Public speaking has multiple purposes, but all speeches fall into one of three categories. You can speak to:
- Persuade or
Each has their own subtleties and organization patterns to choose from. In particular, when speaking to inform you have only three choices for organization patterns: by time, by space or location, or by topic.
Let’s now examine how you can organize your thoughts by time. A time or chronological organization pattern works best under certain circumstances. For example if you are discussing:
History: Depending on your topic, your audience may be interested in hearing about the history of your area of expertise. Using a chronological organization pattern you can simply break the main points of your speech into historical eras or time periods.
How to: When you are teaching an audience how to do something, a time pattern obviously works well, too. Showing a step-by-step approach makes more sense in this situation rather than starting in the middle and jumping around. Use clearly defined steps presented in a logical sequence to achieve the desired results.
Analyzing the future: Another opportunity to use a chronological organization pattern is when you want to orient your audience to the future and discuss what they can expect next with regard to your area of expertise. Often it is helpful for an audience to have the context of the past and present before they can understand the future, which you present as the third and final point.
When you organize your speech by time make sure you start at a logical point for your particular audience. Consider:
- Who is in the audience
- Why they are in the audience
- What they expect to learn from you
Once you have determined what your audience will expect form your speech, you can simply organize your speech chronologically by what will the easiest for your audience to follow.
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Felicia J. Slattery, M.A., M.Ad.Ed. is a communication consultant, speaker & coach specializing in training small and home-based business owners effective communication and public speaking skills so they can see more cash flow now.
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