Get Organized!

Your guide to speech and presentation organization.

Videos February 26, 2013

Check out these video examples of well-organized speeches!


Here is an example of a Cause and Effect speech from the movie, Miracle, about the 1980 American Olympic Ice Hockey Team.  Consider:

  • The coach’s creativity in devising a speech in which the cause/effect implied is the players’ ability to believe they can win allowing them to beat the Soviet team
  • What aspects of the speech seemed to be organized/outlined exceptionally well?  What aspects could be improved?


“Whisper of AIDS”

This speech, given by Mary Fischer at the 1992 National Republican Convention is an excellent example of the Problem-Solution organizational structure.  Fischer first describes the problem (that in the battle against AIDS, the epidemic is winning) and then calls her audience to action by offering a solution (national awareness).  Moreover, it contains several features that demonstrate how valuable the Problem-Solution format can be in politics or other advocacy, particularly if ones audience may not necessarily agree beforehand with the the position that the speaker is advocating.  These characteristics include:

  • A speaker credibility statement establishing why the speaker is qualified to speak on the subject
  • A combination of factual evidence and emotional appeals
  • A gradual persuasive build up before presenting the key policy or action that is being proposed

Can you spot all of these?  What other organizational features make this speech strong and persuasive?


“Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address”

Steve Job’s speech demonstrates both the use of the chronological sequence as well as narratives.  Jobs organized his speech according to 3 major time periods of his life: growing up/college, career/family, battle with cancer/death.  He talks about his life to urge the graduates to pursue their dreams and see the opportunities in life’s setbacks.  The arguments he makes are incorporated into a narrative style to engage and persuade the audience.


“Richard St. John’s 8 Secrets of Success”

Richard’s speech utilizes the topical organization structure of parts. He begins with the main topic of how to succeed and lists eight different ways to achieve that goal. What ways could the speaker have improved his organization to make the speech more clear or did it need to be? Was there a speaker credibility statement?


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