To Prepare for Appapalooza, Find Your Inner Superhero

Kristine Schaefer is principal of Loma Communications, an executive communications coaching firm whose motto is: “Tell the world who you are, what you stand for and how you’ll deliver.”

Dear Technovation Challengers,

In the ways that Title IX paved the way for girls in sports and academics, the work you’re doing will change the tech world in years to come.

For Appapalooza, there are two things you need to prepare, the first is your content; the second is yourself. There’s no substitute for knowing your content, and that means knowing your pitch by heart. We’ll work on this in our “Making a Brilliant Pitch” workshop on Saturday, March 17.

If you have your pitch drafted, start practicing your part of the pitch and the part of every other member of your team, and have them do the same. Knowing that your team can back you up and vice versa will give you all more confidence.

I’m looking forward to helping you shape your story for Appapalooza and will leave you with a few “Tips for Successful Public Speaking.”



First, think of your motivation. What is it that you want? You and your team members have worked diligently on your app, now it’s time to tell the world what you’ve done. Give that some thought and write down a clear, compelling statement about your purpose and your motivation. This is your touchstone. Keeping that larger purpose in mind will help put your feeling about public speaking in perspective.


Next, visualize what you’d look like doing your absolute best. Close your eyes, what does it feel like when you’re relaxed, energized and on top of your game? Picture yourself walking out on stage, smiling, and greeting the judges and audience, then boldly giving your part of the pitch.


Breath is what powers your voice, and if you can control your breathing, you can control your voice. Practice deep, slow diaphragmatic breathing. Slowing your breathing to four breaths per minute will trigger the parasympathetic nervous system, the system that calms you, and will help to keep you cool under pressure.


Imagine trying to reach for something high above your head. Could you do that if you’re all tense and constricted? Probably not. Stretching, then tensing and releasing your muscles can help you relax so that your breath and movements are free and unconstricted. Tune in to your body—where do you hold your tension? Focus on those areas and the parts of your body involved with speaking, which is just about everything from your jaw, tongue, neck, chest, intercostal muscles, and diaphragm all the way down to your toes, which help keep you firmly grounded and balanced.

Find your inner superhero

This is what best selling author Amy Cuddy calls a “power pose”.  If you want to look and feel powerful, adopt a powerful pose. Start with your feet—plant your feet firmly on the floor, weight equally balanced between both feet. Your legs should be strong and active.  Stand tall, with your spine straight, shoulders back and head held high. If you know yoga, try doing a few warrior poses before you go out on stage. If not, make up your own personal superhero pose. And remember, superheroes don’t have teensy weensy voices.  Find your big, outdoor voice and let it fill the room.  If you do this, you’ll feel ready to take on the world!

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