Chapter 1: Mastering the ABCs of Public Speaking

There are important things you'll be able to accomplish by taking this early step. First, you make yourself appear much more credible to your audience when you deliver a well organized speech. Next, an organized speech will help your audience understand and retain your message. And since you want your audience to believe you're a credible speaker and you want them to comprehend and remember your message, you should be willing to take the extra time and effort to organize your speech.

Although there are several ways you can approach the task of organizing your speech, this chapter offers two options: 1) traditional outline, and 2) mapping. Both approaches allow you to determine your main topics and add your supporting evidence. More importantly, these methods will enable you to write and deliver a well organized speech.

Traditional Outline

A traditional outline or topic outline contains a list of brief phrases or single words that are numbered or lettered to illustrate the importance of your ideas. This approach is used to group similar themes or ideas together along with their supporting points. The outline has a Thesis statement at the top followed by the topics in the speech. The basic structure is:

Thesis Outline

There are a few things you should note about topic outlines. First, the main headings are indicated by the roman numerals. These highlight the most important pieces of information that are the central points of your speech. The subheadings are key pieces of information that support the main headings and so on. You shouldn't have more than three subheadings for a particular main point because things get confusing. If you need more than three subheadings, then consider developing another heading with its own supporting points. Also, only capitalize the first letter of the first word in the main heading and don't include punctuation because you'll only be writing phrases not sentences.

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