SPCM 200 – Public Speaking

Ben Pettis

Sample In-Class Activity: “Developing Speaking Notes”

Objective: Provide opportunities for students to practice adapting a full sentence preparation outline into a condensed speaking outline

Time Needed:  15-20 minutes

Appropriate Unit/Topic: Unit 2: Informative Speaking / Chapter 7: Organizing and Outlining your Speech

Materials and Preparation:

Directions for Instructor:

  1. After discussing the differences between a preparation and a speaking outline (including types of additional cues that can be included on speaking outlines), divide the class into small groups. 2-3 students each is optimal. This activity can be done with students working individually, but allowing an opportunity to collaborate and share their thought processes is beneficial.
  2. Project the example preparation outline on the screen. Direct students to find the same outline in their coursebook/textbook if they can.
  3. Explain the assignment to the class:
  1. “One of the challenges of creating a speaking outline is condensing large amounts of information into just a few words or phrases. The speaking outline should be just enough to remind you of what you’ve prepared, but not overly wordy to the point that it distracts you as a speaker. To practice this, we’re going to work as groups to convert parts of this full sentence outline into a condensed speaking outline. I’ll give each group a single notecard, and assign one section of this speech. As a group, decide how much of each sub-point and sub-sub-point is necessary to include on the outline, as well as any additional speaking cues you’d like to leave for yourselves. The goal is to fit the entire assigned section onto a single notecard, but still have it be easily legible. After each group has done this, we’ll if there’s enough detail there to deliver the speech.”
  1. Pass out a single notecard to each group. Assign each group either the introduction, one of the main points, or the conclusion to work on.
  2. As each group works, walk around the room to answer questions and make sure students are working effectively.
  3. After about 5-10 minutes, call the class back together. Ask each group to volunteer a speaker, and have each speaker present their section of the speech. The speaker should use only the notecard the group prepared, and no other notes. Ideally you should move through the group in the order of the speech itself.
  4. Finish the activity with a discussion of the challenges of choosing what information to include, and what details the speakers wished they had put on the cards, as well as information that they didn’t end up needed.