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Demonstration speech sample outline

How to leave an effective voice mail message

By: Susan Dugdale  | Last modified: 02-12-2023

The demonstration speech sample outline below follows the logical step-by-step process that is essential for any "how to" type of speech. E.g., how to fix a flat tire, how to play a board game, how to make a friendship bracelet, how to put together a kick starter campaign...

An outline is a great tool: one of the very best ways to prepare an effective demonstration speech. It allows you to map out an entire speech about a particular process in easy steps.

Quite simply, you need one to ensure you're on track in front of an audience, that your series of main points are in the right order, that your use of visual aids is smooth...  

The specific task the speech I've prepared to show you how it works covers what's involved in leaving an effective voice mail message: one that doesn't get deleted immediately!

You'll see that each part of the outline builds on what went before it, leading the audience from start to finish through the number of steps needed to put a good voice message together.

Get a printable blank demonstration speech outline

Illustration: wallpaper background 'blah, blah, blah'. Text: Demonstration speech sample outline: How to leave a good voice mail message. Plus video.

The outline template I've used is available for your use too. I've made a printable blank version of it for you download.

You'll find the link at the foot of the page, along with a video of the speech.

The voice you'll hear, when you play that, is me, Susan. (If you're on a desktop, see the photo in the righthand column!) And my accent is New Zealand.

About this demonstration speech example

As I was preparing this 'how to' I had in my mind young adult audience members: high school, or college students.

The speech covers one of a number of vital soft skills* needed to open doors to work opportunities, or to make connections with people who can help them to get where they want to go. Leaving an effective voice mail message is often the very first step on that journey.

*For more soft skills demonstration speech topics

Which bits of this speech outline are said aloud?

Everything in bold eg. Title of speech, General purpose ... is not said aloud. These are the titles or labels of the various parts of the speech outline template. 

Anything in italics eg. Gathering your information your information ... is not said aloud.

The speech itself begins with these sentences: 

'How many important voice mail messages have you bumbled through after the beep? Does recalling them make you feel a little uncomfortable?'

Demonstration speech sample outline

Title of speech: How to leave an effective voice mail message after the beep

General purpose: to demonstrate

Specific purpose: to demonstrate (teach) how to leave a good voice mail message

Central idea (thesis statement): save yourself and the person you’re leaving the message for the frustration caused by: you not getting the result you wanted and the person you left the message for not understanding what you wanted.

Attention grabber:

Illustration: 3 female cartoon faces against a wallpaper background of 'blah, blah, blah. Text in speech bubble: How many important voice mail messages have you bumbled through after the beep?

How many important voice mail messages have you bumbled through after the beep? Does recalling them make you feel a little uncomfortable?

Credibility builders:
Yep, me too. I’ve blundered. Mumbled and muttered. If it were possible, I would have gladly saved the person I was calling the hassle of deleting those messages myself. Before they were heard.

However no more. I’ve learned how to leave an effective voice mail message. One expressing politely, clearly and succinctly all that was needed for whoever listened to it to understand exactly what I was calling about. One that that wouldn’t make me cringe if I heard it.

Today I’m going to share how to do that with you.

No more embarrassment. No more tongue-tied after the beep blues. This is a skill easily gained, and one that will open doors for you again, again and again.

Are you ready? Let’s go.

Body of speech
Step one:   

A lot of the time we already know as we’re entering the numbers for whomever we’re calling: our plumber, the manager of our local community center, or to request information about an advertised job vacancy that the likelihood of our call going through to voice mail is reasonably high.

So here’s the first step toward crafting a good message. Gather up everything we want to say before entering the phone numbers of the person we want to talk to. This will ensure we give ourselves the best chance possible of avoiding the dreaded ‘delete’.

(Show visual aid : Who, what, why, when, where and how chart.)

Illustration: a wallpaper background of 'blah, blah, blah. Text: Who?, When?, Where?, Why?, What?, How?

Sub-step one:
We need to cover off who, what, why, when, where and how. Depending on what we want to say, some of them, more than once.

Who we are. Eg. Joe Smith

Where from. Eg. Forest Farm

How we can be contacted. Eg. My number is 021 445 8834

Who we want to talk to. Eg. Sam White. (This step is needed if we’ve not directly gone through to the voice mail of the person we want to speak to.)

What we’re calling about: Eg. the planned community tree planting day

Why we’re calling: Eg. to confirm the numbers of trees required

When we need an answer: Eg. by next Tuesday


It’s fairly straightforward, isn’t it? Pure logic, that you would think before you speak and have your message organised. Alas, some of us don’t. Then in the nano-second following the beep suffer a logic by-pass and side step into voice-mail hell.

Step two: Reviewing the worst types of voicemail messages

It’s worth reviewing what types of voice mails make themselves candidates for instant dismissal. Here’s a few of the worst in all their ghastly glory from the ‘what not to do’ department. Consider them aversion therapy!

Sub-step one: Examples
The longest ever. Squeezing in every little detail possible is unnecessary. It is quite literally, too much.

Illustration: female cartoon face against wallpaper background of 'blah, blah, blah with an old fashioned telephone. Text: sallyjoneshereiamringingtoaskwhetherornotthekindergartenisopentoday.

The gabbler. The person who talks so quickly that it’s impossible to make out what they’re saying.

The anonymous. The person who presumes you’ll know who is speaking, and you’ll also know how to contact them, so they don’t tell you.

The ummer and ahhher. This person leaves a message made up of 75% filler words and 25% substance - making it hard to summon the enthusiasm to dig through the dross for the gold.

Let’s leave gobble-de-gook voice mail behind us.

Step three

Let’s start right now by preparing a message that ticks all the boxes. It will let the person you’ve called know who is calling, your number so that they can return the call, what you are calling about clearly, and briefly, and what you would like, or want, the person you’ve called to do. It’s both friendly and professional.

Sub-step one
To do this we’ll return to who, what, where, when, why and how

(Display chart)

Sub-step two
To demonstrate we’ll use the example mentioned earlier.

We’ll pretend we’re Joe Smith from Forest Farm, calling Sam White, the manager of the local Community Outreach Center, about the planned tree planting day coming up soon. Joe has previously agreed to supply the trees and now needs to know which varieties, and how many of each them are wanted. He would like an answer by next Tuesday.

Sub-step 3
Now let’s prepare the message.

Hi Sam
Joe Smith here from Forest Farm
021 445 8834
I’m calling to finalize the varieties and numbers of trees required for our tree planting day. To get them ready we need to know by next Tuesday. Thanks. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Sub-step 4
Now let’s check it.

Does it cover everything it should?

Illustration: 3 stylized trees, male figure, against 'blah, blah, blah' wallpaper background. Text: Example of good voice mail message with labels showing: who, what, where, when, why and how.

Does it cover everything it should?

A greeting? Yes.

Say who it’s from? Yes. Joe Smith (That’s ‘Who’)

Provide the person called with context? Yes. Forest Farm. (That’s ‘Where’.)

Give contact details? Yes. (That’s ‘How’ covered - how to return the call.)

Give a brief, clear reason for leaving the message. Yes. (The ‘What’ is the varieties and number of trees needed.)

Give a reason ‘Why’? Yes. To get them ready in time we need that information soon.

Give a time frame? Yes. (That’s ‘When’ sorted.)

OK - so this is the type of voice mail message we’d like to leave, and receive. Therefore the next major step is practice.

Step four

Rinse and repeat! The only way to master leaving quality voice mail messages is to practice. A lot.

Sub-step one
Use the recording function on your phone to record yourself leaving messages of varying types. For instance: asking for an appointment or reminding someone they were going to get back to you a few days ago and haven’t.

Sub-step two
When you play them back listen carefully.

  • Are you speaking clearly?
  • Have you avoided filler words? (Um, ah, like, yeah ...)
  • Have you carefully and slowly given your number ?
  • Is the tone of your voice friendly? (Smiling while you talk will make it sound that way.)
  • Is your message brief and does it cover everything it needs to? (That’s the who, what, where, why, when and how.)
  • Are the words you’ve chosen to use appropriate? (The vocabulary we use with a close friend is often very different from the words we’d choose to talk with a prospective employer. Getting it wrong could have consequences!)

Sub-step three

If you’ve answered ‘no’ to most of these questions. You already know what you need to do. More practice. Like any new skill it takes a while to become second nature – a habit. Keep at it.

Yes, to some aspects and no, to others? Keep practicing, focusing on what you need to master.

Yes, to everything? Congratulations. You’re ready to go.

You see? It’s not that hard.

Illustration:3 female faces wearing crowns and 3 trophies against 'blah, blah, blah' wallpaper background.Text:Congratulations.You have beaten the after the beep blues.

The voice mail messages we leave represent us. They’re personal ambassadors – making our way forward easier, or harder. A well crafted message is much more likely to be heard in its entirety and acted on. Pause before you call. Think. Structure. Then ring and speak with confidence!

 Listen to this demonstration speech example

Illustration: Background wallpaper - blah, blah, blah text. Title text: Demonstration speech example. How to leave an effective voice mail message.

I've recorded it and added some slides to make it a 'show and tell'.

Either click this link: How to leave an effective voice mail message, or on the image above to play it.

Feel free to share, comment, like, or dislike it, as you see fit! 

Download the blank speech outline template

Illustration- a colorful row of men's ties. Text in banner over the top of them: Download a blank step by step demonstration speech outline.

This template is a pdf. To open, read and print it you must have a pdf reader installed on your computer. If needed here is a link to download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader DC software you require.

If you haven't much time to sort out the best topic for your target audience, to find interesting facts and additional information to support it, to the think through the series of steps required and prepare for a q&a session at the conclusion of your presentation, completing an outline is great way to lessen your stress levels!

More resources for demonstrative speeches

 100s of topics for demonstration speeches 

Image: a row of cute kittens and puppies.
Text: Demonstration speech topic possibilities. How to choose a pet.

Here's a collection of 290+ demonstration speech topics, including that evergreen favorite: 'how to choose a pet'.

And here's another selection of good examples of demonstrative speech topics arranged by theme: business, entertainment, frugal living, caring, public speaking.

The previously mentioned soft skills 'how-to' speech ideas are here: 50 speech topics focusing on 'soft skills'

Plus, there's 100 short 3-10 minute demonstration speech ideas, 188 funny how to speech topics and guidelines on how to prepare the best demonstration speech you can.

PS. For more on voice mail messages

Check these excellent links:

  1. The ten worst types of voice mails - an evergreen article published on the Grasshopper blog. (Thank you!)
  2. How to leave professional voice mail messages - published by Energy Resourcing
  3. How to leave a professional voice mail message - published by 'the balance small business'.