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


Tributes to Christine Jahnke

Full obituary: The Washington Post

More Stories