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Best Public Speakers Series: Chris Voss

By Michelle Davis

We included Chris Voss on our "Best Public Speakers" list because of his creative messaging to get his points across and emotional intelligence when speaking with his audiences. He also has a motivational vocal style which makes it easy to listen to him.

Best Public Speakers

Chris Voss is American businessman, author, and academic. Voss is a former FBI hostage negotiator. He is an adjunct Professor at Harvard Law School, Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business, and a lecturer at the Marshall School of Business at University of Southern California.

We reviewed Chris Voss' interview with Andrew Huberman titled "How to Succeed at Hard Conversations". In this video, he discusses how to navigate difficult conversations of all kinds, including in business, romance, job firings and tense conversations with family and friends. Chris explains how to navigate online, in person and written negotiations. He shares red flags to watch out for and how to read body and voice cues in face-to-face and phone conversations. He explains how to use empathy, key questions, proactive listening, emotional processing and more to ensure you reach the best possible outcome in any hard conversation.

What are the main communication takeaways?

  • Poise: Chris does an excellent job keeping his cool and composure. He speaks about maintaining calmness in his voice and tone in order to calm others and create a more impactful situation for all parties.

  • Stays Present with his Interviewer: Voss maintains direct eye contact as he locks and holds attention and connection with the interviewer. This makes him appear as empathetic, direct, and present.

  • Motivational Speaking Style: He uses vocal variety and stresses important words to create meaning for his audience. He sounds passionate and this helps his interviewer stay engaged with his message.

How could they improve?

  • Increase expressiveness through body language: Chris often lacks variation in facial expressions and expressiveness, which creates a seriousness in the discussion when that isn't always the intention.

  • Add more vocal variety: Voss speaks in a monotone vocal style periodically, which can make his message appear more sleepy and less memorable - even though his message has so much value.


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