SAMPLE PREPARATION OUTLINE WITH COMMENTARY
The following outline for a six-minute informative speech illustrates the principles just discussed. The commentary explains the procedures used in organizing the speech and writing the outline. (Check with your teacher to see if she or he wants you to include a title with your outline.) Panic Attacks|
COMMENTARY| Topic: Panic Attack|
Stating your specific purpose and central idea as separate units before the text of the outline makes it easier to judge how well you have constructed the outline to achieve your purpose and to communicate your central idea.| Specific Purpose: To inform my audience about the nature, extent, and symptoms of panic attacks. Central Idea: Panic attacks are serious medical conditions whose fearful symptoms affect millions of people.| Labeling the introduction marks it as a distinct section that plays a special role in the speech.| Introduction| The opening story gets attention and, as it progresses, reveals the topic of the speech.| I. I can't breathe, my arms are tingling, I'm really dizzy, and it feels as if my heart is about to fly out of my chest. II. When this happened to me three years ago at an outdoor concert, I was really frightened. A. At the time, I had no idea what was going on. B. My doctor told me later that I had experienced a panic attack.| Here the speaker establishes her credibility and previews the main points to be discussed in the body of the speech.| III. I have learned a lot about my condition during the past three years, and I did additional research for this speech. IV. Today I would like to inform you about the nature of panic attacks, the people affected most often by them, and the options for treatment.| Including transitions ensures that the speaker has worked out how to connect one idea to the next. Notice that the transition is not included in the system of symbolization and indentation used for the rest of the speech.| Transition: Let's start with the nature of panic attacks.)| Labeling the body marks it as a distinct part of the speech.| Body| Main point I is phrased as a full sentence. As the outline progresses, notice that the main points are arranged in topical order.| I. Panic attacks are a severe medical condition with a number of physical and mental symptoms. A. As defined by the National Institute of Mental Health, panic attacks involve "unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear accompanied by physical symptoms." 1. The attacks usually come out of nowhere and strike when least expected. 2. Their length can vary from a few minutes to several hours.| The two subpoints of main point I are shown by the capital letters A and B and are written out in full sentences to ensure that the speaker has thought them out fully. Points below the level of subpoint are indicated by Arabic numerals and lowercase letters. Sometimes they are not written as full sentences. Check to see what your teacher prefers.| B. There are a number of symptoms common to most panic attacks. 1. Physical symptoms include a pounding heart, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, and numbness or tingling sensations in the arms and legs. 2. Mental symptoms include acute fear, a sense of disaster or helplessness, and a feeling of being detached from one's own body.| The transition shows how the speaker will move from main point I to main point II.| (Transition: Now that you know something about the nature of panic attacks, let's look at how widespread they are.)| Like main point I, main point II is phrased as a full sentence.
The progressive indentation shows visually the relationships among main points, subpoints, and sub-subpoints. | II. Panic attacks affect millions of people. A. According to the American Psychiatric Association, six million Americans suffer from panic attacks. B. Some groups have a...