Home > News & Advice > News Obituaries > Christine Jahnke (1963–2020), speech coach for women in politics

Christine Jahnke (1963–2020), speech coach for women in politics

by Linnea Crowther

Christine Jahnke was a speech coach who helped women in politics hone their communications skills and increase their electability.

Creating confident candidates

With a background in broadcast journalism, Jahnke discovered that she preferred working behind the scenes to appearing on camera. She made a career out of instilling confidence and public speaking skill to women running for political office – or women who were otherwise thrust into the political spotlight, like Michelle Obama. When Obama became first lady in 2008, Jahnke coached her on how to use a teleprompter. Jahnke’s knowledge covered a wide spectrum of factors, including how to stand on stage, how to speak forcefully without being accused of shrillness, and where to place one’s hands when speaking at a lectern. Jahnke wrote the books “The Well-Spoken Woman: Your Guide to Looking and Sounding Your Best” (2011) and “The Well-Spoken Woman Speaks Out: How to Use Your Voice to Drive Change” (2018).

Notable quote

“When I watch a videotape of a practice speech with a male client, he’ll typically say, ‘I’m doing great!’ A woman will say, ‘Oh, my God, my hair looks bad. My voice sounds weird.’ We’re really hard on ourselves.” —from an interview with Redbook

Advertisement

Tributes to Christine Jahnke

Full obituary: The Washington Post

More Stories

Advertisement