Frank Chimero in his most desperate state is Frank Chimero writing a talk. Each time I go through the process, I swear I will never do it again. Then someone invites me to speak at a conference about innovation in a hot air balloon over Catalonia, so I say yes, then end up in the same desperate position.
One of my tricks is to start a new Keynote presentation and drop in images and quotes that feel loosely related or simply ones that I feel drawn to. Images can speak to me on this phantasmal level, but text rarely does (even though I love them both). I’m not sure how to describe this attraction to certain images other than to call it a seduction. If I were more hippy-dippy, I’d call it kismet.
Once I have a solid pile of nonsense, I push the slides around and bunch them into groups. Sometimes I will add in new slides with declarative sentences or words like “BUT” and “THEREFORE” to join it all together into a story. You get odd, cryptic puzzles like:
This is specific enough to feel like you have done work, but fuzzy enough to let you forget the details when you come back to it. This method works much better for me than an outline. Eventually a story emerges, but the process always feels a little silly and gratuitous. I guess I can’t argue with results.