Performative Speaking

Learn the secrets to persuasive storytelling so you can win customers, close life-changing fundraising rounds, and stand out from the crowd.

Robbie Crabtree


Robbie Crabtree

Trial lawyer turned speaking expert who’s helped founders raise over $185M.

A pattern of wavy dots

Ben Horowitz says “the story is the strategy.”

Without a great story, a founder can’t close funding rounds, recruit great talent, or build a beloved brand.

Founders who don’t figure this out inevitably fail.

In this 2 week sprint, you’ll become the Chief Storytelling Officer.

Who this course is for


Early-stage founders struggling to win the buy-in they need to fundraise big rounds.


Repeat founders who know success all comes down to world class storytelling and communication. 


Aspiring founders with a “crazy idea” fighting to solidify and streamline their vision.

"This is the first course I've ever taken that was truly transformative."

Andrew Bean (President, Rare Look Strategy)

See what alumni are saying

        Communication and business are all about connection and Robbie will teach you how to master this. It exceeded my expectations by tenfold.
Casey Means
Casey Means
Co-Founder, Levels
        Word vomit your story and Performative Speaking will put the pieces together.
Adam Guild
Adam Guild
        When I think about the impact of being able to make more meaningful connections with other people, that ROI calculation got really easy.
Travis Richards
Travis Richards
Founder, Catco
        Performative speaking has the unique capability of being able to balance tactical workshops with community building.
Andy Rapista
Andy Rapista
SMB, Notion for Good
        Being a founder means being a storyteller first. Speaking well is something that sets apart a good and an exceptional founder. You should run, not walk, to join this course.
Yuliya Bel
Yuliya Bel
Founder, Notus
        Performative Speaking unlocked a new confidence in me to speak publicly. I learned to speak in a way that connected with audiences, built bridges, and aligned others with my vision.
Josh Western
Josh Western
Founder, Space Forge

What You'll Master

Strategy & Mindset

It’s no secret that many people suffer from nerves and Imposter Syndrome. It’s also no secret that most founders struggle to create a deep connection with their audience. You’ll understand how to conquer nerves, imposter syndrome, & leave every audience feeling attached to you.


Storytellers rule the world. Ask any investor or successful founder and they will tell you the same thing: "The key is storytelling." You will learn the right frameworks, strategies, and tactics to finally call yourself a master storyteller. Then you just need to use it for good.

Dynamic Delivery & Musicality

Ever wondered why MLK, JFK, and Amanda Gorman are such memorable speakers? It’s because something magical happens in the brain when you have dynamic delivery and musicality. Learn how to trigger the creative part of your audience’s mind so your message is sticky & beautiful.

Persuasion & Framing

The best in the world know how to persuade people and frame any conversation. Instead of spending decades studying Cialdini or Voss, you will get all these lessons and strategies brought to you in the clearest and most implementable way, from a trial lawyer. Sound good?

Conversational Skills

You need to know how to listen closely, ask great questions, and leave people feeling energized & valued. Mastery of these skills lets you connect to anyone like Jamie Foxx and empathize like Brené Brown. In other words, you’ll have relationships that want to open doors for you.

Meet your instructor

Robbie Crabtree
Robbie Crabtree
Founder, Performative Speaking

I spent the past decade as a trial lawyer with 102 jury trials on robberies, murders, and child abuse cases. This experience helped me coach the national mock trial team at SMU Law School for 4 years.

Here's the tradeoff: being a trial lawyer is about minimizing risk, being a founder is about maximizing reward.

I founded Performative Speaking as a way to unlock everything I learned as a trial lawyer for startup founders in the technology world.

Over the past 18 months I've worked with hundreds of founders just like you (or you in the near future), helped clients raise over $140M, and taught this course for over 200 people in the past 3 cohorts.

I believe you all have a story inside of you. It’s one worth sharing and it’s one that can change the world. I want to help you create the impact in the world you deserve.

Course schedule

4-6 hours per week
  • Monday, June 13
    7 PM - 8:30 PM EST

    Founder Fundamentals

    • You have a story and the world needs to hear it
    • Conquer imposter syndrome
    • Channel nervous energy to excited energy
    • Elements of a great story
  • Wednesday, June 15
    7 PM - 8:30 PM EST

    Founder Voice

    • Every superhero has an origin story. Every founder has an origin story too.
    • Why will you, as a founder, never stop until your vision is reality?
    • Creation & Structure
    • Elements of Delivery
  • Saturday, June 18
    12 PM - 1:30 PM EST

    AMA with Robbie on all things storytelling & fundraising. If you've ever wanted a chance to pick Robbie's brain, this is the time to do it.

  • Monday, June 20
    7 PM - 8:30 PM EST

    Storytelling for Fundraising

    • Tying into the founder origin story, there is a story of the problems your company will solve, at scale
    • It’s not always the best solution that wins, it’s the best narrative
    • The 3 P's: Purpose, Passion, Potential
    • Rhetoric & Persuasion principles
  • Wednesday, June 22
    7 PM - 8:30 PM EST

    Advanced Storytelling Techniques

    • Frameworks to ensure success in informal conversations
    • Power of pausing
    • Active listening and lateral transitions
    • Framing the narrative
  • Saturday, June 25
    12 PM - 1:30 PM EST

    Storytelling Workshop. On our final day together, you will deliver a 60-second pitch of either your Founder Origin Story, Startup Vision Story, or your one big idea. There will be a sign-up sheet and those who present will get live feedback from Robbie.

Stay in the loop

Sign up for the introductory email series for a sneak peek at what you'll get in the course.

"You can be a confident speaker. Robbie's process will get you there."

Casey Means (Co-Founder at Levels)

Learning is better with cohorts

Learning is better with cohorts
Active, not passive

This course focuses on live workshops and hands-on projects

Learn with a cohort of peers

Surround yourself with like-minded founders who want to grow alongside you

Frequently Asked Questions

How does a cohort-based course work?
What if I miss a class?
Will the course materials be available after the course ends?
How much practice will you get?
What if I'm not a founder?
Is this program to land paid speaking engagements?
Is there homework?
What's the time commitment?
What will you walk away with?
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