If you have been using this chapter to guide you through the organizational stages of writing your speech, you have likely discovered that getting organized is very challenging but also very rewarding. Like cleaning up a messy kitchen or organizing your closet, doing the more tedious work of organizing your speech is an activity you will appreciate most once it is done. From the very beginning stages of organization, like choosing a topic and writing a thesis statement, to deciding how best to arrange the main points of your speech and outlining, getting organized is one step toward an effective and engaging speech or presentation.
Had Meg, the student mentioned in the opening anecdote, taken some time to work through the organizational process, it is likely her speech would have gone much more smoothly when she finished her introduction. It is very common for beginning speakers to spend a great deal of their time preparing catchy introductions, fancy PowerPoint presentations, and nice conclusions, which are all very important. However, the body of any speech is where the speaker must make effective arguments, provide helpful information, entertain, and the like, so it makes sense that speakers should devote a proportionate amount of time to these areas as well. By following this chapter, as well as studying the other chapters in this text, you should be prepared to craft interesting, compelling, and organized speeches.
- Name three questions you should ask yourself when selecting a topic.
- What is the difference between a general and specific purpose statement? Write examples of each for each of these topics: dog training, baking a cake, climate change.
- How does the thesis statement differ from the specific purpose statement?
- Which speech organization style arranges points by time? Which one arranges points by direction? Which one arranges points according to a five-step sequence?
- Which speech organization styles are best suited for persuasive speeches?
- Define signpost. What are three types of signposts?
- What is the correct format for a speech outline?
- Reverse outlining. During a classmate’s speech, pay special attention to the organization style that he or she employs. As they give their speech, try to construct an outline based on what you hear. If your classmate has followed many of the suggestions provided in this and other chapters, you should be able to identify and replicate the structure of the speech. Compare your “reverse” outline with the speaking outline. Discuss any areas of discrepancy.
- Topic Proposal Workshop. Often, selecting a topic can be one of the most challenging steps in developing a speech for your class. Prior to class, review the textbox “Questions for selecting a topic” on page 8-2. Answer these questions and choose a tentative topic. Write up a short paragraph about your topic that describes its importance, why it interests you, and what you would like to convey to an audience about your proposed topic. In class, meet with two or three additional students to discuss and workshop each of your topics. As you discuss your topic with others, jot down what questions they had, what aspects they seemed to find most interesting, and any suggestions your peers might have. Once the workshop is complete, proceed with narrowing your topic to something manageable.