131: MMM - On Editing Til it Hurts


"I know I need to cut some of my talk… but I hate to lose any of this material. It’s ALL important to me! How do you decide what to cut?" 

I say a lot in my workshops and with my clients that you know you’re getting to the good stuff when it really hurts to edit your talk. “Edit until it hurts.” Ok, it hurts! It hurts! Now what?

  • Most of the time people are actually giving a talk on a bunch of things rather than one. Editing is a discipline and you have to be brutal. What is your talk's ONE THING? 
  • First, get some outside perspective. These are your babies, and everything is precious to you. But you have to think of it from the audience’s ears… what do they really need to hear? What is working and what isn't? Start there. 
  • Also, remind yourself that you can share this content in another way, if it doesn’t make sense for right this moment. I once had a client finally let go of some content if we could put it in a 1-pager than went home with the audience. I thought that worked great!
  • Remember that your audience will remember so little of what you say… they will remember how you FEEL however, and strongly. So unless you want them to FEEL OVERWHELMED, I would get tough with yourself and CUT. 
  • And then look at it as a whole, rather than in its tiny parts. How is the balance? Flow? Are you sharing enough story or anecdote? The light parts vs. the heavy parts… the fun and the serious. That might help you home in on the pieces that need to go.
  • And finally - editing is iterative - so as you do it and get feedback and learn - you will find new things to cut and new things you want to add… so the process of editing is on-going. Keep at it!

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