Can you sum up what you are saying in one paragraph? What about one sentence?
This is a challenge I set myself every time I do a talk. Most of the time, if I have done my research right, I have way too much material to fit into one talk. Every diagram has an explanation, every point has a back story, every example has a justification.
If I put all that in, I would go so far over my allotted time, I couldn’t even see it with a telescope. Still, every little extra thing is so tempting. It all seems so necessary and so exciting.
Hence where my “one sentence” comes in. With each talk, I now try to think how I would sum it up in one sentence so short, I could write it on a t-shirt. It’s as if I were trying to think of the headline a newspaper editor would come up with.
While this sometimes takes time, it soon gives me a solid start for where I want to go and what I need to say. Anything that doesn’t say anything about this sentence is automatically excluded. Anything that explains it stays in.
It really is that simple.