Mastering The Art of Public Speaking with Michael Hoeppner, Sr. Communications Advisor for the Andrew Yang 2020 Presidential Campaign

andrew yang 2020 campaign communication michael hoeppner public speaking Dec 30, 2019

This week’s interview with my friend Michael Hoeppner blew my mind - as it will yours.  We peeked into his role as the strategic communications advisor for my favorite 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang and chatted about how to be a more effective communicator. As the founder and CEO of GK Training and a communications professor at Columbia Business School, Michael has 10 years of experience in communications consulting for Fortune 500 companies, executives, non-profits, and universities, as well as presidential campaigns in both 2016 and 2020. Michael broke down the limiting beliefs we have around public speaking, three actionable, effective ways to manage your nerves so you can ace high-stress interviews and presentations, and the 5 Ps of voice that will instantly elevate your speech delivery. 

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Favorite Takeaways From This Episode

As a communication specialist, you are helping to allow ideas & voices to be heard.

Clarity on your message is incredibly important for people to get behind you and support you.

If more people are talking about something, it’s not about who said it first, it’s about the fact that people are talking about it.

Your best person to work with is anyone who wants to get better & believes they can. 

People have fixed mindsets about themselves & their abilities that hinder their progress & success, so often the biggest amount of work that needs to be done is not improvement of skills, but mindset shifts.

Communication is actually a skill that you can practice and get better at rather than believing you simply, "aren't good at it, and can't."

Thinking, feeling, doing - which do you think have the most control over? Doing is what we perceive we have the most control over, so when it comes to overcoming a limiting belief that you “can’t” do something, focus on kinesthetic ways to bring awareness to feeling. i.e. in public speaking, ground your feet when you stand.

Kinesthetic ways to calm fears before doing something big (any high stakes communication event): 

1. Mindset: trying to fight nerves by suppressing them is the first mistake. Because the more you tell yourself not to feel a certain way, the more you feel nervous. Stop fighting them. Find something more interesting to focus on than your nervousness. Welcome the nerves in. Accept them.

2. Physical: A breathing technique a 1:3:2 technique to calm your nervous system. It dramatically slows down your breath & the physical tension you’re feeling in your body.

3. We try to contract ourselves to make ourselves smaller when we’re nervous. Focus on taking up more space. Open your mouth wider when you speak, gesture more, lengthen your spine.

Gestures are GOOD. It means you use all of yourself to communicate a message. 

It’s OK to take up SPACE. It helps us to physically appear more confident & help us feel that confidence internally.

5 Ps of speaking/vocal variety: Pace, Pause, Pitch, Power, Placement

We do all 5 naturally. But most of the time, you need to study one to influence the rest.

You CAN speak clearly and in a way that people enjoy listening to if you identify which of the 5 Ps you struggle with.

Everyone could be afford to be more intentional and more methodical about what they say.

You do the best communicating when you’re intentionally focused on helping the person in front of you. NOT the communication itself.

Connect With Michael:

  1. GK website:
  2. Twitter: @mchoeppner
  3. App: Question Roulette (practice app developed by GK Training available for free on Apple and Android)

What Did You Think?

What practical tip resonated with you the most? Leave a comment below.


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