3: Organize Your Speech
To organize your thoughts into a logical sequence
that leads the audience to a clearly defined goal.
To build a speech outline that includes an opening,
body and conclusion.
Five to seven minutes:
! Fifth minute - green light
! Sixth minute - amber light
! Seventh minute - red light
! Seventh and a half minute - all three lights
If your speech is to make sense to the audience and be
easily followed, it must be logically organized.
Organization is really nothing more than putting your
ideas together in an orderly manner.
As a speaker, your business is persuading others to
accept your ideas, and success comes only when you
carefully organize your approach. You must clearly
identify the key point of your subject for the audience and
then lead them logically toward that point. Merely talking
around the subject in a haphazard manner will leave your
As a persuader, you must always speak from your
audience’s point of view. They will be motivated only
what they want, not by what you want. Remember this as
you organize your talk. Analyze what will motivate your
audience to agree with you, understand you, or take
action on your behalf. Then develop your ideas so they
supply that motivation. Good organization is the key to
Define Your Mission
Your first step in creating your talk is to decide what to
talk about. Select a subject of interest to you and your
audience. Be sure the subject is not too broad. For
example, instead of talking about sports – a general topic – narrow the subject to children’s sports or, more specific still, children’s soccer.
Remember, you will be speaking for only a few minutes,
and you will need all of that time to fully develop a single facet of the larger subject. Be sure your topic is timely
and relevant for your audience, a topic on which you can
speak with some degree of authority, and one to which
you can bring enthusiasm and conviction.
Once you know your topic, you must determine your
presentation’s mission. Do you want to inspire, entertain, persuade, or inform your listeners? What do you want
the audience to feel, know, or do after hearing your
speech? What single point do you want to make? The
answers to these questions will determine your speech’s
mission or purpose. If the topic is children’s sports, for example, what do you want your speech to do? Do you
want to inspire your listeners to support children’s
sports? Do you want to convince listeners that adults are
making children’s sports too competitive? Do you want to
entertain your audience with funny stories about your
child’s soccer team?
Write down your mission in one clear, concise sentence.
This will be the basis for the development of your
Develop an Outline
The next step in preparing tour speech is to logically
assemble your ideas into a sequence that will help you
achieve your objectives.
An effective speech is organized into an opening, a body,
and a conclusion.
The opening of your speech is designed to catch
immediate attention. It must arouse the audience’s
interest in your topic. It also must lead into the speech
subject of your speech and the main point you are
Example of a good opening are:
A startling question or a challenging statement
An appropriate quotation, illustration, or story
A display of some appropriate object or picture
An attention-getting generalization that ties in with
Avoid these common weak openings:
An apologetic statement
A story or joke that does not relate to your topic
A commonplace observation delivered in a
A long or slow-moving statement or story
A trite question, such as “Did you ever stop to
The body of your speech contains the factual. The
amount of information you include in the body of your
speech will be limited by the amount of time...
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