Chapter 9: 2-page Formal Outline


One of the most important skills for a public speaker (besides listening) is outlining. Yep, it’s true. So you are going to perfect that skill by outlining every chapter of the book (well mostly every chapter).

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Opportunity to practice outlining

More specifically…Opportunity to practice identifying and differentiating between the major concepts (major points) in the chapter and supporting material (sub-points that are further supporting the major concept or major points of the chapter)


Using the outline format you learned in this week’s module, I want you to begin practicing this skill on chapter 1 of our textbook. You will first read the introduction and find the thesis and preview of the chapter. It will read something like “this chapter will”….(what comes next is more than likely the thesis or purpose sentence of the chapter), and then the next sentence usually is the preview which will be a sentence (or two) that tells you how the chapter will achieve the the purpose statement (thesis). By the way in most textbooks the thesis and preview are usually bolded or in larger font (but not always) to nonverbally support the importance to the reader! Why am I saying all this? Well you only need to start outlining AFTER the INTRODUCTION. You are outlining the “GUTS” of the chapter, meaning you will start “after the Intro” and end when you get to the page that says something like “Chapter Summary or Review.” This means you have come to the conclusion of the chapter. You will use the summary and conclusion of the chapter ONLY to see if you missed something. How do you know if you missed something? Well if the chapter highlights something in the summary or review, it means it might be important.


Here is a reminder of what a formal outline looks like (your book also discusses outlining in chapter 8, or 7 (depending on edition you are looking at). I varied the sub-points for variety–your outline will be based of course off of the content you are reviewing (in each chapter for example).


I. Biggest Idea (Could Potentially be the Title but not Always)


A. Main Point (Main Concept, Theory or Principle)


1. Sub-point (Breaks down, further explains, possibly defines main-point above)


a. Sub-sub-point (Breaks down…even further the sub-point right above)


1). represents a pretty small detail of the above point


(a) represents a minute detail about the above point


B. Main Point (equal in terms of importance of Main Point A)


1. Sub-point


a.) Sub-sub-point


2. Sub-point


C. Main Point (equal in terms of importance of Main Point A and Main Point B)


1. Sub-point


2. Sub-point


3. Sub-point


D. Main Point (equal in terms of importance of Main Point A, B, C


1. Sub-point


2. Sub-point


Each chapter should yield approximately 2 pages (8.5 x 11)

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