194: Discover Your Speaking Superpower

On this week's episode of This Moved Me, neuroscientist Carmen Simon shares her tips for speakers to help them create talks that audiences remember.

In the 90’s, my friend Jane was an aspiring actor in L.A. She is amazingly talented - but as it goes in L.A., was struggling to make it big like she dreamed she would. So, as many young actors do, she took a class hoping to find the secret to landing more gigs and roles. 

Enter the “Discovering Your Pearl Button” course. 

In it, she and her classmates would go to LAX airport (back in the days before 9-11 and you could walk right up to the gates without a boarding pass) to do an experiment that would reveal what her “pearl button” is. Jane would bring three very different “character” outfits. And her classmates would bring sheets of paper with dozens of descriptive characteristics listed on them. And they would begin. 

Jane and her classmates would walk into a gate where people were waiting to board their plane. Jane was dressed as a character. 

Character #1: Preppie Lady, wearing a golf skirt, tennies and polo shirt. 

Jane would stand around looking Preppie, while her classmates would hand around the characteristic sheets and say to these strangers waiting to get on their plane… 

“See that woman over there? Would you mind circling three characteristics that you think apply to her?”

(And because they’re in LA and used to such shenanigans, they would.) 

The travelers boarded their plane; the class collected the sheets; and Jane went and changed for Character #2. 

Character #2: Hippy Yoga Mom, wearing a long flowy skirt, peasant top, free-flowing hair.  

New travelers. Same thing. "See that woman over there? What three characteristics apply?"

Travelers boarded the plane. Classmates collected sheets. And Jane changed into 

Character #3: Power Work Woman, with a suit, briefcase, heels - looking busy and serious. 

Same spiel. “What three characteristics apply?" 

And finally - after three very different characters, they collected all of the surveys and looked for the most common characteristics across the experience. What seemed to be emanating from Jane - regardless of what character she played? THAT is her Pearl Button. 

Turns out, Jane is “sunny” (so true!) - and knowing that - she looked for “sunny” characters to audition for. If that’s what people ‘get’ from her, regardless of the role … she might as well lean into it!

When Jane told me this story, it was one of those AHA moments… THIS IS TRUE FOR SPEAKERS, TOO, I told her! If we can know what energy audiences GET from us… that characteristic that is so essential to who we are that - despite our efforts to hide it and become something else? - we can embrace and free it, creating a clearer and more authentic connection with our audiences. 

Our audiences want to feel like they know us. 

So let’s stop hiding what is essential, and instead share it… by discovering it, knowing it, and then utilizing it - our Pearl Button becomes our Speaking Superpower.  

So - Are you ready to figure out what your Speaking Superpower is?


Download this FREE workbook to walk you through a short process to help you discover what makes you ‘you’ up on stage!

  • The story behind the “pearl button” - and how that can help us find our speaking superpower

Resources and links:

Discover Your Speaking Superpower download

Sign up for the Speaking Story online course!


If you want to dig deeper into how to bring your story to life on stage, get on the waitlist for my upcoming SPEAKING STORY course! I’d love to have you join in on the fun. <3