Your listeners will understand your talk better if you organize what you say in a logical sequence or linear pattern. This means that you tell the listeners what you are going to talk about and then go through the points you want to make. The most common pattern of organization is outlined below:
An example of this pattern is shown below:
Connecting ideas by using transition words and phrases tells your listeners the relationship of one idea to the next. You can signal to your listener that you are going to put events in a sequence, add information, or make a comparison. You can signal that you want to emphasize or clarify a point. Using transition words and phrases helps your listener follow the flow of your ideas. Read the following example without transitional expressions:
In my physics class, we did lots of experiments that helped clarify scientific principles. I understood those principles better by doing those experiments.
These sentences would flow better if the speaker used transitional expressions as in the following example:
In my physics class, we did lots of experiments that helped clarify scientific principles. As a result, I understood those principles better.
In order to help your listeners understand, you may need to define a term that you use in your response. Read the following example:
My hobby is telemark skiing.
If the speaker does not define the term and listeners do not know what telemark skiing is, they might not understand the rest of the passage. Sometimes listeners can guess the meaning through the context of the passage, but sometimes they cannot. Here is the definition this speaker gave of telemark skiing:
That means skiing using telemark skis.
Even though the speaker defined telemark skiing, listeners still may not understand what it means because the speaker defined the term with the same word. To effectively define a word, use a three-part definition:
1. State the word or phrase to be defined.
2. Give the category that the word or phrase fits into.
3. Tell how the word is different from other words that fit the same category.
Read this example of an effective definition:
Telemark is a type of alpine skiing in which the boots are connected to the skis only at
the toes, so traditional skiing techniques have to be modified.