The Big Idea Organizational patterns used by speakers include categorical/topical, comparison/contrast, geographical, chronological, biographical, causal, problem-cause-solution, and psychological. These patterns can be combined within a single speech or used sequentially to build complexity and interest in your audience.
Speakers use organizational patterns to structure their speeches so that they cover all relevant topics and don't repeat themselves too much. Knowing how to organize a speech using one of these pattern will help you keep things moving along and prevent your listeners from becoming bored.
Organizational patterns used by speakers include categorical/topical, comparison/contrast, geographical, chronological, biographical, causal, problem-cause-solution, and psychological. Finally, speakers must choose which organizational structure is most suited to a certain speech topic. For example, if the topic is simple and straightforward, a speaker may decide to use only a single category pattern. However, if the topic is complex or controversial, then several different pattern types may be required.
Category patterns organize information according to subject matter categories such as human anatomy or government policies. These categories can be as broad or narrow as you like. For example, one speaker might divide subjects into four categories: physical, mental, social, and spiritual. Another speaker might limit themselves to just three categories: physical, mental, and emotional. There are no right or wrong categories to use; it's up to the speaker how they want to organize their material. As long as the audience knows what category each piece of information belongs to, then the speaker has met their goal of organization.
In addition to category patterns, speakers often use other organizational patterns such as chronological, topical, and generic.
Chronological patterns organize information by date. This pattern is useful when giving speeches on historical figures or events. Using this pattern, one could talk about Alexander the Great first, then Rome later. Or one could go in reverse order and discuss Caesar before Lincoln.
Objectives of Learning Distinguish between the following frequent speech organizing patterns: categorical/topical, comparison/contrast, geographical, chronological, biographical, causal, problem-cause-solution, and psychological. Identify two or more pattern types in each of the following speeches. Score at least 20% correctly on the essay question.
1. Categorizes information according to subject matter instead of chronologically. 2. Groups facts or topics that are similar in some way. 3. Shows a series of things that are like one another but also differ in some way. 4. Groups events or subjects by location. 5. Groups events or subjects by time period and/or date.
Distinguish between the following frequent speech organizing patterns: categorical/topical, comparison/contrast, geographical, chronological, biographical, causal, problem-cause-solution, and psychological. Learn how to select the optimal organizing pattern, or combination of patterns, for a particular speech. Be aware of the limitations of each pattern as well as its advantages when planning a speech.
The most common types of speeches are those that compare two things side by side or over time, those that cause and effect, those that explain behavior, and those that describe experiences. The best type of speech to give on any topic is one that makes an explicit connection between what you want the audience to know and what they can take away from the presentation. For example, if you were giving a speech about the dangers of smoking cigarettes, a topical speech would tell them about the health risks and should they decide to smoke, explain why this is a bad idea. A categorical speech would list several examples of how not to behave, followed by a call to action such as "If you want to live a healthy life, don't smoke." A geographical speech would begin with a description of different parts of the world and then move on to talk about issues relevant to each area. Finally, a psychological speech would start with a brief explanation of mental processes followed by discussions of behaviors that result from certain mindsets.
Topical, chronological, and spatial organizational patterns are three that are very effective for informative speaking. These patterns help speakers organize their ideas and remain focused on one topic at a time.
In topical speeches, the subject matter is arranged in an order of importance. The speaker reviews different topics within the subject, but each topic is discussed in detail only once. Topics may be organized by category (e.g., human resources), by subject (e.g., labor laws), or according to some other criteria. The main purpose of this type of speech is to provide information about the subject matter rather than to engage an audience in discussion. Examples include government reports, brochures, and keynote addresses.
In chronological speeches, information is presented in no particular order and includes both subjects and events that have historical significance. The main goal of this type of speech is to honor important people or events by discussing them first-hand or providing background information. For example, a historian might discuss various wars or conflicts that have occurred over time by focusing on one or more of these events. A speaker could also use this organizational pattern to describe how things evolved over time with respect to a single subject. The main advantage of this type of organization is its flexibility; any topic can be included regardless of when it happened.