Preparing to Master the Stage
Use Sticky Notes to Help You
Here’s a little trick I learned
years ago that helps when preparing a talk or
presentation. Get a pack of three-inch by three-inch
sticky notes, then find a large, open space such as a
door or a wall with no pictures on it.
On the first sticky note, write
the objective of your talk or presentation and stick it
on the wall or door in the top left corner. This will
become a reference point for building the rest of the
Next, on separate sticky notes,
write any idea that comes to mind about your
presentation topic, without judgment as to its value or
relevance to the objective. Jot down any ideas, stories,
examples, anecdotes, research, references and anything
else that come to mind about the presentation. For each
thought, place the sticky note on the wall, in whatever
order you feel it should be placed.
When you’re done, you should have
a space filled with sticky notes, each with one thought
written on it. Then walk away from it for twenty-four
After twenty-four hours, come
back to the space and review the material on the sticky
notes. Look for anything that doesn’t feel right or look
right and place a small “x” on that note, so you can
identify it later as something needing attention. Mark
it with a question mark if you’re not sure yet. Maybe
something needs to be reworded or relocated somewhere
else in the presentation. As you’re reviewing, new ideas
may come to mind, so add them to the presentation wall.
Repeat this for a few days,
always adding and moving things around. Try not to
remove too much just yet, but if there are things that
are not likely to fit into your presentation, move them
to another spot, maybe on another wall. Don’t discard
them. We’ll discuss why a little later.
After you’ve completed this
review several times, and when you’re confident that you
have all the points you need on the wall, then it’s time
to begin removing items. The next section will explain
how and why.
So, what’s the lesson? Use sticky
notes to gather your creative ideas in one place, and
add to it every twenty-four hours. You’ll be amazed at
how much information you can come up with.