By: Susan Dugdale | Last modified: 04-16-2021
There's a sample speech outline template below to help you clarify what you want to say as well as help effectively organize your material.
Once complete, it will form the backbone of your speech, guiding you logically through all the aspects you need to consider before you write the speech itself.
Because completing one is a critical step in preparing a successful speech.
Preparing an outline is often overlooked in a misguided attempt to get on with what is often considered the real work: writing the speech.
Despite what many people think it is not a waste of time! Instead, you will save it. And sidestep any anxiety caused by inadequate preparation.
It might look daunting and horrifically time consuming but complete an outline all the same.
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, an outline will make giving a speech easier and less stressful.
Read the page all the way through to familiarize yourself with the terms and the process. When you're done, click the link at the foot of the page to download and print the blank sample speech outline for your own use.
The process of outlining a speech is broken down into 4 essential steps.
(Click a heading to find out more about each one)
You need to complete this step before you begin to write anything!
The place to begin is deciding what you are going to talk about.
For example, if you are a realtor (real estate agent) who has been asked to talk to a suburban community group residential real estate seems like a good pick.
However before you make a final decision considering more closely who will be listening to you makes better sense than assuming whatever you come up with will be good!
How do you really know what aspects of your topic are best suited to meet their needs? Or what would be of real benefit for them to hear about?
The scope of the topic 'residential real estate' is huge.
Your speech could cover any number of sub-topics like: 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, how to purchase properties for makeovers ...
So before you settle on the exact topic of your speech analyze your audience.
Without analysis you are 'guessing' what would be interesting and relevant for them to hear.
Using what you found out about your audience decide on an aspect of your topic that will be of benefit to them and the angle you will take. Take care with this. One size does not fit all!
For example a speech on housing affordability which includes 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, or younger and not yet ready to consider settling ...), it could be completely inappropriate.
Minimize the risk of getting it wrong by finding out as much as you can about your audience!
What is the purpose of this speech? Why are you giving it?
Is it to persuade or inform? Is it to demonstrate, entertain, or welcome? Or is it a combination of these?
What do you want your speech to achieve?
Is there a particular action 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.
There are 6 basic organizational patterns or methods of arranging the body of your material. Choose the one most appropriate for your need.
Because event 'A' happened, event 'B' occurred.
The problem is 'X'. The answer is 'Y'.
This pattern suits a broad topic which is broken down into naturally occurring sub-topics.
Use this pattern for topics dealing with physical spaces.
These are either historical topics or demonstration speeches. Both deal with the sequence of events.
Use this pattern to examine the range of positive and negative aspects of an idea or event.
How are you going to greet your audience, grab their attention and compel them to listen?
You could use 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.
This is a short summary of your speech topic and your point of view or angle.
Green politics is no longer a fanciful, fringe fad. It is a necessity.
This segment establishes your right to speak on the topic. It cites your qualification or expertise.
Using myself as an example, I can speak about preparing speeches because I've written so many over the past ten years. In addition, prior to becoming a professional speech writer I taught high school level English and drama. I also belong to the global public speaking club Toastmasters and have Bachelor of Social Science, majoring in English and psychology, from the University of Waikato, New Zealand.
This is a brief outline of the main points you are going to cover.
Today I am going to share with you three effective ways to lessen public speaking fear.
The first and second cover aspects of preparation: writing and rehearsal or practice. The third is about the benefits of public speaking.
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.
When you make a decision to learn to speak up in public you also receive the following benefits: confidence, the ability to take on leadership roles, a growing collection of presentation skills like story telling, how to use your voice, the ability to use props well, how to listen, how to craft a speech to meet the needs of specific audiences ... In short you release the potential you have to become a bigger and better you.
This is the heart of your speech, the place where you lay out what you want to share with your audience.
Generally three main ideas, along with supporting examples, work more effectively than four or five or more. If you have a number of them to choose from, go with your three strongest points. If one of your final three is noticeably weaker sandwich it between the other two.
If you intend to use visual aids (slides showing graphs, tables or images), or actual props, mark them in too.
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
There are four parts to preparing an effective conclusion to your speech. Use them to draw together and summarize all the material from your introduction and the body of your speech, and end with a clincher!
This is a simple four page PDF of all four steps and their sub- headings with spaces for you to write your notes. Click to download and print your sample speech outline now.
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.
Once you're done with planning, completing your sample speech outline and writing find out 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 form to see what aspects are likely to be judged and how a rating scale works.