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Best Public Speakers: Studying Amanda Gorman

Updated: Apr 4

We identified Amanda Gorman as one of our best public speakers because of her positive energy and beautiful use of alliteration, enunciation, and pacing. She is the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history, as well as an award-winning writer and cum laude graduate of Harvard University.

by Stephanie Bickel

best public speakers

The best public speakers event we reviewed: Amanda reciting stunning poem at Biden inauguration.

Amanda’s greatest public speaking skills:

  1. Great use of alliteration: Poetry opened up the opportunity for Amanda to use alliteration, the occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words. She beautifully presents these phrases with a cadence that draws listeners into each word. (:20-:23, 1:22-1:30, 2:00-2:20, 3:50-4:32)

  2. Excellent pacing and enunciation: She will slow down and strategically pause while she clearly articulates each letter, word, and phrase. She is composed from the very beginning and her style is both captivating and dynamic for the audience. (:00-:50, 1:38-1:58, 2:30-3:12, 3:40-4:32)

  3. Exudes positive energy: Amanda has a positive presence throughout her delivery. She thinks a smile, has excellent head placement with her chin slightly raised, and she accelerates her speaking pace at times to highlight her passion. (:50-1:07, 1:38-2:18, 3:05-4:17)

  4. Incorporates a variety of gestures: She uses different micro and grand gestures to support her messages. She lifts her arms up and off the podium and extends them out to show more enthusiasm. You can see her use the pincer, open palm, hand to the heart, closed fist, and finger point. (:12-1:25)

  5. Strong, memorable ending: All of Amanda’s strengths are observed in the close where she says, “There is ALWAYS light. If only we are brave enough to see it. If only...we are brave enough to be it. (5:14-5:30)

What Amanda could do to improve her public speaking skills:

  1. Make gestures “punch”: There was not much we could find lacking in her delivery. She does a nice job adding a variety of gestures that are graceful and flow with her speech. To take it to the next level, there are a few opportunities where she could land her gestures and let them linger to accentuate her message. At 1:20, her closed fist could be even stronger. At 3:15, she could be even more forceful when she points back to herself.


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