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Think of your brain as a computer. Like a computer, your brain stores and analyzes data. However, your brain is much better at analyzing data than it is at accurately storing it. Your ideas for talks are your data, and you need a place outside your brain to keep these ideas. Some of the best places to collect your ideas are low-tech. For example, I carry around an idea notebook. I jot down ideas, articles, and stories on a daily basis. I also keep super sticky notes in my car and purse at all times.
The stickies can also come in handy for storyboarding ideas, which we'll talk about in another video. I also use higher-tech approaches to idea collection. For example, when I know I'm going to craft a speech, I instantly create a cloud- based word processing file with the title of my presentation. This does two things. First it activates my creative brain to start looking for ideas that might relate to the topic. Second, every time I encounter an idea that relates to the topic, I enter it into the file.
You can use any word processing program of course, but I like to use a cloud- based program because I can access it from any device that I might happen to have in front of me. The key is to first open your mind to receiving ideas as you go about your day and secondly, note these ideas as they cross your mind. If you don't write ideas down, I can almost guarantee that you'll forget them once you sit down to write your speech or presentation. But what kind of things might you write down? Generally, I look for three categories of ideas.
Number one, look for facts and information. Often I'll bookmark and link to articles, white papers, books, and blog posts that can enrich my speech or presentation. Second, look and listen for stories. These may be stories you hear people tell each other, things you see in the news, or your stories may simply be recollections of past experiences. Third, look for anything offbeat or unusual that simply inspires you. It may or may not belong in your presentation, but the fact that you noticed it is important.
If it resonated emotionally with you, it may help you connect with your audience. And one final thought: you'll be collecting lots of ideas, so think of this as brainstorming. You probably won't use every idea you jot down, and some of them may be even crazy or silly. But remember, when you finally sit down to assemble your presentation, your creative brain will love playing with the giant toy box filled with ideas.
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