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Best Public Speakers: Studying John Maxwell

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

We included John Maxwell on our Best Public Speakers list because of how he uses his credible vocal presence to pull his audience into his message. We enjoyed his opinions of success, and how it is subjective. A memorable quote of his is: "A successful person finds the right place for himself, but a successful leader finds the right place for others". John is an author, speaker, and pastor who has written many books, primarily focusing on leadership.

by Stephanie Bickel

We reviewed his best public speakers conversation on The Secret to Success.

John’s greatest public speaking skills:

  1. Credible vocal presence: John speaks with a low, loud, and linear vocal tone. He strategically pauses to let his audience reflect on important statements. This shows his empathy and wisdom. John's strong vocal variety allows for his message to be believable, as his statements are produced with confidence and poise.

  2. Great use of micro and grand gestures: John uses open palms (with words like "expand"), karate chop, counting, and pincer to demonstrate effective use of micro and grand gestures to further highlight his points. When gestures match a speakers verbal message, this makes a message memorable to the audience.

  3. Excellent use of pausing for impact: John says has many memorable statements. He makes them even more impactful by using pacing and pausing. For example, when he says - "Success can be very subjective", then takes a pause for his audience to soak in the message.

  4. Speaks directly to the audience: With his empathetic tone, strong eye contact, and relatable content, John make it easy for the audience to connect to his words. He brings everyone together and makes each individual feel like they're being directly spoken to. John says, "That's why we're all here", creating a collaborative environment and experience for his audience.

What John could do to improve his public speaking skills:

  1. Add more expression in his face: John did a nice job with eye contact, but he could smile more to create connection with his audience from the start.

  2. Use more strong starts: Engaging tactics such as storytelling, anecdotes, quotes, and rhetorical question help to keep the audience engaged. They also allow for the audience to relate to the speaker more.


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