Monday, November 12, 2007


There are always several ways to look at situations. Presentational communication is no exception. There is a way that might be described as the “ideal view.” In the ideal view you know how to organize anything and everything. You may have learned it in classes or you may have learned it by life exposure, but in any case you know all about organization. That doesn’t really fit most of us. Instead, we tend to learn as much as we need to in order to achieve our immediate goals. The problem with this method is that you don’t know all the goals you might have by the time you die.

Another way to look at organization is “apparent organization.” You ask yourself several questions that you will need to answer in order to reach your goals. For example:

1. What do they need to know?

2. Can that material be broken into several component parts?

3. What do they need to know first in order to understand other elements?

4. Have I explained this before and if so what made it successful?

The first element, “What do they need to know?” is basically the central idea that you should express in a simple declarative sentence. Since you probably will be using a computer, open and save a document to the desktop with a recognizable name based on the central idea. The more direct and easily understood your central idea the easier the communication will be.

Can that central idea be broken into several parts? Open your document on the desktop of your computer and list as many of those parts as you can think of. They must always support the central idea that is written across the top of the page. Later when you visit this page you may discover that one or more of these parts can be combined without doing any violence. We’re going to call these ideas that support the central idea, main ideas.

What things do they need to know and understand before they can be successful comprehending or taking action on the material being presented in the presentational communication? Can you arrange those things in some order that will enhance or make likely that those listening will understand what you’re talking about?

Your past experiences will be useful to you. What have you tried that seemed to work when it comes to ordering what needs to be presented first, second, third, etc.? Now you may have the answer to the question, “Which main idea should be first?”

This is apparent organization and all of us use it from time to time in life. Perhaps you recall what the ideal looks like.

Outline for a speech

Title of your speech


Date of presentation


A. Capture your audience’s attention with a quote, anecdote, or personal experience

B. Build up to your case or the main reason for your speech

C. Summarize the main idea of your speech. Quickly state your three main points

1. First Main Point

2. Second Main Point

3. Third Main Point

II.First Main Point: Working with outline numbered text in Microsoft Word

A. You can move an outline numbered item to the appropriate numbering level

1. On the Formatting toolbar:

a) To demote the item to a lower numbering level

(1) click a list number
(2) click Increase Indent.

b) To promote the item to a higher numbering level

(1) click a list number
This is part of the template library which is available to Microsoft Word users and it is useful to any of us who are trying to do a good job of presentational communication.

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