Someone once said the secret to giving a good speech is to imagine the audience naked. Any good actor will tell you that’s wrong. The audience isn’t naked, you are.
Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” I’ll show you that performing is not just about storytelling or good content but about developing a character—an amplified and, metaphorically speaking, naked version of your character.
For two full days, you’ll get an education in public speaking and performance like none you’ve ever had before. Plus, I’ll perform. You’ll see me walk my talk in my one-man show, The Think Big Revolution, a performance that earns me $25,000 a gig.
Why am I doing this? Am I trying to get you in the room to pitch you a big program, to upsell you to the rafters? No way. I think if you only speak to sell from the stage you should cut out your tongue. The honor of performing for, speaking to, or teaching an audience full of people is about the biggest gift you’ll ever be given. Of course, if you ask me how you can work with me in the future, I’ll tell you how. But, no, I want to coach you for one big reason:
His words were OK, and he even structured his presentation OK,
but it lacked flair.
It lacked finesse. It lacked the emotional punch that would have really had me hooked.
It felt robotic. No excitement.
I would rather have got his information from a book.
After his speech, he asked me what I thought.
I asked if he really wanted to know. He did and so I told him.
He went silent, and thought for a little while, and then because he’s in pursuit of mastery and wants to get better, he asked me if I’d coach him to become a better speaker. He said I was one of the best speakers he’d ever seen … “a true performer,” he said.
Keep that keyword in mind: PERFORMER. We’ll get back to it in a minute.
Unfortunately, I had to say no. It was boating season.
As a gesture, though, to repay his confidence in me and his very kind words, I promised to do a little research for him and point him in the right direction.
I dug far and wide for public speaking advice, and I found…
Take this example from one of the largest and most highly regarded public speaking training organization in the world. They say:
Now, don’t get me wrong. This is sound advice for an amateur who has to give a wedding speech, for free, to a warm room.
But for everybody else, this advice does more harm than good. What it doesn’t tell you is, well, anything that will make you a truly great speaker.
The next most popular search result offer these tips for the budding professional speaker:
I mean seriously …
How much more generic and useless could you get without saying “Do a good job!”?
The biggest business magazine has to have something worth saying about this, right?
Here’s what they tell you to do:
So I ended up despondent.
And while there have to be great public speaking coaches along with reasonable public speaking coaches out there, who can teach you about content development, plus some clever techniques or devices that speakers use … there’s a big glaring piece missing.
… if you’re going to be a truly great public speaker! A great speaker HAS TO PERFORM like a highly skilled actor. That’s why we respond with emotion and excitement to actors when they’re at the top of their game: they have mastered the art of performance. If you want your audience to respond in the same way, you’ve got to give them the same experience they get at the movies, or on Broadway. So if you want to…
… and you want to move people in magical and mysterious ways … … then you gotta ACT! And that’s what I’m going to teach you: how to perform, how to act, and how to own the stage like a stand up comic.
(FYI, DON’T PRACTICE IN FRONT OF A MIRROR. IT’S THE WORST ADVICE EVER GIVEN.)
The Think Big Speak Easy is guaranteed to make your public speeches so captivating, so enchanting, so darn EFFECTIVE, that you’ll never again have to worry about “knowing your material” or “practicing in front of a mirror.” When you come to The Speakeasy I don’t teach you to speak …
I teach you how to PERFORM and INSPIRE.
And while I can’t promise that you’ll earn a million a year in speaking fees, I can guarantee you’ll look, and sound, like a million dollars when you’re up on stage. I spent three years earning my MFA at NYU’s Graduate Acting Program, arguably one of the three best programs in the country along with Yale and Juilliard. My schoolmates included Emmy Award and Golden Globe winners like Michael Hall (star of Dexter and 6 Feet Under), Daniel Dae-Kim (star of Lost and Hawaii 50), Billy Crudup (star of Almost Famous, Mission Impossible), Debra Messing (star Will & Grace & Smash), Wood Harris (star of The Wire), David Costable (Breaking Bad and Low Winter Sun) just to name a few.
My point is … you’ve got to give them the same experience they get at the movies, or on Broadway. I did everything from David Mamet to Shakespeare. I guest-starred in shows like Sex & The City, Third Watch, All My Children, Law & Order, The Pelican Brief, Down to Earth, Another World, and more. I did countless TV commercials and Voice-Overs for companies like Budweiser, AT&T, Coors Beer, Pizza Hut, MTV, and dozens more.
And it’s time to put that teacher’s hat back on. I’m going to teach you how to think – and speak – like an actor. You’re going to tell stories, stir up emotion and get the crowd on your side. That’s pure power, right there in your hands.
The event was all “pre-wired” in that my office delivered them my content weeks prior; I was just to walk in and present. Thanks to Michael’s tutelage I rehearsed my content until I knew it backwards. It was a 90-slide PPT (most of the slides being information for the crowd to “take away” when they got a copy of it) on “Data Hosting and SaaS – Infrastructure and Security” (I know, don’t envy me because I get to talk about sexy stuff like this… )
Well, guess who’s PPT wasn’t there and ready? Yup, mine. So, I told the poor, frazzled, organizer “no sweat, I’ll do it from memory”; she thought I was crazy, but I walked up, made a joke about the disappointment that must come from the lack of the PPT, and powerpoint being the Devil’s work, and proceed to crush the first half-hour of content from memory. The on-site team scrambled in the background to get my content in and up, and I paused to catch up to it and I had to go thru 45+ slides. The crowd was blown away, I got a standing “O” and walked out the door to a massive deal from an attendee who wanted to do business with us based on “your obvious attention to detail.”
My sales reps reported back that it came up in nearly every meeting about how my missing content didn’t bother me in the least. We were also asked by the organizer to come back to their next event in FL in September as their attendees want my company to present. Now the event promoter is footing OUR bill for that! I also just heard yesterday that the story had made it to the bar at the hotel where the staff of the event were talking about it.
The thing that sticks in my mind the most from our time together is this “The audience DESERVES your best work.” I believe that now, I lived it, and I saw the clear positive results. Thanks again Michael.
My 1st encounter with public speaking was when I was a freshman in college studying Computer Science.
I was always the shy, low key type, but now my school was forcing me to speak up. Man did I hate standing in front of my class giving talks and even had to give a mock eulogy. I did accept the challenge and got me an A+ what what!!
It did however open me up a bit and it came in handy once we started hosting events for The Phat Startup almost 14 years later.
Fast forward to a Sunday where I was an attendee for Michael Port’s, “Think Big Speak Easy Event.” I never heard of Michael but my online buddy Pam Slim shot me an invite that I could not refuse.
Michael’s promise to the world is that he “can make you a better speaker.” He does not break his promise as I soon learned. It was a great mixture of speaking skills and thinking bigger than you thought before.
It was more than just learning how to engage with a crowd, Micheal served as a motivator. Dropping gems after gems, I covered a few below but for the real deal go check out his site and join the mailing list. Thank me later.
Here are a few lessons I picked up:
When you are yourself, speaking to others is easier
Michael spoke a bit about the difference between your private self and your public self. What does that even mean?
As humans in this society we tend to behave differently according to who we are with at the time. For example when I worked at Random House Inc, my persona was much different then it is now as an entrepreneur.
I would hide who I was to appease the higher ups. I figured for me to be at the top I had to act, dress and speak like higher ups. When a presentation came around, I would have to make sure my vocabulary was full of buzz words that they deemed impressive.
This made my presentations boring and uneventful in my own opinion.
Now with The Phat Startup, I can still show off my education or knowledge but can be myself doing it. I can look at my community and quote Hip Hop, talk about living in poverty as a youngster, and use all the slang I want while still bringing value to my crew.
We tend to hide who we are to the real world, but to me the real world is your whole world. It is risky being you1, why let others decide when you should be you and when you should put up a facade.
Make The Stakes Higher
In our culture we all say we need to do it big! I mean real big, or scream out it’s a movie. However; we tend not to really do it that big. We still limit ourselves a bit which is fine to a certain degree.
The higher the stakes the scarier the situation becomes.1 It can be as simple as you claiming to be the ultimate game changer your culture needs.
We do it all the time. I always tell people that “I felt someone needed to do it, why not me?” As simple as that statement is, I take it to the heart! I want my team to be the team everyone speaks about when Entrepreneurship and the Urban Community are spoken about. I want people to say you need The Phat Startup in your life!
That makes what we do more than a business, that is when a movement means something. This is our WHY, and it can’t get any bigger.
Will it happen? Of course it will, how can we make it a movie if we don’t believe the stakes are high enough? Always THINK BIG.
The Stage Is Your World1
Michael dropped so many gems on how to be one with the stage, how to own it.
On attitude he told us to say to ourselves, “I have something to fucking say and I am not leaving until I say it.” That had me open! This is something I am going to say to myself before every event we host because I do have something valuable to say and it is something my community needs to hear.
On stage presence he told all the presenters to stop looking down and walking around. When speaking we tend to get lost a bit, sometimes out of fear or something we might just forget what we wanted to say.
Due to this we start walking around, looking down, or even playing with our hands. All of these things are normal, what you want to do is control them more. Doing all these other things forces the crowd to lose focus on you and the story.
He gave us a deep lesson on using movements and the stage to tell your story and not get lost in it. How taking a few steps to the right while speaking on something then stopping and emphasizing a word adds flare to your talk. Sometimes even making a bigger impact than you had hoped for.
Pick words that have meaning and will pull a reaction from people. Put emphasis on these words with your tone and body movements.
You can use the stage to separate your thoughts like a book has chapters1. Left side of the stage can be your life story, right side your future, the front of the stage can be your Q&A session. I never ever thought of it that way and it makes perfect sense to me now.
Ask the crowd questions but provide the answer1
How many times have you been to a talk and the speaker tells you how is everyone feeling? Or are you ready to kill it today?
Most of the the crowd will mumble something back while a few seem to be in perfect sync with each other and their answers. it feels awkward most of the time.
Michael told us to switch that up a bit. Instead, tell someone are you ready to kill the game today, say hell yeah! Now the crowd has less to think of and more often than not will scream out your answer in unison.
The vibe this creates is crazy and it breaks the ice in a great way.
This also reinforces that you have your crowds back, that you are there to help them and this is your main duty.
I get it speaking in front of people is daunting when you 1st start out. As a nerdy technologist that wears loose jeans, T shirts and dope kicks I am not supposed to be in front of a crowd. At least thats what school and society once told me. Now I can jump on a stage geek out over business and technology but can do it in my own skin.
Willie Jackson once told me, “bring your own chair to the table,” Michael Port made me realized that my voice was a chair I didn’t know I could bring along with me.
It is time for me to conquer my fear of speaking even more than I have done in the past. Are you ready to join me on this journey, say hell yeah!!!!!
Sunday I attended an event titled “Think Big, Speak Easy” staring Michael Port, author, speaker, and entrepreneur. My hope was to refine my public speaking chops, and as a former actress I will admit I had a bit of the “I already know this syndrome.” I was quickly humbled. I witnessed a man strip naked, metaphorically speaking, on the stage.
The striptease began with an onstage phone call reminding the star that he had not fulfilled a promise. It escalated from there when Michael Port quite graphically shared his struggle with a food addiction—a cycle of binging, exercising, shame and bodily torture. But that wasn’t all. He continued to shed. Through the magic of theater, we literally heard the preying voices of his negative,
inner voice berate, denigrate and smash his dreams. Yet with all of his disrobing, I was the one who felt exposed. Why? The answer actually came from a woman in the crowd. This woman belted out, as we all were invited to do as a part of the program, “I stand for the wisdom of my fear.”
Michael Port’s naked vulnerability was a beacon of wisdom into his own “thinking big.” And even though I knew quite well that there is wisdom in our shadow, to see it demonstrated on stage in front of a packed, standing room only house of 200 plus folks, cameras snapping, a cameraman panning, and total strangers gawking, the invitation to me personally pierced that place of comfort that I was hanging on to. I knew in that moment that I, too, had to take off the robe of procrastination, and the layers of contrived safety I had concocted over the years, and expose my beautiful, glorious, wisdom-filled wounds.
Joseph Campbell wrote, “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” I was invited by the naked man on stage to step into my own cave and to seek my sparkling treasure. I had resisted entering that cave, had resisted removing my layers of metaphorical clothing that covered up my fear in the name of not hurting anyone as I struggle to write my memoir. What the naked man
exhibited on stage is what I have to do on the page.
We all are on our unique paths. We all have stepped off when things got a little rocky and opted to stay in a dead marriage because we feared we were not good enough to take care of ourselves. Or even remained tethered to an ended marriage for the same reason through the safe layers of blame and victimhood. I am guilty of both. It is all too easy to avoid those wisdom-filled muddy spots by cloaking ourselves with numbing and fleeting, quick and easy pleasures. I have spent many teary, lonely nights with Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie and HBO. It takes courage to shed and stand naked on our walk through life.
I thank you naked man on the stage because you have inspired, prompted, prodded and egged on this woman in the audience. So here I go, warts and all standing fearfully but committed to dipping into my cave as I vow to write my truth. I vow to stay on that path no matter what it takes as I muddle through, or perhaps I will stand tall and simply walk the dark passages, stepping carefully, breathing easily, and shedding one layer at a time.
Stephanie Renee Payne
It’s by using these skills, skills that I’ve honed over the last 20 years starting at the best performing arts school in the country, that your speaking career will be turbo-charged. I use the same principles myself, religiously. I acted. I taught acting. And THEN I spoke. I speak at events organized by Entrepreneur Magazine, Inc. Magazine, State Farm, The Screen Actors Guild, The National Speakers Association, CreativeLIVE, ActionCoach International, Poliquin, Viacom, ColdWell Banker, Schwarzkopf, Microsoft, Credit Suisse, InvescoTriMark and a whole host more … Rick Calvert, the Founder and CEO of BlogWorld, said (and he’s seen them all) that I was “hands down, the best speaker [he has] ever seen.” High praise indeed … See for yourself … Check it out … the story I tell at the beginning … It’s the first time I’ve ever told it. The story I tell at the end, I tell all the time.
Do you speak? Then how could it not be? Can you afford to spend $2000 or even just $250 to be a better speaker?
Of course you can. If getting to the event seems tough, then toughen up.
The performer will do anything and everything, whatever it takes to share their art (work).
Get a flight, take a road trip, share a hotel room, crash on someone’s floor.
Just get to the Think Big Speak Easy. You’ll be glad you did.
The principles are timeless and extraordinary. You will finally fulfill that childhood dream of having the entire stadium hanging on your every word.
I’m going to transform the most important skill you’ve got:
your communication skill.
If you have pre-sale questions, then call my team any time on
414-FOR PORT. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’d like to get coached by me, live, on stage during the event for a full hour, the investment is only $2,000 and there are no refunds BEFORE the workshop. When you’re in, you’re in. If you don’t show (unless you’re on your deathbed) then you don’t get your money back (you will, however, have a credit with me). But, if you do show and you think the workshop sucked, then you can have your money back.
If you’re serious, put down the full amount right now.
You’re required to show up and play full out, with an open mind and an open heart for two full days. If you can’t commit to that, I understand.
But if you’re so excited about this right now that you could just burst, then take action right now and reserve your spot below.
Chose from the available days below and for only $2000 you get a minimum of an hour on the stage. Only 8 people get this. If you want info on future events, send us an email saying so.