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Best Public Speakers Series: Arwa Damon

We are proud to include Arwa Damon in our Best Public Speakers List as an exemplary world citizen and model of courage, compassion, and stamina in the face of war and tragedy. Arwa emotes a deep calm and steely resolve with a beautiful command of language.

Best Public Speakers

Born in 1977, award-winning journalist Arwa Damon was already quadralingual and had lived in the United States, Morocco, and Turkey before graduating from Skidmore College in 1999. She chose to become a journalist after 9/11. After freelancing in the Middle East working with many major networks, she officially joined CNN in 2006. She has covered stories of massive import including Iraqi elections and executions 2005-2007 as well as the Battle of Mosul in 2016, the Syrian civil war and refugee camps, anti-poaching in the Republic of Congo, the Tham Luang cave rescue in Thailand, and climate change in Antarctica. She cofounded the International Network for Aid, Relief and Assistance (INARA) in 2015.

We reviewed Damon's TedxCoventGardenWomen speech in 2018, encouraging the audience towards acts of compassion towards those who are on the frontlines of war.

What can we learn from Arwa?

  • How to use a consultative tone on tough topics: Damon uses healthy, soothing, calm pitches as she describes horrific acts and circumstances. Her calm helps the audience to keep listening when such information may make them want to tune out.

  • How to manage your pace: Damons pace is measured, careful, with strategic pauses that give her greater power and emphasis without having to raise her voice volume.

  • How to stay poised under pressure: Damon has no wasted words, time, or fillers. She is focused and delivering important words in every moment.

  • How to move with elegance: She is purposeful, graceful, and subtle in her steps and gestures.

How She Could Improve:

  • Top Down Structure: Damon's immediate launch into stories and descriptions without a thesis statement may distract audiences into wondering where this is all leading.

  • Wardrobe: While Damon's style is excellent, the choice of all black against black backdrop often makes her difficult to see in the frame. Speakers don't want to blend into the background.


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