Capstone: Organizing and Outlining Your Ideas

Your instructor will assign a number of speeches for you to prepare and deliver throughout this course.  The speech preparation process is similar for all types of speeches.  In this activity, you are required to craft your central idea/thesis statement for your current speech assignment, following the guidelines given to you by your instructor.

Step 1: Understand the requirements of the assignment from your instructor.  For example, requirements for a speech might look like this:  “This speech is an Informative Speech with a length of no less than three minutes and no more than five minutes.  It should not be a “How To” speech but should be focused on informing the audience about something interesting, new, or different that has the potential to impact the audience.  You must have at least three sources in your speech.  Presentation aids are optional. Your speech must have an introduction, a central idea, a preview, three major body areas, a review, and a conclusion.”

Step 2: Choose an organizational pattern for your speech.  You have a wide variety of organizational patterns to choose from, and your general purpose will help you to narrow them down so you focus on the most appropriate options for your speech type.  In our example of an informative speech, we might want to consider a chronological organization, a topical organization, or a spatial organization.  If we were giving a persuasive speech, organizational patterns such as problem/cause/solution or cause/effect/solution or the motivated sequence might be our best choices.  Once you have a list of the possible organizational patterns for your type of speech, look back over your research and think about the big ideas that emerge.

In our example speech on renewable energy, a spatial organization might work if you want to focus on what different parts of the world are doing in terms of renewable energy.  A chronological organization might work if you want to focus on the development of renewable energy over time.  A topical organization would be best if you want to focus on different sub-topics or categories. In our central idea, we focused on the impacts of  reducing emissions, saving money, and improving our health.  Each of those could be one of the main areas in a topical organization.

Consider the options for your speech, and choose the organizational pattern that best fits your topic and research.

Step 3: Outline your speech.  Following the guidelines provided by your instructor, create your outline.  Make sure to use the proper formatting and include all of the elements your instructor specifies must be included in an outline.  For example, you may need to include your introduction in the outline.

  1. Renewable energy reduces emissions
    1. Sub-point
    2. Sub-point
  2. Renewable energy saves money
    1. Sub-point
    2. Sub-point
  3. Renewable energy improves our health
    1. Sub-point
    2. Sub-point
Grading Rubric: Organizing & Outlining Your Ideas
Criteria Ratings Point Total: 100%
Organization Pick an appropriate organizational pattern for the topic. ___ / 20%
Content Outline follows formatting guidelines. ___ / 20%
Content Outline includes all necessary elements as specified in instructor guidelines. ___ / 60%