SFR 277: How I Prepare To Speak – Stephen Larsen

SFR 277: How I Prepare To Speak

Sep 13th, 2019 anchorwave

Here’s a snapshot of the mental stuff I do to stay in the game before I speak on any stage…

It seems like questions often come in themes and in waves.

I don’t know if it’s just ’cause I have my ear to the ground listening to what people are asking me…

But it seems like the recent wave of questions are all about, “How do you prepare before you go on stage?”

By the time you read this, OfferMind 2019 will be over, and so I thought it would be the perfect time to share how a guy who used to hate public speaking preps for LIVE events

Steve Larsen how to speak on stage

I didn’t really think about my preparation until people started asking the question, but when I started to look more closely, I discovered that:

Before I speak on stage, there’s a pattern that I go through that comes in two phases.

  1. The Thinking Phase.
  2. The Prepare for War Phase

… you may find some of what I do a little surprising, (and frankly, a few years back, I could never have imagined myself doing some of this stuff 😉)



On my office floor right now, there’s tons of yellow paper all over the place…

Speech preparation ideas

… and it’s where I collect my ideas as I start to think through and organize my content.

I’ve done it for a couple of years now… and the system works well for me, and so I keep doing it.

So it’s the preparing/ thinking phase where:

  • I listen to way less music that has words in it
  • I do a lot more meditation

Stephen Larsen how to speak on stage

(I actually use a cool bit of kit that Alex Charfen introduced me to, I’ll show you a bit later)

However, as the actual event gets nearer, my behavior changes a bit as I move into the 2nd phase.

So I thought it would be kinda cool if I wrote a list of the things that I do, and shared them with you…


There were many times at ClickFunnels when Russell would walk in and be like, “I’m not gonna lie, I really don’t know what I wanna do what I gotta do today…”

I’d say, “Yep, I’m not gonna lie, I gotta build three funnels today, me neither!”

…and we’d be like, “How do we move forward?”

Russell Brunson how to speak on stage

So we’d take a moment, and sometimes we’d…

  • Watch comedy
  • Watch a funny video
  • Listen to music

…but we always used the same few things to kick us into state (usually, Seven Nation Army).

We’d jump about and do some Tony Robbins type state control…

Sales Funnel Radio how to speak on stage

I did mentally make fun of it for the first little bit….

But then, I was like, “Oh my gosh, what if, what if this actually works?”

… and I started doing it.


Suddenly, it’s like, “Man, I’m really tired, but I’m ready to rock.”

And as the last three years in my ‘stage speaking career’ have unfolded, I’ve come up with my own kind of state control patterns that help me get ready to go on stage.

Learn how to speak on stage


I’ve been listening to a super fascinating book lately called Buying On The Brain.

…it’s a challenging book to chew.

You really gotta think hard when you listen to it.

So if you’re like, “I don’t wanna go listen to it,” don’t worry, ’cause I’m a nerd and I’m gonna distill it down and bring the key takeaways back to the show…

Psychology of speech preparation

Anyway, I’ve been listening to this part of the book and it talks a lot about the RAS receptors in the brain…

Let me explain…

Have you ever woken up a little bit late with that anxiety feeling?

You’re fast asleep and suddenly, you wake up – BOOM! “Oh, crap the alarm didn’t go off,” or whatever… and you go flying out of bed!

Everyone knows that feeling…

How to speak on stage without anxiety

You get that hasty, “Oh, My Gosh,” feeling and you go flying around to get all the pieces together, and jump in the car…

You’re like “Oh, my gosh, hurry!”

You go super fast as you’re driving to the office or wherever…

Finally, you arrive wherever you’re late for and you’re like, “Oh, my gosh, I’m sorry!”

Teaching how to speak on stage

… and the rest of the day you kinda feel a little bit off!

Q: Is the rest of the day really off or is that just kinda how you were pre-framed?

What’s interesting about RAS receptors is that, once we focus on them, the brain starts to look for those things above everything else…

The great news is that we have a lot of control over *WHAT* we focus on.

I was talking with my wife (’cause I teach her a lot of the things I learn to make sure I know them)…

I was like, “Did you ever notice how when we bought our car, we suddenly are seeing that car all over the road?”

(We got this new car, it’s like a family car, family SUV ’cause we’ve got three kids.)

Steve Larsen speech preparation

She’s like, “yeah!”

I was like, “I learned why! It’s because we have these things called the RAS receptors and whatever we put our attention on we start seeing in the world.”

.And so that brings me on to another way I like to prepare…


The future of speech preparation

Before I go on stage, I make sure that I’m visualizing:

  • Excellence.
  • Engagement.
  • Myself clearly delivering the ideas and concepts.
  • The audience having the epiphanies that are needed for those concepts.

Before the last OfferMind, the way that I prepared relied heavily on visualization.

  • I walked through a ton of visualization exercises.


Speech preparation mind game

There’s a fascinating study around the concept of visualization…

They hooked up an Olympian to a whole bunch of brain sensors and said:

“Okay, Olympian, go do your event.”

The Olympian ran around the track (or did whatever their event was) while their brain waves were tracked.

After they’d relaxed, the same athlete was sat in a chair, hooked back up to sensors, and asked to close their eyes to imagine doing the same event.


Fascinating speech preparation

There was zero difference in the brain scans between the real and imagined events.

The brain didn’t know that the imagined event was NOT real.

So that’s one of the reasons why pretending, play, visualization, setting goals and thinking about where you’re going to be in the future are very powerful tools.

This was my second OfferMind, but I have mentally visited the stage hundreds of times by the time the event came around.

Offermind speech preparation

Do you understand that?

That’s a BIG principle – it’s a huge concept to understand.

The same thing was true with:

  • Funnel building
  • Being an entrepreneur
  • Leaving my job
  • Building what I have in the last few years

…I think about it and visualize it happening waaay before the actual event!

How to speak on stage at Offermind

It’s the reason why obsession is practically required for you to succeed.

When people say, “Have life balance…”

What the freak is life balance? I don’t know what they’re talking about. I’m just gonna be obsessed!

I’m gonna think about it mentally, and in my head, I’m gonna visualize outcomes!

I’m not gonna lie… until I started learning about some of these studies, I thought this stuff was woo-woo crap!

The secret to speech preparation

But several years ago, I started realizing like, “Oh my gosh, if I just think about my future, I can help make it happen.”

It’s not like the book The Secret where it’s like, “I’m gonna have a $1,000 show up in the mail today.”

It’s NOT like that.

But when you sit down, and you’re actually running the event in your mind – things start to happen the way that you see them

There’s a reason I started dreaming in the ClickFunnels editor after I started working for ClickFunnels…

Because funnels were so ingrained in my head; when Russell was like, “Hey Dude, I need this funnel in the next two hours.”


I knew that play because I had run that play in my head so many times.

Visualization is crazy powerful.

The brain fires the exact same as if you were actually doing it, your head doesn’t know the difference.


Here’s a little vulnerability…

I don’t know what the deal is with warm showers in the morning, but I start talking to myself.

Steve Larsen public speaking advice

I totally monologue and think about being on stage.

I remember growing up (when I was a late teen), I thought about being on stage A LOT.

There’d be times when standing in the kitchen late at night, I’d freaking monologue in my head like crazy.

This is something that’s been very practiced in my head and my brain for such a long time.

Practice how to speak on stage

I didn’t really realize that until I started learning these other studies, and I was like: “Oh, crap, I’ve been preparing for this far more than I realized.”

And there’s a caveat to it… there’s another side of the coin…


If you have a natural tendency to be fearful, you gotta cut that crap out. You are literally creating a self-manifesting future.

Practice public speaking advice

  • You’re practicing nervous.
  • You’re practicing anxiety.
  • You’re practicing fear.

It’s NOT that you have to be the other side. all emotionless and iron steel, but your thoughts truly do matter.

  • By the time I hit the OfferMind stage…
  • By the time I hit any stage…

…I have visualized what it’s gonna be like when they go: “Please, welcome to the stage, Mr. Steve Larsen.”

Sales Funnel Radio public speaking advice

Everyone yells … the bass starts pumping and I see myself running across the stage with the lights strobing.

I visualize that A LOT.

It sounds conceited, but that’s NOT what I’m saying.

I’m saying…

I’ve run my speech in my head a lot of times to train my RAS receptors.


I make sure that how I wake up, (especially in the weeks leading up to an event that’s gonna be really big and intense for me), is a conscious choice…

Stephen Larsen public speaking advice

I wake up and I just choose that it’s gonna be an awesome day.

It’s as simple as that…

My RAS receptors are looking for ‘the awesome’ in the day and NOT the curve balls that are bound to happen.

  • The day is gonna be sweet.
  • I am gonna have epiphanies.
  • I will create things that are prolific.
  • I am going to make decisions very quickly and on the spot so that things move forward.
  • We are gonna get all these pieces together.

I definitely choose my RAS receptor focus by deciding:

  • What’s going to happen…
  • What I’ll look for…
  • What I’ll choose to be aware of throughout the day…

This stuff sounds cheesy, and I’m not gonna lie, I thought it was some fluffy crap until I started doing it.

How to speak on stage

Then I was like, DANG! *THIS STUFF WORKS*

I watched Russell execute things when he was like, “Duh, I’m not gonna lie. I really could use a nap right now.”

He would sit back and he would take a moment to feel his feeling and then choose the outcome.

I am NOT my feelings and neither are you.


#1: I practice focusing my Ras receptors

#2: I do A LOT of brain practice and visualization.

  • I’ve practiced my event many times before I get up there.
  • I’ve spoken many times in my head before it actually happens,

…which means it has – my brain doesn’t know the difference!

I visualize it a lot, and it’s something I did a lot naturally as a kid without realizing the impact it would have.

Speech preparation

If you could be a fly on the wall of my office, sometimes you’d see me put my headphones on and click into this weird mode where I’ll forget where I am… and do my event inside of my head.

… it’s kind of a form of meditation(which brings me to point #3 ).

#3: Meditation

I wanted to share the actual meditation device that I use – ’cause a lot of you have asked.

It’s NOT part of my routine to do it every day, but especially as events come up, I definitely meditate far more than any other time.

There’s a thing that I use called Muse, (and here’s a little product placement 😉)…

Speech preparation meditation

It’s this headband that goes around the front of your head, and once you put it on it measures your brain signals in real-time to let you know if you are getting off course with your meditation.

So, it helps guide your meditation!

Guided meditation speech preparation

… it’s really cool.

So if I start losing focus on my meditation, it actually simulates a rainstorm – it’s like you’re in a rainforest.

And if you start to get away from meditation it increases the tropical storm in your headphones so you know to come back.

And when you come back, the rain stops and it becomes peaceful with these birds…

Learn meditation for speech preparation

…it literally trained me how to meditate.

‘Cause, I’m not gonna lie… I kinda made fun of meditation for a while too 😬

But in order for me to have a clear focused head, I need to meditate…

I use this headset when I travel too and I meditate sitting in the chair in my hotel room.

I also have other practices that help me to manage my state:

  • I definitely do more yoga
  • I do more massages

I want to stay relaxed and focused on the weeks leading up to an event.


My speech preparation soundtrack

Music is a huge part of my life.

In the time preparing for the event, I focus heavily on music that has very few words.

I want ‘my own thoughts’ to be what goes through my head.

In the day leading up to the event, literally 24 hours ahead of time, I listen to a lot more aggressive styled music.

Some of you guys asked for those playlists – I don’t know if I’m gonna share some of those playlists with you, but I go to war in my head.

How to speak on stage Steve Larsen style

I think about becoming ‘Steve’.

A lot of things I’m doing right now are pretty rare, and I know that.

At the Last Funnel Hacking live, a lot of people wanted to come say hi, and I appreciate that…

But I started getting followed around the hotel and pitched at the urinals.

People were following Colton and I jogged around the whole event, and it got weird.

I’m totally down with saying ‘Hi,’ and shaking hands and ‘let’s take a picture,’ whatever…

But people were physically grabbing me and taking me places, and it got really weird.

The bubble was crossed many times and it got awkward.

Speech preparation techniques

Colton and I would run around Funnel Hacking Live to avoid people and that’s why we were missing deadlines.

Speech preparation deadlines

We were moving so that we wouldn’t get stopped.

…and it felt awkward ’cause I wanted to say ‘hi’ because I wanted to say, “Thanks for following.”

But I couldn’t get away.

I’m fine with that, as long as I can pull a ripcord and be like, “Okay, I gotta go get ready for this now,” but people weren’t letting me go anywhere.

So, like, “Hey, I gotta go here, I need to get backstage,” or “I have to go to the bathroom,” or whatever might be.

But for the first time, last year’s Funnel Hacking Live was really aggressive.

I think it was because of the One Funnel Away Challenge.

And I get it.

It’ll happen to you if you choose to publish and do what I tell you to do.

But first, it was like 100 million X the intensity of the year before.

I’ve NOT developed that part of me… or learned how to handle that pressure yet.

(but I’ll keep working on it.)

So I texted Dave Woodward and said, “Dude, can you come help me?

I don’t wanna be rude, but I really have to get out of here, but people wanna say hi, and I know that I’ve helped them.”

… and so it was weird and very conflicting for me.

Dave came and he grabbed me and he brought me backstage to a green room, and I shut the door.

Backstage speech preparation

I was supposed to go on stage for my speech in an hour, and Dave was like, “Dude, you’re white as a ghost. You’ve never had that happen before, have you?”

I was like, “No. No.”

At that moment, I was Stephen. I was a little bit nervous and kinda freaked out a little bit.

A lot of my kid and my teenage tendencies to retract, pull in and pull back were happening… and I was aware of that.

It was like, “I can’t… Steve, where are you, man? You’re going on stage soon, man.”

I’m telling you this because this is a trick that I’ve learned.

Todd Herman has a book, Alter Ego, and I’ve 100% created one for a lot of stage stuff.

(I don’t think I’ve told you guys the story…)

But I did planks and push-ups…

I did a lot of push-ups, sit-ups, and planks for the next hour, listening to David Goggins swear at me.

I closed the door, shut off all the lights, I needed no input. I needed to decrease the inputs as much as possible…

I’m listening to David Goggins swear at me, and about 15 minutes beforehand, Steve showed up, and I was like, “Boom! Let’s rock this.”

Public speaking advice

They put the headset on me and I went out, and it was an awesome impactful speech.

So anyways…

I go to war in my head


One of the reasons I listen to the music I do is because that’s one of the ways I conjure *STEVE*

I’m NOT always *STEVE*… but I think people expect me to be.

I’ve had a few people, locally at grocery stores, walk up to me and they’re like, “Oh my gosh!”

And I can feel their eyes…

They think I’m gonna be like, “Boom! Wow! Yeah!”

Figure out how to speak on stage

They think I’m *that way* ALL the time.

It’s just a thing that I’ve learned in order for me to keep my message across.

I know I talk a lot – and we need a pattern interrupt sometimes 😉

Funny enough…

  • BOOM
  • It’s Monday, Baby
  • The Capitalist Pig

…were three things I never planned on being this big massive thing, and now, it’s kind of what I’m known for. 😂

Known for public speaking advice

Anyway, the major point is that…

I take a moment to go to war in my head.

Before I go on stage (or anything like that), I think about…

  • What I am fighting for.
  • What I’m fighting against.
  • The people who are gonna be listening.
  • The scenarios that those people are in and what they may have given up to be there.

And suddenly, it’s really easy for *STEVE* to come out.

It’s real easy for me to be my true self and not retract as I used to as a teenager and as a young kid.

Life changing public speaking advice

Anyway, I hope that this makes sense…

This might be a different episode than you were expecting?

It’s not about slides, it’s about how I mentally make sure that I’m fit and ready to rock?


  • I drink a ton of water.
  • I do my RAS receptor brain practice.
  • I meditate quite a bit more than normal.
  • I definitely do yoga and massages and chiropractor and all that stuff.
  • There’s a specific style of music I listen to and specifically, a style I don’t listen to, right up until about 24 hours ahead of time.
  • When it’s ‘go time,’ I take time to mentally go to war and ’cause that’s what it is, right?

Public speaking advice Steve Larsen stylee

People are fighting for what they think they should be doing in their lives and they’re trusting me with that. I take that very seriously.

In my office…

  • We have a trampoline
  • We have a few of those exercise balls we sit and bounce on
  • We have foam rollers
  • I have a balance board that I use a lot.
  • I strategically fast

A while ago, I learned from a really awesome company that:

When you don’t eat, a hormone is released in your brain that increases your mental focus.

And when I went to my first Funnel Hacking Live, there were actually times when I didn’t eat.

I was hungry, but they believe it’s because you needed to go hunt down your food and so you need a higher level of focus.

…you see what I’m saying?

I really wanted to get the most I could out of that first Funnel Hacking Live and so there were times where I didn’t eat for quite a while.

I was starving, but that doesn’t mean I need to eat, right? That just means I’m hungry.

I’m NOT my feelings

… and so I sat back…

… and you can feel it happening.

*Massive Levels of Mental Clarity*

You’re hungry, but you’ve got that fighting edge.

There are times when I am creating slides and stuff like that, where I will do kind of strategic “let’s get crazy mental focused” style fasting.

Anyway, there’s A LOT of stuff in my office that I use to prepare.


Speech preparation recap

  • Be aware that what you choose to see in the day is what you will see in the day – the way you kind of predestined yourself for those ras receptors.
  • Practice your event, whatever that might be, whatever it is that you do in your business – visualize the crap out of it

Play every little detail using all the five senses.

Go into that scenario and run it top to bottom in your head as many times as you can.

In fact, I heard a really awesome athlete say that “Your practice should be so intense that the game seems easy.”

He said:

“By the time you actually get to your event, the amount of work that it’s taken behind the scenes to get there makes what you’re doing seem really easy.”

The practice is way harder than the actual event.

I was like, “That’s a really good principle.”

I visualize a lot.

When I wake up, I take a moment to think about the event:

  • What it’s gonna be like?
  • How am I gonna interact with the audience?
  • How am I gonna choose to be present there?

I go through a lot of that stuff.

It’s a massive, massive cornerstone of all this.

  • I definitely do more yoga stuff.
  • I make sure there’s a moment to slow down.
  • I have massages.
  • I go to the chiropractor more.
  • I drink crap tons of water except for around two hours ahead of time. I stop drinking water, so I don’t have to go to the bathroom on stage
  • I make sure to go to war in my head.
  • I think about what each person’s going for and the desires inside of them.
  • I try to get very empathetic and feel what people are feeling and what they’re trying to get from me.
  • The strategic fasting, I’ve done that many times.
  • I use my trampoline if I start to feel a little bit of a lull, I bounce and it sends blood back up to my head, release my organs, and brings more energy in.
  • The foam roller increases blood circulation.
  • I have little spiky balls at the bottom of my desk. I play with them to stimulate my feet.
  • There’s a balance board – when you’re on a balance board, it fires your head like crazy.

There’s A LOT of little tricks you can use to make sure that you’re on your A-game.

Next year’s OfferMind is actually going to be in San Diego in the same room as my first Funnel Hacking Live!

It’s a massive full circle, I’m so excited for it.

We actually just had the contract signed which is exciting – it’ll be mid-September 2020 – I’ll make sure the dates go out.

So anyway, guys thanks for following the journey, and those of you who are coming next year, go grab your ticket and go get rich!

So, several years ago, I walked by a stage in a basketball stadium.

It was my college campus and I was deeply concerned with what I wanted to do in my life.

For some reason, I looked at the stage and thought, “Huh, one day I wanna be on stage. I wanna be an entrepreneur and I wanna buy and sell companies.”

Well, while the last one hasn’t happened … *YET* “Muahaha…” stage and entrepreneurship have.

On stage public speaking advice

And as my business has grown and my message has spread, a frequent question I’m asked is, “Steve, what stage will you be on next?”

Now I totally get that this feels, maybe, a little conceited here…

But considering my childhood fear of speaking up, being heard, extreme lack of self-confidence, and getting in front of people, back in my growing up days, I feel satisfied.

I thought I’d tell you where I’ll be in the world coming up.

And funny enough, just literally go over to, and it’ll forward you to the next place.

I love stage and it’s one of my BIGGEST things to look forward to in my current role in my business.

From little 10 person masterminds all the way to gigantic 5000 person events – from free seats to paid events…

Events have always been one of the ways I can deliver the MOST value and get the greatest “AHA’s” in the shortest amount of time.

Just come say hi, and go over to

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