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Organizational Patterns


in the immortal words of Hall of Fame
baseball player and manager Yogi Berra if you don’t know where you’re going you
might end up someplace else nowhere is that more true than in the
development and organization of a speech in this video we’ll discuss some of the
organizational patterns commonly used in public speaking in the most basic sense there are three
parts of a speeches organization the introduction the body and the conclusion Dale Carnegie summarized speech
organization by saying tell the audience what you’re going to say say it and then
tell him what you’ve said the introduction previews and sets
everything up for the audience the body provides the substance and details and
the conclusion brings it all back around in summary each of these three
components is important to the ability of the audience to follow along with and
comprehend your speech that’s a great place to start but obviously there’s
more work to be done effective speech organization requires a
speaker to consider how they will organize the main points and information
within the body of the speech so that their message will have the greatest
possible impact there are a multitude of options for speech organization will
focus on the most common methods in this video one popular organizational pattern is
chronological organization in chronological organization the
information in a speech follows a time sequence some speeches use chronological
organization to discuss a process that spans over a large period of time such
as in this graphic in which the period covers several years the topic could also have
a more modest timeframe such as a speech designed at assisting the millions of
people around the world who struggle with making a proper
peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich by breaking down that process step-by-step
chronological organization is used commonly in informative speeches like
those explaining historical events like the Battle of Gettysburg and for
demonstration speeches like how tornadoes form what other speech topics
can you think of that might use chronological organization another
organizational pattern used frequently for informative speeches is spatial in
spatial organization the main points of the speech follow a directional pattern
like north-to-south top to bottom front to back or left to right the graphic you
see here uses a spatial pattern to divide the United States into quadrants with each area comprising a
different main point some speeches break down information using a cause-and-effect
pattern as you might imagine speeches using cause-and-effect organization
typically have two main points one discussing the cause of an event and
another discussing the effect depending on the topic in question cause and
effect can be used effectively in either informative or persuasive speeches if
the cause and effect are both known and agreed upon such as the connection
between prolonged tobacco use and an increased risk of cancer this pattern
could be used in an informative speech if either is debatable however like the
curse of the goat being responsible for the long drought between World Series
championships for the Chicago Cubs the speech would have to be seen as a
persuasive effort speeches using problem-solution organization are also
typically broken down into two main points one presenting the problem and
another offering a solution problem solution is used almost exclusively in
persuasive speeches even if the problem is readily evident to everyone in the
audience for example the need for a change in the social security system
there are likely to be multiple possible solutions to the problem which opens the
solution presented by the speaker to debate topical organization allows the
speaker to arrange the main points of their speech in a logical way that
doesn’t fit neatly into one of the other patterns of organization main points are
simply broken down in a way that is effective and makes sense for the
speaker’s overall goals this graphic might represent a topical organization
of a speech on the federal spending in the United States it’s not arranged
chronologically for a historical perspective or broken-down regionally
across the country or examined as a problem to be fixed it simply
categorizes the various items in a logical way for further discussion
topical organization is flexible enough to be used for both informative and
persuasive speeches if your objective is to present both the good and bad aspects
of a singular topic then you might consider using the pro/con
organizational pattern procon uses two broad main points the pros and the cons and then provides
items in support of each of these as sub-points an example might be a speech
outlining the positives and negatives of homeschooling in educating children
comparative organization is somewhat similar to procon but it usually
stresses the relative advantages of one idea over another for example a
comparative speech might emphasize the benefits of home schooling over sending
children to public schools or the relative strength of samsung phones vs
iphones because comparative organization typically favors one item over another
is most useful for persuasive speeches two other commonly used organizational
patterns are need plan and mnemonic or acronym organization in need plan a
speaker first establishes the need for a change in action or policy and then lays
out their plan for addressing that need mnemonic or acronym organization is sort
of a gimmicky method of organization that uses an acrostic to help the
audience follow and retain the main points of a speech one classic example
of a mnemonic device is using ROYGBIV to remember that the colors of the rainbow
are red orange yellow green blue indigo and violet another illustration would be
a speech on stroke symptoms awareness that uses the acronym F-A-S-T or fast to
help the audience remember the main points of face arm speech and time while
knowing about the different organizational patterns is helpful it is
important to remember that you have the freedom to organize the information in
the way that best helps you accomplish your goals as a speaker these
organizational methods are intended as useful tools don’t feel like you
absolutely have to manipulate your content to fit neatly into one of these
packages however purpose and content should drive the organization of a
speech not the other way around in this video we discussed some of the
organizational patterns commonly used in public speaking check out some of our other videos for
more insight into the public speaking process

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