Here’s a way to quickly and easily create the first draft of any talk. I call it ‘sketch method’.

You make headings for all of your sections, a bit like a mind map, but you have them on separate pieces of paper or on post-it notes or index cards, so that you can move them around. By mapping out the whole thing at a very high level, it allows you to keep that structure fluid, to edit and move things around, and maybe you’ve realized that that incredible, killer ending, maybe you should open with that or duplicate it, or maybe this section here actually doesn’t fit and that should go in the bin.

The point is, by keeping it high-level at the beginning and working on the structure at that stage, you avoid throwing away work when you’ve committed later on to developing a particular section. So, ‘sketch method’ is a high-level, birds-eye view of the whole thing: ‘here’s the layout, here’s the structure.’

Don’t be precious about any specific bit. There might be something that you love and it doesn’t need to be in there. Work out the structure that works for you, the flow that makes sense. And then, when that’s ready, then you can solidify it and commit to developing each individual section. And that is ‘sketch method’.

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