Preparing the Introduction

Preparing the Introduction

At this stage of preparation, you are well enough prepared to consider the introduction that you will use.

Because the introduction is critical in establishing your relationship with your audience, it is worth investing the time to compare different openings. Try working on two or three different introductions; then pick the one you believe will work best for your specific audience and speech goal.

How long should the introduction be? Most introductions range from 5 to 10 percent of the speech, This, for a five minute speech (approximately 750 words) to is words is appropriate; for a thirty-minute speech, an introduction of two to four minutes is appropriate. Your introduction should be long enough to put listeners in a frame of mind that will encourage them to hear you out without being so 10000 that it leaves to little time to develop the substance of the speech. Of course, the shorter the speech, the shorter the introduction.

Goals of the Introduction

For any speech, a good introduction will get attention and lead into the content of the speech. A good introduction may also establish credibility, set the tone for the speech, and create a bond of goodwill between speaker and audience. Let’s look at each of these goals in more detail.

Getting attention An audience’s physical presence does not guarantee that they will listen to your speech. Therefore, your first goal is always to create an opening that will win the listeners attention. You can arouse their interest by providing them with a reason they need to know the information you will be presenting. In the next section, we discuss several types of attention getting devices you may use.

Leading into content Audiences want to know what the speech is going to be a t, so it is alt? important to forecast your organization in the introduction, instance, a speech on campaigning, after your attention, you may say, In this speech, I’ll explain the four stages of a political campaign. A clear forecast of the main points is appropriate unless you have some special reason for not revealing the organization.

Establishing your credibility Regardless of your topic or goal, your audience may wonder why they should pay attention to what you have to say. Although credibility is built and maintained throughout the speech, if you have any thought that your audience may not recognize your credentials for speaking on this topic, it IS a good idea to say something about your earning the right to talk on this topic. For instance, when Erin starts her speech on the volleyball spike, her audience is likely to feel more comfortable with her as an authority if she mentions that she is a member of the women’s varsity volleyball team.

Setting a tone A humorous opening will signal a light haired tone serious opening signals a more thoughtful or somber tone. A speaker who starts with a rib-tickling ribald story is putting the audience in a lighthearted, devil may care mood. If that speaker then says, Now let’s rum to the subject of abortion (or nuclear war or drug abuse), the audience will be confused and the speech may be doomed.

Creating a bond of goodwill In the first few words, you often establish how an audience will feel about you as a person. If you are enthusiastic, warm, and friendly and give a sense that what you are going to talk about is in the  audience’s best interest, the audience will feel more comfortable spending time listening to you.

Types of Introductions

Ways to begin a speech are limited only by your imagination. In very short speeches-the kind you will be giving this term you will want to focus on getting attention and leading into the content of the speech. You can get your audience’s attention with a startling statement, a question, a story, a personal reference, a quotation, or a suspense opening. Any of these devices can be adapted to both short and longer speeches.

Startling statement One excellent way to grab your listeners attention and focus on the topic quickly is to open with a startling statement that will override the various competing thoughts in your listeners minds. This example illustrates the attention-getting effect of a startling statement.

If I pointed a pistol at you, you would be justifiably’ scared. But at least you would know the danger to your life. Yet every day we let people fire away at us with messages that are dangerous to our pocketbooks and our minds, and we seldom say a word. I’m talking about television advertisers.

Today I want to look at our choices in how we can go about letting our feelings about advertising be heard.

In just seventy six words about thirty seconds-this introduction grabs attention and leads into the speech.

Rhetorical question Asking a rhetorical question, a question seeking a mental rather than a vocal response, is another appropriate opening for a short speech. Here a student begins her speech on counterfeiting with three short questions.

What would you do with this twenty-dollar bill if I gave it to you? Take your friend to a movie? Treat yourself to a pizza and drinks? Well, if you did either of these things, you could get in big trouble this bill is counterfeit.

Today I want to share with you the extent of counterfeiting of American money worldwide and what our government is doing to curb it.

Again, a short opening (seventy words, less than thirty seconds) gets attention and leads into the speech.

Story If you have a good story that gets an audience’s attention and is really elated to the goal of the speech, you probably have an unbeatable opening. Because many good stories are rather long, they are often more appropriate for speeches with time limits of ten minutes or more. However, you will occasionally find or think of a story that you can abbreviate that is just right for your speech (Ettinger, 2000, p. 727).

Last summer, Buffalo Bills quarterback Doug Flute was watching the final game of the Women’s World Cup soccer match on TV with his 12-year-old soccer playing daughter, Alexei. During the match, the hugely successful advertisement for Gatorade featuring superstar Michael Jordan and U.S. Team star Mia Ham came on, at which time Alexei asked, Dad, who’s the guy with Mia 7.

My optimistic belief is that perceptions are in the eye of the beholder and role models like Mia are setting the stage for a new world view.

Although Ettinger’s opening was well over 150 words, this 89-word revision would work well for a five- to seven-minute classroom speech.

Personal reference Although any good opening should engage the audience, the personal reference is directed solely to that end. In addition to getting attention, a personal reference can be especially effective at engaging listeners as active participants in a speech. A personal reference opening like this one on exercise may be suitable for a speech, of any length.

Say, were you panting when you got to the top of those four flights of stairs this morning? I’ll bet there were a ‘few of you who vowed you’re never going to take a class on the top floor of this building again. But did you ever stop to think that maybe the problem isn’t that this class is on the top floor? It just might be that you are not getting enough exercise.

Today I want to talk with you about how you can build an exercise program that will get you and keep you in shape, yet will only cost you three hours a week, and not one red cent.

Quotation A particularly vivid or thought-provoking quotation makes an excellent introduction to a speech of any length. You will need to use your imagination to relate the quotation to your topic so that it yields maximum benefits. For instance, in the beginning of her introduction, notice how Suzanne Morse, Director of the Pew Partnership for Civic Change (2001), uses a quotation to get the attention of her audience.

A few years ago, one of America’s foremost philosophers, Yogi Berra, remarked to his wife on a trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, We are completely lost but we are making good time. I am afraid Yogi’s observation may be true for more than just his navigational skills. For Americans, our direction on the important social issues of the day finds us lost but still driving.

As we think about strategies for change needed for America’s third century, we must go in new directions.

Suspense If you can start your speech in a way that gets the audience to ask, What is she leading up to? you may well get them hooked for the entire speech. The suspense opening is especially valuable when the topic is one that the audience ordinarily might nor he willing to listen to if the speech were opened less dramatically. Consider the attention-getting value of this introduction.

It costs the United States more than $116 billion per year. It has cost the loss of more jobs than a recession. It accounts for nearly 100,000 deaths a year. I’m not talking about cocaine abuse-the problem is alcoholism. Today I want to show you how we can avoid this inhumane killer by abstaining from it.

Notice that by purring the problem, alcoholism, at the end, the speaker ages the audience to try to anticipate the answer. And because the audience may well be thinking narcotics, the revelation that the answer is alcoholism is likely to be that much more effective.

Outlining the Conclusion

Shakespeare said, All’s well that ends well,” and nothing could be truer of a good speech. A conclusion has two major goals: (1) to wrap up the speech so that it reminds the audience of what you have said and (2) to hit home so that the audience will remember your words or consider your appeal. Even though the conclusion will be a relatively small part of the speech seldom more than  percent (thirty five to forty words of a five minute speech) it is worth the time and effort to make it effective.

Speakers select the type of conclusion for their speeches Oil the basis or the  speech goal and the likely appeal to the audience. To determine how you will conclude your speech, tryout two or three conclusions, then choose the one thus believe will best reinforce your speech goal with your audience. You want to master four basic types of conclusions: summary, story, appeal to action, and emotional impact conclusions.

Summary Conclusions

By far the easiest way to end a speech is to summarize the main points. Thus, the shortest appropriate ending for a speech on the warning signs of cancer would be, So remember, if you experience a sudden weight loss, lack of energy, or blood in your urine or bowels, you should see a doctor immediately. Such an ending restates the key ideas the speaker wants the audience to remember. Summaries are appropriate for either informative or persuasive speeches.

Effective speakers often summarize to achieve the first speech goal wrapping up the speech so that it reminds the audience of what they have said. But effective speakers are likely to supplement their summaries with material designed to  words or consider their appeal. The other types of conclusions presented here can be used to supplement or replace the summary.

Story Conclusions

Story like, Of. anecdotal, material that reinforces the message of the speech works just as well for the conclusion as for the introduction. In his speech on banking, Edward Crutch field (1980) ends with a personal experience, showing that bankers must be ready to meet competition coming from any direction.

I played a little football once for Davidson a small college about 20 miles north of Charlotte. One particularly memorable game for me was one in which I was blindsided on an off tackle trap. Even though that was 17 years ago, I can still  recall the sound of cracking bones ringing in my ears. Well, 17 ampersand 3 operations later my back is fine. But, I learned something important about competition that day. Don’t always assume that your competition is straight in front of you. It’s easy enough to be blindsided by a competitor who comes at you from a very different direction.

Story like conclusions will work for either informative or persuasive speeches.

Appeal to Action Conclusions

The appeal to action is a common way to end a persuasive speech. The appeal describes the behavior that you want your listeners to follow after they have heard the arguments. Notice how Heather Ettinger concludes her speech on Shattering the Glass Floor (2000) with a strong appeal to action.

We have to stop thinking someone else will change the world, We’ve got to get it that we’re the ones.

As you drive home tonight, remember to lift while you climb and outstretch that hand to help another woman, another girl. Let’s shatter the glass floor. Let’s be women donors who are leaders of fundamental change.

By their nature, appeals are most relevant for persuasive speeches, especially  when the goal is to motivate an audience to act.

 Emotional Impact Conclusions

No conclusion is prioress impressive than one that drives home the most important points with real emotional impact. Consider the way Richard Lamm (1998), of the Center of Public Policy and Contemporary Issues, ends his speech on examined assumptions with a powerful emotional appeal for unity.

Diverse people must unify or they have conflicts. Melting pots that don’t melt become pressure cookers. A country is not a rooming house where we just live  while we make our living. What is the social glue that holds diverse people together? Beware of Pyrrhic victories. Listen to John Gardner. If a community is lucky,; and fewer and fewer are, it will have a shared history and tradition. It will have story its legends and heroes and will retell those stories often. It will have symbols of group identity a name, a flag, a location, songs and stories in common which it will use to heighten its merciless sense of belonging. To maintain the sense of belonging and the dedication and commitment so essential to community life, members need inspiring reminders of shared goals and values.

Like the appeal, the emotional conclusion is likely to be used for a persuasive speech where the goal is to reinforce belief, change belief, or motivate an audience to act.

Listing Sources

Regardless of the type of speech or how long or how short it will be, list your sources on the outline alphabetically by last name of author or by category with items listed alphabetically in each category: books, magazines, newspapers, electronic databases, experience, observation, and interviews.

1. Books. For a book, write the name of the author (last name first), the title of the book, the chapter or the article if the book is a collection of chapters and articles written by different people, the place of publication and the publisher, and the publication date. For example.

Tobin, David L. Coping Strategies Therapy for Bulimia Nervosa.

Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2000.

Janzen, Rod, Five Paradigms of Ethnic Relations, pp. 63-72, in Larry.

Samovar and Richard Porter, Eds., Intercultural Communication, 8th ed.,

Belmont, CA: Wads worth Publishing, 1997.

2. Magazines, Ac]demic Journals, and Newspapers. For such periodicals, write the name of the author (last name first) if one is given, the title of the article, the name of the magazine, journal, or newspaper, the date, and the page number. from which the information was taken. Here are some examples.


Quinn, Jane Bryant, Should You Be Worried? Newsweek, August 17, 1998, 40-42.

Academic Journal

Flanigan, Andrew j & Metzger, Miriam. Internet Use in the Contemporary Media Environment. Human Communication Research, (Jan. 2001),153-181).


DiFilippo, Dana, Year round Schools Gaining Popularity, The Cincinnati Enquirer, August 1,1998.

3. Electronic Databases. When you take material from the Web or some other electronic source, try to include as much documentation as possible so that a person could find what you have cited. Here is an example.

Effects of E on Mood and Cognition. Listed in April 2001.

4. Experience and Observation. If you are drawing from your own experience or observation, list the nature of that experience qr observation. Here are two examples.

Work experience: Fegel’s Jewelry, senior year of high school, 1999-2000.

Observation: Visited Schoenling Brewery, April 22, 2000. Spent an hour on the floor observing the use of various machines in the total process and employees’ responsibilities at each stage.

5. Interviews. If you have conducted an interview, list the name of the person, the person’s position, and the date of that interview.

Interview with Bruno Mueller, diamond cutter at Fegel’s Jewelry, March 19,2001.

Completing the Outline

Now that you have all the parts, it is time to put everything together in complete outline form. Use this checklist to be sure you have an outline that will be fustian useful to you as you move into adaptation and rehearsal.

1. Have I used a standard set of symbols to indicate structure? Main points  usually are indicated by Roman numerals, major subdivisions by capital referrers, minor subheadings by Arabic numerals, and further subdivisions by lowercase letters.

2. Have I written main points and major subdivisions as complete sentences? Complete sentences help you to see (1) whether each main point actually develops your speech goal and (2) whether the wording makes your intended point. Unless the key ideas are written out in full, it will be difficult to follow the next guidelines.

3. Do main points and major subdivisions contain a single idea? This guideline ensures that the development of each part of the speech will be relevant to the point. Thus, rather than.

1. The park is beautiful and easy to get to.

divide the sentence so that both parts are separate.

1. The park is beautiful.

II. The park is easy to get to.

The two-point example sorts out distinct ideas so that the speaker can line up supporting material with confidence that the audience will see and understand its relationship to the main points.

4. Does each major subdivision relate to or support its major point. This principle is called subordination. Consider the following example.

I. Proper equipment is necessary for successful play.

A. Good gym shoes are needed for maneuverability.

B. Padded gloves will help protect your hands.

C. A lively ball provides sufficient bounce.

D. And a good attitude doesn’t hurt.

Notice that the main point deals with equipment A, B, and C (shoes, gloves, and ball) relate to the main point. But D, attitude, is not equipment and should appear somewhere else, if at all.

5. Are the total words in the outline limited to no more than one-third the total number of words anticipated in the speech? An outline is only a skeleton of the speech, not a manuscript with letters and numbers. The outline should be short enough to allow you to experiment with methods of development during practice periods and to-adapt to audience needs during the speech itself. An easy ,way to judge whether your outline is about the right length is to be sure that it contains no more than one-third the number of words in the actual speech. Because approximate figures are all you need, to compute the approximate maximum words for your outline, start by assuming a speaking rate of 160 words per minute. (Last term, the speaking rate for the majority of speakers in my class was 140 to 180 words per minute.) Thus, using the average of 160 words per minute, a three- to five minute speech would contain roughly 480 to 800 words, and the outline should be 160 to 300 words. An eight to ten minute speech, roughly 1,280 to 1,600 words, should have an outline of approximately 426 to 533 words.

Now that we have considered the various parts of an outline, let us put them together for  final look. The outline in illustrates the principles in practice. The commentary in’ the right hand column focuses on each guideline we have considered.

Summary Organizing

A speech is organized with an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.

First, organize the body of the speech. Begin by writing a thesis sentence based on the speech goal. When you have the potential main points, select the ones you will use. Main points are written as complete sentences that are specific, vivid, and written in parallel language.

A speech can be organized in many different ways depending on the type of speech and the nature of the material. Some of the most common organizational patterns are time, topic, and logical reasons.

Main points are embellished with .supporting material. A useful process is to begin by listing the potential material, then subordinating the material in a way that clarifies the relationship between and among sub points and main points.



Troy, that was a terrific speech. I haven’t. heard so many good stories in a long rime.

You’re right, Brett, the stories were interesting, but, you know, I had a hard time
following it.

Well, he was talking about ways that we can help save the environment but, you’re
right, I can’t seem to remember anything but that one point about recycling. Let’s see, what were the other key points.


After you have read this chapter, you should be able to answer these questions.

How do you construct a this statement?

How do you determine the main points for your speech?

How do you determine the best order for your speech?

What is the goal of transition?

What are the goals of an effective speech introduction?

What are the most common types of speech introductions?

What are the essential of an effective speech conclusion?

Troy and Brett’s experience is not that unusual; even well known speakers sometimes give speeches that are not as clearly organized as they could be. Yet a speech that is well organized is far more likely to achieve its goal than one that
is not. In this chapter, we consider the third of the five action steps: Organize and develop material in a way that is best suited to your particular audience . This action step involves (1) outlining the body of the speech, (2) preparing the introduction, (3) preparing the conclusion, (4) listing sources, and (5) complete  outline. Think of an outline not as an entire speech written in outline form but as a road map for the audience to follow. As you consider ways to present the speech, use your outline to test the logic, development, and overall strength of the structure of your speech before you prepare the wording or begin practicing its delivery.

Outlining the Body of the Speech

Because the introduction is the first part of the speech to be heard by the audience, many speakers assume that they should begin outlining with the introduction. When you think about it, however, you will realize that it is difficult to  work on an introduction before you have considered the material to be introduced. It is best to prepare the body of your speech first: Write a thesis statement, select and state the main points, and determine the best order. Once you have outlined the body of your speech, you can select and develop the examples, quotations, and other elements that explain or support your main points. This supporting material is discussed later in the chapter.

Writing a Thesis Statement

Once you have a tentative speech goal and have drawn together information for your speech, begin framing the structure of the speech by writing a thesis statement, a sentence that outlines the elements of the specific goal statement. The clearer your thesis statement is at this stage of preparation, the easier it is to select, state, and begin to build your main points. Because Erin is a member of the women’s varsity volleyball team, she already knows her subject matter well enough to write her thesis statement as. The three steps for executing an effective volleyball spike are to have a good approach, a powerful swing, and a good follow through.

Often, however, you will have collected a variety of information related to your ‘specific speech goal. Then you have to make a decision about what information is the most important for achieving your goal. Let’s consider an example to illustrate how you might proceed to select the points you want to talk about now that you have found most of the information you will use in your speech.

When Emming wrote the specific goal “I would like the audience to understand the major criteria for finding a suitable credit card, he already had a few ideas about what he might focus on in the speech. But it wasn’t until he completed most of his research that he really had enough information to write down seven specific ideas of what might be the key criteria for finding a suitable credit card.

• interest rate
• convenience
• discounts
• annual fee
• rebates
• institutional reputation
• frequent flyer paints

If you are able to list several potential topics for your main points, then you can begin to evaluate them and select the most relevant ones for your thesis statement. For instance, Emming noticed that several of his sources talked about the importance of both interest rate and annual fee. Moreover, nearly every source mentioned’ at least one inducement, such as rebates. Emming crossed out those criteria (topics) that did not have as much support and combined individual inducements under a single heading. At this stage, his list looked like this.

Now Emming was able to write his tentative thesis statement using this structure. Three criteria that will enable the audience to.find the most suitable credit card are level of real interest rate, annual fee, and advertised perks (inducements).

Outlining Main Points

Once you have determined a thesis statement, you can begin outlining the main points that will make up the body of your speech. Main points are complete sentence representations of the ideas that you have used in your thesis statement. Think of your main points as the key building blocks of a speech the ideas you want your audience to remember if they remember nothing else.

Write main points as complete sentences It is important to write main points as complete sentences because only sentences can fully express the relationships associated with the key elements of the thesis statement. For instance, if Emming skid. My three main points are real interest rate, annual fee, and advertised inducements, you would have some idea of what he was talking about, but you would not understand the points as criteria. To make the relationships clear, further refinement is needed. Using Roman numerals to sent main point designations, Emming might write a first draft of the main points of his speech like this.

I. Examining the interest rate is one criterion that you can use to find a credit card that is suitable for where you are in life.

II. Another criterion that you can use to make sure that you find  credit card that is suitable for where you are in life is to examine the annual fee.

III. Finding a credit card can also depend on weighing the advertised perks, which is the third criterion that you will want to use to be sure that it is suitable for where you are in life.

Notice that we emphasized that this is a first draft. Sometimes our first draft contains the wording we want to use. More often, however, we find that our first attempt needs revision.

Revise main points To revise your main points, ask these questions.

• Are the main points clear?
• Are the main points parallel in structure?
• Are the main points meaningful?
• Are the main points limited to five or fewer in number?

For practice, let’s consider Emming’s main points more carefully. Ernming has made a pretty good start: The three main points are complete sentences that capture the essence of the thesis statement. Now let’s see how Emming might work with these statements to assure himself that he has the best wording for his points.

1. Are the main points clear? Main points are clear when their wording is likely to call up the same images in the minds of all audience members. For his speech. Emming has written the third main point as follows.

III. Finding a suitable credit card can also depend on weighing the advertised perks, which is the third criterion that you will want to use to be sure that it is suitable or where you are in life.

As he reviews the wording of the main point, he notices that it is repetitive suitable. suitable, too general where you are in life, and wordy (which is the deterioration that you will want to use to be sure that it is unsuitable ).

Emming sees that he could improve the clarity of the main point by cutting all the words before weighing the advertised perks, cutting which, and changing the rest of the sentence to is the third criterion for finding a suitable credit card. After these changes, Emming would then have a main point written as follows.

III. Weighing the advertised perks is the third criterion for finding a suitable credit card.

Now let’s consider the second question.

2. Are the main points parallel in structure? Main points are parallel when their wording follows the same structural pattern, often using the same introductory words. Parallel structure helps the audience recognize main points by recalling a pattern in the wording. For example, Emming notices that each of his main points begins with different wording. He might decide to create a parallel structure by focusing on each main point as a criterion. Then his draft of the main points, echoing the wording of his thesis easterner, would be as follows.

1. One criterion for finding a suitable credit card is to examine the interest rate.

II. A second criterion for finding a suitable credit card is to examine the annual fee.

III. A third criterion for finding a suitable credit card is to weigh the perks.

Parallelism may be achieved in many other ways. A second common way is to start each sentence with an active verb. Let’s suppose that Kenneth is writing a speech on how to antique a table. In his first draft of the main points, Kenneth might identify these main points.

I. Clean the table thoroughly.

II. The base coat can be painted over the old surface.

III. A stiff brush, sponge, or piece of textured material can be used to apply the antique finish.

IV. Then you will want to apply two coats of shellac to harden the finish.

With careful revision, Kenneth might construct a final draft where the main points are made parallel by beginning each point with an active verb (italicized).

I. Clean the table thoroughly.

II. Paint the base coat over the old surface.

III. Apply the antique finish with a stiff brush.

IV. Harden the surface with two coats of shellac.

Notice how this small change clarifies and strengthens his message so that his audience can immediately identify the key steps in the process.

Now that we have considered the first two questions, let’s consider the third.

3. Are the main points meaningful? Main points are meaningful when they are truly informative. If the main points are not really meaningful, the audience gets no significant information and has no motivation for remembering them. Let’s go back to Emming’s first main point. Suppose he had written if as follows.

I. Thinking about the interest is one important thing.

What would his audience learn from this statement? Not much. Contrast that wording with this.

II. One criterion for finding a suitable credit card is to examine the interest rate.

Now the audience has the opportunity to connect the idea of interest rates to a meaningful task choosing a suitable credit card.

Now let’s consider the final question.

4. Are the main points limited in number? Main points are limited in number when the total is five or fewer. As you begin to phrase prospective main points, if your thesis statement is still too broad (or if you stray from it), you may find your list growing to five, seven, or even ten points that seem to be main ideas. A list that long is usually a clue that some points are really sub points or repeat other points. If you have more than five points, group similar points under a single heading, or determine whether some points are sub points that can be included under main points. Then you can revise your thesis statement accordingly.

Suppose you were giving a speech on shooting an effective foul shot. You might start with this list of points.

I. Face the basket before shooting.

II. Hold your shoulders parallel to the foul line.

III. Spread your feet comfortably with your knees bent.

IV. Put your foot that is opposite to your shooting arm slightly forward.

V. Hold the ball in your shooting hand with your elbow bent.

VI. Concentrate on a spot just over the rim.

VII. Straighten your knees as you shoot the ball.

 VIII. Follow  through after the ball is released.

Now notice how you can make the steps even more meaningful by grouping them under the headings.

I. First, square yourself to the basket.

A. Face the basket before shooting.

B. Hold your shoulders parallel to the foul line.

II. Second, have proper balance.

A. Spread your feet comfortably with your knees bent.

B. Put your foot that is opposite to your shooting arm slightly forward.

III. Third, deliver the ball smoothly.

A. Hold the ball in your shooting hand with your elbow bent.

B. Concentrate on a spot just over the rim.

C. Straighten your knees as you shoot the ball.

D. Follow through after the ball is released.

Notice that this organization actually results in more items (eleven versus eight), but it is easier to remember two to four items under each of three main headings than it is to remember eight separate items.

Determining the Best Order

A speech can be organized in many different ways. Your objective is to find or create the structure that will help the audience make the most sense of the material. Although real speeches come with many types of organization, three basic orders are useful for the beginning speaker to master topic, time, and logical reasons.

Topic order organizes the main points of the speech by categories or divisions of a subject. This is an extremely common way of ordering main points because-nearly any subject may be subdivided or categorized in many different ways. The order of the topics may go from general to specific, least important to most important, or in some other logical sequence.

In this example, the topics are presented in the order that the speaker believes is most suitable for the audience and speech goal, with the most important point at the end.

Specific goal: I want the audience to understand three proven elements for ridding our bodies of harmful toxins.

Thesis statement: Three proven elements involved in ridding our bodies of harmful toxins are reducing animal foods, hydrating, and eating natural whole foods.

Main points

I. One proven element involved in ridding our bodies of harmful toxins is reducing our intake of animal products.

II. A second proven element involved in ridding our bodies of harmful toxins is eating more natural whole foods.

III. A third proven element involved in ridding our bodies of harmful toxins is keeping well hydrated.

Emming’s speech on the three criteria that will enable the audience to find the credit card that is most suitrable is another example of a speech using topic order.

Time or chronological order follows a sequence of ideas or events; it or uses on what comes first, second, third, and so on. When you select a chronological arrangement of main points, the audience understands that there is a particular importance to both the sequence and the content of those main points. Time order is most appropriate when you are explaining how to do something, how to make something, how something works, or how something happened. Kenneth’s speech on steps in antiquing a table is one example of time order.

In the following example, notice how the order of main points important to the logic-of the speech as the wording.

Specific goal: I want the audience to understand the four steps involved in preparing an effective resume.

 Thesis statement: The steps of preparing a resume include gathering relevant information, deciding on an appropriate format, planning she layout, and polishing the statements of information.

Main points

1. First, gather relevant information.

II. Second, decide on an appropriate format.

III. Third, plan the layout.

IV. Fourth, polish the statements of information.

Although the designations first, second, and so forth are not necessary to the pattern, their inclusion helps the audience to understand that the sequence is important.

Logical reasons order emphasizes why the audience should believe something or behave in a particular way. Unlike the other two arrangements of main points, the logical reasons order is most appropriate for a persuasive speech.

Specific goal: I want the audience to donate money to the United Way. Thesis statement: Donating to the United Way is appropriate because your one donation covers many charities, you can stipulate which specific charities you wish to support, and a high percentage of your donation goes to charities.

Main points

I. You should donate to the United Way because one donation covers many charities.

II. You should donate to the United Way because you can stipulate which charities you wish to support.

III. You should donate to the United Way because a high percentage of your donation goes directly to the charities.

As we mentioned earlier, these three organizational patterns are the most common ones. As you develop your public speaking skill, you may find that you will need to revise an existing pattern or create a totally different one to meet the needs of your particular subject matter or audience.

In summary, to organize the body of your speech, (1) turn your speech goal into a thesis statement that forecasts the main points, (2) state the main points in complete sentences that are clear, parallel, meaningful, and limited to five in number, and (3) organize the main points in the pattern best suited to your material and the needs of your specific audience.

Selecting and Outlining supporting Material

The main points outline the structure of your speech. Whether your audience understands, believes, or appreciates what’ you have to say usually depends on how well those main points are explained and supported.

As we saw factual statements and expert opinions are the principal types of research information used in speeches. Once the main points are in place, you can select the most relevant of those materials and decide how to build each main point.

List Supporting Material

First, write down a main point. Then, under that main point list all the information you have found that you believe is related to that main point. Don’t worry if ideas are our of order or don’t seem to relate to each other. Your goal in this section is to see what you have to work with. For example,  shows Emming’s full list of supporting material as well as how Emming edited this list for his first main point.

Organize Supporting Material

Once you have listed the items of information that make the point, look for relationships between and among ideas. As you analyze, draw lines connecting information that fits together logically, and cross out information that seems irrelevant or doesn’t really fit. You may also combine similar ideas that are stated in different words.

Similar items that you have linked can often be grouped under broader headings. For instance, shows how Emming identified four statements related to specific percentages and two statements related to types of interest rate. You are also likely to find information that you decide not to include in the outline. (See the two items that Emming crossed out.)

Now read this outline of Emming’s first main point in which he creates two headings with subheadings for each and omits the two items that he crossed out. Also notice that the outline follows a consistent form. Main points are designated with Roman numerals; major sub points are designated with capital letters; and supporting points are designated with Arabic numbers.

1. One criterion for finding a suitable credit card is to examine the interest rate.

A. Interest rates are the percentages that a company charges you to carry a balance on your card past the due date.

1. Most credit cards carry an average of 18 percent, which is much higher than ordinary interest rates.

2. Some cards carry an average of as much as 21 percent.

3. Many companies quote very low rates (6 percent to 8 percent) or specific periods.

B. Interest rates can be variable at fixed.

1. A variable rate means that the rate will change from month to month.

2. A fixed rate means that the rate will stay the same.

The outline lists supporting material; it does not include all of the development. For instance, in this speech, Emming might build points by using personal experiences, examples, illustrations, anecdotes, statistics, quotations, and other forms of supporting material. The outline only needs to include enough supporting information to ensure that you can explain and clarify the point you are making. Later, if you believe some of :the other supporting material needs to be included in the outline, you can add if.

Outlining Section Transitions

Transitions are words, phrases, or sentences that show a relationship between other words, phrases, sentences. In this chapter, we focus on what we call section transitions. We will consider other types of transitions Adapting Verbally and Visually.

Section transitions are complete sentences that link major sections of a speech. They may summarize what has gone before and show movement to the next main idea. These transitions act like a tour guide leading the audience through the speech and are helpful when you do not want to take a chance that the audience might miss something.

Section transitions work best at breaks from one part of the speech to another or from one main point to another. For example, suppose Kenneth has lust finished the introduction of his speech a antiquing tables and is now ready to launch into his main points. Before stating his first main point he might say. Antiquing a table is a process that has four steps-now let’s consider the first of those four steps. When his listeners hear this transition, they are mentally prepared to listen to the wording of the first main point.

When he finishes talking about the first main point, he might use another section transition. Now that we see what is involved in cleaning the table, let’s move on to the second step. You might be thinking. This sounds repetitive to me or If I used all these transitions my audience will think I’m treating them like four-year old. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Section transitions are important for two reasons. First, they help the audience follow the flow of the speech. If every member of the audience were able to pay one hundred percent attention to every word, perhaps section transitions would not be needed. But as people’s attention rises and falls during a speech, they often find themselves wondering where they are. Section transitions give us a mental jolt and say, Pay attention.

Second, section transitions are important in helping us retain information. We may well remember something that was said once in a speech, but our retention is likely to increase markedly if we hear something more than once. Good transitions are important in writing, but they are even more important in speaking. If listeners get lost or think they have missed something, they cannot check back as they can with writing. By using good transitions, speakers help listeners stay with them and remember more of the information.

In a speech, if we forecast main points, then state each main point, and have transitions between each point, audiences are more likely to follow and to remember the organization.

On your speech outline, section transitions are written in parentheses at the junctures of the speech.