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Best Public Speakers: Studying Marvin Ellison's Leadership Communication Skills

Updated: Nov 30, 2023

We included Marvin Ellison on our “Best Public Speakers” list because of his executive presence, organized delivery, and storytelling ability. Marvin is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Lowe's Companies, Inc.

by Stephanie Bickel

speaking skills

We reviewed his best public speakers executive profile where he discusses business strategy, trade concerns, and technology.

Marvins’s greatest speaking skills:

  1. Excellent storytelling ability: Marvin shares the story of his first three days after he became president. This approach gets the audience emotionally invested in the topic from the opening moments. (3:12-4:25)

  2. Highlights strengths and addresses opportunities: He demonstrates he has a clear understanding of the current state of the company and where he wants it to go. Marvin acknowledges that there are great men and women working for the company. There are employees that have been with the company for over 30 years, which shows that Lowe’s takes care of it’s people. Looking ahead, they need to use available technology more effectively. (4:25 - 5:17)

  3. Physical and vocal poise: Throughout the interview, Marvin maintains excellent posture and also keeps his eye contact with the interviewer. He speaks slowly and deliberately to demonstrate that he is comfortable in this environment.

  4. Organized messaging with supportive gestures: He uses bulleted feedback (e.g. Number 1, Number 2, etc.) to state his key learnings, and uses appropriate gestures to support each point. (8:40 - 9:25)

  5. Disaggregates double-barrelled questions: Marvin takes a moment to separate the interviewer’s questions and restates the question he will answer first. This helps the listener follow along to his response. (9:37 - 10:30)

What Marvin could do to improve his speaking skills:

  1. Vary vocal tone to match message: Marvin is an excellent storyteller and could benefit from varying his vocal tone to match the stories he shares. He is relatively monotone, even when sharing the positive aspects of the organization. In these moments, he can incorporate a motivational tone by adding more energy in his voice and smiling. (4:25-4:50)

  2. Reduce casual language and filler words: Marvin has a tendency to insert non-words, unrefined words, and qualifying words when speaking. “Yeah”, “uh”, “you know”, “uh”, “really”, “I think”, “I believe”. He would benefit from pausing and only using words that add to the message. (7:17 - 8:40)

  3. Sharpen articulation and elocution: There are certain words where he could sharpen his beginning sounds and ending sounds. For example, the beginning “th” in “that” and “those”, the ending “th” in “with”, and the ending “d” in “build” and “world”. (10:20 - 11:50)


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