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John Boehner: New Speaker of the House! Voice and Eye Contact- a mixed bag!

As a communicator, I like the way John Boehner’s passion is reflected in his voice. Here he is being sworn in as speaker of the House of Representatives. See what you think of the first three minutes.

Listen to the way he begins addressing the House with a strong authoritative timber in his voice the moment he begins. He shows no hesitation, and approaches his speech with a variety of intonation, pitch, pausing, and above all, energy. His projection and energy indicate confidence. A willingness to be heard and understood. He appears confident because he sounds confident.

If I we’re coaching Mr. Boehner in Presentation Skills, I would address a technical issue, his eye contact. Notice how he looks down at his notes in the middle of a thought or close to the end of a thought, rather then allowing time to let that thought land with his audience through elongated eye contact. (Minute 2:15 to 2:50)

Here’s a tip. The more you can maintain eye contact, complete thoughts to your audience, the more powerful you will appear. To be clear, Is there anything wrong with looking down at your notes? Absolutely not! But completing your thoughts fully and then look down at your notes is a stronger choice because we see more of your eyes. “The windows to the soul” as it were. It makes your impact greater. Look at Minute 1:33 to 1:45 . It’s not perfect, but a definite improvement. Curious if you agree?

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