165: MMM - How to Edit Your Talk (and still speak with depth)


So - you’ve got a hefty first draft, and now it's time to edit your talk.

Knowing we want to get to clear and concise… AND - at the same time, say something NEW.

Finding the SIMPLE and still saying something TRUE and - in some way - NEW.

Whooo, that is a challenge!

And what the editing process in creating a talk is all about.


It’s not JUST - cutting out the stuff you don’t like/don't need.

It’s a process of digging deeper… and getting clearer on what you actually, really truly mean…

And our first drafts so rarely get there. Most of the time, it’s like skimming the cream off the top of your fancy coffee… it’s satisfying and sugary good. But that’s not where the big punch comes from. (Ha.)

When I gave my TEDx talk… the process of editing that puppy was brutal.

If you looked back on my drafts, they’d look in some ways like completely different talks… with a dslithly different focus each time, different emphasis. Every time I sat down to write, or talked it out, or explained it to someone, it shifted a little bit…

Finding clarity is a process.

So - how can we get there?

How do cut out the “fat” -

dig deeper into the truth of what we’re trying to say? -

And get to something REAL?

Here are some tips to get you started, as you evolve your talk - simultaneously digging deeper (adding content) - and cutting out what you don’t need:

 1 - Find your filter: audience - what do they need, and how can you meet that need?

2 - Shift your paragraphs to statements. What do you lose? Will help you find the essence of what you’re saying.

3 - Keep asking yourself, “So what?”… - this will help you dig deeper…

4 -  Kill your darlings. Be a brutal editor. If it helps you feel better, make another document with all your cut material. Maybe you’ll use it another time!

"If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.”  - Winston Churchill

You and me both, brother.

This is hard.

It’s a process.

And we have to stretch it both ways:

to cut out and

add complexity in its simplest form.

  • Find your filter.
  • Write in statements.
  • Ask “So What?”
  • Kill your darlings