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Best Public Speakers: Studying Sundar Pichai

Updated: Apr 4

Sundar Pichai is an Indian-American business executive and the CEO of Alphabet Inc. and its subsidiary, Google LLC. We identified Sundar as one of the best public speakers due to his confidence, ability to command attention, and his vocal tone and pace.

by Stephanie Bickel

best public speakers

Image: NurPhoto / getty images

Watch the public speaking engagement we reviewed.

Sundar's greatest public speaking skills:

  1. Eye contact: Sundar uses direct, engaging eye contact with his interviewers. Even during difficult questions, he maintains this connection. (:08, :49, 1:44, 2:51, 8:10, 9:14)

  2. Strong gestures: He uses the “steeple” gesture when responding to a question about Google filtering information. Research shows that the “steeple” gesture is one of the most powerful gestures. Sundar immediately commands attention and shows confidence in his response with this gesture. (:59)

  3. Vocal tone and pace: He has a nice pace and assertive vocal style. This tone conveys comfort and poise in front of his listeners. (:59)

What Sundar could do to improve his public speaking skills

  1. Clasps hands together: Sundar folds his hands together which closes off the frame of his body to the audience. While seated, we recommend resetting to a neutral position in between gestures. We suggest that hands / forearms are spread shoulders width apart on the table. Imagine you have a place mat in front of you. Your forearms would be at each end of the place mat, keeping your body open to your listeners. (:44, 1:27, 1:44, 2:44)

  2. Posture: Instead of directly facing the interviewer, he angles his body away causing one shoulder to be lower than the other, and he tilts his head. This direct and penetrating questioning causes Sundar to physically look like he wants to retreat and avoid the topic. To demonstrate physical leadership, shoulders should be square to the audience with your head upright. (1:32, 5:13)

  3. Filler words and repetitive language: In these segments, Sundar shows uncertainty when he incorporates non-words, e.g., “uh”, “and, and”, “we, uh, we”, “I, I”. To eliminate these fillers, we recommend pausing and breathing to collect your thoughts. (3:57, 5:13)

Check out Sundar’s public speaking strengths in his entire opening statement.


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