Planning Successful Talk or Paper

Three essential aspects for all formal writing/speaking

Note: While these concepts are central to any successful formal presentation,
their technical content must adjust to the level and expectations of the audience.

Take-Home Message

Topic Sentence

Topic Sentence Outline

Benefits of writing a sentence outline

  1. Clarity. If you can't write a clear sentence summarizing the paragraph's point, you certainly can't write a clear paragraph.
  2. Flow of argument. It is much easier to quickly judge whether the present order of paragraphs (as sentences in the outline) really makes the argument in the most effective way. You may be able to omit one or more paragraphs and still make your arguments.
  3. Efficiency. Revision of the plan of paper is much easier and quicker if you have only to delete or re-order sentences. Doing this on the completed draft involves much more work.
    1. Since a concept must be explained when it first appears, interchanging paragraphs will require moving definitions.
    2. Paragraphs should smoothly flow into each other. Reordering paragraphs may require extensive rewriting.
  4. Writing to length. With a sentence outline you can easily judge how long the manuscript will be and modify it to keep the essential material within the prescribed length.
  5. Time. All the above -- clarity, argument flow, efficiency, length management -- can be done faster using a sentence outline.


The successful talk/paper delivers a clear, compelling and memorable Take Home Message.

Topic Sentences summarize the points of paragraphs ordered (TSO) in the minimum argument necessary to deliver the Take Home Message.

To cite this page:
Course Objectives
[Sunday, 21-Oct-2018 21:37:45 EDT]
Edited by: on Monday, 30-Mar-2009 10:38:22 EDT