Sample Speech Outline
- an organizational template to complete
The sample speech outline template below will help clarify what you want to say as well as help organize your material.
Once done, your outline will form the backbone of your speech guiding you logically and sequentially through all the aspects you need to consider before you write the speech itself.
Why bother with an outline?
Because completing one is a critical step in preparing a successful speech.
It is often overlooked in a misguided effort to get on with the real work of writing the speech itself. The outline is seen as a waste of time!
But truly, you will save time through doing one and avoid any anxiety caused by inadequate preparation.
It might look daunting and horrifically time consuming but do it all the same.
Save yourself time by completing a speech outline
What you'll learn about structure, matching content to your speech purpose and your audience's needs will pay you back over and over again. I promise you, completing an outline will make your speech giving easier!
Read the page through to familiarize yourself with the terms and the process. When you're done, download and print off the blank sample speech outline for your own use.
Speech outlining in 4 steps
The process of outlining a speech is broken down into 4 essential steps.
(Click a heading to find out more about each one)
- deciding on your topic
- considering the audience and refining your topic to suit them
- deciding on the purpose of the speech
- choosing an organizational method to support your speech purpose
- opening greeting and attention getter
- defining your thesis statement (a summary of what your speech is about)
- establishing your credibility
- an overview and the benefit to the audience
- transition or link between introduction and body
- main ideas with supporting ideas
- examples and details
- summary of main points
- closer or call to action
Remember this old saying?
First: tell them what you're going to tell them.
Second: tell them.
Third: tell them what you told them.
A simple sample speech outline uses all three.
- 'Tell them what you're going to tell them' becomes your introduction
- 'Tell them' forms the body
- 'Tell them what you told them' is your conclusion
Sample Speech Outline - Step One - Preparation
Topic - decide what you are going to talk about
For example: residential real estate
Audience - consider who will be listening to you and what aspects of your topic are best suited to meet their needs
The scope of the topic 'residential real estate' is huge. A speech could cover financial advice for first home buyers, how to check a house before purchase, the rise of mortgagee default sales, the collapse of property development schemes ...
Before you settle on the exact content of your speech analyze your audience. Why should they listen to you? What's in your speech for them?
Refine or Limit Topic - re-frame in view of your audience - decide on the angle you will take and whether or not you need to limit the scope
Your audience analysis should tell you what will be of interest. For example housing affordability with a step by step plan toward buying a first home will likely interest an audience of youngish, (late 20's-30's), people with steady professional incomes. But for another audience, (e.g. older, less financially secure, younger and not yet ready to consider settling ...), it could be completely inappropriate.
Define Purpose - Why are you giving this speech? Is it to persuade, inform, demonstrate, entertain, or welcome? Or is it a combination of these?
What do you want it to achieve? What action do you want people to take as a result of listening to you? Your answers to all of these questions will dictate what organizational pattern you'll use for your speech, its content and tone.
Choosing an organizational pattern or method
There are 6 basic organizational patterns or methods of arranging the body of your material. Choose the one most appropriate for your need.
- Cause - Effect
Because event A happened, event B occurred.
- Problem - Solution
The problem is X. The solution is Y.
This pattern suits a broad topic which is broken down into naturally occurring sub-topics.
E.g. Broad topic: Vocal Variety
Sub-topics: rate of speech, use of pausing, voice tone, volume, articulation...
- Spatial or Geographic
Topics dealing with physical space.
E.g. The popular tourism areas in New Zealand
- Time or Chronological
Historical topics dealing with the sequence of events or demonstration speeches.
E.g. The history of women's suffrage in USA, How to bake a cake
- Advantage - Disadvantage
Use this pattern for examining the range of positive and negative aspects of an idea or event.
E.g. Social housing, work schemes, lowering the drinking age ...
Sample Speech Outline - Step Two - Introduction
- Greeting - Attention Getter
How are you going to greet your audience, grab their attention and compel them to listen?It could a rhetorical question, a startling statistic, a quotation or a humorous one-liner. To be effective it must be related to your topic and apt for your audience.
- Thesis Statement
A one sentence summary of your speech topic and your point of view or angle.
E.g. Green politics is no longer a fanciful, fringe fad. It is a necessity.
This establishes your right to speak on the topic. It cites your qualification or expertise.
- Summative overview
Brief outline of the main points to be covered
What's in your speech for your audience? Why will they want to hear what you've got to tell them? Be specific. Tell them.
Sample Speech Outline - Step Three - Body
This the link between your introduction and the main body of your speech. How will you tie them together?
Note: If you're unsure about the exact nature of links or transitions and how they work or what they are, you'll find more about them, with examples, on my page how to write a speech
- Main Idea 1 - Supporting ideas - Details and examples - Visuals or props - Transition to...
- Main Idea 2 - Supporting ideas - Details and examples - Visuals or props - Transition to...
- Main Idea 3 - Supporting ideas - Details and examples - Visuals or props - Transition to...
Sample Speech Outline - Step Four - Conclusion
- Summary of main ideas
These are the main points you covered in the body of your speech.
- Re-statement of thesis statement
Use the statement from your introduction to reinforce your message.
- Re-statement of benefit to audience
Remind the audience of the benefits they'll receive through carrying out whatever your propose. Again this comes from your introduction.
- Closer, Clincher or Call to Action
This is your final sentence. To ensure your speech ends with a bang rather than a whimper check out this page on how to end a speech memorably. You'll find options and examples.
And now get your own "ready-to-use" sample speech outline template.
This is a simple 2 page PDF of all 4 steps and their sub- headings with spaces for you to write your notes. Right click to download and print your sample speech outline now.
Please note you will need Adobe Reader (the latest version is recommended) installed on your computer in order to open and read this PDF. If you haven't got it you can get it here (a new window will open so you can download it without leaving this page).
If you want to open the file in your browser window, just click on the link. However, if you want to download the file to view later, then right-click on the link and choose "Save Target As" or "Save File As." Then select where you want to save the file on your hard drive.
Once you have saved the file, locate where you saved it, and double click to open.
In order to print the blank sample speech outline, open the downloaded file, and select the "Print" option from the menu.
Want to know more about preparing speeches?
This page goes into more detail (with examples) about planning a speech and this one provides step by step examples on how to write a speech.
Once you're done with planning, completing your sample speech outline and writing do find out about how to rehearse. A speech is a live performance. Rehearsal helps you expose and iron out glitches before you find them out the hard way - in front of your audience.
And if your speech is being assessed check out this standard speech evaluation formto see what aspects are likely to be judged and how a rating scale works.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 7:07 — 6.7MB)
So you want to create a speech. You know the content, you know the message you want to get across but you need a structure of how you are going to deliver your presentation so that its effective and its get through to the audience. Today I am giving you a public speaking outline example to accomplish just that.
What is a public speaking outline?
A public speaking outline is the structure of your speech in basic form. So that might be bullet points on how you are going to progress through things. It could even be a mind map.
It’s up to you how you structure your speech and how your speech flows but a public speaking outline should show you as a speaker exactly how your speech is meant to flow and give you clues to how you can create your speech better.
The whole idea is that we create an outline before we create our speech.
A Very Simple Public Speaking Outline Example
- Main Body
That’s very simple example of an outline.
An outline exist to help you to create a structure for your speech so then you can then extrapolate that out, expand that out and create a full speech.
An outline is also used when you have created your speech and now you want to condense it to make it smaller and use it as a reference point when you are giving your presentation.
A public speaking outline is very effective tool that many professional speakers use to understand and know what they are going to deliver.
So with your introduction how do we set that up? What’s the outline below introduction?
When we are looking at the introduction we need to look at firstly, what content we are trying to get across and how we going to introduce that in a way that engages the audience.
I did a video and a blog post on how we can do introductions so that we are not boring.
One of the biggest mistake people make is they get up in front of the people and they say, “Hello, my name is Ryan McLean and I am 25 yrs old, I work in this company, I have worked in the industry for eight years and I have done this and I have done that”.
The people in audience are actually falling asleep in their chairs. We want to engage our audience and we want to get them to buy in to our presentation and buy into our introduction.
So there are four ways that are recommended you can to do this:
- With a Quote
- With A Question
- With A Factoid
- With A Story
The introduction is very important. So think of some different ways that you can introduce your topic to make it exciting, to make interesting because whole goal of the introduction is to get people excited to listen to the rest of your presentation.
2. The Body Of Your Presentation
You can construct the body in any way that you want.
So with that body we want main messages that we need to get across to let say we have got good introduction then we got body and in that body what we going to have is three points.
So we are going to have one, two, three and in your outline you will list those three main messages and then you will then make a note of a story that you want to tell or quote that you want to give or statistic or some reference that you want to provide to back up the point that you are presenting.
3. The Conclusion
You want to wrap up the conclusion and in some way you want to bring it back to the message that you already delivered or if possible the core message that you are delivering.
The conclusion is probably the thing that will be remembered the most. Find an interesting way to do that and then if possible and if required and appropriate give a call to action.
The call to action could be ‘Go to the back and sign up’, or it could be something as simple as ‘Think about X why you doing Y’.
So there we have a public speaking outline.
1. Introduction – how are we going to introduce to topic? Are we going use a quote, a question, a factoid or a story?
2. Body – How many points do we have and what do we using to support those points
3. Conclusion – How are we going to wrap it up and give a call to action?
So, there you have public speaking outline example that you can use. It is a very simple way to help you create a public speech and act as a reference point for your speech so you can remember and present with confidence.
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