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8.7: Activities and Glossary

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  • Review questions

    1. Name three questions you should ask yourself when selecting a topic.

    2. 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.

    3. How does the thesis statement differ from the specific purpose statement?

    4. Which speech organization style arranges points by time? Which one arranges points by direction? Which one arranges points according to a five-step sequence?

    5. Which speech organization styles are best suited for persuasive speeches?

    6. Define signpost. What are three types of signposts?

    7. What is the correct format for a speech outline?


    1. 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.

    2. 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.


    Chronological Speech

    A speech in which the main points are delivered according to when they happened and could be traced on a calendar or clock.

    Comparative Speech

    A speech in which two or more objects, ideas, beliefs, events, places, or things are compared or contrasted with one another.

    Causal Speech

    A speech that informs audience members about causes and effects that have already happened.

    General Purpose Statement

    The overarching goal of a speech; for instance, to inform, to persuade, to inspire, to celebrate, to mourn, or to entertain.

    Internal Previews

    Short descriptions of what a speaker will do and say during a speech; may be at the beginning and within the body of a speech.

    Main Points

    The key pieces of information or arguments contained within a talk or presentation.

    Monroe’s Motivated Sequence

    An organization style that is designed to motivate the audience to take a particular action and is characterized by a five-step sequence: (1) attention, (2) need, (3) satisfaction, (4), visualization, and (5) action appeal.

    Organizational Styles

    Templates for organizing the main points of a speech that are rooted in traditions of public discourse and can jumpstart the speechwriting process.


    Hierarchal textual arrangement of all the various elements of a speech.

    Parallel Structure

    Main points that are worded using the same structure.

    Preparation Outline

    A full-sentence outline that is used during the planning stages to flesh out ideas, arrange main points, and to rehearse the speech; could be used as a script if presenting a manuscript style speech.

    Problem-Solution Speech

    A speech in which problems and solutions are presented alongside one another with a clear link between a problem and its solution.

    Refutation Speech

    A speech that anticipates the audience’s opposition, thenbrings attention to the tensions between the two sides, and finally refutes them using evidential support.

    Rhetorical Situation

    According to Lloyd Bitzer, "a complex of persons, events, objects, and relations presenting an actual or potential exigence which can be completely or partially removed if discourse, introduced into the situation, can so constrain human decision or action as to bring about the significant modification of the exigence" (1968, p. 6).


    According to Beebe and Beebe, “words and gestures that allow you to move smoothly from one idea to the next throughout your speech, showing relationships between ideas and emphasizing important points” (2005, p. 204).

    Spatial Speech

    A speech in which the main points are arranged according to their physical and geographic relationships.

    Speaking Outline

    A succinct outline that uses words or short phrases to represent the components of a speech and that is used during speech delivery.

    Specific Purpose Statement

    A sentence of two that describe precisely what the speech is intended to do.


    Information that is used to support the main points of a speech.


    Short recaps of what has already been said; used to remind the audience of the points already addressed.

    Thesis Statement

    A one- or two-sentence encapsulation of the main points of a speech, also called the central idea.

    Topical Speech

    A speech in which main points are developed separately and are generally connected together within the introduction and conclusion.

    Transitional Statements

    Phrases or sentences that lead from one distinct-but- connected idea to another.