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Best Public Speakers Series: Studying Robin Roberts

Updated: Dec 3, 2020


Robin Roberts is an American television broadcaster and the anchor of ABC’s Good Morning America. She was also a sportscaster on ESPN for 15 years. We identified Robin as one of the best public speakers because she exudes gravitas with strong vocal qualities that connect her to her audience.


best public speakers

The public speaking event we reviewed: Robin's Master Class Trailer



Robin's greatest public speaking skills:


  1. Strong voice and emphatic tone: Robin projects her voice, speaks with a low-pitch, and adds weight and emphasis to her words. These behaviors add to her credibility and her emphatic tone highlights the importance of her topic. (:00, :48, 1:28, 1:34)

  2. Changes vocal style for different messages: She effectively transitions from a motivational voice (louder with more energy) to a consultative voice (soft and whispered) and ends with an assertive voice (low pitch, definitive). (:13) Robin also gets emotional when announcing her diagnosis of breast cancer to the public for the first time (1:13). Audiences can connect better to messages that are delivered with intention and meaning.

  3. Uses strategic pauses to create intrigue: Robin pauses just long enough after she says “Tell you a secret...”. This creates enough suspense for the listeners to want to stay tuned to hear the answer. (:41)

  4. Incorporates creative phrases: She leaves the audience with phrases that stick with you and are easily remembered. For example, “You can’t fake the funk, baby” (:35), “Make your mess your message” (:57), “When you allow yourself to be vulnerable, you are showing a strength” (1:22), “The secret to getting ahead is getting started” (1:44)

  5. Uses inclusive body language: Robin leans in (:56) and uses an open palm (:15, 1:02, 1:50) to increase her connection with her listeners. These gestures are very inviting and show a collaborative mindset with an audience.



What Robin could do to improve her public speaking skills:

  1. Stay open to the audience: Robin crosses her hands and clenches them in front of her body which closes her off from the audience. It can also be a sign of being stressed or nervous. When sitting, keep arms shoulder width apart on a table or chair rest in between gestures. (:00, :32, 1:27, 1:53)

  2. Maintain an upright body position: Robin has a tendency to tilt her head to one side. To signal the utmost confidence, keep your head upright and linear on top of your neck. (:00, :27, :53, 1:13)

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