chapter_07_outline Structuring Your Speech

Chapter 7: “Structuring Your Speech”
Your ethos depends upon how well organized you have organized your presentation.
Showing competence in this area is an important part of credibility. It’s hard for
listeners to think of you as competent when your speech is poorly organized; they
may conclude either that you lack the capacity to organize or that you did not care
enough to prepare carefully.
I. Structure speeches by following principles of good form.
A. Simplicity is achieved by limiting the number of ideas and keeping
design direct and to the point.
1. The fewer main points the better.
a. People remember “chunks” of two or three points.
b. Short classroom speeches should have no more than
four points.
2. Phrase main points simply.
a. Repeat phrases to suggest main points.
b. Find language that allows you to create memory cues.
B. Balance is achieved when the parts of your speech receive
appropriate development.
1. The body should be the longest part.
2. Consider the development of each main point.
a. Give each point equal emphasis if main points are of
equal importance.
b. Descending order means putting the most important
point first.
c. Ascending order means putting the least important
point first.
3. The introduction and conclusion should be about the same
C. Order is achieved when your speech follows a consistent pattern
of development.
II. Structuring the body of your speech involves three tasks.
A. Select main points by choosing which ideas you wish to emphasize.
1. Create a research overview.
2. Identify main themes.
3. Determine how themes relate to your specific purpose and
B. Arrange main points into a pattern that is easy to remember.
1. The principle of similarity leads people to group things
together that seem alike—underlies categorical designs for
2. The principle of proximity suggest that things that usually
occur together in time and space should be presented in
their natural order—underlies sequential designs and
spatial designs for speeches.
3. The principle of closure is based on people’s natural
tendency to seek completion—underlies cause-effect
designs and problem-solution designs for speeches.
C. Add material to support your main points. (See chapter 6 for
details on selecting supporting material.)
1. You might add the most relevant facts and statistics.
2. You might add the most authoritative testimony offered by
respected sources.
3. You might add a story or example that clarifies your idea or
brings it to life.
III. Transitions show your audience how your ideas connect with one another.
A. Transitions serve several functions in a speech.
1. Focus listeners.
2. Serve as signposts that help listeners see the overall
3. Connect your main points and tie the body of the speech to
the introduction and conclusion.
B. There are many kinds of transitions. (see fig. 7.4)
1. Certain stock words or phrases.
a. Conjunctive adverbs.
b. Introductory phrases.
2. Internal summary reminds listeners of points you have
covered before you move on to the next part of your speech.
3. A lack of planned transitions may cause beginning speakers
to overuse words and vocalize pauses.
IV. The introduction tells the audience why they should listen to you and your
A. Establish your credibility and develop your ethos.
1. Confirm or strengthen your initial ethos in the introduction
of each speech you make.
2. Refer to your research.
3. Show respect for those who hold different opinions while
still maintaining your personal commitment to your topic and
4. Project self-confidence.
5. Foster identification between yourself and your listeners.
B. Capture the attention of the audience and make them want to
1. Involve the audience in some way.
2. Ask questions, both rhetorical and direct.
3. Relate a personal experience to show how you are involved in
the issue.
4. Narrative is good for establishing mood.
5. Humor can enliven an introduction and make the audience
receptive to your message.
6. Arouse your audience’s curiosity and make them as you
develop the suspense.
7. Begin with a striking quotation from a well-known person or
respected authority.
8. A presentation aid can help establish a mood or set a theme.
9. Startle the audience with something truly unusual.
C. Preview your message by indicating your main points and offering
an overview.
D. Select and use introductory techniques with care.
1. Consider your audience.
2. Consider the mood you want to establish.
3. Consider your time constraints.
4. Consider what you do best.
V. Offer your audience a sense of closure by developing an effective conclusion.
A. Begin the conclusion with a brief summary statement that signals
you are about to finish.
B. Seal the effect of the summary statement with some concluding
1. Echo the introduction, but don’t repeat it.
2. If you involve the audience in the introduction, remind them
in the conclusion.
3. Ask a rhetorical question and leave the audience with
something to think about.
4. End with a narrative that can help your audience experience
the meaning of your speech.
5. Close with a brief quotation that captures the essence of
your speech.
6. End with a metaphor that will reveal a hidden truth and be
VI. Summary
VII. Terms
ascending order
categorical design
cause-effect design
descending order
good form
internal summary
main points
principle of closure
principle of proximity
principle of similarity
problem-solution design
research overview
rhetorical question
sequential design
spatial design
W. summary statement
X. transitions
VIII. Notes