a man in white long sleeves and black pants writing on a wooden bench

How to organize your thoughts before you write or speak.

Do you remember that moment when a speaker, with a normal fluency begins to use fillers like “uh” “ah” “um” “you know” and the likes? And the fluidity of the speech is affected? -It happens a lot. With a few exceptions, many speakers begin to use fillers whenever their thoughts are disconnected. This gives their minds time to gather their thoughts together. It makes sense because unless you give the mind a chance to gather relevant thoughts for the speech, the mouth will begin to open faster than the brain thinks. And the worst thing that can happen on the stage, will happen to you; You will run out of the words to speak. With every eyeballs hauled at you, where will you run to, dear speaker? Embarrassing! Yet it is avoidable! You can avoid this by simply organising your thoughts before the speech.

As a writer, I discovered that the easiest way to to overcome writer’s block and avoid procrastination is to organize my thoughts before hand. In writing too, whether you are writing blog articles, books, ads copy, reports or any form of writing, organising your thoughts beforehand is a path to penning a masterpiece. Hence, in this blog I will share with you practical ways to organize your thoughts before penning down your masterpiece or giving a speech.

Journaling Your Thoughts.

Two months ago I did a public an online speaking course taught by Mr. Chris Gilbeour, PHD, a Tedx speaker. Chris shared with us the importance of keeping a journal for speech. Journals, he said can be a bank of information that you can used at any time to prepare a speech or articles based on your unique perspective. Contents generated from your personal journal has the highest level of authenticity.

I started keeping journals since I was eight. Back then I started with picture journals, transitioned to diaries and I still write my entries up to date. From my pool of diaries and journals, I occasionally go back and pull out some useful data to use in my writings. For example, recently I wrote an article titled 25 lessons I learned at 25, I had to go revisit my past journal entries to remember some of the lessons I learned earlier.

I define journaling as the habit of recording your thoughts and feelings for future reference. You can record these thoughts and feelings as entries on a regular schedule, say every evening/ morning, daily or weekly. You can do it after meditation, or simply free write. These entries might later be useful for speech or other writings. However, some people keep journals as a way to let out their feelings and relief stress.

Outlining Your Thoughts.

Do you know why some speaker rumbles about, mixing information here and there when given a chance to speak? It is because their minds are fuming up with lots of unorganized information. And unrelated information pops from their mouth randomly. This makes it hard for the listeners to comprehend what they talk about. The only solution for this kind of speaker is to organize these information into meaningful Content.

When you are in such a situation, get a pen and paper and get to work. This is what you should do. First, Identify your audience; Secondly, define your objective for the communication you want to deliver, then craft the title, outline the main topics and finally sub-topics. It is this simple provided you already have the information on your head or recorded somewhere.

Download a simple one page printable outline template.

6Do Mind Mapping.

Before writing this blog article, I wanted to decide about who really needs this to know how to articulate their thoughts. I used mind mapping as in the picture below to come up with the answer.

Mind Mapping is method of visualising your ideas and making connections among the ideas. Mind Mapping begins with a central idea, branches to main topics and on to the sub topics. For example, in the above picture I began with the central idea ” Who need to organize their thoughts,” I thought of different people who need to organize their thoughts; These we’re speakers, politicians, business leaders, marketers, and writers. These people become the main topics. For each main topics, I again connected relevant topics for which they needed to organize their thoughts. These were the sub-topics. That is the simplest way to use mind mapping.

Note that the beauty of mind mapping is the fact that different topics can easily be interconnected and visualised at a glance. The data can later on be used to form an outline for a speech or writing.

To conclude, organizing your thoughts is a pre-requisite to any formal form of communication. Therefore it is a must to prepare adequately so as to deliver a memorable speech or pen down a masterpiece. Use journaling to keep a bank of personal data. Use outlining to organize your data and use mind mapping to generate and connect ideas. With this, picking ideas from your brain and presenting it to the world becomes whole lot easier.

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