Dan Gookin explains the problems of single subtopics. Avoid single subtopics as you would single bullet points or only one item in a numbered list. Audiences anticipate a second subtopic, which means a single subtopic adds confusion. Split single subtopics, if possible. Change a single subtopic to narrative text, promote it, or remove a single subtopic.
- A single subtopic is considered taboo.…They're not forbidden, it's just that competent editors…encourage you not to use them.…Single subtopic implies a dangling thought…that doesn't rise to the topic level.…To fix a single subtopic I have four suggestions.…First, change the topic to narrative text.…In Word with the insertion pointer blinking in the topic…press shift control N.…As narrative text you can expand upon your thought,…especially if you don't consider yourself…bound by the short and to the point rule for a topic's text.…
This process helps you with my second suggestion.…See if you can split the subtopic.…Is there another parallel subtopic?…The single subtopic might be split into a two part sequence.…That's because two subtopics are the minimum.…If not, then it's just narrative text.…The third suggestion is to promote the subtopic.…See whether it's worthy enough to be it's own parent topic.…If not, demote it back down and try to think…of a parallel subtopic.…Fourth, eliminate the subtopic.…
Remember outlines are fluid and they can change.…
- Identify the problem with making assumptions about an audience.
- Recall the characteristics of a topic.
- Define narrative text.
- Explain how to transform topics to keep the audience engaged.
- Describe the appearance of levels and subtopics in a PowerPoint slide.