Public Speaking Resolutions For a Well-Spoken Year!

Public Speaking Resolutions For a Well-Spoken Year!

1. Ring in 2015 with a toast. It’s good practice.

2. Create your elevator speech. In 2 minutes, what do you care about & why does it matter?

3. Quote the greats: “The American dream is not dead. It is gasping for breath but it is not dead.” Barbara Jordan

4. Warm up beforehand. Slowly roll your shoulders back to release tension.

5. Use purposeful pauses. A moment of silence gives the listeners a chance to absorb the meaning.

6. Avoid repeating useless words: “Like, so, anyway, actually, and absolutely.”

7. Heed Ann Richards: “I spent hours of time rehearsing… It had to sound casual, conversational, but that took work.”

8. Don’t sweat the small stuff like a mispronounced word. It is possible to make a mistake and still do well.

9. Project your best self. As Lena Dunham says: “Enjoy going through life as yourself.”

10. Give yourself a high five when you deliver a winning performance.

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The Well-Spoken Women of 2014

The Well-Spoken Women of 2014

The Well-Spoken Women of 2014 called it like they saw it. Dared to defy authority. Changed the debate. Broadened the dialogue. Their words and ideas challenge us to think differently and act boldly.

Mo’ne Davis – Little League Star 


With a 70 mph fastball, 13-year old Mo’ne is in a league of her own. The pitcher made history becoming the first girl to throw a shutout in a Little League World Series. Equally impressive was the deft handling of her celebrity status. On ESPN, an unflappable Mo’ne says her special weapon for dealing with the media is saying no.”

Kaci Hickox – Ebola Fighting Nurse


While the threat of Ebola caused some politicians to panic, the public health nurse presented a voice of reason. At an impromptu press conference, Kaci calmly responded to critics who vilified her for rejecting a state imposed health quarantine. After serving in Sierra Leone, she voluntarily agreed to a self-monitoring program saying it was scientifically sound and wouldn’t stigmatize aid workers. Kaci hopes to return to Africa to continue her public health service.

Sallie Krawcheck – “Investing in Women is Simply Smart Business”


Sallie is a Wall Street veteran who is putting money where her passion is with the first and only mutual fund which invests in companies that are women-centric. Tons of evidence support Sallie’s assertion that companies with more women in top jobs have higher returns, lower volatility, and increased innovation. During a conversation at the 92nd St. Y, Sallie shares her vision for the Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund 

Ai-jen Poo – Caring for Our Caregivers


Congratulations to Ai-jen, a 2014 MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient for dedicating her life to fighting for some of the hardest working people in America. At the National Domestic Workers Alliance she fights for the women who clean our homes, cook our meals, and care for our children and seniors. In her TEDx Talk Ai-jen, calls on the audience to reflect on the people in their lives who’ve cared for them.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg – A Blistering Dissent


“I certainly respect the belief of the Hobby Lobby owners. But, on the other hand they have no constitutional right to foist that belief on the hundreds and hundreds of women who work for them and who don’t share that belief.” Justice Ginsberg’s 35-page dissent in the case that denies birth control coverage to women on religious grounds ensured women’s voices were not completely silenced. In a Yahoo interview, the Justice discusses the ramifications of the decision made by five male justices.  

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand – Calling Them Out


Talk about a hostile work environment. In her book “Off the Sidelines,” Senator Gillibrand revealed the clueless comments made by male colleagues about her eating habits and appearance. On “The Daily Show,” the Senator says at this point in her career those types of remarks don’t throw her off her game. However, it was a different story when she was a young lawyer.  

Anita Sarkeesian – Feminist Frequency Blogger


The threat of a shooting massacre on the campus of Utah State University caused the cancelation of a speech Anita planned on the sexism and misogyny in the gaming industry. But, months of death and rape threats have not prevented the blogger from condemning the industry’s penchant for depicting women as damsels, victims, and hyper-sexualized play things. As a youngster, Anita had begged her parents for a Game Boy. On the “Colbert Report,” she says the industry would benefit from including positive female images and creating a wider range of games.

Emma Watson – UN Women Goodwill Ambassador


The “Harry Potter” actress says when she was 8 she was called bossy for wanting to direct plays. Speaking at the United Nations, the self-proclaimed feminist delivers an eloquent call to action to end gender inequality by inviting men to join the HeForShe campaign.

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Coach Chris – Keynote Speaker

Keynote Speaker – CAWP 2014

In 19 years of our event, Chris was one of our most impressive speakers. The style of her presentation was captivating and her delivery impeccable. Everyone of the 300 plus attendees walked away with easy to implement tools to improve their presentations.

Director, Network for Women Advisors – Raymond James & Associates, Inc.

Chris Jahnke is passionate about helping women become well-spoken leaders.  A coach to Michelle Obama and women executives, Chris is an inspiring keynote speaker who shares her behind-the-scenes insights and strategies on how to earn the respect of any audience.  Women everywhere are building their speaking skills by attending her presentations and with her Amazon top seller:  The Well-Spoken Woman: Your Guide to Looking & Sounding Your Best.

Chris’ highly engaging and entertaining style is a hit no matter the audience size.  The format of her talk can vary from a 45-minute presentation to a longer workshop.  Chris would be a great addition to your next leadership conference, retreat, annual meeting, or convention. Read her bio.

Popular speech topics

  • Communications Skills of Powerful Women
  • The Well-Spoken Candidate: Image & Message
  • The Well-Spoken Young Woman: Jump Start Your Career
  • The First Impression: Style & Substance Tips
  • Conquering the Camera: Success Online & In-studio

Women executives at Avon, Coca-Cola, National Geographic, and NASCAR have turned to Chris for her advice on projecting like a leader.  Chris has coached more women candidates and elected officials than any other trainer and was an advisor to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and debate coach to women governors and Members of Congress.

Order her book today!

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Pockets are a Girl’s Best Friend

Pockets are a Girl’s Best Friend

Next time you’re shopping, be on the look out for a blazer with pockets.  Pockets can be lifesavers when you are standing at the front of the room.  No, I don’t mean you should cram your hands into them.  Rather, they can help ensure you’ll be ready when it’s your turn to talk.

Pockets can hold helpful tools.  Note cards in the 3×5 size will fit.  You can easily pull them out should you need a prompt.  Having a tissue handy is a must if you are suffering from a cold.  And, a throat lozenge will ease a scratchy throat or cotton mouth.  If you use a remote, you won’t have to hold it the entire time you’re talking.

As far as hands in the pockets – one hand is poised but two hands is a no-no.  It will look sloppy and if you’re nervous you will likely clench your into fists.

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A Guidebook to Confidence

Tips and strategies to project your best self and earn the respect you deserve.


In her book “The Well-Spoken Woman: Your Guide to Looking and Sounding Your Best” speech coach Chris Jahnke shares behind-the-scenes tips to help you project with confidence. Chris has 20 years of experience guiding women from all walks of life to success before audiences large and small. Learn strategies for the board room and the PTA meeting, TV studios and convention halls, YouTube and panel discussions, conferences and classrooms.

The Techniques of Successful Women: How Did She Do It? What Can I Learn From Her?

  • Present your best self like PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi
  • Project podium presence like Hillary Clinton
  • Overcome the imposter syndrome like Tina Fey
  • Advocate for a cause like Melinda Gates
  • Conquer the camera like Suzy Orman
  • Tell stories like Maya Angelou
  • Use humor like Ann Richards

The book showcases American women who use their voices to create change, ignite imaginations, coach teams to victory, and advocate for justice. Let this be the guide that helps you stop second-guessing yourself or falling short with your speaking abilities.

Filled with wisdom and practical pointers you will be able to express your ideas with confidence and earn the respect of any audience.

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My Inspiration

My Inspiration

As a speech coach and media trainer, I’ve spent the past 20 years helping people from all walks of life stand and deliver before audiences large and small. My training firm, Positive Communications, was founded to encourage more women to find and use their voices. What began as my own desire to be taken seriously has grown into a mission to encourage more women to enter the public square.

Like many people, I wasn’t always comfortable on stage. In junior high as a shy, skinny teen, a gym teacher told me I would eventually grow into my height. This awkwardness caused me
to panic at the prospect of being called upon in class. Later, any hope of becoming a distinguished news correspondent was dashed in my first on-air job – a TV weather girl in Minnesota. A three minute forecast left me in a cold sweat gasping for air.

tumblr_lrdfsoNUUs1qk2049Since those days in local TV, I’ve come to learn that nearly every woman has something about her speaking style that she would like to improve. It doesn’t matter whether you are a top executive, entrepreneur, or community activist. The most accomplished speakers hone their skills and develop their talents over time.

Now when my clients step up to the microphone I’m cheering them on. Working with women who lead companies and champion causes is tremendously rewarding. I’ve coached executive women from companies as diverse as Avon, Inc. to NASCAR and the National Geographic Channel to Northrop Grumman. I’ve advised First Lady Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, and prepped more women candidates and elected officials than any other trainer.

tumblr_lrdg1bDwmW1qk2049Well-spoken woman and former Governor of Texas Ann Richards celebrated the achievements of women when she declared: “After all, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did backwards and in high heels.” I wrote this book so that you will have the skills and knowledge to present your best self. You are already generating great ideas and accomplishing good things. With new talents and confidence you will earn the respect you deserve.

“The Well-Spoken Woman can be you.”


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Well-Spoken Classics

Well-Spoken Classics

Learn more about the amazing women featured in The Well-Spoken Woman. Each chapter highlights a woman who has mastered a skill. See some of these speakers in action. Analyzing their signature styles will help you articulate your ideas and carry yourself like a leader.

  • Chapter One: Ann Richards – The Power Persona
    Governor Ann Richards had it all – Texas-sized hair, a quick wit, and deep conviction. She was a bigger than life personality who embodied the Well-Spoken Woman’s Power Persona. The Power Persona is the foundation on which you can build your own distinctive style.
  • Chapter Two: Indra Nooyi – Take Charge Confidence
    PepsiCo’s Indra Nooyi didn’t reach the top echelons of corporate America by second guessing decisions and keeping mum about accomplishments. Nooyi is a remarkably, candid CEO who isn’t afraid to speak her mind. One of Forbes 100 most powerful women, Nooyi shows it is possible to assert your authentic self in any setting.
  • Chapter Three: Barbara Jordan – Voice of Authority
    Do you speak with the power of Minnie Mouse? Projecting well doesn’t require the resonance of cable TV host Rachel Maddow or the range of Mariah Carey. But, to be a contender you must sound like you know what you are talking about. Barbara Jordan’s commanding voice was unparalleled. This chapter has easy practice exercises that will help you articulate your ideas with eloquence and power.
  • Chapter Four: Pat Summitt – All the Right Moves
    If you’ve been getting feedback that your delivery style needs work, maybe, just maybe there is something to the critique. The world’s most successful basketball coach knows how to move with dexterity and strength. University of Tennessee coach Pat Summitt shares the secrets to developing the body language of a champion.
  • Chapter Five: Melinda Gates – Strategic Messaging
    When it comes to the topic of global health Melinda Gates takes the subject of strategic messaging very seriously. At the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation a vague sense of a vision isn’t sufficient when lives are on the line. Gates delivers purposeful messages to inspire audiences and elicit a response.
  • Chapter Six: Elizabeth Dole – Preplanned Spontaneity
    tumblr_lqtczl0seo1qk2049Stop putting yourself in the position of frantically jotting notes in the cab or pulling out last year’s presentation the night before. Former American Red Cross executive and U.S. Senator, Elizabeth Dole is always prime time ready. “Preplanned Spontaneity” is an approach that will help you prepare for when things go right and when they go wrong.
  • Chapter Seven: Maya Angelou – Words Matter
    tumblr_lqtdavKvRY1qk2049Speechwriting is not something that’s necessary only forceremonial occasions or formal events. Whether you are delivering a keynote address, making a toast, or giving a briefing, it is essential to organize your thoughts on paper. If you don’t write it first you won’t be able to say it nearly as well. Maya Angelou’s powerful pen can turn a humdrum presentation into one that will leave a lasting impression.
  • Chapter Eight: Suze Orman – On-Camera Savvy
    tumblr_lqtdi2F6cS1qk2049With her signature look and no nonsense advice, the people’s financial advisor isn’t your typical cable TV host. Suze Orman is an accessible personality who projects her best self on camera and off. This chapter demystifies the camera with specific tips on how to sit, where to look, and what to wear. The SHAPE UP TV techniques put you in the driver’s seat so you can present a polished, professional on-screen image.
  • Chapter Nine: Madeleine Albright – Charming Troublemakers
    You can be ready for troublemakers who may attempt to sabotage your presentation or news reporters with biased questions. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright provides a how-to on handling indifferent, skeptical, or even hostile audiences. Learn how Albright went toe-to-toe with foreign leaders charming them with her wit and firm resolve.
  • Chapter Ten: Hillary Clinton - Podium Presence
    Hillary Clinton has become a leader with international podium presence. The great ones don’t get there alone. Behind every strong woman there is a ready and able support team. The final chapter offers insights on what each of us can do for our sisters, daughters, mothers, colleagues, and friends so they can be well-spoken, too.
    Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State and Fmr. United States Senator
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Committed to Justice

Committed to Justice

Anu Bhagwati

This former Marine Captain has taken her voice to Capitol Hill on behalf of victims of sexual assault in the military. Anu foresees a military where all those in uniform serve their country free from the threat of assault, harassment, or intimidation. In 2013, the Pentagon reported over 3,500 cases of sexual assault. With her boots on the ground experience, Anu is leading an effort to bring justice to the victims and transform the culture. Learn more about the organization she heads, the Service Women’s Action Network.

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