195: The Story Behind My 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.

One of my favorite parts of doing workshops is when I help people discover the ‘THING’ that makes their voice unique. The thing that is essential to them. The thing that, despite our misguided efforts to polish up, layer up and perfect our role as “speaker” (whatever that means!)… well, it still eeks out. :) Which, honestly, is a wonderful wonderful thing, and the HEART of AUTHENTICITY! I call it your Speaking Superpower. If we can own it - it’s powerful. 

Part of owning it is sharing it!…So I’ll start by sharing mine.

Many years ago, as I was heading off into rounds for a national speech tournament, one of my amazing speech coaches went around telling me and my teammates what gift we brought to our speeches. 

Brian was “intelligent.” And he is! He made his sophisticated ideas meaningful and powerful. 

And Missy? Missy was “passionate.” And WOW, that is so true! She is full of life. People have always been drawn to her vibrance! 

And then she turned to me. 

What do I have?, I thought excitedly! I could not WAIT to hear what it was about me that people saw! 

And she kind of shrugged and said,

“Sally… people just... like you.”



They LiKE me?! What kind of thing is that? That’s not a thing!

I kind of felt like my 'THING' wasn't really a thing. 

But...I was bringing something to the table, because I went on to win the National Championship of Original Oratory that spring. 

And a few years later I walked into hundreds of talks in front of squirrely 7th graders...

And I auditioned for shows and gave pitches for fundraisers and sales opportunities and… 

And I think what may have helped is this thing that my coach was calling likeability

Now, there’s a risk in sharing this cause the moment you say “people like me” is the moment you probably stop becoming likable! (<——True.)

So let me say this: It has taken me YEARS to see it not as a silly, shallow, flimsy thing to be poo-poo’d.

  • It is a gift to be able to walk into most rooms and easily connect with people. I don’t take it for granted, and I’m grateful for it. 

  • It’s also been a bit of a tripping point for me both personally and professionally, because when someone DOESN’T like me (which - hello!!! - happens all the time!), it hurts more than it should. When likability is your thing... NOT being liked feels scary. Which can hold me back sometimes.  

But I have come to understand and appreciate that I connect easily. I feel connected to people as easily as they feel connected to me. It’s a gift.

My Speaking Superpower is… 

Words Fail Us.

I don’t really use the word “likable” - it still holds some ‘popularity contest’ kind of vibes to it that I just don’t gel with. It’s evolved from “positive” or “relatable.” Sometimes it’s “bright” and “alive” and “real.” The feeling that as an audience, it is personal, one-on-one, even in a big audience.

It’s will evolve.

So today (because tomorrow it could be different) - I’ve decided that it is connection. 

Leaning into CONNECTION means that, for me, I'll continue to focus on the people in the room, and how these opportunities can open up pathways and understanding between us. <3 I impact you - and you impact me. It goes both ways. And I love that.

It’s a draft.

It will continue to change. Every time I speak I learn more about who I am up there - and who I am to you, the audience.

So - what is YOUR SUPERPOWER? I really want to know!

If you want to find out, here's what you can do: 

1) Go to www.speakingsuperpower.com and download the workbook. 

2) Take 15 minutes to go through the exercise. 

3) Put a stake in the ground, and choose something. (Remember: words fail us, it will evolve, this is just a draft.)

4) Come to Insta and tag me @ThisMovedMe sharing why you chose what you did. I cannot wait to hear the stories! #ThisMovedMe #speakingsuperpower


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 my own Speaking Superpower

  • Why we wrestle with bringing our gifts out into the world

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