Write a Complete Sentence Outline

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Write a Complete Sentence Outline

These are speaker notes:

I. Intro

A. Attention getter

1. Einstein quote

2. Robin Williams

B. Preview

1. Three keys to develop imagination

2. Read a lot

3. Free association

II. Three Keys

A. First

B. Second

C. Third


And this is a complete sentence outline of the same material:

I. Introduction.

A. Albert Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

B. Isn’t that striking?

C. Do the Robin Williams shtick.

1. Someone like Robin Williams affirms Einstein’s point.

2. Can one develop that kind of wit and imagination, or is it genetic?

D. I think you can cultivate the ability to exercise imagination and quick wit.

1. Today I’d like to discuss

a. Three keys for developing imagination and quick wit.

b. How reading a lot gives you an active thought life.

c. Why an active thought life enables you to free associate.

II. First, the Three Keys.

. . . and so on.



In this class, you will speak from speaker notes, but hand in complete sentence outlines. That is so because you’re supposed to speak extemporaneously (for most assignments). Think of extemporaneous speaking as “conversation with forethought.” (Thanks to John Angus Campbell for that defintion.) We stress extemporaneous delivery because it equips you to speak to your audience rather than at them. Speaking extemporaneously is difficult if you have a manuscript or a detailed outline in your hands. So, speak from speaker notes.

Working from a complete sentence outline, on the other hand, forces one to think about fine points of speech composition; transitions, previews, arrangement and the like. A complete sentence outline has more detail than speaker notes and less detail than a manuscript. You should speak from speaker notes (a “rough drawing”) but you should build your speech from a complete sentence outline (blueprints). Get it?

What is more, have you ever had a brilliant idea, jotted down a “note to self,” and then, two days later, picked up the note and couldn’t figure out what it meant? You will lose a lot fewer of your ideas if you develop the discipline of writing out your thoughts completely, hence, the complete sentence outline.