Speak Like a Superhero…No Cape Required

Oct 25, 2023 | First Person

By Bridgett McGowen-Hawkins, speaker, author and publisher and member of NAWBO Phoenix

Presenting at a conference? Pitching your company to a room of investors? Engaging in a call with a prospect? In any instance, you must show up with power and confidence and give your listener an experience that makes you unforgettable for all the right reasons. Employ these presentation and communication strategies to harness your internal superpowers and have yourself standing out from the crowd!

  1. Remember “blazing hot” ≠ a lot of hype. At the start of a presentation, speakers oftentimes want to “get their audiences pumped,” encouraging everyone to immediately shout out an energetic response to a “Who’s ready for XYZ?!” or “Who wants ABC?!” They showed up, so they’re ready and they want it. Now, if the plan is you are there to hype everyone up, then please proceed. But that’s typically not what audiences want.  Busy professionals are looking for real strategies and solid information they can use that will make them more impactful. However, if your audience wants the hype, then give the people what they crave! Either way it goes, ask yourself if the hype is for your benefit or the audience’s. If it’s for your benefit, then rethink that—you should show up already pumped and ready to bring it. If you believe it’s for the audience’s benefit but you have not confirmed unequivocally that’s what they’re expecting, then read on…
  2. Tell them your HOW and your WHY, not your WHAT. Listeners want to know how you can empower them to be more productive, more profitable and more powerful. That, my friend, is what makes for a blazing hot presentation or conversation. They want to know why they should listen to you. It matters not to your listener what YOU know or what YOU do until you show them how you can elevate them and what THEY do! Blow off their socks by telling them how you bring about transformations that connect to what they do and how you can move them to up-level. Once you make it clear you are there to make a difference, then you have them in the palm of your hand.
  3. Make space for silence. If you ask a question, then give everyone time to think before they verbalize an answer. If you keep talking, it’s nearly impossible for everyone to successfully focus while simultaneously listening to you. Similarly, a slide with a lot of text on it does not provide space for silence. First, that’s poor slide design; have no more than a few words on a slide or no text at all but a gorgeous image that jogs your memory as to what is up next for discussion. But second, and more to the point, the audience can read silently faster than you can read/summarize the slide aloud for them. And when asked your price on a sales call, give it, then make space for silence. Don’t explain why it’s the amount it is, don’t apologize for it and don’t start offering up discounts. State it, then shut it. Make space for silence. It really is golden.
  4. Consistently look and sound unstoppable. Look and sound like the role you want to portray, and establish your credibility. Shoulders back, head up, eyes laser-focused; adopt these practices with your body language every single time you speak no matter where you are and no matter to whom you speak. Reduce your use of “uh’s” and “um’s” otherwise known as filler words. Make statements that sound certain, not flimsy. For instance, say, “I know,” not “I think.” Eliminate high-rising terminals or uptalk so every statement you make does not sound like a question. Give the impression you are the most confident and powerful speaker there is, and when you do that, you will be unforgettable.
  5. Give a call to action (CTA). After you present, move your listener to extend their thinking and engagement so they remember you and your message and take action long after you have finished speaking. Make sure your CTA makes sense and moves you closer to your goal. Give no more than one or two CTAs, not three or four. If you give too many options for their next steps, then you may run the risk of them taking NO next steps.

Whether you present at a conference, pitch yourself or your company or are on a call with a prospect, show up with power and confidence and make yourself unforgettable for all the right reasons.

About the Author…

Bridgett McGowen-Hawkins is an award-winning international professional speaker, author and publisher who encourages you to be the most unforgettable person in the room. Visit BridgettMcGowen.com for Bridgett’s books and services that are based on her more than two decades of experience as a professional speaker. Get more presentation and communication strategies from Bridgett by subscribing and listening to her Own the Microphone podcast.

And are you ready to share your message on a larger stage? Press 49 is ready to make your dream of becoming a published author a reality.


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