The Fun of Outlining
When you are talking informally with friends, family, or colleagues your conversation might follow a haphazard course. You can jump from topic to topic or omit certain information and your audience will probably understand you. But a public speech must not do so. Even in conversations with your friends, you might believe they understand what you mean, but they might not. In a prepared speech, you must be attentive to reasoning in logical steps so that your audience understands the meaning you intend to convey. This is where your outline helps. It is a simple guide that can lead to great success.
Think of an outline as a skeleton you must assemble bone by bone, gradually making it take form into a coherent whole. Or think of it as a puzzle in which you must put all the pieces in their correct places in order to see the full picture. Or think of it as a game of solitaire in which the right cards must follow a legitimate sequence in order for you to win. Or a blueprint used to create the tallest skyscraper.
This means, of course, that there are no shortcuts, but there are helpful strategies. If you leave a bone out of a skeleton, something will fall apart. By the same token, if you omit a step in reasoning, your speech will be vulnerable to lapses in logic, lapses in the evidence you need to make your case, and the risk of becoming a disjointed, disorienting message.
The more fully you appreciate the outline as both rule-bound and creative, the more fully you will experience its usefulness and its power to deliver your message in a unified, coherent way.
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13.1: The Freedom of OrganizationIn this section, we discuss the multiple reasons why "organization" is crucial when constructing your speeches. 13.2: Benefits of OutliningIn order for your speech to be as effective as possible, it needs to be organized into logical patterns. Information will need to be presented in a way your audience can understand. 13.3: Five Outline PrinciplesAs with any part of the speech process, there are some pretty commonly agreed-upon principles for creating an outline. In this section, we will discuss some important factors to consider when creating a logical and coherent outline: singularity, consistency, adequacy, uniformity, and parallelism. 13.4: Patterns of OrganizationThere are some standard ways of organizing these categories, which are called “patterns of organization.” In this section, you will see how the specific purpose gives shape to the organization of the speech and how each one exemplifies one of the six main organizational patterns. 13.5: Guidelines for Introductions and ConclusionsIn this section, we will discuss the importance of introductions and conclusions in your speech outlines. In the sub-sections, you will learn the structure and observe examples. 13.6: Determining Your Main IdeasThe real “meat” of your speech happens in the body. In this section, we’re going to discuss how to think strategically about the body of your speech. 13.7: Keeping Your Speech MovingSpeakers need to really think about how they keep a speech moving so that audience members are easily able to keep up with the speech. In this section, we’re going to look at four specific techniques speakers can use that make following a speech much easier for an audience: transitions, internal previews, internal summaries, and signposts. 13.8: Analyzing a Speech BodyIn this section, we’re going to examine the three main points of an example speech. 13.9: The Required OutlinesIn this section, you will examine the three types of outlines: working outline, full-sentence outline, and speaking outline.