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deciding how to order speech points into coherent and convincing pattern for your topic and audience


representing the main points of material in hierarchical format

parallel form

similar grammatical form and style

roman numeral outline

an outline format in which main points are enumerated with roman numerals (I, II, III), supporting points with capital letters (A, B, C), third-level points with arabic numerals (1, 2, 3), and fourth- level points with lowercase letters (a, b, c).


only points that are implied by the purpose and thesis statements


clarity and logical consistency


appropriate emphasis and weight given to each part of the speech relative to other parts and to the theme


words, phrases, or sentences that tie speech ideas together

full-sentence transitions

signals to listeners, in the form of declarative sentences, that the speaker is turning to another topic


conjunctions or phrases that can be used as transitions. ex. first, second

restate forecast form

restating the point just covered and previewing the point to be covered next

rhetorical questions

a question that doesn't invite an actual response but just makes the audience think


transitions that tell the audience what to expect next

preview statement

describes what will be covered in the body of the speech

internal preview

used to alert audience to ensuing main points

internal summary

draws together ideas before proceeding to another speech point

topical pattern of arrangement

pattern of organizing points as subtopics or categories of the speech topic, most freedom of structure

chronological pattern of arrangement

arrangement following the natural sequential order of the main points

spatial pattern of arrangement

arranged in order of physical proximity

causal pattern of arrangement

arrangement that represents cause and effect relationships

problem-solution pattern of arrangement

organizes main points to demonstrate the nature and significance of a problem to provide justification for a proposed solution

narrative pattern of arrangement

A pattern of organizing speech points so that the speech unfolds as a story, with characters, plot, setting, and vivid imagery.

circular pattern of arrangement

demonstrate how one idea leads to anothre then another all leads back to speech thesis

working outline

A rough draft outline used (and revised continually) throughout the preparation for a speech, a process that helps firm up the thesis statement, establish and organize main points, and develop certain points.

speaking outline

outline that you will use when practicing and actually presenting the speech

sentence outline

outline in which each main and supporting point is stated in sentence form as a declarative sentence

phrase outline

uses partial construction of sentence form of each point, instead of complete sentences

key-word outline

includes only key words for each point; purpose is to trigger the speaker's memory of each point

delivery cues

directions in a speaking outline to help a speaker remember how she or he wants to deliver key parts of the speech

ethical appeal

an attempt to persuade audience members by appealing to speaker credibility

call to action

a challenge to see the problem in a new way, change their beliefs about a problem

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