[The following outline shows how a story of my father's funeral could be broken down into phases which give structure to the narrative. Note that the presentation has an introduction which creates interest (in this case, some suspense) and a conclusion which draws the story to a close by emphasizing the significance of the experience in my life. The key words are selected to remind me about the details of the story, so that I can "tell" the story in a way which looks spontaneous, even though I may have practiced it many times.]
I. Introduction. The call at 3:30 a.m.
II. Closing the relationship with my father.
A. The trip home.
1. Reminiscing across Colorado.
2. The fear of viewing my father.
B. The funeral.
1. At the funeral home.
2. The family ceremony.
III. Conclusion: My father "lives."
The following topics for the Significant Experience Speech have resulted from brainstorming in various COMM 100 classes. When you look at them, don't worry about what they meant to the students who brainstormed them. Instead consider whether they remind you of something which happened to you. Another way of finding topics is to ask your friends and family about your significant experiences. Sometimes they can think of experiences which you are ignoring.
|Accidents/injuries||Conflict||First time events|
|Death of loved one||Birth||Getting married/divorced|
|Facing death/disability||Diseases||Extreme sports|
|Holiday events||Surgery||Moments in sports|
|Object of discrimination||Children||Body piercing/tattoos|
|Raising/caring for kids||Childhood||Attaining a goal|
|Crime/arrest/lawsuit||Martial arts||Religious conversions|
|Making music/art||Gambling||Spiritual events|
|Repossessing cars||Animals/pets||Paranormal events|
|Outdoor recreation||Travel events||Returning to school|
|Alcohol/drug recovery||Dating||Military/boot camp|
|Rescue/CPR||Natural disaster||Care giving/hospice|
|Meeting people||Job experiences||Volunteer work|
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Copyright 2000, Richard D. Rowley
Last revised: October 29, 2001 .