Organizing Main Body

Organizing Main Points in the Body

  • Orginzation is KEY! It helps keep you focused and when you're focused you're confident
  • It is important to transition smoothly from the intro to the body points, and within each body point
  • The body of your speech is the meat (or tofu :D )—> You've already given a stellar introduction on your main theme, now it's time to break it down into 2-5 main body points
  • Example: If I want to talk about the essentials of a proper Steelers game tailgate I can organize my thoughts by seperating them into main points:
    • Good food, cold beer, preferably Pittsburgh classics
    • Old Friends and new friends, dressed to the 9's in Steeler attire, complete with Terrible Towel
    • The latest Steeler's fight song and maybe the old ones too

Ways to Organize the Main Points of Body

The following are the 9 different ways to organize your speech, including examples to help you understand better. Each of the main points, of course, would require additional support and evidence in a speech and are identified only to aid the conceptualization of the organizational forms.

Temporal Organization

  • This is the chronological approach
  • It is good for when you are telling a story, research, or outlining a future plan
  • Example: You are the President of the United States, outlining your future plan for a crisis to the American people. Think JFK, Response the Cuban Missile Crisis speech


  • Telling why something happened
  • Cause-effect may be used for past, present, or future events and processes.
  • Cause-effect can also be reversed, from effect back to cause.
  • Example: What causes something to happen, and the result of the occurance

Spatial patterns

  • Be sure to proceed systematically from one place to the next, following a clear order. A size sequence is a variation on spatial organization, describing different artifacts from smallest to largest (or from largest to smallest).
  • Useful when describing something, especialy a progression through a place/time or a physical objecy
  • Example: First you enter here, then you go through there, and you end up…


  • Appropriate when the subject matter has clear categories of division
  • Example: My Family- my dad, my mom, my brothers

Importance Patterns

  • This can be used to discuss the different reasons for something and then designating importance
  • Example: If you were the President's advisor, you may come to him/her with 3 problems, organizing each in the order of importance to the country


  • Takes two or more entities and draws attention to their differences and/or similarities
  • Example: If you were comparing apples and oranges you could use this to better clarify and prove your argument

Problem-Solution Organization

  • Involves the identification of a problem followed by a possible solution
  • Example: 1. Timmy doesn't have enough skittles 2. Ask Bobby to share

Stock Issues

  • Designed to organize presentations on issues of policy in a more complicated way than simple problem-solution
  • There are generally four main components to this organizational scheme: a description of the current system (inherency, or the inherent flaws in the current system), explanation of the harms that result from the current system (harms), a program to address those harms (a plan of action), and reasons why the plan would be preferable to keeping the current system (solvency, why the plan would help the problem).
  • Example: Think the Timmy/Bobby/Skittles problem

Monroe's Motivated Sequence

  • This is good organizational tactic for persuasive speaking
  • 5 Components: 1. Gain audience attention 2. Show need for change 3. Provide an alternative 4. Benefits of the change 5. A call for action

Tips for Organization of the Body

Have 2-3 points. Most speeches have 2-3 main points. Any less—1 point—is likely to devolve into rambling or could benefit from further subdivision. Any more—4 points or more—and the speaker risks repeating themselves and also losing their audience (since most people have trouble remembering more than three points.)

Outline. Once the main concepts have been generated, outlining the main points in the order they will be given in the speech assists in the development of the speech. The detailed outline will facilitate development of a keyword outline to be used in extemporaneous delivery.

Keep main points separate. There’s a reason they are called main points, and not blurred points. Ensuring that there are clear distinctions between the central arguments being made prevents repetition by the speaker.

Maintain consistency. Do not switch organizational formats in the middle of the speech. Organizational formats—from temporal to spatial—make sense only when unified.

Balance time. Do not devote four minutes to one point, and thirty seconds to another point. Symmetry is attractive. Generally, speakers put their weakest point (which sometimes happens to be their shortest point) in the middle of their speech, where there is less likelihood it will be remembered.

Have evidence. Utilizing evidence fills out the content of the speech. Remember that evidence can be almost anything.

Utilize transitions. Internal previews, summaries, and signposts are all useful in making the speech sound well-organized and smooth.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License