A colleague asked me the other day after seeing my LinkedIn post – “Ikenna, how do you find time to write all these books?” By the way, she asked this not knowing that I have a finished story – The Leader’s Tale, which I have been holding back from publishing. Have you ever noticed that it seems we never have enough time for all the things we want to do? Here is a simple example – look at your To Do list, how often do you get the feeling that it is reducing and not just adding new items?

I will describe my own patented process for getting things done in the next email. Yeah right, Ikenna – you have a patented process? Well, I wish it was like that, you will be shocked while reading it at how simple it is.

I said all that, just to prepare the ground before entering my sharing for this week. For those who just joined us on this journey – this is my way of making sure you look forward to the next email. Someone asked me a key question during the last MasterClass session which I briefly touched on – there wasn’t enough time. (Now you see why I was writing about time, right?)

She had asked me how I put my speech together – what do I use

to organize the speech? The short answer is that I prepare a MindMap of my speech and we will go into the components of my mind (:-)) in this post.

Central Theme

The starting point of every mindmap is your theme or in this case; the topic of your speech. Let’s take a simple example, I was once invited to talk about The Future Leader. That became the central theme of my mindmap.

This central theme is like the headline of the page and is placed in the center of the blank page. Typically a mindmap arranges your thoughts by starting inside and expanding to the external environment. That tells you what the major concept of that speech is all about – in my case it is about being or becoming a future leader.

Major Branches

In making a mindmap, you have lines which originate from your central theme and define the topics within your discussion. There is no limitation on the number of topics which you can have on the page. However, considering that you do not have endless hours to speak, do not try and cram too many topics into it.

There are however 2 important branches to have – your BANG and your FLOURISH. If you’re not yet aware of what these terms mean, I would recommend this great book The Storyteller’s Student. The short form though is that the BANG is how to start off your speech in a way that grabs people’s attention while connecting with them at the same time. The FLOURISH is another word for how to finalize your speech; anchoring what you told them and sending them out with your lessons.

In the case of my speech above – I had 5 topics within this central theme. The Bang, Vision, Flexibility, Storyteller and the Flourish. My entire speech was totally summarized within these 5 branches.

Sub Branches

Well, I call them here sub branches but this is really the gist of your speech. It is within these branches that you can fully bring to bear the power of storytelling.

There are broadly speaking two options for using stories in speaking – one story, one point or one story multiple points. Depending on which of them  you want to use, the stories make up your sub branches.

To illustrate, I will continue with the speech example I already began with. In my Bang, I had one story showing my first venture into management and one of the mistakes which I made (not enough time to tell you the story here, remind me to record it on video for you). For the Vision branch, I built on the story which I had just shared – explaining to the audience the importance of a shared vision in leadership. In this way, I built up the rest of my speech finalizing with a recap of the entire speech and a story illustrating how accepting my weakness helped strengthen my leadership.

Using this simple map to prepare for your speech helps keep the overview. Another important part of using this tool is, all I had to do was print out this one pager and had my full talk in front of me. You know that one time when there is a need to refresh your memory – well, just look at the page.

I am sure you will enjoy using this tip – do let me know how it works out for you.