Episode 151

From Storyboard to Spotlight: Your 90-Day Storytelling and Speaking Countdown

It’s Saturday morning. I’m headed out for coffee with friends after a kickboxing class.

As I get out of my car in the parking lot, my phone starts blowing up with text messages. I look down and see that they’re coming from a number I don’t recognize.

I start reading. “You don’t know me,” the message says, “but you worked with my wife several years ago on her TEDx Talk. I was wondering if you had time to help me get ready for mine?”

I text back saying I can and ask, “When’s your TEDx Talk?”

“Tonight,” he answers back.

So I cancel the rest of my Saturday plans. And for the next six hours we work like crazy to get him ready for the spotlight that night.

His Talk ends up being a huge success. Yet I can only imagine how much more incredible it would have been with more time to work on it.

I get asked all the time, “What’s the ideal countdown for a Talk? What should I have on my calendar from the time I’m invited to speak to when I’m standing there in the spotlight?”

It varies depending on time, place, and preparedness ahead of time. So many different factors come into play.

In this episode of the Storytelling School Podcast, you’ll learn how to take your speech or story from the storyboard to the spotlight in 90 days. I’ll unpack a few areas for you to consider as you hit different time milestones along the way and answer questions like:

What do you need to ask yourself to help you design the content for your Talk? How do you choose the story (or stories) you want to tell in your speech? What logistics of your Talk do you need to consider and confirm ahead of time? How can you make practicing your speech fun instead of monotonous? What do you need to consider about how you look, sleep, and eat (especially as you get closer to the Talk)? 

What you will learn in this episode:

  • What three objectives to keep in mind when you’re preparing your speech
  • How knowing the logistics of your Talk ahead of time sets you up for your best self
  • What you can do at the venue on the day to keep yourself relaxed and ready to go

A little bit about me.

As a Speaking Strategist and founder of Storytelling School, I’ve had the pleasure of working with over 500 speakers, business leaders, and entrepreneurs worldwide for over a decade. No matter if those folks were getting ready to take the TED or TEDx stage or preparing for a high-stakes presentation with everything on the line, my specialty is High Stakes Short Form Communication. I’ve seen what works when influencing change and what doesn’t. It turns out storytelling is one of the most powerful tools you can have in your arsenal. That’s why I’m building a movement of master storytellers to affect change in the world on a global scale to help people tell real stories that have influence and impact. With effective storytelling, you change people’s lives.

Since competition for potential client attention is fierce, a story can make the difference between being memorable or irrelevant. You’ll find me sharing my matcha tea mishap to discuss perfectionism, my quest for Bruce Lee and Hello Kitty art to explore kindness, or the six months of live blade training I underwent to illustrate presence. I spend my days showing the power of using stories to help cement ideas and bring lessons to life and teach my clients to do the same.

If you think business owners can’t tell stories or don’t have stories to share with their clients, staff, donors, followers, or investors, I invite you to reconsider your perspective. There’s no better place than in business to tell your stories so audiences, no matter how big or small, can understand how you think and what you value.

Now it’s your turn… If you’re ready to become a master storyteller and effect change in our world, you’ve come to the right place.

Want to take your storytelling skills to the next level?

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The Proven 5-step process to captivate any audience


my proven 5-step process for short-form storytelling that you can apply to your stories forever


and craft your own Spotlight Story that you can use in a plethora of scenarios


on where and why to use storytelling in a variety of business situations to become unforgettable


clarity on the most common mistakes storytellers make and learn how to avoid those

...and so much more!

I want to stand out!

The best storytellers are memorable for a reason.

Traver Boehm

2-time TEDx Speaker, Author, Coach, and Founder of the Uncivilized Movement

Mo Barrett

TEDx Speaker, Anecdotist, Connector, Mischief-maker, Retired Military Commander, Keynote Speaker

Katy Stevens

Musician, Performer, Recording Artist, Voice Teacher

Greg Smith

TEDx Youngstown Organizer and Voice Coach, Chairman and CCO of Compco

Than Baardson

Entrepreneur, Speaker, Connector, CEO of Unseen, Humanitarian

Cathy Sommerville

TEDx Speaker, Coach, Advisor, Leader, Author, Vice President


I'm ready to stand out!