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Best Public Speakers: Studying Fiona Hill

Updated: Feb 10

Fiona Hill is a British-American foreign affairs specialist and academic. She is a former official at the U.S. National Security Council specializing in Russian and European affairs.

by Stephanie Bickel

best public speakers

By Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images


  1. Definitive, confident tone: Fiona speaks frankly, yet respectfully when addressing questions. She stands her ground and stays true to her convictions. This demonstrates her strength as a leader and confidence in her opinion. (:20, :52, 2:25)

  2. Eye contact: Not only does she maintain direct, engaging eye contact with the person who asked the question, but she also looks at the rest of the audience to include them in her response. (:35)

  3. Physical poise: Fiona maintains a nice, upright posture with her shoulders back. She also keeps her frame still which conveys a sense of control and confidence even during penetrating questions. (:52, 2:55)

Strategies for improvement:

  1. Filler words / qualifying language: Fiona starts with “I think” and uses “uh” or “um”. To minimize the use of filler words, she could slow down at times and pause instead. Phrases like “I think” are known as qualifiers and weaken arguments. We recommend removing them if you want to make a strong recommendation. (:20, :25, :44, :50, 1:38)


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