The key is to make your main points thematically connected. In other words—avoid a set of points that look like this:

1.      History of the Zapatistas

2.      What defines a person as a Zapatista?

3.      Things the Zapatistas do

Notice that the only thing connecting these main points together is the fact that they are about the Zapatistas. That isn’t going to make a cohesive speech. Instead, try these kinds of main points:

Example for a speech on Zapatista culture:

1.      Zapatista dance and music

2.      Zapatista conversation expectations

3.      Zapatista games

4.      Zapatista romance


How to speech: 4 key steps to doing the thing you are talking about.

Example: Step One: Reformat the hard drive. Step Two: Place the CD into the computer and begin installation. Step Three: Fine tune your operating system.

History/what happened speech: Points listing out from the beginning to the latest thing you want to discuss in your speech.

Example: First, the people inhabited the territory. Second, there were great conflicts. Third, there were good and sad after-effects.

What is it speech: 2 to 4 main points that discuss the key elements of your subject.

Example: First, there must be small numbers; Second, a focus on general rather than specialized education; Third, a focus on more intellectual rather than practical or technical knowledge.

Explain it speech: 2 or 4 main points that go through the key elements of something to explain it.

Example: A plane flies by first, its wing design; second, engine forward movement; third, direction of wing flaps.

Typical organizations for an



Problem-solution: First point shows there is a harmful problem; Second point shows a proposal and proof that it would solve the problem; it is good to get the judge/audience involved in taking their own actions to help solve the problem.

Demonstration that something is wrong/right: First, list out an agreeable standard for judging (things that kill should be rejected; things that intrude on our civil liberties should be rejected); Second, show that the thing you are talking about does indeed violate the standard you set.

Main reasons approach: Just list out the reasons why your thesis is true. First, because of x; Second, because of y; Third, because of z.