How to Prepare for and CRUSH Your Next Talk

“Your commitment to your audience will determine their commitment to your message”.

In my experience presenters, leaders, and influencers who create the biggest impact with their presentations have one thing in common: they spend significant amounts of time preparing and rehearsing their talks.

Recently I had the honor of speaking to 2,500 leaders in the health and wellness industry. As always, I went through my entire presentation preparation and delivery process.

In this post I would like to share with you the process I followed from brainstorming my topic, all the way to delivering my talk. Regardless of the type presentation you do, the type of content you cover, or the size of audience you speak to, I am confident these 10 steps will help you. Here they are:

I – Know your audience and setting
My presentation was for an event called CalJam CalJam is an AWESOME experience that brings together leaders who are interested in increasing their education in the realm of health, wellness, and the environment. This is what I knew about the event…

  • CalJam is high-energy, high-impact, and a super-fun atmosphere (they have rock bands in between speakers).
  • The audience is forward-thinking (they are open to new ideas), which meant I could go full-out!!
  • Most of the audience were doctors or associates of the docs.
Here is the picture of CalJam 2016.

Here is the picture of CalJam 2016.

II – Define the topic / big idea

When selecting the topic for my presentation, I had to keep 3 things in mind:

a) Provide value in my field of expertise (presentation, public speaking, and influence).
b) Explain the science behind my topic and how the audience can apply it.
c) Communicate my message in 20 minutes.

I decided on my topic by asking this question:

In the realm of public speaking and group communication, what are the major challenges for my audience?

I came up with two answers:

a) They may not be speaking to groups because they allow fear to block them.

b) They may be currently speaking but are not happy with their conversion (sales) during their presentations.

I have been addressing theses issues at our two public speaking seminars for the last 7 years (Influencing From The Front For The Business Speaker/ Influencing From The Front For The Chiropractor) programs, so I already had a solution for these.

The next step was to connect those problems with the science behind presenting so that my talk would meet their requirements. I came up with the following BIG idea for my presentation:  “The Psychology Of Presenting To The Brain”

III – Brainstorm my BIG idea
During our Influencing From The Front programs, (Chiro /Business speaker) I cover this process in detail.  In short,  I wrote my Big Idea in the middle of my brainstorm wheel and I started answering questions to prompt my thinking. For example, I may ask questions like:

  • What is the science behind presenting to the brain?
  • Why does my audience need to know this?
  • Why don’t most people know how to present to the brain?
  • What is the danger if they don’t know how to present to the brain?
  • How do they present to the brain?
  • What if they do present properly to the brain, what are the results?
  • Who is involved/impacted in this process?
  • When does it take place?
  • Where does it take place?
  • What is the next step?

You get the idea. Using this process, I was able to generate A LOT of ideas and fresh content.

The brainstorming wheel

The brainstorming wheel

IV – Create a persuasive presentation structure
Once I had brainstormed my ideas, I used our InfluenceOlogy presentation system to organize my talk. The major parts of my talk were: Opening, Pre-frame, Body, Pre-close, Close.

The Presentation Structure

The Presentation Structure

Opening: Is where I engage my audience, create curiosity and start creating the need for the content.

Now, if you see the title of the presentation “The Psychology Of Presenting To The Brain” and a guy walks in carrying a basketball, how curious are you going to be? 

Now, if you see the title of the presentation “The Psychology Of Presenting To The Brain” and a guy walks in carrying a basketball, how curious are you going to be?

Pre-frame: It is where I position my message and myself (my story)

Body: Has two major parts: the problem and the solution

The problem: I created a skit (see picture below) to demonstrate the problems that most presenters have when presenting to the brain that leads to poor conversion (sales) and uncertainty.

In this picture, my 3 friends, Dr. Brian Capra, Dr. Fred DiDomenico and Chris Lippe and I are demonstrating to the audience “The Psychology Of Presenting To The Brain - the rational brain, me, the emotional brain and the reptilian brain)

In this picture, my 3 friends, Dr. Brian Capra, Dr. Fred DiDomenico and Chris Lippe and I are demonstrating to the audience “The Psychology Of Presenting To The Brain” – (the rational brain, the emotional brain and the reptilian brain)

The solution: I offered 3 solutions (power of 3) for the problems I introduced previously during the presentation

Pre-close: This is where I introduce the next step to the audience. During this event you are not allow to sell from the stage, so I offered a FREE 2-hour video training for those interested in learning more. All they had to do to get the FREE 2-hour training was to text Jam to (858) 800-2266. Here is the slide I used during the talk.

Here is the Slide I used during my talk

Here is the Slide I used during my talk

Close: This is where I wrap up the talk and leave the audience on a high-note. I closed the loop ( I had opened my talk with a story) and shared one of my power lines.

IV – Increments of influence
Once I have my presentations semi-ready, I pass it through my “influence check-list” test to make sure it has the all the elements necessary for maximum impact. My check list is proprietary, long, and very dangerous in the hands of the wrong person. So, I am not going to share here. Two elements that I incorporated in this presentation were:

The presentation principle of engagement:

The presentation principle of power lines:

Picture: This is a powerline, a phrase that can change your mind. J

This is a power line, a phrase that can change your mind.

VI – Check for time
Once my talk was “ready”, it was time to start rehearsing to see how long it would take me to cover all my content. To my surprise, my first run was around 27 minutes (7 minutes more then my allotted time). I knew I had a lot of work to do! One of the most difficult things in speaking is cutting content out!

Most presenters are too attached to their content and instead of cutting content out, they tend to speak faster (HUGE mistake).

Once I realized that I was over time, I went back to the drawing board and started cutting content, including one of my favorite stories.

VII – Rehearse for maximum performance
Once my presentation was around the 20-minute mark, I started rehearsing to make my presentation super impactful, noticing my: pauses, gestures, emotional state, word emphasis, etc. I went over this presentation 32 times (I am not counting the times I was going over it in my head in the shower or when I was running on the treadmill).

Here is a video that my wife took of me (without me knowing) rehearsing on my balcony. Btw, thanks to my wife Katie Monaco, she was my “audience” during my rehearsals!! I love you angel!

 XIII – Check out the venue before the presentation day
One of the things that I always do (and recommend our clients to do) is to go to the venue before your speaking gig, go on stage and visualize yourself presenting to the group. See the faces (imaginary), look at the different parts of the room, walk around the stage and  become familiar with the territory. This exercise alone will increase your certainty and make you more relaxed.

In this picture, my friend Chris Lippe and I are hanging out the day before the program.

In this picture, my friend Chris Lippe and I are hanging out the day before the program.

IX – Unleash your mindset
When the speaker goes from thinking to feeling; the audience goes from feeling to willing. Willing to take action!

If you want to remember something remember this:

9 - describing

It is your job as an Influencer to “feel” your message before your talk. If you don’t feel it, your audience will not feel it either.

So how do you “feel it”?

Here is what I did the morning of my talk: worked out, read, watched motivational videos, practiced my talk, meditated, drank a lot of water, ate a healthy breakfast, listened to music, did my incantations, asked my “empathy questions”, did the “I love you” exercise, and met people before my talk. I was feeling 10 out of 10!

X – Have fun speaking
I can tell you that all the preparation, all the energy I put in and all the hard work was 100% worth it. I had a lot of fun speaking and serving that audience! Don’t speak to inform, speak to transform.

Me, doing what I do, having fun speaking.

Me, doing what I love to do, having fun speaking.


Speak Soon. (Really you should!)

PS: If you want more on presentation structure, check out our online module Presentation Structures here.


  1. Carolyn Griffin on March 29, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    I loved your talk and appreciate you sharing how you got from idea to stage. Thank YOU!!

    • roberto on March 31, 2016 at 9:18 am

      Thank you so much Carolyn!!! I appreciate your feedback!!!

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