5.3. OUTLINE YOUR CONTENT

When it's time to outline your content, you must shut your creative side out of the room. If it tries to get in, have a bouncer punch it in the stomach. The creative work is done; now it's time to incorporate this artistic material into a factual, well-researched body of information so that the audience can learn something, not just be entertained.

Your outline is your court case. We're not thinking out of the box anymore; we're thinking if/then, cause and effect, logic and reason. I'm not devaluing creativity; after all, we've spent days on the creative process. But we have to put a serious face on at some point. If you're not going to provide the aforementioned inflatable ball pit, you'd better provide something meaningful. Really, it's one or the other.

Outlines need structure to balance the tangential mind. Human beings are capable of connecting thousands of bits of information to one idea (which is overwhelming) and of finding great importance in other ideas despite a lack of supporting information (which is vexing). I work in groups of threes so that my presentations have balance. There are three reasons what I'm saying is true; there are three illustrations for each reason; and there are three things I want you to do, now that you understand.

If I can't come up with more than two reasons, illustrations, or actions, I know that I don't have a complete thought and it's back to brainstorming on that one. If I can't narrow it down to three key points ...

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