Many of your ideas may be fascinating and clever, but you can’t fit every idea in your talk—and no one wants to hear them all, anyway. Connect, analyze, sort, and filter the ideas so you use only the ones that will yield the best outcomes.

Designers call this part of the process convergent thinking, (The idea generation phase is known as divergent thinking).

Your primary filter should be your big idea—the sentence that states your point of view and what is at stake if your plan is not adopted. Everything you keep in your talk must support the big idea.

If you don’t filter your presentation, the audience will have to—and people will resent you for making them work too hard to identify the most important points of your talk. So, cut mercilessly on their behalf of the audience.

Say you’re presenting a business case for acquiring a company. You might brainstorm several things to talk about, like:

  • the competencies your company would gain
  • the estimated return on investment
  • lessons learned from the last acquisition
  • the perceived threat R&D might feel
  • the possibility of bringing in culture consultants
  • that receivables are at net 45 days
  • the need to retool our factory floor

All these ideas fit into the big idea except the fact that receivables are at net 45 days. Even though it might be important, it would be a distraction during this particular meeting. Save it for another meeting.

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