Teaching, Selling, And Workshops Are Not The Same Thing. Here’s How I Prepare When I’m Going To Teach…
I’ve been teaching at events for a number of years now. I’ve taught everyone from newbies to the extremely experienced and wealthy. Over time, I’ve developed my own format to prepare and deliver my content…
It’s this template that allows me to riff on stage for 2 hrs at a time without losing the audience or becoming a yawn zone.
There are specific principles that I follow… and today, because a few people have reached out and asked how I do it, I’m going to share my formula with you. BOOM!
Let’s do this…
AVOIDING THE YAWN ZONE
There are different mechanisms, frameworks, and patterns I use to teach on stage in a way that’s:
- High Energy
Some of the principles I teach, man, they’re sooo freaking boring. I know they’re boring.
I HATE listening to boring speakers, so I REALLY don’t wanna be one.
The Denver Broncos, they’re my team. I don’t really watch much football, but when I do I’m not really an armchair quarterback…
…BUT I’m TOTALLY an armchair quarterback when I watch other people on stage.
I nitpick the crap out of ’em. I can’t help it:
- Oh, I would have done that another way
- I would have pointed differently there
- What’s with the stature of that person?
- Why is every one of their sentences going down at the end? They should be going up.
… this is my craft. I can’t help but watch what people are doing on stage.
If you want to keep your audience engaged, you can’t just walk on stage and just talk about your thing and think that that’s enough. *BIG MISTAKE*
Half of the skill of being a speaker is being able to deliver cool stuff; the other half is being able to read the audience and adapt what you’re saying to suit them.
…it all comes down to two different skills:
READING THE AUDIENCE
I’ve done a lot of three-day events, and I do a ton of preparation beforehand. I always have my slides ready, but NOT every group that comes into the room different.
I’ve got to be able to adjust my presentation based on the needs of the audience.
I don’t know how else to describe it, other than I watch the eyes of the audience to see if they’re with me or not… do I have them?
Working on your preparation and your delivery in the way I’m gonna show you will help stack the cards in your favor… but there are some things you can only learn through doing…
Nothing can really prepare you for the onstage experience, other than just doing it.
There’ve been some audiences that were just the driest, most unfun group to talk to ever. I’m not gonna say who they were, but it was a few events around Vegas and Texas.
I was like, “Man, are you guys dead?”
Anyway, before I say anything offensive, I’m gonna move on…
Some of the most fun stages are not necessarily the most educated in my field, so I’ve got to be able to adapt my delivery and start at a different level.
You’ve got to be really fluid as a stage talker. I’m always extremely prepared. However, I’m also gonna leave a little bit of playroom so I can watch how people are reacting.
WHAT’S YOUR PURPOSE?
Now there’s a MONUMENTAL between stage teaching and stage pitching.
- When I do a pitch from stage, I follow the webinar script.
- Teaching from stage, it’s similar, but there’s a lot more that goes into it.
…so today, I’m focusing solely on how I teach from stage.
You can’t just walk on stage and say, “Here’s the framework.”
Your audience will take one look, find something they think they’ve seen before, think they understand the rest, and immediately shut off…
There’s some finesse to this game… and here’s how to do it!
STAGE 1: PREPARATION
This is how I work out what to teach before I EVER go on stage…
- This is exactly what I did for OfferMind
- This is exactly what I did for all of the FHAT events
- It what I’m doing for my upcoming OfferLab.
When I first got to ClickFunnels and Russell started drafting the Expert Secrets Book, this is exactly what he did. Where do you think I learned it? 😉
I’m gonna show you how I prepare the content ahead of time to make sure that I am ready to over deliver on stage. Is it a brain jog? Yes, it’s mentally exhausting.
I’m going through the exact same process for my book right now. It’s not easy. NOT easy at all.
I not writing the book to make money, it’ll gonna make some, but my main purpose is to make sure I have an easy to consume information available for anyone who wants it.
It’s a low ticket thing = low cost + high circulation product.
Ok, so follow along here:
The first thing I do is draw the big framework picture. It’s a picture that represents all the content.
If I can explain a complex principle with a doodle, it means it’s simple enough for everyone to understand.
Most people are on a third-grade reading level, so I can’t stand up and use complex vocabulary.
The point is to not make me look smart, the point is to educate the audience.
It drives me nuts when you can tell someone wrote a speech to make themselves look smart, rather than to connect with the audience.
I’m not gonna name any names, but man, I went to events last year where one or two speeches were just created to remind everyone how cool the speaker was.
…I believe that if you want credit, don’t seek it. If you want stature, don’t seek it. It’s kinda saying:
“Remind me again of how awesome I am!”
…You distance yourself from the audience in that one move. Stupid, don’t do it!
The #2 reason that I draw a picture is to help me stay focused on what I need to produce, but also to help me stay focused on what I should NOT get distracted by…
There are squirrels!
As a speaker, it just takes that one person in the audience to ask a cool question for you to go off on a MASSIVE tangent.
Having the picture helps me think, “No! I’m sticking to a framework.”
Next, I break that picture down into four or five smaller sections. These are the major sections that you need to teach – they’re like little breakouts from the major framework.
When I’m doing Facebook Lives, or sometimes for my podcasts, I’ll follow a version of this.
When I draw the major, overarching principle pictures and I usually use blue.
Let’s say we have four of these breakout sections in blue…
Next, I draw a smaller picture, and I add content to each of them. When I draw this section, the color I typically use is green.
There’s a pattern for the content inside of each of these smaller green sections.
The content pattern I come up with for each green section is a:
- ‘So What?’
If you watch Russell, you’ll see that he uses this format in several places as well. I use this format a lot:
“Oh, cool quote about this. By the way, here’s a really cool story that’s gonna set you up to understand the concept when I drop it.”
…Which is why I always tell a lot of stories.
Next, there’s the “So what?” Meaning; “Who freaking cares?”
If I teach you something cool and you can’t use it, then who cares? I’m not here to say, “Oh, look how cool I am. So what? Who cares?
I hate my time being wasted. I do my best NOT to waste your time, so I always do a “So What?”
- Here’s the principle
- Here’s what you should be able to do with it now that you’ve learned it.
It’s like the deliverables – the thing you should be able to go do afterwards.
Then I do it again… BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
These are all tiny micro-stories that teach the bigger concept. There’ll be a bunch of ’em. However many I need to accurately show the BIG concept.
Does that make sense so far?
Next, I grab a red pen for the “So whats?” If you don’t have red, you’re dead… meaning this is the applicable area of what I’m teaching here.
I usually do some sort of either a workshop or Q&A, but not always. It’s very time-dependent. These usually end out the principle I’ve taught.
If you have tickets to the next OfferMind, then you got the replays from last year, and you watch me using this formula…
Each session was about an hour and a half to two hours, and then we needed a break, but I usually end with a workshop / Q&A session.
Then, I do the exact same thing for every one of those major blue pictures and frameworks moving forward. Does that make sense?
I don’t always use a whiteboard to do this. I’ve just got another 12 legal pads from Amazon Basics. I literally draw pictures and write the quotes on all these sheets all over my floor because it helps me to see:
“Crap, I’m missing a story on picture number two, section one. Oh, dang, I’m need to find a quote that backs up what I’ve been saying. Who else talks about this?”
That’s why I buy so many books. I don’t necessarily read that many books from cover to cover, I don’t.
I hunt answers.
If I know I’m missing a quote from a section, I’m like, “Crap, who talked about that again?”
Then I walk through my bookshelves, and I grab all the books that look about that topic and rifle through and speed read like crazy.
That’s why OfferMind was so good; I did my freaking homework.
That’s how I prepare to teach on stage, but that’s NOT how I teach the concepts at all.
STAGE #2: DELIVERY
So when I get on stage, I always start with a story at a place of high drama or a quote. Those are interchangeable, but these are always at the beginning of my presentation
I never just present the picture.
One of the reasons why I use whiteboards on stage is so I can draw the picture in front of the audience.
If you have to go fast, that’s fine, but it actually creates a deeper understanding for the audience if you draw and explain at the same time. Show the finalized picture that you prepared ahead of time, at the end.
Russell does this at Traffic Secrets. I did this several times at OfferMind, time depending.
I’m telling the audience the steps for that principle, but I’m also visually describing as I draw. That’s why you’ll see me drawing the picture even though it’s already done on the next slide.
This works so freaking good.
I’ve used this many times on a lot of stages. I experienced an abnormal amount of stage time for someone my age, and I’m just saying… *IT WORKS*
I have an artist make a rendering of each one of the pictures, but if I just show it, it’s not nearly as effective.
Then I go through my “So Whats?” and finish off with the Q&A/ Workshop.
I prepare it in the order I’ve shown you, but then I DON’T just:
- Show the picture
- Use a quote
- Tell a story
- Reveal a concept
- Add the “So Whats?”
BECAUSE… it’s better if the audience discovers the picture with you as you’re drawing it.
Man, that’s so much more effective. The learning’s a lot deeper.
I DARE YOU
I believe everybody should do an event. Events are incredible whether it’s virtual or in person.
Marketers are event creators.
If I ’m gonna do any kind of stage speech at all, if I have an hour, if I have 30 minutes, if I have three days, this is how I do it.
This is the format I follow in my head when I’m trying to over deliver my content:
- What’s the story format I’m using? Epiphany Bridge Script.
- What’s the quote I’m using? Someone who’s influential that the audience knows about.
- I draw the picture in front of the audience: I suck at drawing, whatever!
- Next, I walk through and number the steps out: it’s the same exact thing I would do in a webinar script, but in this format, it’s a little different.
- I write the “So Whats?”
- If I have time, I round up with either a Q&A or a Workshop: I love this section. It helps the audience really feel like they’ve got a lot.
Those are the formats I use for both PREPARATION and DELIVERY when I teach on stage.
LEMME SHOW YOU SOMETHING COOL…
After OfferMind ended, I was excited. I knew that it had been awesome, but I was tired. I’d not slept in a while, and if you’ve ever been on stage, you should be freaking tired.
The photographer came up to me after, and said, “You move more on stage than anybody I’ve ever seen ever.” and I said #1: “I hate speakers who are boring”. #2:” If I don’t keep things interesting it’s gonna suck.”
I don’t know if you’ve heard the saying that:
90 minutes on stage uses the equivalent in energy to a full eight-hour workday
I don’t know if it’s a stat or a saying, but I believe it’s true because it feels true every time I do it…
To go for two straight days, man, you’re wrecked, you’re so freaking tired.
Whenever I do a webinar, I act like I’m on stage. I’m exhausted after a webinar. I’m putting out energy, I’m working hard.
I set the pace, so I’ve got to come in high and hard to bring everyone up to a better place to engage and learn.
As I was about to walk off stage, Colton runs up, and he goes, “Hey, wait, everyone, don’t move, don’t move, don’t move.”
I didn’t know he had a mic in his hand. He invited John Ferguson up, and they gave me the Statue of Responsibility Award which had a hard time not kinda of crying over.
The reason I’m sharing this is not to pat my back, it’s to pat my wife Alyssa’s for everything she does to support what I’m doing. It’s pretty intense.
So I just wanna give a little shout out to my wife here and to share the amazing compliment John gave her when he handed us the award.
John spoke about how Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl, who wrote the amazing book Man’s Search For Meaning, believed that if we don’t act responsibly with our freedoms, we will lose them.
His vision was to create a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast to bookend the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast.
Freedom threatens to degenerate into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsiveness. And that is why now for ten years, I’ve been teaching my American audiences they should see to it that the Statue of Liberty on the Atlantic Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the Pacific Coast. – Viktor Frankl
In his study in Vienna, Viktor had a sculpture called The Suffering Man who is reaching up to the sky, looking for help. He always used to say, “Where is the hand reaching down?”
Which is why the Statue of Responsibility two hands clasped, one reaching up, and one reaching down.
Every day we make decisions. We can think about what defines us. Is it our past, or is it where we’re going? Is it what we want to do, or what’s happened to us? We have the ability. We decide what we’re going to create each and every day – Sculptor, Statue of Responsibility.
One last thing here with Alyssa… the reason why I wanted her on the stage is that she’s the hand reaching down at home while Stephen’s here with us. So thank you for giving us Stephen while you’re having to take care of the home. Appreciate it. – John Ferguson
Until Next Time: We love you and appreciate you a lot. This is totally a family endeavor. I hope you know and feel that from us. Go change the world.
Hey, whoever controls content controls the game. Wanna interview me or get interviewed yourself, grab a time now at stevejlarsen.com.