birthday and through the whole year.
  • "May you live all the years of your life" - Jonathan Swift
  • Think of it this way - you are only one day older than you were yesterday.
  • You know you are over the hill when your back goes out more than you do!
  • We're so grateful to be celebrating this wonderful day with you and we wish you many more happy and healthy birthdays to come.

Retirement Parties

Retirement is a time of great celebration and it is often commemorated with a party. If you are called upon to give toasts at that party, here are some ideas:

  • We don't know what we'll do without you at work, but I guess we're about to find out.
  • May you have even more fun at retirement than you do at work.
  • Always remember, a bad day fishing is better than the best day at work.
  • Here's to your retirement. May you enjoy your golden years in great health.
  • You will be missed.

Going Away Parties

A trip abroad or to another location is yet another great reason to celebrate and give a toast. Here are some great toasts for going away parties:

  • Hurry back soon. We'll be missing you.
  • May we always part with regret and meet again with pleasure.
  • "The pain of parting is nothing compared with the joy of meeting again." - Charles Dickens.
  • A bon voyage toast to a successful trip!
  • Enjoy your trip, but don't forget to write.

Formats of Short Oratorical Pieces

Orations are often used to make a case in support of or against something.

  • These types of orations start with an introduction that will get the attention of the audience.
  • Then the narration will consist of facts that support the opinion of the speaker. It is made clear what facts the speaker supports and opposes.
  • Facts that the speaker agrees with will be proved and arguments of his opponents will be refuted.
  • The oration will be summarized with a conclusion and sometimes a call to action, such as supporting a nomination or legislation.
  • Less formal orations, such as eulogies or toasts, will also have an introduction, narrative and conclusion. The body of this type of oration may contain personal information, accomplishments, amusing anecdotes, shared memories, or a chronological listing of major events.

Learning About Oratorical Speeches

No matter the type of audience, if the piece is a short narrative, it can be an example of a short oratorical speech. Excited to learn about other types of speeches? Read or listen to some oratorical speeches from great orators. Then, explore about me speech examples.