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Best Public Speakers: Studying Amy Cuddy

Updated: Jul 19, 2023

Amy Cuddy is an American social psychologist, author and speaker. She has served as a faculty member at Rutgers University, Kellogg School of Management, and Harvard Business School. She is known for her promotion of “Power Posing”. We identified Amy as one of the best public speakers because of her engaging style and warm presence.

by Stephanie Bickel

best public speakers

The public speaking event we reviewed: TED talk on Power Posing

Amy's greatest public speaking skills:

  1. Inclusive eye contact: She includes the entire audience with direct, engaging eye contact as she delivers her presentation. This behavior makes all of her listeners feel important and a part of the conversation. (:25, 1:30, 2:00, 16:00)

  2. Warm facial expressions: Amy has a nice smile. She adds warmth to her delivery and increases her connection with the audience through these facial expressions. (1:32)

  3. Strong voice: She projects her voice and has a nice pitch to convey confidence in the topic. (1:32, 14:00)

  4. Emphatic tone: Amy starts to slow down and add weight and emphasis to important words. (14:15)

What Amy could do to improve her public speaking skills:

  1. Reduce filler words and slow down: Amy uses non-words as she quickly delivers her content, e.g., “so”, “like”, “you know”, “sort of”, “um”. She could benefit from slowing down and pausing to eliminate filler words. (:04, :26, :34, :45, 1:01, 1:32)

  2. Reset arms to neutral position: She keeps her arms up and crossed in front of her body. (:08, 1:00, 15:30) This makes her look small and less open to the audience. She also puts her hands behind her back (1:30). This could convey that someone wants to hide or retreat from a conversation, We recommend resetting to a neutral position in between gestures with your arms down and at your sides.

  3. Avoid touching face: Amy touches her face briefly. People can perceive this as someone being uncertain, nervous, or stressed. To convey confidence, avoid touching your face or hair. (:49, 13:20, 15:26)

  4. Slow down: Amy speaks quickly. Sometimes speaking fast can be perceived as nervousness. She could benefit from slowing down and pausing to demonstrate vocal poise. (1:32, 15:00)

  5. Keep gestures linear and definitive: She tends to gesture with a break in her wrist. This is a weaker non-verbal behavior. Be big and bold as you are delivering a powerful message. (2:00, 6:00, 13:30, 14:40)


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