Improve your speech for non-native English speakers. Click here to learn more.

  • Audiobook

    Audiobook Icon Audiobook now on sale! Also available on Audible.com.

    “Great graduation present!”

    Inspired to extend a helping hand to ambitious women working in corporate America, a veteran executive offers honest, practical, slightly irreverent advice about navigating companies that are run and populated predominately by men.


    Buy the paperback here.


    Learn to see yourself as others do and become magnetic, magnanimous, and memorable! Savvy advice, specific examples, and tactical exercises to develop your presence—in months, not years.

  • About the Author

    Jennifer K. Crittenden earned an MBA in finance and worked for over twenty years in the US and abroad, rising from financial analyst to chief financial officer. She is the author of five books, including the award-winning Discreet Guide for Executive Women. She offers professional development programs through her company The Discreet Guide.

    Read her LinkedIn profile.

  • Links to Booksellers:

    Paperback, Kindle and Audio versions available here on Amazon.

    Paperback and ePub version available here at Powells.

    Audio version available here at audible.com.

    Paperback and Nook versions available here at Barnes & Noble.

    Paperback version available here at Alibris.

    Paperback and ePub versions available here at BookDepository.com (free shipping worldwide).

    ePub version available here on diesel-ebooks.

    ePub version available here on eBookMall.

Excerpt from Your American Voice Handbook


Session #6



1. Care of the Voice: Hydration, avoid harsh throat clearing

2. Vocal Warmups: sing a, e, i, o, u or may, mee, meye, moh, mou, ha-ha-ha-ha

3. Use of gentle onsets: long e as in beet, long u as in boot, ow, ah, long I as in bite

4. Light contact: p,p,p,p, b,b,b,b, t,t,t,t, d,d,d,d

5. Vocal Cool-Downs: light humming

6. Breathing: thoracic: pull into chest; Diaphragmatic: push down on diaphragm when breathing in

7. Relaxation breathing: “Equal breathing,” abdominal breathing, mouth/nose breathing

8. Avoiding strain: loose tummy and jaw ‘blah blah blah,’ yawn to open throat, “lift” cheek muscles, breath in with gentle “k” sound

Rhythm Problems for Chinese Speakers

      1. Reduced Syllables are less frequent in Chinese.

        fish ’n’ chips

        dollars ’n’ cents

        The capital of England is London.

        My name is Lawrence.

      1. Intonation: pitch changes are used to distinguish words in Chinese, creating a sing-song effect in English. Sentence intonation is uncommon.

        These aren’t the doids you’re looking for.

        Help me, Obi wan Kanobi, you’re my only hope.

        The force is strong with this one.

        Aren’t you a little short for a storm trooper?

        That’s no moon. It’s a space station.

        May the force be with you.

      1. Juncture: Chinese monosyllabicity leads to a staccato effect in English.

        Actual results may differ materially.

        Fourth quarter earnings results, including forward-looking statements

        Trailing twelve-month operating cash flow increased 31%.

        Year-over-year growth in revenue, excluding the effect of foreign exchange

        Adjusting for the $244 million stock-based compensation expense


Sample #6 Harrison Ford as President Marshall in Air Force One


I came here tonight to be congratulated. But today when I visited the Red Cross camps, overwhelmed by the flood of refugees fleeing from the horror of Kazakhstan, I realized I don’t deserve to be congratulated. None of us do. Let’s speak the truth. And the truth is, we acted too late. Only when our own national security was threatened did we act. Radek’s regime murdered over 200,000 men, women and children and we watched it on TV. We let it happen. People were being slaughtered for over a year and we issued economical sanctions and hid behind a rhetoric of diplomacy. How dare we? The dead remember. Real peace is not just the absence of conflict, it’s the presence of justice. And tonight, I come to you with a pledge to change America’s policy. Never again will I allow our political self-interest to deter us from doing what we know to be morally right. Atrocity and terror are not political weapons and to those who would use them – Your day is over. We will never negotiate. We will no longer tolerate and we will no longer be afraid. It’s your turn to be afraid.”

Sample #7 Jack Nicholson’s speech to his neighbor in As Good As It Gets


Never, never, interrupt me, okay? Not if there’s a fire, not even if you hear the sound of a thud from my home and one week later there’s a smell coming from there that can only be a decaying human body and you have to hold a hanky to your face because the stench is so thick that you think you’re going to faint. Even then, don’t come knocking. Or, if it’s election night, and you’re excited and you wanna celebrate because some fudgepacker that you date has been elected the first queer president of the United States and he’s going to have you down to Camp David, and you want someone to share the moment with. Even then, don’t knock. Not on this door. Not for ANY reason. Do you get me, sweetheart?

Sample #8 Robert Downey Jr’s speech about the Jerico in Iron Man


Is it better to be feared, or respected. And I say, is it too much to ask for both? With that in mind, I humbly present the crown jewel of Stark Industries’ freedom line. It’s the first missile system to incorporate our proprietary repulsar technology. They say that the best weapon is the one you never have to fire. I respectfully disagree. I prefer the weapon you only have to fire once. That’s how Dad did it, that’s how America does it, and it’s worked out pretty well so far. Find an excuse to let one of these off the chain, and I personally guarantee, the bad guys won’t even wanna come out of their caves. For your consideration… the Jericho. … I’ll throw one of these in for every purchase of $500 million or more. To peace.”

Note: These three actors have very distinctive rhythms. They mutter, but because of their inflections, they are still understandable.

© 2017 Jennifer K. Crittenden

  • Invest in Yourself! Executive Presence

    Customized one-on-one consulting program to enhance your presence, both professionally and personally. Available from anywhere. Starts anytime. Ten 90-minute individualized sessions. Private and confidential. More info
  • Experts About the Presence of Others

  • Trailer for Exceptional Presence Program

  • Archived Issues

    Click here for the "Debunking Psychological Studies" Issue - November 2019.

    Click here for the "Imposter Syndrome" Issue - May 2019.

    Click here for the "Improv" Issue - Mar 2019.

    Click here for the "Podcast" Issue - Jan 2019.

    Click here for the "Books" Issue - Nov 2018.

    Click here for the "Civility and Anger" Issue - Sep 2018.

    Click here for the "Women and Money" Issue - July 2018.

    Click here for the "Training" Issue - May 2018.

    Click here for the "Lady" Issue - Mar 2018.

    Click here for the "Year of the Woman" Issue - Jan 2018.

    Click here for the "Sexual Misconduct" Issue - Nov 2017.

    Click here for the "Empathy" Issue - Sep 2017.

    Click here for the "Uncommon Courtesy" Issue - July 2017.

    Click here for the "Humor" Issue - May 2017.

    Click here for the "Stage Fright" Issue - Mar 2017.

    Click here for the "Women's March" Issue - Jan 2017.

    Click here for the "Executive Presence" Issue - Nov 2016.

    Click here for the "New Opportunity, i.e., Looking for Work" Issue - Sep 2016.

    Click here for the "Business Travel" Issue - July 2016.

    Click here for the "Bully" Issue - May 2016.

    Click here for the "Men, Women, and Money" Issue - March 2016.

    Click here for the "Boss" Issue - January 2016.

    Click here for the November 2015 Apology Edition.

    Click here for the September 2015 Single Mother Edition.

    Click here for the July 2015 Negotiation Edition.

    Click here for the May 2015 Birthday Edition.

    Click here for the Mar 2015 First Edition.

  • Straight Talk Logo