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Best Public Speakers: Studying Lisa Ling

Updated: Apr 4

We identified Lisa Ling as one of the best public speakers because of the passion and energy she conveys in her empathic voice and heartfelt gestures. Lisa is a journalist, television personality, and author. She is currently the host of This Is Life with Lisa Ling on CNN.

by Stephanie Bickel

best public speakers

The best public speakers event we reviewed: Keynote address for MTSU’s Women’s History Month

Lisa’s greatest public speaking skills:

  1. Strong vocal presence: Lisa’s voice is captivating from the opening moments of her speech. She commands the room with the way she projects her voice and speaks in a low pitch. Lisa also uses an emphatic tone as she speaks to her values and highlights important points. She includes dramatic pauses to further engage her listeners and pull them into her messages. (1:00-1:22, 2:00-2:20, 3:35-3:50)

  2. Powerful gestures: Her passion and energy is evident in the variety of grand gestures she uses. You can feel her heartfelt emotions when she touches her heart and you can feel her strength and determination when she clenches her fist. (1:05-1:18, 1:30-2:10, 2:45-3:00, 3:25- 4:05)

What Lisa could do to improve her public speaking skills:

  1. Slow down to minimize filler words and repetitive words: Because Lisa’s speaking rate is fast, she tends to incorporate non-words and repeats words as she is transitioning to the next thought, e.g., “uh”, “um “I, I, I”, “and, and, and”. She could benefit from slowing down, pausing, and taking a breath after finishing a statement. (1:03-1:08, 1:32, 1:57)

  2. Keep a still frame: She has unintentional movements that can make the audience feel as though she is rushed. You will see this in her frequent head movement and rapidly changing eye contact. We recommend keeping a more poised frame of the body, including the head, and putting movement into gestures. With eye contact, stay focused on one area of the audience for at least 3-5 seconds or through an entire thought. (1:03-1:18, 1:40-2:20, 3:18-4:05)


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