Chapter 7: Organizing
Home Up Chapter 1: Introduction Chapter 2: Listening Chapter 5: Audience Analysis Chapter 7: Organizing Chapter 8: Delivery and Visual Resources Chapter 4: Small Group Communication Ch. 6, Being Credible Using Evidence Chapter 3: Interpersonal Communication

Ch. 7, Organizing Your Presentation


I.  Attention Getter: Always start off with an attention gaining device. Be creative. There are several types of attention getters.


    Audience Participation

    Special clothing

    “Imagine” scenario

    Sight/Sound (music/posters)





    Striking facts/stats


    Stories, anecdotes

Make sure your attention getters relate to the speech topic and are appropriate (don't point

gun at an audience even if you ARE discussing firearms).

II.    Purpose Statement

        Today I’m going to tell you about/how to. . .

        What I want you to learn today is. . .

III.   Ethos. This has to do with YOU and why the audience should listen to you. You can build
    ethos in several ways but in a speech class it helps to address the following:

        Discuss your interest

        Why did you choose the topic? Why do you find it interesting?

        Discuss your expertise

        Why should we listen to you? Did you do research on a certain topic?

IV.    Preview

           Preview All main points in the order you will discuss them


I. Use Roman Numeral Format for your outline. Divide the speech into sections

introduction/body/conclusion and then cite references in a "references" section.




    I.  Main Point 1

          A. Sub-point

              1. Supporting Material

                  a. Example 1

                  b. Example 2

              2. Supporting Material

                  a. Statistic 1

                  b. Statistic 2

      B.   Sub-point       

             1.    Supporting Material

                  a. Example 1

                  b. Example 2

              2. Supporting Material

                  a. Statistic 1

                  b. Statistic 2

    II.    Main Point 2 (etc. . .)


II. Six Principles of Main Points

     A.  Simplicity: Limit the number of main points and use simple wording. You can only include about 3-5 main points in a 5-7 minute speech. Remember, people can't rewind a live speech so make sure you explain things simply so that they are able to comprehend as
much as possible.


    B.  Discreteness: Keep main points separate from one another. You wouldn't want to say "Regular exercise helps you control you weight and your sleeping patterns." Those would be two main points. Transitions will also help set off main points.

    C.   Parallel Structure: Use the same wording for all main points. For example, if you start off your first main point with a question, then use questions to introduce all your main points.

    D.  Balance: Spend roughly the same amount of time on all main points. Also, consider the

    ratio of the different parts of the speech:

  • Introduction should comprise about 20-30% of the total speech.

  • Body is the longest part of the speech. Use roughly the same amount of time for all pts.
    (Example: 30% on point one; 40 % on point two; and 30% on point three).

  • Conclusion should be the shortest part of the speech and should equal about 5-10% of the total speech.

Also, remember the rule of "primacy-recency" which means people tend to remember what

they hear first and last. Thus, the weakest points should be placed in the middle.

    E. Coherence: All main points should make sense together in the same speech and should relate to one another. For example, if your topic was "How to Study Better in College" your main points should all have to do with study tips and improving study habits. You
would not want to include main points such as "Poor Attention Span" or "Undiagnosed Learning Disabilities" as these deal with learning problems and would work best in a speech with a different focus.

    F. Completeness: Don’t omit crucial information. If you are asking people to give money to St. Jude's Children's Hospital for example, be sure and tell them what St. Jude's does with the money and how and where to send it.

III. Organizational Patterns


    A. Time Sequence/Chronological:

    Use to show steps in a process (Ex: four steps in making your own paper) or show the history of something like the History of the ABI Building at ASU.

    B. Spatial: Deals with space and spatial regions. For example, if you are discussing the four chambers of the heart you would likely follow a spatial design and "look at" each chamber. This patterns is often referred to as an "oral tour." Or, if you were discussing the four burrows of New York City, you would likely follow a spatial pattern.

    C. Cause-Effect: Use when you want to establish the causes of a certain effect. For example, you may wish to identify three causes of global warming.

    D. Topical/Categorical: Use when there are natural divisions in your topic. Often used when discussing types, categories, divisions, major features or qualities of something. It is a very common design.

    E. Problem-Solution: Often used in persuasive speeches, this design is used to illustrate a particular problem and offer a solution to the problem. You could use this design in an informative speech if you were to discuss a problem and provide several options for solutions without advocating one solution in particular. So, the first main point always deals with establishing seriousness and scope of the problem and the second point is/are the solution(s) to the problem (or possible solution(s) if used in an informative speech).



Signal End! You can simply say "In conclusion. . ." Then. . .

I.  Summarize main points.

II. End on a strong note/creative close


Transitions are bridges between ideas. They usually go in key places in the speech:

Between the introduction and body, between the main points, and between the body and


There are four types of transitions:


Basic transition: Moves from 1 idea to the next. Ex: Now that we have looked at X, let's look

at Y."


Internal previews: Signals where you’re going: Ex: "Now that we have discussed the

materials you need to begin painting, let's discuss the various types of paint. These are

watercolor, acrylic, and oil." Internal previews occur in the body of the speech.


Internal summary: Reminds listeners where you’ve been. Ex: In short, we've discussed

the basic principles of feng shui: yin and yang, chi, shar, and the relationship of the five

elements. Let's take a look at how feng shui is practiced today.


Signposts: Tell listeners where you are. They are usually provided in numeric form. Ex: My

first point is, my second point is, etc.

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