Friday, January 6, 2012

Writing Outlines Made Simple -- By Suzi Sandoval and Bernice W. Simpson

Award-winning Toastmaster, Suzi Sandoval, provides her audiences with speeches full of exceptional material presented in a concise and understandable manner.
Preparation for a speech or article begins with a topic and research for that topic. Once facts are gathered they need to be sorted, a process once done on index cards. "With our system, I can get those ducks in a row so much faster now," said Suzi.
Bernice said, "Before we developed our outline system, sometimes I spent so much cut-and-paste time on an article, I was tired of it before the writing started."
Here is the convenient method we use to outline an article or speech. We used 2007 Microsoft Word for the steps below. If you use Open Office or another word processing program, certain details will differ, but the overall concept should work for you.
            Ten Easy Steps to Create your Table. 
1.      From, the Home ribbon, go to Insert tab.
2.      Click on Tables
3.      Click on arrow, to insert a table.
4.      Hover cursor over “Insert table.” The line will turn yellow. Click.
5.      An “Insert table” box appears with choices.
6.      Choose the number of columns; for this particular purpose, we choose 2 columns.
7.      Choose the number of rows. For this particular purpose, we start with 12 rows.
8.      Click OK.
9.      By default, the column with is set on “auto” which means your two columns are the same width.
10.  To change the width click on the column line, and using the ruler for a guide, drag the line to the left to create one narrow column on the left and a wide column to the right.  

            Six Steps to Prepare Your Outline.
1.      In the rows on the right, jot down thoughts that pertain to your subject. Use one row for each thought. Use the down arrow to move from one row to the next.
2.      If you need more than the 12 rows in your table, use this quick method: simply move your curser to the outside of the table on the right side. Click on the "enter" key and another row will appear. Repeat for each extra row you want. Note: you must position the curser (use the "back" key or move it with your mouse) to the outside of the table to perform the action.
3.      Now you are ready to sort those miscellaneous thoughts to chronological order. Go through your list of notes, and place a number beside each note in what you think is a logical order. Where you are unsure of the exact order, assign a number to each major point. Next look for supporting material, and give those notes the number plus a small letter: 1a, 1b, and so forth.
4.      On the ribbon, choose the “Home” tab.
5.      On the ribbon, go to the “Paragraph” section. Find the icon for “sort.” It is an A above Z with a down arrow beside it. Click on it. A sort box will appear.
6.      By default, it is ready. Simply click OK.

Suzi and Bernice hope you'll try our outlining method. Let us know if you find it helpful.

(c) 2012, Susana Sandoval and Bernice Simpson

No comments:

Post a Comment