Get Organized!

Your guide to speech and presentation organization.

Handouts and Activities February 26, 2013



Outline Format

Organization Structures



This activity is designed to help you practice crafting a strong thesis and then choosing the best organizational structure to support that thesis (remember the structure is, in and of itself, an integral part of your argument!)

  1. Think of your current favorite song.
  2. Identify the singer’s “thesis” or main idea?  Is there any way that you could rewrite it to make it stronger (more concise, focused, arguable, etc.)?
  3. What would be the best organizational structure to support your new thesis?  Brainstorm a quick outline of this structure.
  4. Are there any other structures that might work as well?  Don’t be afraid to play around with different ones until you find the framework that makes for the best argument or explanation of your thesis.


This activity helps you practice the actual outlining process.

  1. Watch the example speech here: (someone link to a 5-10 minute TED talk that is a lot of fun)
  2. Create a formal outline for this speech (including Introduction, Body with 2-5 main points, and Conclusions).  Don’t forget transitions as well!
  3. What are the strongest points of this speech?  The most memorable?  Mark them with a star on your outline.
  4. Can you suggest different organizational techniques or orderings for the speech?  If so, indicate this on your outline with arrows.
  5. Finally, take a closer look at the introduction and conclusion.  Was the attention getter effective?  What about the closer?  Was there a statement of credibility, call to action, etc?



This exercise is designed to help you get better with developing claims.  Think about your role model.  What do you want to say about that person?

For this activity please use the following model as a template for filling in your claim, reasons, and evidence.  Feel free to draw as many branches as you would like.  This way you can see which reasons have the most evidence, and you can pick you best ones from identifying them on this branching map.

Screen shot 2013-04-24 at 6.00.03 PM




In this activity, you will be presented with a bunch of random objects and then be given two minutes to sell the object. Your sales pitch should be based off of Monroe’s Motivated Sequence, which includes 5 main elements: 1) attention getter, 2) establishment of need, 3) satisfaction of need, 4) visualization of need, and 5) call to action. Be creative and have fun!

  1. Go to this website: and choose one of the random objects to sell.
  2. Give yourself 30 seconds to prepare a pitch. (Have a friend time you or time yourself.)
  3. Deliver a 2 minute sales pitch using Monroe’s Motivated Sequence in front of a friend.
  4. Did you include every element of the sequence? What elements did you present well? What elements need work? 

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