Writing a Great Speech Outline

An outline provide the speaker a clear, concise and logical way of organizing the speech. Besides being a subtle script of what to say, an outline also helps the speaker and audience understand the pattern of the speech. A speech presented without the guidance of an outline often falls short on structure, depth, and easiness for audience to understand. Below are a few tips on writing a great speech guideline.

  • Get familiar with the parts of a speech and know their functions. For example, an introduction presents your topic and tells audience why they should be listening. The body part is the heart for a speech. It’s where the speaker presents the main points in details while adding supporting evidence. Lastly, the conclusion part of summarizes the points the speaker wants to be remembered by the audience.

  • Decide a pattern to organize your speech. In order to prepare an effective outline, it's important to know how to organize your speech. Common patterns used include: topical or logical pattern; time sequence or chronological pattern; geographical or spatial pattern; problem-solution pattern; cause-effect pattern; and classification pattern. Each pattern has its own style and logical order so choose one that suits your speech the most.

  • Start creating your outline by working on an introduction. A speaker must know what he or she wants to say before the words can be put on paper. So first of all, you need to complete all the necessary research and gather enough sources. Include a greeting line and an attention grabber in your introduction, followed by a thesis statement, the topic and purpose for your speech. You should also tell the audience your credibility, in other words, why you are qualified for giving a speech on the particular topic. Next, present a short overview of your main points and tell the audience why the speech is useful to them.

  • Outline the body part of the speech. In the body part, the main points are presented to the audience with supporting arguments, evidence and examples. Sometimes, you can also use visuals to help your audience understand your points. When creating your outline, you should make sure that each main point is fully covered before moving on to the next. You should not jump from one point to another, or jump and then come back to a previous point again.

  • Outline your conclusion. Your conclusion summarizes the main points of your speech while emphasizing particular points that you want to be remembered by the audience. Remember the conclusion part is not where new materials are introduced. Finally, construct a final sentence that has the impact for the audience to remember your speech.