Actually, technically, this blog is about writing inspiration, as that is one half of the equation when it comes to great speech making.
We are taught from an early age, to organise our thoughts in a ‘linear’ manner – line by line, left to right, top to bottom on the page. You may have even learned how to prepare speeches this way – either writing them out word for word or writing outlines with the main points, then sub-points, then sub-sub points and so on.
But that is not how the mind works. When preparing a speech, we don’t think in terms of points and sub-points. We have snatches of ideas … an anecdote, a great line for a conclusion, a powerful question to ask three quarters of the way through, an insight from a recognised expert worthy of mention – you get the idea! This is where a mind map can be a valuable tool.
Logan Murray, one of the UK’s most acclaimed and successful tutors of stand-up comedy, advises, in his book,”Get Started in Stand-Up Comedy” writing for half an hour a day if you want to get serious about comedy. Having met him in person last month, ten years after he wrote that, he admitted that these days he advises ten minutes as no one seems to have the attention span to do half an hour!
He showed us how he writes, starting on a Monday and going through to a Friday, 5 days a week, every week if he is creating something new, like a show or a book. On Monday, he takes a topic and just mind maps it without editing – and certainly without writing any jokes. He literally ‘mind dumps’ everything that comes to mind about that topic.
Take a look at the mind map I did on mobile phones! I was amazed to discover there was hours of material here. Of course the next step is actually harder: take an idea and create the next thought in the set up…and then the third step, which is to write a punchline. That’s the point at which most of us put the mind map in a drawer and forget all about it.
Still, this is a very good technique for writing your speech. Instead of opening PowerPoint (step away from the computer!!), why not get out a big piece of paper and have fun writing down everything you think about the topic before you start to get too specific?