Hillary Clinton Uses Typical Politician Style

If you love Hillary, she gave a great speech and you’d give her an A +. If you really dislike Hillary, she gave a horrible speech and you’d give her an F. If you are an executive speech coach and can approach her dispassionately and ignore the content of her speech, you’d say she was an average politician.

This blog is non-political. It is based on my experiences with speakers from around the world. To keep this an assessment of style—not substance—I look at the overall stage presence, voice quality, variety of vocal pacing and projection, and techniques to make it memorable (such as humor, repetitive phrases, call backs, visuals, analogies, examples, stories.) So here’s my grade for her tonight: C.

Here are the notes on various style points that all speakers can learn from:

1. She started out by shouting her words. The pitch was the same. It is very difficult for a woman to pull that off. Hillary can’t.
2. When she did quit shouting and softened her voice, it was much more interesting to listen to, because it allowed her to use a variety of pitches and sound more natural.
3. She spoke too slowly. And the sentences were often the same length, making it often too patterned.
4. Great memories of the people she met along the campaign trail. Quick 1 or 2 sentences summaries that got to the heart of the story. “I remember….” is a great technique. It allowed her to list all the people she wanted to highlight and use them as a…..

5. Callback. Callbacks take you back to something that was earlier said. At the end she asked “Are you in it for me? Or are you in it for….” It allowed her to make her point: she wanted her followers to look at the big picture, rather than only her.

6. She is a pro at using a Teleprompter. It felt like the speech wasn’t even being read.

7. The crowd loved the reference to the Sisterhood of Traveling Pantsuits. Clever. Natural humor is always a crowd pleaser. No need to tell jokes.

Overall, the techniques she used with the writing were good. But her shouting makes her sound like the typical politician, which is often equated with used car salesmen!

If you’d like an expert assessment of your speaking style, drop me an email at

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