I talked with Mel yesterday about the importance of mind maps and when to use them and then I found myself mapping what I would say this afternoon as I address a group of medical leaders here in Red Deer, Alberta.
Mapping your thoughts really works to focus and clarify your purpose. For me it is especially helpful because I think in circles or spirals but rarely in a straight line and for the most part audiences expect you to speak in a straight line. So drawing a map of where they are and where I am hoping they will be when I am finished given what they have stated is the purpose of the gig, gives me a couple of routes to follow.
I know that the map is not the territory. The representation of the reality I will face with the audience that the map provides is vague at best but it provides the landmarks that will make it easier for me to see if the fog rolls in or a their is a sudden storm. Red Deer IS known for its fantastic storms after all.
Drawing word maps with milestones and other markers will help me navigate the afternoon and I feel more confient about how I can serve the audience then I did a few minutes ago when I didn’t have the map. I feel like I just stop and asked directions or bought a map for an unfamiliar town. You know that feeling of security, false or otherwise that the map will allow you to find your way out should you get lost.
I like to use the PULSE frame as what I call a meta map. The five guiding questions in Prepare, Uncover, Learn, Search and Explain each have there own level of detail in a separate map that fits together to point toward a sustainable outcome for everyone. Each mini map gets you through the neighbourhood you are in and points you toward the next one.
Having just spent time on the Greek Island of Mykonos where the maps where in English and the street signs where in Greek, I know that I will have to rely on the people in my audience to guide the way and that I must trust their guidance, the map and my own intuition to get us all where we want to go.

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