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Best Public Speakers: Studying Billy Crystal

Updated: May 12, 2022

Billy Crystal is an actor, comedian, singer, writer, producer, director, and television host. We identified Billy as one of the best public speakers because of his dynamic personality and ability to seamlessly transition into various vocal styles as the topic changes.

best public speakers

The best public speakers event we reviewed: Billy Crystal’s tribute to Robin Williams.

Billy’s greatest public speaking skills:

  1. Humor: It is no surprise that humor is one of Billy Crystal’s strengths. Even with this being a tribute, he tastefully added a bit of comedy to lighten the mood. (1:20, 1:45, 2:20)

  2. “BIG” physical presence: Billy uses intentional gestures to underline and enhance his message. His eye contact is impeccable as he looks around the room to include everyone in the audience. He maintains a confident posture with staying square to his listeners and keeping his shoulders back. (:57, 1:50, 2:28, 2:50)

  3. Uses a variety of vocal styles: The nature of his tribute includes both serious topics and times when he reflects on humorous conversations. He starts by using a consultative voice when he thinks what Robin did for others. Then, he eloquently transitions into a motivational style when sharing funny anecdotes. Both his vocal tone and nonverbal cues mirror the changes in topics. (:40, 1:50, 2:07, 2:40)

  4. Excellent storytelling: It is the stories that we remember and Billy engages the audience by sharing several conversations he remembered having with the great actor and comedian. They were short, but meaningful enough to depict how we should all remember Robin Williams and his personality. (1:12, 2:07)

What Billy could do to improve his public speaking skills:

  1. In this speaking sample, we couldn’t find much of anything that he could improve. If you find something, send us a message and we’ll consider updating our post. People ask us all the time about how to put together a tribute. This is a great example with no suggestions for improvement from our perspective.


Do you have a goal in 2021 to become one of the best public speakers in your organization? Speak by Design coaching focuses on the public speaking skills you need to become a consistently compelling force within your organization. We give you the tools to navigate your most difficult situations and demanding audiences.

Contact Speak by Design to learn more about how we can help you develop the public speaking skills you need to excel in your career.

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