Speech #2: Organize Your Speech
Good speech organization is essential if your audience is to follow and understand your presentation. You must take the time to put your ideas together in an orderly manner. You can organize your speech in several different ways; choose the outline that best suits your topic. The opening should catch the audience’s attention, the body must support the idea you want to convey, and the conclusion should reinforce your ideas and be memorable. Transitions between thoughts should be smooth.
- Select an appropriate outline which allows listeners to easily follow and understand your speech.
- Make your message clear, with supporting material directly contributing to that message.
- Use appropriate transitions when moving from one idea to another.
- Create strong opening and conclusion.
- TIME: Five to seven minutes.
Select Your Topic: Ideas
Your first step in creating your speech is to decide what to talk about. Novice speakers sometimes find this difficult. The world is full of possible speech topics. Your challenge is to select the best one for you and your audience. Finding a topic doesn’t require special ability or long hours of research or thought. Consider, for example,
- Discussions you’ve had with friends or coworkers
- Magazine or newspapers articles that attracted your interest
- Your expertise on certain topics – real estate, writing, personal computers, etc.
- Everyday experiences – shopping, commuting, family relationships.
The opening should immediately catch the audience’s attention and tell the audience what you will be talking about. Examples of a good opening are:
- A startling question or a challenging statement
- An appropriate quotation, illustration or story
- A display of some object or picture
- An attention-getting generalization that ties in with your subject
Avoid these weak openings:
- An apologetic statement
- A story or joke that does not relate to your topic
- A commonplace observation delivered in a commonplace manner
- A long or slow-moving statement or story
- A trite question, such as “Did you ever stop to think…?”
Draft the Body
The body is the main part of your speech and consists of the facts or ideas you want to present. The amount of information you include in the body will be limited by the amount of time available.
Supporting material then follows each subpoint. Supporting material can include:
- Statistics. These are numerical ways of conveying information about incidents, data and events.
- Testimony. These are quotes or opinions from people with expertise on the matter.
- Examples, stories or anecdotes. These usually relate an event that happened to you or some?one you know, or someone you’ve read about.
- Visual aids. These could be diagrams, charts, pictures, models or other objects. (More information about using visual aids appears in Project 8.)
- Facts. Facts are verifiable information.
The conclusion is your final opportunity to convey your message and main points in a manner that will help the audience remember them. It should reinforce your ideas and leave listeners with a lasting impression.