speech outline document

How to Write an Effective Speech Outline: A Step-by-Step Guide

  • The Speaker Lab
  • March 8, 2024

Table of Contents

Mastering the art of speaking starts with crafting a stellar speech outline. A well-structured outline not only clarifies your message but also keeps your audience locked in.

In this article, you’ll learn how to mold outlines for various speech types, weaving in research that resonates and transitions that keep listeners on track. We’ll also show you ways to spotlight crucial points and manage the clock so every second counts. When it’s time for final prep, we’ve got smart tips for fine-tuning your work before stepping into the spotlight.

Understanding the Structure of a Speech Outline

An effective speech outline is like a map for your journey as a speaker, guiding you from start to finish. Think of it as the blueprint that gives shape to your message and ensures you hit all the right notes along the way.

Tailoring Your Outline for Different Speech Types

Different speeches have different goals: some aim to persuade, others inform or celebrate. Each type demands its own structure in an outline. For instance, a persuasive speech might highlight compelling evidence while an informative one focuses on clear explanations. Crafting your outline with precision means adapting it to fit these distinct objectives.

Incorporating Research and Supporting Data

Your credibility hinges on solid research and data that back up your claims. When writing your outline, mark the places where you’ll incorporate certain pieces of research or data. Every stat you choose should serve a purpose in supporting your narrative arc. And remember to balance others’ research with your own unique insights. After all, you want your work to stand out, not sound like someone else’s.

The Role of Transitions in Speech Flow

Slick transitions are what turn choppy ideas into smooth storytelling—think about how bridges connect disparate land masses seamlessly. They’re not just filler; they carry listeners from one thought to another while maintaining momentum.

Incorporate transitions that feel natural yet keep people hooked. To keep things smooth, outline these transitions ahead of time so nothing feels left up to chance during delivery.

Techniques for Emphasizing Key Points in Your Outline

To make certain points pop off the page—and stage—you’ll need strategies beyond bolding text or speaking louder. Use repetition wisely or pause strategically after delivering something significant. Rather than go impromptu, plan out what points you want to emphasize before you hit the stage.

Timing Your Speech Through Your Outline

A watchful eye on timing ensures you don’t overstay—or undercut—your moment under the spotlight. The rhythm set by pacing can be pre-determined through practice runs timed against sections marked clearly in outlines. Practice will help ensure that your grand finale isn’t cut short by surprise.

Free Download: 6 Proven Steps to Book More Paid Speaking Gigs in 2024​

Download our 18-page guide and start booking more paid speaking gigs today!

Depending on the type of speech you’re giving, your speech outline will vary. The key ingredients—introduction, body, and conclusion—are always there, but nuances like tone or message will change with each speaking occasion.

Persuasive Speeches: Convincing With Clarity

When outlining a persuasive speech, arrange your arguments from strong to strongest. The primacy effect works wonders here, so make sure to start off with a strong point. And just when they think they’ve heard it all, hit them with an emotional story that clinches the deal.

You might start by sharing startling statistics about plastic pollution before pivoting to how individuals can make a difference. Back this up with data on successful recycling programs which demonstrate tangible impact, a technique that turns facts into fuel for action.

Informative Speeches: Educating Without Overwhelming

An informative speech shouldn’t feel like drinking from a fire hose of facts and figures. Instead, lay out clear subtopics in your outline and tie them together with succinct explanations—not unlike stepping stones across a stream of knowledge.

If you’re talking about breakthroughs in renewable energy technology, use bullet points to highlight different innovations then expand upon their potential implications one at a time so the audience can follow along without getting lost in technical jargon or complexity.

Ceremonial Speeches: Creating Moments That Matter

In a ceremonial speech you want to capture emotion. Accordingly, your outline should feature personal anecdotes and quotes that resonate on an emotional level. However, make sure to maintain brevity because sometimes less really is more when celebrating milestones or honoring achievements.

Instead of just going through a hero’s whole life story, share the powerful tales of how they stepped up in tough times. This approach hits home for listeners, letting them feel the impact these heroes have had on their communities and sparking an emotional bond.

Incorporating Research in Your Speech Outline

When you’re crafting a speech, the backbone of your credibility lies in solid research and data. But remember, it’s not just about piling on the facts. It’s how you weave them into your narrative that makes listeners sit up and take notice.

Selecting Credible Sources

Finding trustworthy sources is like going on a treasure hunt where not all that glitters is gold. To strike real gold, aim for academic journals or publications known for their rigorous standards. Google Scholar or industry-specific databases are great places to start your search. Be picky. Your audience can tell when you’ve done your homework versus when you’ve settled for less-than-stellar intel.

You want to arm yourself with evidence so compelling that even skeptics start nodding along. A well-chosen statistic from a reputable study does more than decorate your point—it gives it an ironclad suit of armor.

Organizing Information Effectively

Your outline isn’t just a roadmap; think of it as scaffolding that holds up your argument piece by piece. Start strong with an eye-opening factoid to hook your audience right off the bat because first impressions matter—even in speeches.

To keep things digestible, group related ideas together under clear subheadings within your outline. Stick to presenting data that backs up each key idea without wandering down tangential paths. That way, everyone stays on track.

Making Data Relatable

Sure, numbers don’t lie but they can be hard to connect to. If you plan on using stats in your speech, make them meaningful by connecting them to relatable scenarios or outcomes people care about deeply. For instance, if you’re talking health statistics, relate them back to someone’s loved ones or local hospitals. By making the personal connection for your audience, you’ll get their attention.

The trick is using these nuggets strategically throughout your talk, not dumping them all at once but rather placing each one carefully where its impact will be greatest.

Imagine your speech as a road trip. Without smooth roads and clear signs, the journey gets bumpy, and passengers might miss the scenery along the way. That’s where transitions come in. They’re like your speech’s traffic signals guiding listeners from one point to another.

Crafting Seamless Bridges Between Ideas

Transitions are more than just linguistic filler. They’re strategic connectors that carry an audience smoothly through your narrative. Start by using phrases like “on top of this” or “let’s consider,” which help you pivot naturally between points without losing momentum.

To weave these seamlessly into your outline, map out each major turn beforehand to ensure no idea is left stranded on a tangent.

Making Use of Transitional Phrases Wisely

Be cautious: overusing transitional phrases can clutter up your speech faster than rush hour traffic. Striking a balance is key—think about how often you’d want to see signposts on a highway. Enough to keep you confident but not so many that it feels overwhelming.

Pick pivotal moments for transitions when shifting gears from one major topic to another or introducing contrasting information. A little direction at critical junctures keeps everyone onboard and attentive.

Leveraging Pauses as Transition Tools

Sometimes silence speaks louder than words, and pauses are powerful tools for transitioning thoughts. A well-timed pause lets ideas resonate and gives audiences time to digest complex information before moving forward again.

This approach also allows speakers some breathing room themselves—the chance to regroup mentally before diving into their next point with renewed vigor.

Connecting Emotional Threads Throughout Your Speech

Last but not least, don’t forget emotional continuity, that intangible thread pulling heartstrings from start-to-finish. Even if topics shift drastically, maintaining an underlying emotional connection ensures everything flows together cohesively within the larger tapestry of your message.

Techniques for Emphasizing Key Points in Your Speech Outline

When you’re crafting your speech outline, shine a spotlight on what matters most so that your audience doesn’t miss your key points.

Bold and Italicize for Impact

You wouldn’t whisper your punchline in a crowded room. Similarly, why let your main ideas get lost in a sea of text? Use bold or italics to give those lines extra weight. This visual cue signals importance, so when you glance at your notes during delivery, you’ll know to emphasize those main ideas.

Analogies That Stick

A good analogy is like super glue—it makes anything stick. Weave them into your outline and watch as complex concepts become crystal clear. But remember: choose analogies that resonate with your target audience’s experiences or interests. The closer home it hits, the longer it lingers.

The Power of Repetition

If something’s important say it again. And maybe even once more after that—with flair. Repetition can feel redundant on paper, but audiences often need to hear critical messages several times before they take root.

Keep these strategies in mind when you’re ready to dive into your outline. You’ll transform those core ideas into memorable insights before you know it.

Picture this: you’re delivering a speech, and just as you’re about to reach the end, your time’s up. Ouch! Let’s make sure that never happens. Crafting an outline is not only about what to say but also how long to say it.

Finding Balance in Section Lengths

An outline isn’t just bullet points; it’s a roadmap for pacing. When outlining your speech, make sure to decide how much time you’d like to give each of your main points. You might even consider setting specific timers during rehearsals to get a real feel for each part’s duration. Generally speaking, you should allot a fairly equal amount of time for each to keep things balanced.

The Magic of Mini Milestones

To stay on track, a savvy speaker will mark time stamps or “mini milestones” on their outline. These time stamps give the speaker an idea of where should be in their speech by the time, say, 15 minutes has passed. If by checkpoint three you should be 15 minutes deep and instead you’re hitting 20 minutes, it’s time to pick up the pace or trim some fat from earlier sections. This approach helps you stay on track without having to glance at the clock after every sentence.

Utilizing Visual Aids and Multimedia in Your Outline

Pictures speak louder than words, especially when you’re on stage. Think about it: How many times have you sat through a presentation that felt like an eternity of endless bullet points? Now imagine if instead, there was a vibrant image or a short video clip to break up the monotony—it’s game-changing. That’s why integrating visual aids and multimedia into your speech outline isn’t just smart. It’s crucial for keeping your audience locked in.

Choosing Effective Visuals

Selecting the right visuals is not about flooding your slides with random images but finding those that truly amplify your message. Say you’re talking about climate change. In this case, a graph showing rising global temperatures can hit hard and illustrate your chosen statistic clearly. Remember, simplicity reigns supreme; one powerful image will always trump a cluttered collage.

Multimedia Magic

Videos are another ace up your sleeve. They can deliver testimonials more powerfully than quotes or transport viewers to places mere descriptions cannot reach. But be warned—timing is everything. Keep clips short and sweet because no one came to watch a movie—they came to hear you . You might highlight innovations using short video snippets, ensuring these moments serve as compelling punctuations rather than pauses in your narrative.

The Power of Sound

We often forget audio when we think multimedia, yet sound can evoke emotions and set tones subtly yet effectively. Think striking chords for dramatic effect or nature sounds for storytelling depth during environmental talks.

Audiences crave experiences they’ll remember long after they leave their seats. With well-chosen visuals and gripping multimedia elements woven thoughtfully into every section of your speech outline, you’ll give them exactly that.

Rehearsing with Your Speech Outline

When you’re gearing up to take the stage, your speech outline is a great tool to practice with. With a little preparation, you’ll give a performance that feels both natural and engaging.

Familiarizing Yourself with Content

To start off strong, get cozy with your outline’s content. Read through your outline aloud multiple times until the flow of words feels smooth. This will help make sure that when showtime comes around, you can deliver those lines without tripping over tough transitions or complex concepts.

Beyond mere memorization, understanding the heart behind each point allows you to speak from a place of confidence. You know this stuff—you wrote it. Now let’s bring that knowledge front and center in an authentic way.

Mimicking Presentation Conditions

Rehearsing under conditions similar to those expected during the actual presentation pays off big time. Are you going to stand or roam about? Will there be a podium? Think about these details and simulate them during rehearsal because comfort breeds confidence—and we’re all about boosting confidence.

If technology plays its part in your talk, don’t leave them out of rehearsals either. The last thing anyone needs is tech trouble during their talk.

Perfecting Pace Through Practice

Pacing matters big time when speaking. Use timed rehearsals to nail down timing. Adjust speed as needed but remember: clarity trumps velocity every single time.

You want people hanging onto every word, which is hard to do if you’re talking so fast they can barely make out what you’re saying. During rehearsals, find balance between pacing and comprehension; they should go hand-in-hand.

Finalizing Your Speech Outline for Presentation

You’ve poured hours into crafting your speech, shaping each word and idea with precision. Now, it’s time to tighten the nuts and bolts. Finalizing your outline isn’t just about dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s. It’s about making sure your message sticks like a perfectly thrown dart.

Reviewing Your Content for Clarity

Your first task is to strip away any fluff that might cloud your core message. Read through every point in your outline with a critical eye. Think of yourself as an editor on a mission to cut out anything that doesn’t serve a purpose. Ask yourself if you can explain each concept clearly without needing extra words or complex jargon. If not, simplify.

Strengthening Your Argument

The meat of any good presentation lies in its argument, the why behind what you’re saying. Strengthen yours by ensuring every claim has iron-clad backing—a stat here, an expert quote there. Let this be more than just facts tossed at an audience; weave them into stories they’ll remember long after they leave their seats.

Crafting Memorable Takeaways

Audiences may forget details but never how you made them feel—or think. Embed memorable takeaways throughout your outline so when folks step out into fresh air post-talk, they carry bits of wisdom with them.

This could mean distilling complex ideas down to pithy phrases or ending sections with punchy lines that resonate. It’s these golden nuggets people will mine for later reflection.

FAQs on Speech Outlines

How do you write a speech outline.

To craft an outline, jot down your main ideas, arrange them logically, and add supporting points beneath each.

What are the 3 main parts of a speech outline?

An effective speech has three core parts: an engaging introduction, a content-rich body, and a memorable conclusion.

What are the three features of a good speech outline?

A strong outline is clear, concise, and structured in logical sequence to maximize impact on listeners.

What is a working outline for a speech?

A working outline serves as your blueprint while preparing. It’s detailed but flexible enough to adjust as needed.

Crafting a speech outline is like drawing your map before the journey. It starts with structure and flows into customization for different types of talks. Remember, research and evidence are your compass—they guide you to credibility. Transitions act as bridges, connecting one idea to another smoothly. Key points? They’re landmarks so make them shine.

When delivering your speech, keep an eye on the clock and pace yourself so that every word counts.

Multimedia turns a good talk into a great show. Rehearsing polishes that gem of a presentation until it sparkles.

Last up: fine-tuning your speech outline means you step out confident, ready to deliver something memorable because this isn’t just any roadmap—it’s yours.

  • Last Updated: March 5, 2024

Picture of The Speaker Lab

Explore Related Resources

Learn How You Could Get Your First (Or Next) Paid Speaking Gig In 90 Days or Less

We receive thousands of applications every day, but we only work with the top 5% of speakers .

Book a call with our team to get started — you’ll learn why the vast majority of our students get a paid speaking gig within 90 days of finishing our program .

If you’re ready to control your schedule, grow your income, and make an impact in the world – it’s time to take the first step. Book a FREE consulting call and let’s get you Booked and Paid to Speak ® .

About The Speaker Lab

We teach speakers how to consistently get booked and paid to speak.  Since 2015, we’ve helped thousands of speakers find clarity, confidence, and a clear path to make an impact.

Get Started

Let's connect.

[email protected]

Copyright ©2023 The Speaker Lab. All rights reserved.

  • Games, topic printables & more
  • The 4 main speech types
  • Example speeches
  • Commemorative
  • Declamation
  • Demonstration
  • Informative
  • Introduction
  • Student Council
  • Speech topics
  • Poems to read aloud
  • How to write a speech
  • Using props/visual aids
  • Acute anxiety help
  • Breathing exercises
  • Letting go - free e-course
  • Using self-hypnosis
  • Delivery overview
  • 4 modes of delivery
  • How to make cue cards
  • How to read a speech
  • 9 vocal aspects
  • Vocal variety
  • Diction/articulation
  • Pronunciation
  • Speaking rate
  • How to use pauses
  • Eye contact
  • Body language
  • Voice image
  • Voice health
  • Public speaking activities and games
  • About me/contact
  • How to outline a speech

Sample speech outline template

Get a printable. Learn how to outline a speech effectively.

By:  Susan Dugdale  | Last modified: 02-20-2023

There's a printable sample speech outline template below for you to download and use. 

Why? Because a well-completed outline becomes the backbone of your speech. You'll use it to  guide you logically, and carefully, through ALL the aspects you need to consider before you actually write the speech itself.

It will help you clarify what material you want to cover to fit your audience, and speech purpose, as well as help to effectively organize it.

What you'll find on this page:

  • t he reasons for using a speech outline
  • how to outline a speech : the 4 essentials steps involved in writing an outline - detailed sequential help, with examples, covering: 1. choosing a topic, 2. audience analysis, 3. choosing the best organizational pattern to fit your speech purpose, 4. what to put in each part of your speech: introduction, body and conclusion
  • a  printable speech outline template to download  
  • links to  2 completed examples of speech outlines  (a demonstration and a persuasive speech. Both with printable outlines to download.)
  • a link to 7 completed examples of impromptu speech outlines , each with printable speech outline templates 
  • links to more resources for preparing an effective speech  

dividing line dark green

Why bother writing a speech outline?

Because completing a speech outline is the first vital step toward preparing a successful speech.

Image: retro cartoon girl exclaiming. Text: She had a breakthrough realization. OMG - An outline gives a speech structure and saves time.

It is often overlooked in a misguided attempt to get on with what is considered the real work: writing the speech, or the words you're going to say.

Despite what many people think, time spent completing an outline is not wasted.  Instead, it helps you save it. A nd sidestep any anxiety caused by inadequate preparation.

The process might appear daunting and horrifically time consuming but prepare a speech outline all the same.☺

What you'll learn about speech structure, matching content  to your speech purpose and your audience's needs will pay you back over and over again. I  promise you, having an outline will make giving a speech easier and less stressful. 

How to best use this page

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 template for your own use.

How to outline a speech: 4 essential 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, or basic, speech outline follows that advice.

  • '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

Step 1 - Preparation for writing a speech outline

You need to complete this step before you do anything else. It is made up of five smaller steps, each of them an important part of the overall process. The decisions you make at this point will have a major impact on the final outcome of your speech. 

By the time you are finished step 1 you will have:

  • decided on your topic
  • analyzed your audience
  • refined your topic to meet the needs of your audience
  • decided on the specific purpose of your speech
  • chosen the best fitting of six organizational patterns to use - one matching your purpose and your material 

Image - rows of colorful 'cartoon' houses. Text: How to prepare a speech outline. Step 1 decide your topic & refine it to fit your audience.

Start with choosing a topic

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 logical topic to pick.

(If you don't have a topic in mind, go to speech topics . You'll find 100s of them ordered by speech type and theme.)

Put yourself to one side & focus on your audience

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 right!

How do you really know what aspects of your topic are best suited to meet your audience's 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 thoroughly check a house before purchase, the rise of mortgagee default sales, the collapse of property development schemes, how to purchase properties for makeovers...

Analyze your audience

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.

Refine your topic

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 on it. 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 20s- early 40s), people with steady professional incomes.

But for another audience, (e.g. one that is older, less financially secure, or younger and not ready to consider settling yet...), it could be completely inappropriate.

Minimize the risk of getting it wrong by finding out as much as you can about your audience.

Deciding on the purpose of your speech

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.

Return to Top

Choosing an organizational pattern or method

Image: 6 colorful abstract patterns.Text: 6 organizational patterns for speeches.

There are 6 basic organizational patterns or methods of arranging the body (main points) of your material. Choose the one most appropriate for your need.

1. Cause - Effect

Because event 'A' happened, event 'B' occurred.

  • Because the driver was speeding, they crashed the car.
  • Because of the earthquake, the city was destroyed.
  • Because the minimum wage is low, families can not afford good health care.

2. Problem - Solution

The problem is 'X'. The answer is 'Y'.

  • The problem is unaffordable housing. The solution is community funded housing complexes.
  • The problem is unemployment. The solution is meaningful, sustainable education and employment programs.
  • The problem is poor food choices. The solution is practical community outreach programs to teach people about nutrition, food buying, storage and preparation, along side living wages, educational and employment programs.

This pattern suits a broad topic which can be broken down into  naturally occurring sub-topics.

  • The broad topic is 'Vocal Variety'. Its  sub-topics include rate of speech, use of pausing,  voice tone, volume, articulation...
  • The broad topic is 'Organizational speech patterns'. Sub-topics could be problem-solution, cause- effect, logical...
  • The broad topic is 'Residential real estate'. Its sub-topics could include houses for first-home buyers, how to apply for a mortgage, how to select the right neighborhood to buy in, the impact of high-density housing...

4. Spatial or geographic

Use this pattern for topics dealing with physical spaces.

  • The 10 most popular tourist attractions in New Zealand.
  • The European migration patterns of the 19th century.  
  • The population shift from country to town in USA.

5. Time or chronological/sequential

These are either historical topics or demonstration speeches. The foundation of both is an ordered sequence of events.

For example:

  • The history of women's suffrage in USA, the abolition of slavery 
  • How to bake a cake, how to mend a puncture in a bicycle tire, or how to knot a tie 

6. Advantage - disadvantage

Use this pattern to examine the range of positive and negative aspects of an idea or event.

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of private schooling?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of lowering the voting age?
  • What is good about supporting local industry? What is negative about supporting local industry?

Step Two - Outlining the introduction

Image: smiling woman with a speech balloon.Text:How to prepare a great introduction for your speech.

The 5 parts of preparing an introduction

1. greeting & attention getter.

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.

  • Rhetorical question How many of you really are more afraid of public speaking than death?
  • A startling statistic Apparently in USA 75% of the population experiences public speaking anxiety. Some just a little. And some a lot.
  • A quotation Mark Twain famously said, there are only two types of speakers in the world: the nervous and the liars.
  • Humorous Speaker of United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi set a record for the longest speech on the House floor: 8 hours and 7 minutes. Relax. I only plan on taking 15 minutes of your valuable time. * * Be careful with humor. It will only work if it's appropriate; that is fitting for the occasion, and understood by the majority of your audience. For more about Nancy's record:  Nancy Pelosi's all-day marathon speech sets record as longest continuous speech since at least 1909.

For more on effective speech openings see: How to write a speech introduction - 12 of the best ways to start a speech

2. Thesis statement

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.

3. Credibility

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 many over the past twenty or so years. Prior to becoming a professional speech writer , I taught high school level English and drama and I also belonged to the global public speaking club Toastmasters for a long time. 

4. Summative overview

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: actually doing the work, rather than being frightened of it. ☺  The third is about the benefits of public speaking. 

5. Benefit(s)

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 speak up in public you also gain: 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 to become a bigger and better you * .

( * For more see  14 benefits of public speaking .)

Step Three - Outlining the body of your speech

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. And 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.

Body of speech - infographic with examples

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 3 - Supporting ideas - Details and examples - Visuals or props - Transition to...

Step Four - Outlining the conclusion of your 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! 

Graphic- how to end a speech

  • 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.

Get your printable sample speech outline template

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.

Image: retro cartoon girl with starburst speech bubble. Text: Get your printable speech outline here. CLICK HERE.

2 completed examples of speech outlines

Use these links to go to a fully completed:

  • demonstration speech outline example  on how to leave an effective voice mail message (with a free printable sequential demonstration speech outline template) 
  • persuasive speech topic outline  example on overcoming public speaking fear using Monroe's Motivated Sequence (with a free printable MMS persuasive speech outline template)

Example impromptu speech outline patterns

Impromptu speech outline patterns - seven different structural formats, each with completed examples and a free blank printable outline for you to download and use. 

Graphic: retro fabric scraps Text: 7 impromptu speech outline patterns - completed examples plus printable outlines.

Other resources for preparing successful speeches

Planning and writing, rehearsing a speech.

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.

Speech evaluation

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.

  • Return to the top

speaking out loud 

Subscribe for  FREE weekly alerts about what's new For more see  speaking out loud  

Susan Dugdale - write-out-loud.com - Contact

Top 10 popular pages

  • Welcome speech
  • Demonstration speech topics
  • Impromptu speech topic cards
  • Thank you quotes
  • Impromptu public speaking topics
  • Farewell speeches
  • Phrases for welcome speeches
  • Student council speeches
  • Free sample eulogies

From fear to fun in 28 ways

A complete one stop resource to scuttle fear in the best of all possible ways - with laughter.

Public speaking games ebook cover - write-out-loud.com

Useful pages

  • Search this site
  • About me & Contact
  • Blogging Aloud
  • Free e-course
  • Privacy policy

©Copyright 2006-24 www.write-out-loud.com

Designed and built by Clickstream Designs

speech outline document

ivy tech logo

COMM 101: Fundamentals of Public Speaking - Valparaiso

  • Delivery Skills
  • Stage Fright
  • Body Language / Non-Verbal Communication
  • Listening Skills
  • Quotation Resources
  • Speech Outline Examples
  • Speech Examples
  • More Speech Examples
  • Presentation Options
  • Citation Resources This link opens in a new window

A basic speech outline should include three main sections:

  • The Introduction --  This is where you tell them what you're going to tell them.
  • The Body -- This is where you tell them.
  • The Conclusion -- This is where you tell them what you've told them.
  • Speech Outline Formatting Guide The outline for a public speech, according to COMM 101 online textbook  The Public Speaking Project , p.p. 8-9.

Use these samples to help prepare your speech outlines and bibliographies:

  • Sample Speech Preparation Outline This type of outline is very detailed with all the main points and subpoints written in complete sentences. Your bibliography should be included with this outline.
  • Sample Speech Speaking Outline This type of outline is very brief and uses phrases or key words for the main points and subpoints. This outline is used by the speaker during the speech.
  • << Previous: Quotation Resources
  • Next: Informative Speeches >>
  • Last Updated: Sep 22, 2023 4:37 PM
  • URL: https://library.ivytech.edu/Valpo_COMM101
  • Ask-a-Librarian
  • [email protected]
  • (219) 464-8514 x 3021
  • Library staff | Find people
  • Library Guides
  • Student Life & Activities
  • Testing Services
  • B&N Bookstore
  • Personal Development
  • Sales Training
  • Business Training
  • Time Management
  • Leadership Training
  • Book Writing
  • Public Speaking
  • Live Speaker Training With Brian
  • See Brian Speak
  • Coaching Programs
  • Become a Coach
  • Personal Success
  • Sales Success
  • Business Success
  • Leadership Success

How To Write A Speech Outline

Do you have a speech coming up soon, but don’t know where to start when it comes to writing it? 

Don’t worry. 

The best way to start writing your speech is to first write an outline.

While to some, an outline may seem like an unnecessary extra step — after giving hundreds of speeches in my own career, I can assure you that first creating a speech outline is truly the best way to design a strong presentation that your audience will remember.

Should I Write A Speech Outline?

You might be wondering if you should really bother with a preparation outline. Is a speaking outline worth your time, or can you get through by just keeping your supporting points in mind?

Again, I highly recommend that all speakers create an outline as part of their speechwriting process. This step is an extremely important way to organize your main ideas and all the various elements of your speech in a way that will command your audience’s attention.

Good public speaking teachers will agree that an outline—even if it’s a rough outline—is the easiest way to propel you forward to a final draft of an organized speech that audience members will love.

Here are a few of the biggest benefits of creating an outline before diving straight into your speech.

Gain More Focus

By writing an outline, you’ll be able to center the focus of your speech where it belongs—on your thesis statement and main idea.

Remember, every illustration, example, or piece of information you share in your speech should be relevant to the key message you’re trying to deliver. And by creating an outline, you can ensure that everything relates back to your main point.

Keep Things Organized

Your speech should have an overall organizational pattern so that listeners will be able to follow your thoughts. You want your ideas to be laid out in a logical order that’s easy to track, and for all of the speech elements to correspond.

An outline serves as a structure or foundation for your speech, allowing you to see all of your main points laid out so you can easily rearrange them into an order that makes sense for easy listening.

Create Smoother Transitions

A speaking outline helps you create smoother transitions between the different parts of your speech.

When you know what’s happening before and after a certain section, it will be easy to accurately deliver transitional statements that make sense in context. Instead of seeming like several disjointed ideas, the parts of your speech will naturally flow into each other.

Save Yourself Time

An outline is an organization tool that will save you time and effort when you get ready to write the final draft of your speech. When you’re working off of an outline to write your draft, you can overcome “blank page syndrome.”

It will be much easier to finish the entire speech because the main points and sub-points are already clearly laid out for you.

Your only job is to finish filling everything in.

Preparing to Write A Speech Outline

Now that you know how helpful even the most basic of speech outlines can be in helping you write the best speech, here’s how to write the best outline for your next public speaking project.

How Long Should A Speech Outline Be?

The length of your speech outline will depend on the length of your speech. Are you giving a quick two-minute talk or a longer thirty-minute presentation? The length of your outline will reflect the length of your final speech.

Another factor that will determine the length of your outline is how much information you actually want to include in the outline. For some speakers, bullet points of your main points might be enough. In other cases, you may feel more comfortable with a full-sentence outline that offers a more comprehensive view of your speech topic.

The length of your outline will also depend on the type of outline you’re using at any given moment.

Types of Outlines

Did you know there are several outline types? Each type of outline is intended for a different stage of the speechwriting process. Here, we’re going to walk through:

  • Working outlines
  • Full-sentence outlines
  • Speaking outlines

Working Outline

Think of your working outline as the bare bones of your speech—the scaffolding you’re using as you just start to build your presentation. To create a working outline, you will need:

  • A speech topic
  • An idea for the “hook” in your introduction
  • A thesis statement
  • 3-5 main points (each one should make a primary claim that you support with references)
  • A conclusion

Each of your main points will also have sub-points, but we’ll get to those in a later step.

The benefit of a working outline is that it’s easy to move things around. If you think your main points don’t make sense in a certain order—or that one point needs to be scrapped entirely—it’s no problem to make the needed changes. You won’t be deleting any of your prior hard work because you haven’t really done any work yet.

Once you are confident in this “skeleton outline,” you can move on to the next, where you’ll start filling in more detailed information.

Full-sentence outline

As the name implies, your full-sentence outline contains full sentences. No bullet points or scribbled, “talk about x, y, z here.” Instead, research everything you want to include and write out the information in full sentences.

Why is this important? A full-sentence outline helps ensure that you are:

  • Including all of the information your audience needs to know
  • Organizing the material well
  • Staying within any time constraints you’ve been given

Don’t skip this important step as you plan your speech.

Speaking outline

The final type of outline you’ll need is a speaking outline. When it comes to the level of detail, this outline is somewhere in between your working outline and a full-sentence outline. 

You’ll include the main parts of your speech—the introduction, main points, and conclusion. But you’ll add a little extra detail about each one, too. This might be a quote that you don’t want to misremember or just a few words to jog your memory of an anecdote to share.

When you actually give your speech, this is the outline you will use. It might seem like it makes more sense to use your detailed full-sentence outline up on stage. However, if you use this outline, it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of reading your speech—which is not what you want to do. You’ll likely sound much more natural if you use your speaking outline.

How to Write A Speech Outline

We’ve covered the types of outlines you’ll work through as you write your speech. Now, let’s talk more about how you’ll come up with the information to add to each outline type.

Pick A Topic

Before you can begin writing an outline, you have to know what you’re going to be speaking about. In some situations, you may have a topic given to you—especially if you are in a public speaking class and must follow the instructor’s requirements. But in many cases, speakers must come up with their own topic for a speech.

Consider your audience and what kind of educational, humorous, or otherwise valuable information they need to hear. Your topic and message should of course be highly relevant to them. If you don’t know your audience well enough to choose a topic, that’s a problem.

Your audience is your first priority. If possible, however, it’s also helpful to choose a topic that appeals to you. What’s something you’re interested in and/or knowledgeable about? 

It will be much easier to write a speech on a topic you care about rather than one you don’t. If you can come up with a speech topic that appeals to your audience and is interesting to you, that’s the sweet spot for writing and delivering an unforgettable speech.

Write A Thesis Statement

The next step is to ask yourself two important questions:

  • What do you want your audience to take away from your speech?
  • How will you communicate this main message?

The key message of your speech can also be called your “thesis statement.”

Essentially, this is your main point—the most important thing you hope to get across.

You’ll most likely actually say your thesis statement verbatim during your speech. It should come at the end of your introduction. Then, you’ll spend the rest of your talk expanding on this statement, sharing more information that will prove the statement is true.

Consider writing your thesis statement right now—before you begin researching or outlining your speech. If you can refer back to this statement as you get to work, it will be much easier to make sure all of the elements correspond with each other throughout your speech.

An example of a good thesis statement might read like this:

  • Going for a run every day is good for your health.
  • It’s important to start saving for retirement early.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on many small businesses.

The second part of this step is to know how you will communicate your main message . For example, if your key point is that running improves physical health, you might get this across by:

  • Citing scientific studies that proved running is good for your health
  • Sharing your personal experience of going for a run every day

Your goal is for all of your sub-points and supporting material to reflect and support your main point. At the end of the speech, your audience should be appropriately motivated, educated, or convinced that your thesis statement is true.

Once you have a topic for your presentation and a good thesis statement, you can move on to the bulk of the outline.

The first part of your speech is the introduction, which should include a strong “hook” to grab the attention of your audience. There are endless directions you can go to create this hook. Don’t be afraid to get creative! You might try:

  • Telling a joke
  • Sharing an anecdote
  • Using a prop or visual aid
  • Asking a question (rhetorical or otherwise)

These are just a few examples of hooks that can make your audience sit up and take notice.

The rest of your introduction shouldn’t be too long—as a general rule of thumb, you want your introduction to take up about 10% of your entire speech. But there are a few other things you need to say.

Briefly introduce yourself and who you are to communicate why the audience should trust you. Mention why you’re giving this speech. 

Explain that you’re going to cover X main points—you can quickly list them—and include your thesis statement. 

You could also mention how long your speech will be and say what your audience will take away from it (“At the end of our 15 minutes together today, you’ll understand how to write a resume”).

Then smoothly transition into the body of your speech.

Next, you’ll write the body of your speech. This is the bulk of your presentation. It will include your main points and their sub-points. Here’s how this should look:

Your subpoints might be anecdotes, visual aids, or studies. However you decide to support your main points, make them memorable and engaging. Nobody wants to sit and listen to you recite a dry list of facts.

Remember, the amount of detail you include right now will depend on which outline you’re on. Your first outline, or working outline, doesn’t have to include every last little detail. Your goal is to briefly encapsulate all of the most important elements in your speech. 

But beyond that, you don’t need to write down every last detail or example right now. You don’t even have to write full sentences at this point. That will come in your second outline and other future drafts.

Your conclusion should concisely summarize the main points of your speech. You could do this by saying, “To recap as I finish up, today we learned…” and reiterate those primary points.

It’s also good to leave the audience with something to think about and/or discuss. Consider asking them a question that expands on your speech—something they can turn over in their minds the rest of the day. 

Or share one final story or quote that will leave them with lasting inspiration. Bonus points if your conclusion circles back around to your introduction or hook.

In other cases, you may want to end with a call to action. Are you promoting something? Make sure your audience knows what it is, how it will benefit them, and where they can find it. Or, your CTA might be as simple as plugging your Twitter handle and asking listeners to follow you.

Finally, don’t forget to say thank you to your audience for taking the time to listen.

Additional Helpful Speechwriting Tips

Your speech outline is important, but it’s not the only thing that goes into preparing to give a presentation. Take a look at these additional tips I recommend to help your speech succeed.

Use Visual Aids

Visual aids are a good way to make sure your audience stays engaged—that they listen closely, and remember what you said. Visual aids serve as an attention-getter for people who may not be listening closely. These aids also ensure that your points are sufficiently supported.

You might choose to incorporate any of the following in your talk:

  • A PowerPoint presentation
  • A chart or graph
  • A whiteboard or blackboard
  • A flip chart
  • A prop that you hold or interact with

Don’t overdo it. Remember, your speech is the main thing you’re presenting. Any visual aids are just that—aids. They’re a side dish, not the main entrée. Select one primary type of aid for your speech.

If you decide to include visual aids, use your speaking outline to make a note of which items you will incorporate where. You may want to place these items on your working outline. They should definitely be on your full-sentence outline.

Keep Your Audience Engaged

As you write and practice your speech, make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep your audience engaged the entire time. We’ve already talked about including stories and jokes, using visual aids, or asking questions to vary your talk and make it more interesting.

Your body language is another important component of audience engagement. Your posture should be straight yet relaxed, with shoulders back and feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your body open to the audience.

Make eye contact with different people in the audience. Incorporate hand gestures that emphasize certain points or draw attention to your visual aids.

Don’t be afraid to move around whatever space you have. Movement is especially helpful to indicate a clearer transition from one part of your speech to another. And smile! A simple smile goes a long way to help your audience relax.

Practice Your Speech

When you’re done with speechwriting, it’s time to get in front of the mirror and practice. Pay attention to your body language, gestures, and eye contact. 

Practice working with any visual aids or props you will be using. It’s also helpful to make a plan B—for instance, what will you do if the projector isn’t working and you can’t use your slides?

Ask a friend or family member if you can rehearse your speech for them. When you’re through, ask them questions about which parts held their attention and which ones didn’t.

You should also use your speaking outline and whatever other notes you’ll be using in your speech itself. Get used to referring to this outline as you go. But remember, don’t read anything verbatim (except maybe a quote). Your speaking outline is simply a guide to remind you where you’re going.

Learn to Speak Like A Leader

There’s a lot of work that goes into writing a speech outline. That’s undeniable. But an outline is the best way to organize and plan your presentation. When your speech outline is ready, it will be a breeze to write and then present your actual speech.

If you’re looking for more help learning how to become a strong public speaker, I recommend my free 5 Minute Speech Formula . This will help you start writing your speech and turn any idea into a powerful message.

« Previous Post Productivity Tips – Be More Productive With Less Effort Next Post » How To Communicate Effectively In Any Situation

About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Twitter , Facebook , Pinterest , Linkedin and Youtube .

  • Most Recent
  • How to Start a Speech: The Best Ways to Capture Your Audience
  • How to Develop Self-Discipline to Succeed
  • The Art of Business Success: A Blueprint for Entrepreneurs
  • How to Develop a Habit That Will Last
  • How to Write an Author Bio (Examples Included)
  • Free Webinar: How To Write a Book and Become a Published Author
  • Free Video Series: 3-Part Sales Mastery Training Series
  • Free Assessment: The Confidence Factor
  • Free Assessment: Discovering Your Talents

Browse Categories

  • Financial Success

Follow Brian & Join the Discussion

  • Free Resources
  • Best Sellers
  • Knowledge Base
  • Shipping & Returns
  • Privacy Policy
  • About Brian
  • Brian Recommends

Your Privacy is Guaranteed. We will never give, lease or sell your personal information. Period!

© Copyright 2001-2024 Brian Tracy International. All Rights Reserved.


7.4 Outlining Your Speech

OSU student standing between two tall library shelves while reading a book

Most speakers and audience members would agree that an organized speech is both easier to present as well as more persuasive. Public speaking teachers especially believe in the power of organizing your speech, which is why they encourage (and often require) that you create an outline for your speech. Outlines, or textual arrangements of all the various elements of a speech, are a very common way of organizing a speech before it is delivered. Most extemporaneous speakers keep their outlines with them during the speech as a way to ensure that they do not leave out any important elements and to keep them on track. Writing an outline is also important to the speechwriting process since doing so forces the speakers to think about the main ideas, known as main points, and subpoints, the examples they wish to include, and the ways in which these elements correspond to one another. In short, the outline functions both as an organization tool and as a reference for delivering a speech.

Outline Types

There are two types of outlines, the preparation outline and the speaking outline.

Preparation Outline

The first outline you will write is called the preparation outline . Also called a skeletal, working, practice, or rough outline, the preparation outline is used to work through the various components of your speech in an organized format. Stephen E. Lucas (2004) put it simply: “The preparation outline is just what its name implies—an outline that helps you prepare the speech.” When writing the preparation outline, you should focus on  finalizing the specific purpose and thesis statement, logically ordering your main points, deciding where supporting material should be included, and refining the overall organizational pattern of your speech. As you write the preparation outline, you may find it necessary to rearrange your points or to add or subtract supporting material. You may also realize that some of your main points are sufficiently supported while others are lacking. The final draft of your preparation outline should include full sentences. In most cases, however, the preparation outline is reserved for planning purposes only and is translated into a speaking outline before you deliver the speech. Keep in mind though, even a full sentence outline is not an essay.

Speaking Outline

A speaking outline is the outline you will prepare for use when delivering the speech. The speaking outline is much more succinct than the preparation outline and includes brief phrases or words that remind the speakers of the points they need to make, plus supporting material and signposts (Beebe & Beebe, 2003). The words or phrases used on the speaking outline should briefly encapsulate all of the information needed to prompt the speaker to accurately deliver the speech. Although some cases call for reading a speech verbatim from the full-sentence outline, in most cases speakers will simply refer to their speaking outline for quick reminders and to ensure that they do not omit any important information. Because it uses just words or short phrases, and not full sentences, the speaking outline can easily be transferred to index cards that can be referenced during a speech. However, check with your instructor regarding what you will be allowed to use for your speech.

Components of Outlines

The main components of the outlines are the main points, subordination and coordination, parallelism, division, and the connection of main points.

Main Points

Main points are the main ideas in the speech. In other words, the main points are what your audience should remember from your talk, and they are phrased as single, declarative sentences. These are never phrased as a question, nor can they be a quote or form of citation. Any supporting material you have will be put in your outline as a subpoint. Since this is a public speaking class, your instructor will decide how long your speeches will be, but in general, you can assume that no speech will be longer than 10 minutes in length. Given that alone, we can make one assumption. All speeches will fall between 2 to 5 main points based simply on length. If you are working on an outline and you have ten main points, something is wrong, and you need to revisit your ideas to see how you need to reorganize your points.

All main points are preceded by Roman numerals (I, II, III, etc.). Subpoints are preceded by capital letters (A, B, C, etc.), then Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, etc.), lowercase letters (a, b, c, etc.). You can subordinate further than this. Speak with your instructor regarding his or her specific instructions. Each level of subordination is also differentiated from its predecessor by indenting a few spaces. Indenting makes it easy to find your main points, subpoints, and the supporting points and examples below them.

Let’s work on understanding how to take main points and break them into smaller ideas by subordinating them further and further as we go by using the following outline example:

Topic : Dog

Specific Purpose : To inform my audience about characteristics of dogs

Thesis : There are many types of dogs that individuals can select from before deciding which would make the best family pet.

Preview : First, I will describe the characteristics of large breed dogs, and then I will discuss characteristics of small breed dogs.

I.     First, let’s look at the characteristics of large breed dogs      A.     Some large breed dogs need daily activity.      B.     Some large breed dogs are dog friendly.      C.     Some large breed dogs drool.           1.     If you are particularly neat, you may not want one of these.               a.     Bloodhounds drool the most.                   1)     After eating is one of the times drooling is bad.                   2)     The drooling is horrible after they drink, so beware!               b.    English bloodhounds drool a lot as well.           2.     If you live in an apartment, these breeds could pose a problem. II.    Next, let’s look at the characteristics of small breed dogs.      A.     Some small breed dogs need daily activity.      B.     Some small breed dogs are dog friendly.      C.     Some small breed dogs are friendly to strangers.           1.    Welsh Terriers love strangers.               a.     They will jump on people.               b.     They will wag their tails and nuzzle.           2.    Beagles love strangers.           3.    Cockapoos also love strangers.

Subordination and Coordination

You should have noticed that as ideas were broken down, or subordinated, there was a hierarchy to the order. To check your outline for coherence, think of the outline as a staircase. All of the points that are beneath and on a diagonal to the points above them are subordinate points. So using the above example, points A, B, and C dealt with characteristics of large breed dogs, and those points are all subordinate to main point I. Similarly, points 1 and 2 under point C both dealt with drool, so those are subordinate. This is the subordination of points. If we had discussed food under point C, you would know that something didn’t make sense. You will also see that there is coordination of points. As part of the hierarchy, coordination simply means that all of the numbers or letters should represent the same idea. In this example, A, B, and C were all characteristics, so those are all coordinate to each other. Had C been “German Shepherd,” then the outline would have been incorrect because that is a type of dog, not a characteristic.


Another important rule in outlining is known as parallelism . This means that when possible, you begin your sentences in a similar way, using a similar grammatical structure. For example, in the previous example on dogs, some of the sentences began “some large breed dogs.” This type of structure adds clarity to your speaking. Students often worry that parallelism will sound boring. It’s actually the opposite! It adds clarity. However, if you had ten sentences in a row, we would never recommend you begin them all the same way. That is where transitions come into the picture and break up any monotony that could occur.

The principle of division is an important part of outlining. When you have a main point, you will be explaining it. You should have enough meaningful information that you can divide it into two subpoints A and B. If subpoint A has enough information that you can explain it, then it, too, should be able to be divided into two subpoints. So, division means this: If you have an A, then you need a B; if you have a 1, then you need a 2, and so on. What if you cannot divided the point? In a case like that you would simply incorporate the information in the point above.

Connecting Your Main Points

One way to connect points is to include transitional statements . Transitional statements are phrases or sentences that lead from one distinct- but-connected idea to another. They are used to alert the audience to the fact that you are getting ready to discuss something else. When moving from one point to another, your transition may just be a word or short phrase, known as a sign post. For instance, you might say “next,” “also,” or “moreover.” You can also enumerate your speech points and signal transitions by starting each point with “First,” “Second,” “Third,” et cetera. You might also incorporate non-verbal transitions, such as brief pauses or a movement across the stage. Pausing to look at your audience, stepping out from behind a podium, or even raising or lowering the rate of your voice can signal to audience members that you are transitioning.

Another way to incorporate transitions into your speech is by offering internal summaries and internal previews within your speech. Summaries provide a recap of what has already been said, making it more likely that audiences will remember the points that they hear again. For example, an internal summary may sound like this:

So far, we have seen that the pencil has a long and interesting history. We also looked at the many uses the pencil has that you may not have known about previously.

Like the name implies, internal previews lay out what will occur next in your speech. They are longer than transitional words or signposts .

Next, let us explore what types of pencils there are to pick from that will be best for your specific project.

Additionally, summaries can be combined with internal previews to alert audience members that the next point builds on those that they have already heard.

Now that I have told you about the history of the pencil, as well as its many uses, let’s look at what types of pencils you can pick from that might be best for your project.

It is important to understand that if you use an internal summary and internal preview between main points, you need to state a clear main point following the internal preview. Here’s an example integrating all of the points on the pencil:

I. First, let me tell you about the history of the pencil.

So far we have seen that the pencil has a long and interesting history. Now, we can look at how the pencil can be used (internal summary, signpost, and internal preview).

II. The pencil has many different uses, ranging from writing to many types of drawing.

Now that I have told you about the history of the pencil, as well as its many uses, let’s look at what types of pencils you can pick from that might be best for your project (Signpost, internal summary and preview).

III. There are over fifteen different types of pencils to choose from ranging in hardness and color.

Had Meg, the student mentioned in the opening anecdote, taken some time to work through the organizational process, it is likely her speech would have gone much more smoothly when she finished her introduction. It is very common for beginning speakers to spend a great deal of their time preparing catchy introductions, fancy PowerPoint presentations, and nice conclusions, which are all very important. However, the body of any speech is where the speaker must make effective arguments, provide helpful information, entertain, and the like, so it makes sense that speakers should devote a proportionate amount of time to these areas as well. By following this chapter, as well as studying the other chapters in this text, you should be prepared to craft interesting, compelling, and organized speeches.

used to work through the various components of your speech in an organized format

much more succinct than the preparation outline and includes brief phrases or words that remind the speakers of the points they need to make, plus supporting material and signposts

the main ideas in the speech

a hierarchy to the order of the points of a speech

all of the numbers or letters of points should represent the same idea

the repetition of grammatical structures that correspond in sound, meter, or meaning

if you have an A, then you need a B; if you have a 1, then you need a 2, and so on

phrases or sentences that lead from one distinct- but-connected idea to another

transition using just a word or short phrase

Introduction to Speech Communication Copyright © 2021 by Individual authors retain copyright of their work. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book

  • PRO Courses Guides New Tech Help Pro Expert Videos About wikiHow Pro Upgrade Sign In
  • EDIT Edit this Article
  • EXPLORE Tech Help Pro About Us Random Article Quizzes Request a New Article Community Dashboard This Or That Game Popular Categories Arts and Entertainment Artwork Books Movies Computers and Electronics Computers Phone Skills Technology Hacks Health Men's Health Mental Health Women's Health Relationships Dating Love Relationship Issues Hobbies and Crafts Crafts Drawing Games Education & Communication Communication Skills Personal Development Studying Personal Care and Style Fashion Hair Care Personal Hygiene Youth Personal Care School Stuff Dating All Categories Arts and Entertainment Finance and Business Home and Garden Relationship Quizzes Cars & Other Vehicles Food and Entertaining Personal Care and Style Sports and Fitness Computers and Electronics Health Pets and Animals Travel Education & Communication Hobbies and Crafts Philosophy and Religion Work World Family Life Holidays and Traditions Relationships Youth
  • Browse Articles
  • Learn Something New
  • Quizzes Hot
  • This Or That Game
  • Train Your Brain
  • Explore More
  • Support wikiHow
  • About wikiHow
  • Log in / Sign up
  • Education and Communications
  • Communication Skills
  • Public Speaking
  • Speechwriting

How to Write a Speech Outline

Last Updated: January 3, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Emily Listmann, MA and by wikiHow staff writer, Jennifer Mueller, JD . Emily Listmann is a private tutor in San Carlos, California. She has worked as a Social Studies Teacher, Curriculum Coordinator, and an SAT Prep Teacher. She received her MA in Education from the Stanford Graduate School of Education in 2014. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 506,019 times.

A speech outline can increase your confidence and help you keep your place so you sound authoritative and in control. As you write your speech outline, focus on how you'll introduce yourself and your topic, the points you'll cover, and the interests of your audience.

Sample Outline and Writing Help

speech outline document

Crafting Your Introduction

Step 1 Start with a greeting.

  • Keep in mind you may be nervous when you start your speech. Include this in your outline so you won't forget.
  • If there's anything about you that relates you to your audience, or to the group that organized the event, you want to include that in your brief greeting as well – especially if you didn't have the benefit of an introduction from someone else.
  • For example, you might say "Good afternoon. I'm Sally Sunshine, and I've been a volunteer with the Springfield Animal Society for five years. I'm honored they've invited me to speak here today about the importance of spaying or neutering your pets."

Step 2 Open your speech with an attention-getter.

  • When choosing your attention-getter, keep your audience in mind. Think about what would grab their attention – not necessarily what you personally find interesting or humorous.
  • If you're not sure whether your attention-getter will work, try practicing it in front of friends or family members who are similar in age and interests to the people who will be in the audience when you give your speech.
  • For example, if you're giving a speech on spaying and neutering pets to a group of suburban families, you might open with a humorous reference to the Disney movie "101 Dalmatians."

Step 3 Give your audience a reason to listen to your speech.

  • Briefly explain the importance of the topic or issue you'll be discussing in your speech.
  • If your speech is an informative one, explain why the information is important or relevant to your audience.
  • For argumentative speeches, explain what might happen if action isn't taken on the issue.
  • For example, you might say "Every year, our local animal shelter has to put down 500 unwanted cats and dogs. If all pets were spayed and neutered, it's estimated this number would decrease to under 100."

Step 4 Present your thesis statement.

  • If you're giving an argumentative speech, your thesis statement will be a statement of the ultimate point you hope to prove through the information and evidence you lay out in your speech.
  • For example, the thesis statement for a speech arguing that all pet owners should spay or neuter their pets might be "Our entire community would benefit if all pets were spayed or neutered."
  • The thesis statement for a more informative speech will simply summarize the type of information you're going to provide the audience through your speech.
  • For a more scientific speech, your thesis statement will reflect the hypothesis of the scientific study you're presenting in your speech.

Step 5 Establish your credibility.

  • If you're giving a speech for a class in school, your "credibility" may be as simple as the fact that you took the class and researched the topic.
  • However, if you have a more personalized interest in the topic of your speech, this is a good time to mention that.
  • For an argumentative speech, a personal connection to the subject matter can enhance your credibility. For example, maybe you're giving a speech about local urban housing policy and you became interested in the topic when you learned your family was facing eviction. A personal connection often can mean more to members of your audience than extensive professional experience in the area.

Step 6 Preview your main points.

  • There's no hard and fast rule, but speeches typically have three main points. You should list them in your introduction in the order you plan to present them in your speech. The order in which you discuss your points depends on the type of speech you're giving.
  • For example, your speech on spaying or neutering pets might address the benefits to the pet first, then the benefit to the pet's family, then the benefit to the community at large. This starts small and moves outward.
  • For an argumentative speech, you typically want to lead with your strongest argument and work down in order of strength.
  • If you're giving an informative speech based on a historical event, you may want to provide your points chronologically. Other informative speeches may be better served by starting with the broadest point and moving to more narrow points.
  • Ultimately, you want to order your points in a way that feels natural to you and will enable you to easily transition from one point to another.

Building the Body of Your Speech

Step 1 State your first point.

  • Your first point will be a top-level entry on your outline, typically noted by a Roman numeral.
  • Beneath that top-level, you will have a number of sub-points which are comments, statistics, or other evidence supporting that point. Depending on how your outline is formatted, these typically will be letters or bullet points.

Step 2 Present your supporting evidence or arguments.

  • As with the points themselves, with your evidence you typically want to start with the strongest or most important sub-point or piece of evidence and move down. This way, if you start running short on time, you can easily cut the last points without worrying that you're leaving out something important.
  • The type of evidence or sub-points you'll want to include will depend on the type of speech you're giving.
  • Try to avoid pounding your audience with long series of numbers or statistics – they typically won't retain the information. If you have a significant amount of numerical data or statistics, creating an infographic you can project during your presentation may be more useful.
  • Keep in mind that additional personal stories or anecdotes can be particularly effective to get your point across in a speech.
  • For example, if your first point in your speech about spaying or neutering pets is that the procedure benefits the pets themselves, you might point out that pets that are spayed or neutered live longer, are at a decreased risk for certain types of cancer, and are generally more healthy than pets who aren't spayed or neutered.

Step 3 Transition to your next point.

  • Avoid over-thinking your transition. It really doesn't need to be incredibly sophisticated. If you can't come up with anything specific, using a simple transitional phrase will work fine.
  • For example, you might say "Now that I've discussed how spaying and neutering has a positive effect on your pet's health, I want to move to the effect that spaying and neutering has on your family."
  • Some of the most effective transitions turn on a particular word or phrase, such as the word "effect" in the example above.

Step 4 Repeat the same process for all remaining points.

  • When choosing your sub-points or the facts that you want to emphasize in your speech, keep your audience in mind as well as the overall point. Think about what's important to them, or what they potentially would find most surprising or most interesting.

Creating Your Closing

Step 1 Provide a smooth transition.

  • This transition doesn't need to be fancy – it doesn't even have to be a whole sentence. You can simply say "In conclusion," and then launch into your summary.

Step 2 Summarize the points you've discussed.

  • You don't need to go into detail here – you're just reinforcing what you've already told your audience.
  • Make sure you don't introduce any new information in your closing summary.
  • For example, you might say "As you've seen, spaying or neutering your pet has substantial benefits not only for you and your pet, but also for the community at large."

Step 3 Restate your thesis statement.

  • If your speech went well, you have fully proven your thesis and demonstrated its importance. This statement should relate back to the summary of your points and present a strong statement.
  • Particularly for brief speeches, you can even combine your summary of points with your thesis statement in a single sentence that wraps up your speech.
  • For example, you might say "Given the benefits to your pet's health, to your family, and to the overall well-being of your community, it is clear that spaying or neutering pets should be a top priority for all pet owners."

Step 4 Leave your audience something to remember.

  • You may want to think of a way to bring the entire speech back around to that story you initially told to grab your audience's attention.
  • If you have an argumentative or similar speech, your closing lines typically will include a call to action. Give your audience an example of how important the subject of your speech is, and implore them to act on the information you gave them in a specific way.
  • When making a call to action, make sure you include specific details, such as where to go, who to contact, and when to act.
  • For example, you might say "For the next week, the Springfield Animal Society will be spaying and neutering pets for free at their clinic on 123 Main Street. Call 555-555-5555 to make an appointment for your furry friend today!"

Step 5 Thank the audience and anyone who invited you.

  • Particularly if your speech was longer or if you went over the time allotted, be sure to tell them that you appreciate their time.
  • As with your initial greeting, including this in your outline ensures you won't forget it in the moment. That doesn't mean you should try to write something verbatim. Rather, you should focus on your thanks being more off-the-cuff and sincere.

Step 6 Note time for questions.

  • If you want to establish parameters for the questions, be sure to list these in your outline so you can mention them when you announce that you're open for questions.
  • Anticipate questions that may be asked dependent on your speech topic. Preemptively answer those questions and include them in your outline.
  • You also should note if you only have a specified period of time for questions, or if you're only taking a set number of questions.

Community Q&A

Community Answer

  • Outlines can vary in how formal or informal you make them. You could either make it a full script or use shorthand with highlighted main points. Use the outline that works best for you. Thanks Helpful 12 Not Helpful 0
  • Use a large font that you can easily read by glancing down. Print your outline and place it on a desk, then stand and look down at the paper. If it's too small or you find yourself leaning over to read it, increase the font size. Thanks Helpful 16 Not Helpful 3
  • If you're giving the speech for a class, you may need to turn in an outline of your speech that follows particular content or format requirements. Review your assignment carefully and turn in an outline that follows your instructor's requirements, even if you decide to use a slightly different outline when you give your speech. Thanks Helpful 4 Not Helpful 1

speech outline document

You Might Also Like

Write a Welcome Speech

  • ↑ https://www.unr.edu/writing-speaking-center/student-resources/writing-speaking-resources/speech-introductions
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/the_writing_process/thesis_statement_tips.html
  • ↑ https://lewisu.edu/writingcenter/pdf/final-developing-a-speech-outline.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.unr.edu/writing-speaking-center/student-resources/writing-speaking-resources/speech-evidence
  • ↑ https://open.lib.umn.edu/publicspeaking/chapter/10-2-keeping-your-speech-moving/

About This Article

Emily Listmann, MA

The best way to write a speech outline is to write the main points of your greeting and introduction in the first section, including your name and what you’ll be talking about. Then, make a second section with bullet points of all the important details you want to mention in the body of your speech. Make sure to include facts and evidence to back your argument up. Finish your outline with a section that summarizes your points concisely. To learn how to keep your audience's attention throughout your speech, keep reading below! Did this summary help you? Yes No

  • Send fan mail to authors

Reader Success Stories

Ren Solomon

Ren Solomon

Oct 1, 2018

Did this article help you?

speech outline document

Erick Villegas

Sep 21, 2017

Fernando Patino

Fernando Patino

Nov 19, 2018

Tristan Doell

Tristan Doell

Oct 12, 2017

L. P.

Nov 23, 2017

Am I a Narcissist or an Empath Quiz

Featured Articles

How to Get a Nice Body

Trending Articles

Confront a Cheater

Watch Articles

Make Sugar Cookies

  • Terms of Use
  • Privacy Policy
  • Do Not Sell or Share My Info
  • Not Selling Info

Get all the best how-tos!

Sign up for wikiHow's weekly email newsletter

speech outline template

How to write a speech outline and up your presentation game

Reading time: about 8 min

One reason people find public speaking daunting is they don’t have a simple method to sort their ideas, which can leave them feeling unprepared for the task ahead. Rather than being excited about what they have put together, they think, “Agh, that’ll have to do. I’m out of time.” This feeling, in turn, can have a negative impact on physical and mental energy levels during your talk. If you don’t feel confident, you won’t sound confident, and you’re not likely to impress your audience. If you go in confidently, the audience will be more willing to accept your ideas.

Whether you’re pitching a business idea or delivering a heartfelt wedding speech, you need to consider the perspective of your audience, identify your key message, and decide on the best way to engage your audience from start to finish.

Let’s take a look at how a speech outline works and how you can use Lucidchart to make your own.

Ready to jump right into a speech outline template?

Register for lucidchart to get started., what is a speech outline.

A persuasive speech outline gives you a map of the key ideas of your speech. First, it should ask you to consider your audience’s perspective and the key message you want them to remember from your talk. Then, it should guide you in creating a clear, organized structure for your presentation.

The Vivid Speech Outline in Lucidchart does both. It’s built on neuroscience, which shows that you can avoid anxiety and improve brain performance dramatically when you do the following:

Get information out of our heads and create a simple framework on the page: Humans have a strict limit to the amount of information that they can hold and consider in their mind at any one time. An outline lets your brain focus on one step at a time rather than becoming overwhelmed.

Prioritize, compare, and think deeply during the outline stage, not when overwhelmed by details: The prefrontal cortex, the clarification part of the brain, requires a lot of energy to function. An outline keeps you focused and avoids you hitting “the wall.”

See the relationship between ideas visually: It’s hard to think of new ideas if they don’t connect to existing ideas in some way.

Lucidchart’s Vivid Speech Outline template

Lucidchart has created a template based on Cam’s Vivid Speech Outline to help demystify and speed up the speech writing process.

The Vivid Speech Outline template demonstrates how to write a speech outline through the refinement of two parts: your overall message statement, which is the main point of your presentation, and your chunk structure, which acts as the body and building blocks of your speech. Clarifying your message statement first helps to focus your thinking when you structure your ideas.

Vivid Speech Outline message statement

Step 1: Message statement

The first page of the speech outline is where you define your transferable message. The message statement page asks three important questions:

  • Who are you speaking to? You need to look into the mind of your listeners. What’s their job role, their biases, and their wants and concerns? If you don’t understand your audience’s perspective, you won’t be able to get through to them, no matter how important your ideas may be.  
  • What do you want them to think or do? Do you want them to think something, e.g., “This project will succeed” or “Learning this method will make you better at your job”? Or do you want them to do something, like sign the contract or try the product?  
  • Why would they think or do what you suggest?  Why should your audience sign the contract, try out the product, or believe that the project will succeed? List the reasons, arguments, examples, evidence, etc. (focused on what you know about your audience).

By combining the answers to questions two and three, you will have a draft of your message statement, which you will then transfer to the second page and use as your speech’s conclusion.

Pro tip: The best way to know if this message statement truly encapsulates your point is to test it. Imagine you are finishing your presentation. Think of your imaginary audience and say your message statement out loud. Does it bring your idea to life? Is this the one key message you want your listeners to recall? If not, repeat the process until your message statement feels complete.

Vivid Speech Outline chunk structure

Step 2: Chunk structure

The second page of the template gives you a one-page summary of your entire speech or presentation in brief, narrow pieces called chunks. This allows you to separate the world’s overwhelming details into categories, sections, paragraphs, segments, etc., and think more clearly.

The foundation of your one-page chunk structure is as follows:

1. Presentation title

Create a simple yet captivating title to capture attention and set expectations.

2. Two to four chunks

Make your speech easily digestible by segmenting it into chunks. Depending on what the situation calls for, you can choose two to four chunks or main ideas. You could choose as many segments as you like, but if you include more than four, your talk will start to seem complicated. When announcing the overview of your speech, every audience will be pleased to hear that your talk requires only two, three, or four main ideas to follow.

Inside each main idea or chunk, be sure to include:

A chunk heading: This heading simply states the issue to be discussed.

Details: List the examples, evidence, stories, charts or whatever details that help bring a key point to life beneath the chunk headings.

The key point: People forget most of what they hear, which is why you should state the key point at the end of each chunk. Even if your listeners won’t remember all the details, you hope they will remember the main point for each particular chunk.

For the conclusion, simply transfer over your message statement from the first page. Although you may want to re-test the message statement (from the first page) to see how it flows with the new details you’ve added to your speech outline, you’ve already written your big finish.

Pro tip: Now that you have a completed chunk structure, you can practice your speech from start to finish in less than a minute. Because you have a one-page map of all your important points for this talk in the chunk structure, you can test your message and structure––the yellow shapes (the title, optional introduction, chunk headings, key points, and message statement)––out loud. Most of the time, you won’t need to learn every word of your speech by heart. You just need to make sure you’re clear on the message and structure.

Benefits of the Vivid Speech Outline

The Vivid Speech Outline creates an environment for natural confidence and impact. By creating a persuasive speech outline, you can:

  • Save time and effort by identifying your message and key points as the first step in the writing process.
  • Be more efficient and minimize the mental load by splitting up the outlining and structuring of your speech.
  • Reduce uncertainty and anxiety early in your preparation by considering the tough questions your audience might ask, sticking to the process, and testing the flow your talk.

Use the Vivid Speech Outline to take advantage of these benefits and get a competitive edge.

Using Lucidchart’s Vivid Speech Outline template to create your own presentation

Lucidchart’s template shows you how to write a speech outline that eloquently communicates your innovative message and engages your audience.

Use the Vivid Speech Outline custom shapes to quickly build your message statement and chunk structure pages. Simply drag and drop the custom shapes from the shape repository (or any shape in the toolbox) on the canvas, and fill in the details, chunk headings, or message statement. As you line up your points and supporting details, you’re more likely to notice if some of your ideas don’t quite fit. To make a change, drag and rearrange the shapes any way you want without losing any of the work you’ve already done. As mentioned above, key shapes for the Vivid Speech Outline are also colored to make it easier for you to practice your main ideas.

Lucidchart’s integration with Google Slides makes it easy to export your chunk structure to a slideshow presentation. Preview, edit, and rearrange the already created slides by clicking on the “Slides” icon in the dock to the right of the canvas, and then, with one click, send your finalized chunk structure to Google Slides. You can also select the “Present” option for a quick slide presentation within Lucidchart.

Creating your speech outline in Lucidchart means you also have access to all its sharing and collaboration features. Whether you want to have someone review your speech or you need to work on a presentation as a team, you can email access links to others, invite them to view, comment on, or edit the document, or chat with those with whom you’ve shared the document. Once given access to your document, your whole team can work on it and see each other’s changes in real time.

The beauty of this speech outline is in its simplicity and flexibility. With the help of Lucidchart, you can quickly structure a persuasive speech outline that works for any situation.

About Lucidchart

Lucidchart, a cloud-based intelligent diagramming application, is a core component of Lucid Software's Visual Collaboration Suite. This intuitive, cloud-based solution empowers teams to collaborate in real-time to build flowcharts, mockups, UML diagrams, customer journey maps, and more. Lucidchart propels teams forward to build the future faster. Lucid is proud to serve top businesses around the world, including customers such as Google, GE, and NBC Universal, and 99% of the Fortune 500. Lucid partners with industry leaders, including Google, Atlassian, and Microsoft. Since its founding, Lucid has received numerous awards for its products, business, and workplace culture. For more information, visit lucidchart.com.

Related articles

speech outline document

No matter what schedule or settings works best for you, these tried-and-true writing process steps keep any writing project moving

speech outline document

If you’re a student, there’s no way around it: You’re going to have to write essays. But there is an easier way to brainstorm, structure, and write the perfect essay. Learn how graphic organizers can help and get started with templates from Lucidchart.

Bring your bright ideas to life.

or continue with


Improve your practice.

Enhance your soft skills with a range of award-winning courses.

Persuasive Speech Outline, with Examples

March 17, 2021 - Gini Beqiri

A persuasive speech is a speech that is given with the intention of convincing the audience to believe or do something. This could be virtually anything – voting, organ donation, recycling, and so on.

A successful persuasive speech effectively convinces the audience to your point of view, providing you come across as trustworthy and knowledgeable about the topic you’re discussing.

So, how do you start convincing a group of strangers to share your opinion? And how do you connect with them enough to earn their trust?

Topics for your persuasive speech

We’ve made a list of persuasive speech topics you could use next time you’re asked to give one. The topics are thought-provoking and things which many people have an opinion on.

When using any of our persuasive speech ideas, make sure you have a solid knowledge about the topic you’re speaking about – and make sure you discuss counter arguments too.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • All school children should wear a uniform
  • Facebook is making people more socially anxious
  • It should be illegal to drive over the age of 80
  • Lying isn’t always wrong
  • The case for organ donation

Read our full list of  75 persuasive speech topics and ideas .

Ideas for a persuasive speech

Preparation: Consider your audience

As with any speech, preparation is crucial. Before you put pen to paper, think about what you want to achieve with your speech. This will help organise your thoughts as you realistically can only cover 2-4 main points before your  audience get bored .

It’s also useful to think about who your audience are at this point. If they are unlikely to know much about your topic then you’ll need to factor in context of your topic when planning the structure and length of your speech. You should also consider their:

  • Cultural or religious backgrounds
  • Shared concerns, attitudes and problems
  • Shared interests, beliefs and hopes
  • Baseline attitude – are they hostile, neutral, or open to change?

The factors above will all determine the approach you take to writing your speech. For example, if your topic is about childhood obesity, you could begin with a story about your own children or a shared concern every parent has. This would suit an audience who are more likely to be parents than young professionals who have only just left college.

Remember the 3 main approaches to persuade others

There are three main approaches used to persuade others:

The ethos approach appeals to the audience’s ethics and morals, such as what is the ‘right thing’ to do for humanity, saving the environment, etc.

Pathos persuasion is when you appeal to the audience’s emotions, such as when you  tell a story  that makes them the main character in a difficult situation.

The logos approach to giving a persuasive speech is when you appeal to the audience’s logic – ie. your speech is essentially more driven by facts and logic. The benefit of this technique is that your point of view becomes virtually indisputable because you make the audience feel that only your view is the logical one.

  • Ethos, Pathos, Logos: 3 Pillars of Public Speaking and Persuasion

Ideas for your persuasive speech outline

1. structure of your persuasive speech.

The opening and closing of speech are the most important. Consider these carefully when thinking about your persuasive speech outline. A  strong opening  ensures you have the audience’s attention from the start and gives them a positive first impression of you.

You’ll want to  start with a strong opening  such as an attention grabbing statement, statistic of fact. These are usually dramatic or shocking, such as:

Sadly, in the next 18 minutes when I do our chat, four Americans that are alive will be dead from the food that they eat – Jamie Oliver

Another good way of starting a persuasive speech is to include your audience in the picture you’re trying to paint. By making them part of the story, you’re embedding an emotional connection between them and your speech.

You could do this in a more toned-down way by talking about something you know that your audience has in common with you. It’s also helpful at this point to include your credentials in a persuasive speech to gain your audience’s trust.

Speech structure and speech argument for a persuasive speech outline.

Obama would spend hours with his team working on the opening and closing statements of his speech.

2. Stating your argument

You should  pick between 2 and 4 themes  to discuss during your speech so that you have enough time to explain your viewpoint and convince your audience to the same way of thinking.

It’s important that each of your points transitions seamlessly into the next one so that your speech has a logical flow. Work on your  connecting sentences  between each of your themes so that your speech is easy to listen to.

Your argument should be backed up by objective research and not purely your subjective opinion. Use examples, analogies, and stories so that the audience can relate more easily to your topic, and therefore are more likely to be persuaded to your point of view.

3. Addressing counter-arguments

Any balanced theory or thought  addresses and disputes counter-arguments  made against it. By addressing these, you’ll strengthen your persuasive speech by refuting your audience’s objections and you’ll show that you are knowledgeable to other thoughts on the topic.

When describing an opposing point of view, don’t explain it in a bias way – explain it in the same way someone who holds that view would describe it. That way, you won’t irritate members of your audience who disagree with you and you’ll show that you’ve reached your point of view through reasoned judgement. Simply identify any counter-argument and pose explanations against them.

  • Complete Guide to Debating

4. Closing your speech

Your closing line of your speech is your last chance to convince your audience about what you’re saying. It’s also most likely to be the sentence they remember most about your entire speech so make sure it’s a good one!

The most effective persuasive speeches end  with a  call to action . For example, if you’ve been speaking about organ donation, your call to action might be asking the audience to register as donors.

Practice answering AI questions on your speech and get  feedback on your performance .

If audience members ask you questions, make sure you listen carefully and respectfully to the full question. Don’t interject in the middle of a question or become defensive.

You should show that you have carefully considered their viewpoint and refute it in an objective way (if you have opposing opinions). Ensure you remain patient, friendly and polite at all times.

Example 1: Persuasive speech outline

This example is from the Kentucky Community and Technical College.

Specific purpose

To persuade my audience to start walking in order to improve their health.

Central idea

Regular walking can improve both your mental and physical health.


Let’s be honest, we lead an easy life: automatic dishwashers, riding lawnmowers, T.V. remote controls, automatic garage door openers, power screwdrivers, bread machines, electric pencil sharpeners, etc., etc. etc. We live in a time-saving, energy-saving, convenient society. It’s a wonderful life. Or is it?

Continue reading

Example 2: Persuasive speech

Tips for delivering your persuasive speech

  • Practice, practice, and practice some more . Record yourself speaking and listen for any nervous habits you have such as a nervous laugh, excessive use of filler words, or speaking too quickly.
  • Show confident body language . Stand with your legs hip width apart with your shoulders centrally aligned. Ground your feet to the floor and place your hands beside your body so that hand gestures come freely. Your audience won’t be convinced about your argument if you don’t sound confident in it. Find out more about  confident body language here .
  • Don’t memorise your speech word-for-word  or read off a script. If you memorise your persuasive speech, you’ll sound less authentic and panic if you lose your place. Similarly, if you read off a script you won’t sound genuine and you won’t be able to connect with the audience by  making eye contact . In turn, you’ll come across as less trustworthy and knowledgeable. You could simply remember your key points instead, or learn your opening and closing sentences.
  • Remember to use facial expressions when storytelling  – they make you more relatable. By sharing a personal story you’ll more likely be speaking your truth which will help you build a connection with the audience too. Facial expressions help bring your story to life and transport the audience into your situation.
  • Keep your speech as concise as possible . When practicing the delivery, see if you can edit it to have the same meaning but in a more succinct way. This will keep the audience engaged.

The best persuasive speech ideas are those that spark a level of controversy. However, a public speech is not the time to express an opinion that is considered outside the norm. If in doubt, play it safe and stick to topics that divide opinions about 50-50.

Bear in mind who your audience are and plan your persuasive speech outline accordingly, with researched evidence to support your argument. It’s important to consider counter-arguments to show that you are knowledgeable about the topic as a whole and not bias towards your own line of thought.

Module 6: Organizing and Outlining Your Speech

Parts of the speech outline, learning objectives.

Describe the different parts of the speech outline.

A speech preparation outline is essentially the entire content of your speech written in full in an outline format, along with a few other elements. Writing this detailed version of your outline is a critical step in your speech preparation, although you will not use this outline version when presenting (see the next section). A speech outline includes:

  • Title. This is optional based on your and your instructor’s preferences, but can be a creative way to present your speech (e.g., you might use it on the title page of a PowerPoint presentation or refer to it in your introduction).
  • Central Idea. Write your central idea at the top of your outline so you can refer to it frequently and verify that every component of your speech is directly tied to it.
  • Labeled Sections. Label your introduction, main points, conclusions, transitions, and bibliography.
  • Sub-Sub-Sub Point
  • Second Sub-Sub-Sub Point
  • Second Sub-Sub Point
  • Second Sub-Point
  • Second main point
  • Full Sentences.Use full sentences for each entry.
  • Bibliography. Include a bibliography for every source you’ve included in your speech, including interviews. Your instructor will determine which format you should use and how many citations you need.

Here is a sample preparation outline. This outline is for a seven- to nine-minute persuasive speech that uses a problem-solution pattern.


  • Parts of the Speech Outline. Authored by : Susan Bagley-Koyle with Lumen Learning. License : CC BY: Attribution
  • Parts of the Speech Outline. Authored by : Misti Wills with Lumen Learning. License : CC BY: Attribution

Footer Logo Lumen Waymaker

My Speech Class

Public Speaking Tips & Speech Topics

How to Write an Outline for a Persuasive Speech, with Examples

Photo of author

Jim Peterson has over 20 years experience on speech writing. He wrote over 300 free speech topic ideas and how-to guides for any kind of public speaking and speech writing assignments at My Speech Class.

How to Write an Outline for a Persuasive Speech, with Examples intro image

Persuasive speeches are one of the three most used speeches in our daily lives. Persuasive speech is used when presenters decide to convince their presentation or ideas to their listeners. A compelling speech aims to persuade the listener to believe in a particular point of view. One of the most iconic examples is Martin Luther King’s ‘I had a dream’ speech on the 28th of August 1963.

In this article:

What is Persuasive Speech?

Here are some steps to follow:, persuasive speech outline, final thoughts.

Man Touches the Word Persuasion on Screen

Persuasive speech is a written and delivered essay to convince people of the speaker’s viewpoint or ideas. Persuasive speaking is the type of speaking people engage in the most. This type of speech has a broad spectrum, from arguing about politics to talking about what to have for dinner. Persuasive speaking is highly connected to the audience, as in a sense, the speaker has to meet the audience halfway.

Persuasive Speech Preparation

Persuasive speech preparation doesn’t have to be difficult, as long as you select your topic wisely and prepare thoroughly.

1. Select a Topic and Angle

Come up with a controversial topic that will spark a heated debate, regardless of your position. This could be about anything. Choose a topic that you are passionate about. Select a particular angle to focus on to ensure that your topic isn’t too broad. Research the topic thoroughly, focussing on key facts, arguments for and against your angle, and background.

2. Define Your Persuasive Goal

Once you have chosen your topic, it’s time to decide what your goal is to persuade the audience. Are you trying to persuade them in favor of a certain position or issue? Are you hoping that they change their behavior or an opinion due to your speech? Do you want them to decide to purchase something or donate money to a cause? Knowing your goal will help you make wise decisions about approaching writing and presenting your speech.

3. Analyze the Audience

Understanding your audience’s perspective is critical anytime that you are writing a speech. This is even more important when it comes to a persuasive speech because not only are you wanting to get the audience to listen to you, but you are also hoping for them to take a particular action in response to your speech. First, consider who is in the audience. Consider how the audience members are likely to perceive the topic you are speaking on to better relate to them on the subject. Grasp the obstacles audience members face or have regarding the topic so you can build appropriate persuasive arguments to overcome these obstacles.

Can We Write Your Speech?

Get your audience blown away with help from a professional speechwriter. Free proofreading and copy-editing included.

4. Build an Effective Persuasive Argument

Once you have a clear goal, you are knowledgeable about the topic and, have insights regarding your audience, you will be ready to build an effective persuasive argument to deliver in the form of a persuasive speech. 

Start by deciding what persuasive techniques are likely to help you persuade your audience. Would an emotional and psychological appeal to your audience help persuade them? Is there a good way to sway the audience with logic and reason? Is it possible that a bandwagon appeal might be effective?

5. Outline Your Speech

Once you know which persuasive strategies are most likely to be effective, your next step is to create a keyword outline to organize your main points and structure your persuasive speech for maximum impact on the audience.

Start strong, letting your audience know what your topic is, why it matters and, what you hope to achieve at the end of your speech. List your main points, thoroughly covering each point, being sure to build the argument for your position and overcome opposing perspectives. Conclude your speech by appealing to your audience to act in a way that will prove that you persuaded them successfully. Motivation is a big part of persuasion.

6. Deliver a Winning Speech

Select appropriate visual aids to share with your audiences, such as graphs, photos, or illustrations. Practice until you can deliver your speech confidently. Maintain eye contact, project your voice and, avoid using filler words or any form of vocal interference. Let your passion for the subject shine through. Your enthusiasm may be what sways the audience. 

Close-Up of Mans Hands Persuading Someone

Topic: What topic are you trying to persuade your audience on?

Specific Purpose:  

Central idea:

  • Attention grabber – This is potentially the most crucial line. If the audience doesn’t like the opening line, they might be less inclined to listen to the rest of your speech.
  • Thesis – This statement is used to inform the audience of the speaker’s mindset and try to get the audience to see the issue their way.
  • Qualifications – Tell the audience why you are qualified to speak about the topic to persuade them.

After the introductory portion of the speech is over, the speaker starts presenting reasons to the audience to provide support for the statement. After each reason, the speaker will list examples to provide a factual argument to sway listeners’ opinions.

  • Example 1 – Support for the reason given above.
  • Example 2 – Support for the reason given above.

The most important part of a persuasive speech is the conclusion, second to the introduction and thesis statement. This is where the speaker must sum up and tie all of their arguments into an organized and solid point.

  • Summary: Briefly remind the listeners why they should agree with your position.
  • Memorable ending/ Audience challenge: End your speech with a powerful closing thought or recommend a course of action.
  • Thank the audience for listening.

Persuasive Speech Outline Examples

Male and Female Whispering into the Ear of Another Female

Topic: Walking frequently can improve both your mental and physical health.

Specific Purpose: To persuade the audience to start walking to improve their health.

Central idea: Regular walking can improve your mental and physical health.

Life has become all about convenience and ease lately. We have dishwashers, so we don’t have to wash dishes by hand with electric scooters, so we don’t have to paddle while riding. I mean, isn’t it ridiculous?

Today’s luxuries have been welcomed by the masses. They have also been accused of turning us into passive, lethargic sloths. As a reformed sloth, I know how easy it can be to slip into the convenience of things and not want to move off the couch. I want to persuade you to start walking.

Americans lead a passive lifestyle at the expense of their own health.

  • This means that we spend approximately 40% of our leisure time in front of the TV.
  • Ironically, it is also reported that Americans don’t like many of the shows that they watch.
  • Today’s studies indicate that people were experiencing higher bouts of depression than in the 18th and 19th centuries, when work and life were considered problematic.
  • The article reports that 12.6% of Americans suffer from anxiety, and 9.5% suffer from severe depression.
  • Present the opposition’s claim and refute an argument.
  • Nutritionist Phyllis Hall stated that we tend to eat foods high in fat, which produces high levels of cholesterol in our blood, which leads to plaque build-up in our arteries.
  • While modifying our diet can help us decrease our risk for heart disease, studies have indicated that people who don’t exercise are at an even greater risk.

In closing, I urge you to start walking more. Walking is a simple, easy activity. Park further away from stores and walk. Walk instead of driving to your nearest convenience store. Take 20 minutes and enjoy a walk around your neighborhood. Hide the TV remote, move off the couch and, walk. Do it for your heart.

Thank you for listening!

Topic: Less screen time can improve your sleep.

Specific Purpose: To persuade the audience to stop using their screens two hours before bed.

Central idea: Ceasing electronics before bed will help you achieve better sleep.

Who doesn’t love to sleep? I don’t think I have ever met anyone who doesn’t like getting a good night’s sleep. Sleep is essential for our bodies to rest and repair themselves.

I love sleeping and, there is no way that I would be able to miss out on a good night’s sleep.

As someone who has had trouble sleeping due to taking my phone into bed with me and laying in bed while entertaining myself on my phone till I fall asleep, I can say that it’s not the healthiest habit, and we should do whatever we can to change it.

  • Our natural blue light source is the sun.
  • Bluelight is designed to keep us awake.
  • Bluelight makes our brain waves more active.
  • We find it harder to sleep when our brain waves are more active.
  • Having a good night’s rest will improve your mood.
  • Being fully rested will increase your productivity.

Using electronics before bed will stimulate your brainwaves and make it more difficult for you to sleep. Bluelight tricks our brains into a false sense of daytime and, in turn, makes it more difficult for us to sleep. So, put down those screens if you love your sleep!

Thank the audience for listening

A persuasive speech is used to convince the audience of the speaker standing on a certain subject. To have a successful persuasive speech, doing the proper planning and executing your speech with confidence will help persuade the audience of your standing on the topic you chose. Persuasive speeches are used every day in the world around us, from planning what’s for dinner to arguing about politics. It is one of the most widely used forms of speech and, with proper planning and execution, you can sway any audience.

How to Write the Most Informative Essay

How to Craft a Masterful Outline of Speech

Leave a Comment

I accept the Privacy Policy

Reach out to us for sponsorship opportunities

Vivamus integer non suscipit taciti mus etiam at primis tempor sagittis euismod libero facilisi.

© 2024 My Speech Class

All Formats

Outline Templates

29+ speech outline templates – pdf, doc.

When you download a free speech outline template sample, you will find that this premium template helps you to clarify what you wish to say to the audience as well as organize all the print material you have in an easy and reliable manner. The Outline Template decreases the burden of having to draw up rough drafts of the speech and in the long run, will be instrumental in helping you save precious time.

speech outline document

  • Outline Templates in PDF
  • Outline Templates in Word

Example of Sample Informative Speech OutlineTemplate in PDF Format

example of sample informative speech outlinetemplate in pdf format

Introduction Speech Preparation Outline Template Free

introduction speech preparation outline template free

Public Expository Speech Outline Template Download in Word Format

public expository speech outline template download in word format

Download Demonstration Speech Outline Template

download demonstration speech outline template

Individual Persuasive Speech Outline Template In PDF Format

individual persuasive speech outline template in word format

Blank Outline for Persuasive Speech

blank outline for persuasive speech

Template for Draft Speech Outline

template for draft speech outline

Speaking Outline Template Example

speaking outline template example

Example of a Demonstrative Speech Outline

example of a demonstrative speech outline

Free Speech Preparation Outline

free speech preparation outline

Speech Plan Outline

speech plan outline

Self Introduction Speech Outline

self introduction speech outline

Controversial Speech Outline Structure

controversial speech outline structure

Sample of Instructional Speech Outline

instructional speech outline

Informal Outline for Speech Planning

informal outline for speech planning

Persuasive Speech Layout

persuasive speech layout

Free Printable Expository Speech Layout

free printable expository speech layout

Career Speech Outline Format Example

career speech outline format example

Demo Speech Outline Worksheet

demo speech outline worksheet

Blank Graduation Project Speech Outline

blank graduation project speech outline

Career Research Informative Speech Outline

career research informative speech outline

Graduation Speech Outline

graduation speech outline

Narrative Speech Outline

narrative speech outline

Short Speech Outline

short speech outline

Simple Process Speech Outline Example

process speech outline

Introductory Speech Outline

introductory speech outline

Interview Speech Outline

interview speech outline

Elevator Speech Outline

elevator speech outline

Event Speech Outline

event speech outline

International Law Conference Speech Outline

international law conference speech outline

How to Write a Speech Outline?

  • Start the outline with the greeting that you intend to make before the speech.
  • Open you speech with something that grabs the attention of the audience.
  • Describe this briefly in the outline.
  • Next add the reason as to why the audience should be interested in the speech.
  • Then go on to present your speech.
  • Add in a preview of all the points that you would be using during the course of the speech.
  • Include all the important arguments that you wish to use.
  • Conclude with a brief summary of the speech.

What should a Speech Outline Include?

  • Opening statement or greeting
  • Introduction
  • An attention-grabbing statement
  • Reason for hearing the speech
  • Objective of the speech
  • Arguments to be given
  • Closing statement

What is the Specific Purpose of a Speech Outline?

  • It helps you to feel more confident as you have a clear idea of what and how to speak.
  • With a speech outline in tow, you do not have to refer to your notes time and again.
  • You can list interesting anecdotes in the outline which would help you to keep the audience interested and engaged. You can also see Blank outline templates .
  • If you have a speech outline you can rest assured that you do not waver from the topic at any time.
  • Every point should be clear and precise.
  • Do not repeat your speech in the outline. Rather try to summarize it.
  • Make sure that the points are not too long as this would make it difficult to find the relevant content quickly.
  • Break the contents into bullet points and subsections to make it easier for you to search the required details.
  • Do not go overboard when it comes to including attention seeking lines.

More in Outline Templates

Whatsapp speech bubble vector, international nurses day speech template, closing ceremony speech template for event, closing ceremony speech, short informative speech, informative speech template for students, student council president speech, short student council speeches, self introduction speech for students, speech therapy healthcare center presentation.

  • 10+ Training Outline Templates – PDF, Word, Apple Pages
  • 24+ Autobiography Outline Templates & Samples – DOC, PDF
  • 10+ Project Proposal Outline in Google Docs | MS Word | Pages | Editable PDF | InDesign | Photoshop | Publisher | PDF
  • 12+ Literature Review Outline Templates – PDF, DOC
  • 15+ Thesis Outline Templates – Sample, Example
  • 11+ Outline Report Templates in Google Docs | Word | Pages | PDF
  • 10+ Production Outline Templates
  • 12+ Project Outline Templates in Google Docs | Word | Pages | PDF | XLS
  • 15+ Meeting Outline Templates in PDF | DOC
  • 8+ Project Proposal Outline Templates
  • 12+ Outline Templates in Apple Pages
  • 10+ Outline Templates in Word
  • 10+ Outline Templates
  • 15+ Topic Proposal Outline Templates – PDF, Word
  • 12+ Research Project Proposal Outline Templates – PDF, Word, Pages

File Formats

Word templates, google docs templates, excel templates, powerpoint templates, google sheets templates, google slides templates, pdf templates, publisher templates, psd templates, indesign templates, illustrator templates, pages templates, keynote templates, numbers templates, outlook templates.

  • Speech Crafting →

How to Write a Demonstration Speech Outline


Are you tasked with writing a demonstration speech outline, but don’t know where to start? Well buckle up and stick around, because in this blog post we’re going to discuss the right way to do it.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced speech writer you’ll find value in this guide and will hopefully take away something to help you from getting stuck in the future. So get ready, because we’re about to explore how to write a demonstration speech outline in no time!

What is a Demonstration Speech?

A demonstration speech is a type of informative speaking that is used to teach an audience how to do something or how to make something. It can be used in both educational and business settings, making it one of the most versatile types of speeches .

When designing a demonstration speech, there are two perspectives to consider: practicality and impact.

On one hand, the aim of a demonstration speech should be to clearly explain the process of completing the task at hand step by step.

On the other hand, the speaker may also want to identify potential challenges associated with the task being demonstrated, providing advice on how to best resolve any issues that may arise. This dual purpose ensures that the demonstration is as effective as possible.

The success of a demonstration speech rests on its ability to accurately convey complex information in an engaging manner. This can be challenging without proper planning and may require multiple drafts before finally creating a complete outline that covers all important areas.

With the right combination of visuals, examples, and humor, however, this type of speaking can help effectively guide an audience through any learning experience.

Now that we have explored what constitutes a demonstration speech and weighed up its practicality and impact, let’s dive into breaking down a demonstration speech in five simple steps.

A demonstration speech is a type of informative speaking that can be used in many different settings. It is important to consider both practicality and impact when designing a demonstration speech. To be successful, the speech should accurately explain the process step-by-step, identify potential challenges associated with the task, and incorporate visuals and humor into the presentation. Breaking down a demonstration speech into five steps can help ensure its success.

Breaking Down the Demonstration Speech

When it comes to writing a demonstration speech outline, breaking down the topic can be a helpful first step in figuring out what to include.

A demonstration speech is a type of informative speaking that explains how to do something step-by-step. The speaker will typically “show” the audience how something is done and explain why it’s successful.

On one hand, some people believe that breaking down a topic before creating an outline is crucial in order to understand the objective of the demonstration speech and how to clearly relay the information.

At its core, this involves assessing the focus of the speech and identifying key points that need to be included.

On the other hand, some people may argue that breaking down information into smaller sections is not always necessary, as the outline itself should provide enough structure for the presentation .

Regardless of personal opinion on this debate, breaking down any topic prior to creating an outline can provide helpful context for understanding the goals of a demonstration speech and articulating them within an organized framework.

Additionally, this breaks up large blocks of text into more manageable thoughts when constructing an outline for a demonstration speech.

With a comprehensive breakdown of topics being discussed and an understanding of how points are related, it will be easier to structure objectives when creating a complete demonstration speech outline – which will be further discussed in the next section.

Demonstration Speech Objectives

When preparing a demonstration speech, the speaker’s objective should be to clearly and coherently inform their audience about a particular topic or method. The speaker should aim to provide an analysis of a process that can help the audience understand the concept being discussed.

Further, it is important for the speaker to maintain focus and provide a logical progression of steps in order to efficiently communicate their message to the listeners.

Additionally, the speaker should supply pertinent evidence for their assertions in order to strengthen their argument and maximize understanding.

Another key objective of any demonstration speech is to imbue its recipient with the confidence needed to replicate a task or process. This involves breaking down the subject into its component parts, analyzing each element separately and then synthesizing them into unified whole.

Ideally this process allows audience members to deepen their knowledge and familiarity with a particular subject while developing important skills such as problem-solving ability.

Finally, it is worth noting that some speakers may choose to assess the effectiveness of their instructions by administering a comprehension quiz at the end of their presentation.

This can be extremely helpful in gauging whether or not their communication was successful and implementing strategies for improvement if necessary.

In conclusion, when designing an effective demonstration speech outline it is essential that speakers consider these objectives in order to ensure successful communication with audiences. In our next section we will discuss techniques for engaging with different types of demonstration speech audiences.

Demonstration Speech Audience

Who the demonstration speech audience is will have a big impact on how the speech is presented and should be considered when writing the demonstration speech outline.

The key is to ensure that the audience members have a basic understanding of the topic and that any necessary background information is provided so that they understand the main points of the speech.

Also consider their level of interest, resources available, and any language or cultural issues that could impact reception of the message.

In cases where there may be a mixed-level audience who have varying levels of familiarity with the topic, it may be beneficial to provide a more detailed explanation upfront for those less familiar with it, while not boring those already knowledgable.

In order to cater to both groups, the speaker may want to consider breaking down subtopics into different levels so that each group has something they can benefit from learning.

Additionally, demonstrating throughout the speech can help in making sure that all audience members are engaged in what is being presented. This also ensures that everyone understands how to properly use any products or tools discussed in the speech.

Live demonstrations allow for people to ask questions in real-time if they need further clarification on anything being discussed in order gain a better comprehension of that particular aspect of the topic.

By thoroughly considering the audience for whom you’re creating your demonstration speech outline and ensuring that elements such as language , prior knowledge about topics, and track record for attention span are taken into account, you can ensure that everyone benefits from their time spent attending your presentation.

Preparing for the Demonstration Speech Outline

Before developing your demonstration speech outline, you must take the time to prepare for the presentation. This requires proper research, organization, and practice.

Start by doing research about the topic you’ve chosen for the speech. With a decent level of knowledge, it will be much easier to make informed decisions throughout the process and create an informative, organized presentation.

Organization is key in any speech or presentation. Spend some time considering which items could be combined or eliminated in order to stay within an acceptable length .

For example, if a demonstration speech lasts 10 minutes, it’s important to make sure each step is addressed in enough detail that viewers understand how to perform the task, but keep it short enough that the overall time limit isn’t exceeded.

Practice makes perfect—and no truer statement could be said when gearing up for a presentation. Rehearse the speech until it feels natural and comfortable for both your audience and yourself. It’s also beneficial to present to another individual at least once before delivering to a larger group.

This initial practice can help identify any mistakes or sections that may need clarification which can then be adjusted prior to delivering the speech on stage.

By taking additional time and care when preparing for any presentation, especially a demonstration speech, you have a better chance of keeping your audience engaged and helping them learn the skill being taught accurately and effectively.

With these considerations out of the way, you can use your newfound knowledge and move on to creating the organization structure of your demonstration speech—identifying skills that need teaching—in our next section.

Identifying the Skills to Teach

When writing a demonstration speech outline, identifying the skills to teach is of paramount importance. The goal of a demonstration speech is to make the audience understand how a task or skill is performed.

This requires creating an outline that clearly outlines which steps in your process will be demonstrated, how they will be articulated, and what techniques can be used to ensure maximum understanding by the audience.

A key tip is to offer clarity around what skills have already been assumed knowledge for audiences. There’s rarely time to explain all basics when it comes to demonstrating—which means ensuring everyone has sufficient background before diving into any of the steps in the process being presented.

Discussing potential pre-existing knowledge levels with colleagues can help identify gaps in understanding and provide you guidance on what will need to be taught to everyone attending the presentation.

Another helpful tip is to consider just how much information should be provided during your presentation. You’ll want to keep focused on one main skill set or task, as complexity should be limited for those in attendance for maximum comprehension of the content given.

With each skill step, ask questions that encourage interaction between yourself and your audience members, such as “Does anyone know why this technique works better than other approaches?”

These two tactics – questioning pre-existing knowledge and containment of focus – will help guide you in effectively identifying the skills that need to be taught throughout your demonstration speech outline.

Having identified the appropriate skills needed for your demonstration speech, it’s now time to move onto selecting any required materials for its successful delivery.

Selecting the Required Materials

When selecting the required materials for a demonstration speech, it is important to ensure the items are appropriate for the task and audience. A speaker should consider if the materials are necessary, informative, relevant, and applicable.

For instance, if the presentation is about baking cupcakes then it may be necessary to provide ingredients or a prepared cupcake for tasting. If a speaker wishes to discuss the benefits of recycling paper then it would be beneficial to have a few samples of both recycled and non-recycled paper available to illustrate the difference in quality.

Furthermore, if the talk involves using uncommon tools or objects it could be worthwhile to provide visuals or 3D models that can be seen up close.

When deciding on materials, speakers should also think about keeping the items organized and secure throughout their talk. It may help to label any props with particular names or tasks so that they are easier to follow along with during the demonstration.

Additionally, packing excess supplies just in case something goes wrong will prove invaluable. By doing so a speaker will remain confident and composed in front of their audience and can keep their demonstration running smoothly.

Having assessed all options available, selecting the required materials for a demonstration speech will ensure success during its presentation. With all of this in mind, the next step is crafting the speech outline itself — an activity which will serve as the framework for delivering an effective demonstration speech!

Crafting the Demonstration Speech Outline

One of the first steps to creating a successful demonstration speech is icing and organizing your thoughts. Start by focusing on the essential pieces of the speech, such as key messages and major action steps.

When crafting your speech outline, keep in mind that the timing, length and structure of the demonstration is important. The audience should easily understand your points and be able to follow along with each step.

To make sure your demonstration is well-organized, break it down into smaller sections or subsections. These sections may include specific topics and steps that should be covered in order to successfully demonstrate the desired outcome or action.

Additionally, it may be beneficial to consider any questions the audience might have during the presentation, allowing you to address them beforehand or provide a clear answer during the speech. It will also help to remind yourself to explain everything clearly and use language your audience is likely to understand.

Another factor to consider when drafting your outline is the order in which you should present different topics or steps, such as beginning with an introduction before moving on to describe each step.

Decide how much time you want to devote to a particular topic within your speech outline. Planning each individual element of the presentation ensures everything flows cohesively and keeps everyone engaged throughout your whole demonstration.

To conclude this section, having a good plan in place when crafting a demonstration speech outline is critical for delivering an informative and effective presentation that meets its goals and objectives. In the next section, we will discuss presenting the demonstration speech.

Presenting the Demonstration Speech

Once the outline of the demonstration speech is complete, it is time to begin presenting it. After clearly introducing oneself and the topic, presenters need to provide some background information on why this topic is important and how it can help their audience.

This should be followed by an overview of the main points for the presentation. To ensure that the audience retains the most important aspects of what was discussed, presenters should repeat these concepts as needed.

Next, demonstrate each step in detail. If there are materials or equipment needed to demonstrate a step, make sure these are available before beginning.

Speak clearly and succinctly, so the audience is able to understand and follow along with each step. When explaining a step-by-step process, use visual aids whenever possible for further clarification for your listeners.

informative speech

During the presentation, use humor , ask rhetorical questions, or even employ storytelling to keep your audience engaged.

While it is important not to be overly talkative during a presentation, speaking with more personality will result in improved engagement and maximize understanding.

Finally, providing a conclusion that recaps all of the points of the demonstration, as well as outlining any consequences of not aspiring to them will leave an impression on your audience and emphasize the importance of your demonstration topics.

Now that you have presented your demonstration speech effectively and efficiently with engaging material and visuals throughout, it is time to evaluate how your presentation went and make changes where necessary.

In the next section we will discuss how to evaluate one’s demonstration speech performance in order to ensure success when presenting at future events or to different audiences.

Evaluating Your Demonstration Speech

Creating an effective demonstration speech outline is not the only step towards creating a good presentation. It’s also important to evaluate your speech by considering factors such as how well it is structured, how engaging it is, and how well you explain the topic or process.

First and foremost, assess the overall structure of your speech. Take a look at the sequence in which you present your information and make sure that it’s coherent and logical.

If necessary, make amendments so that your demo speech moves from a basic introduction to more complex concepts in an organized manner . Additionally, double check any transitions between sections to ensure that they move the topic forward without adding any confusion.

Engaging content and style are also key components of successful demonstration speeches. Make sure that your content is informative and that you incorporate anecdotes, or relatable examples or stories, throughout your talk to keep your audience engaged and amused.

In terms of style, be mindful of both how you present yourself verbally as well as how you project body language while giving your presentation. Try to speak with enthusiasm while avoiding disrupting vocal patterns — this means speaking clearly without long pauses or abrupt changes in speed or volume .

Body language is equally critical; maintain eye contact with the audience, use hand gestures when appropriate and smile!

One more important factor for evaluation is whether the information presented in the presentation makes sense. Look over each step of the demonstration again before delivering it to ensure the explanations make sense and review any diagrams or maps that accompany your speech for accuracy and clarity.

Finally, check for redundancies in content – going over too much already-mentioned material can bore an audience plus be viewed as a lack of preparation on your part – as well as errors in facts or figures which could lead to misinformation rather than education on behalf of your audience.

Overall, thoughtful evaluation of all these elements will help ensure that you create a demonstration speech that is clear, effective and able to hold the attention of its viewers while imparting useful knowledge upon them in an engaging manner!

Common Questions Explained

How long should a demonstration speech outline typically be.

Generally speaking, a demonstration speech outline should typically be about two pages in length. This allows for enough detail to adequately prepare for the speech without bogging down the outline with too much extra information.

With this two-page length, one page can contain the introduction, main points, and conclusion of the speech while the second page can contain the evidence and specific examples that will support each of those main points. A solid outline with clear main points and supporting evidence is essential for giving an effective demonstration speech.

What elements should be included in a demonstration speech outline?

A demonstration speech outline should include the following elements: 1. Introduction: Start off the speech with an attention-grabbing statement or anecdote to draw in the audience’s interest. 2. Objectives: Explain the purpose of your speech, what you will be demonstrating, and what outcomes you hope to achieve. 3. Step-by-Step Instructions: Outline each step of the process as clearly and precisely as possible, allowing time for questions if necessary. 4. Demonstration/Instructions: Perform the demonstration and give detailed instructions on how to do it effectively. 5. Conclusion: Summarize the key points from your demonstration and thank your audience for their participation. 6. Questions and Answers: Allow time at the end of your speech for questions from your audience, answering as best you can with explanations or additional demonstrations when needed.

What are some tips for writing effective demonstration speech outlines?

1. Start by brainstorming ideas: Spend some time coming up with ideas for your demonstration speech outline before you start writing. Think about what topics will be engaging to your audience and what kind of information or visual examples could make an impact. 2. Create a structure: Before you begin writing, decide on a basic structure for your demonstration speech outline . You might include sections for the introduction, body, conclusion, as well as subheadings for each section. 3. Establish the purpose: Make sure your audience understands why this topic is important and why they should care about it. Use the introduction to set up the purpose of your demonstration speech outline and consider making it clear with a thesis statement . 4. Use visuals and examples: Demonstration speeches are much more effective when accompanied with visuals or examples. Be sure to include visuals in your outline to give your audience something to look at while you’re presenting the information. 5. Leave plenty of room for practice: Demonstration speeches are best executed when there is actual practice involved. Make sure to leave enough time in the outline for practicing and rehearsing various steps.

Outline + script

Constructing a TEDx Talk takes a lot of discipline and creativity, so it’s important your speaker has some great guidance.

First and foremost, you will want to give every speaker for your event a copy of our TEDx Speaker Guide . It provides all of the guidance they’ll need to draft and deliver a compelling talk. However, it’s still important to check in, offer support, and make sure they’re not falling behind.

Here are the things you need to keep track of when your speakers are putting together an outline and script:

Set expectations

The first draft of your speaker’s talk will not be their last. Set a timeline with specific milestones for which your speaker can aim. Here’s a sample timeline:

  • 6 months before the event’s day: Thesis and basic outline due
  • 5 months out: A script or detailed outline due
  • 4 months out: Second draft and first rehearsals
  • 3 months out: Final draft and more rehearsals
  • 2 months out: Bi-weekly rehearsals
  • 1 month out: Weekly rehearsals
  • 2 weeks out: Take a break. (Don’t think about the talk.)
  • 1 week out: Rehearsals
  • 1-2 days out: Dress rehearsals

The above is just an example; your own timeline depends on your overall schedule and the needs of your speakers. Once you have set a realistic timeline with milestones in place, make sure you check in regularly to make sure your speakers are on track.

Look for structure, brevity and purpose.

When you’re reviewing drafts of your speakers’ outlines and talks, you should look for the following:

This is the foundation of a good TEDx Talk. Make sure each speaker’s script has a clear introduction, middle, and end.

Your speaker should know how many minutes they have for their talk. Make sure their script is an appropriate length for their time slot, or else their content may seem cramped. Think: Is there more than one major idea here? If so, which is the best? Help your speaker hone in on the one major point they’re trying to make.

You’ll learn more about assigning the length of a speaker’s talk when you design your program .

Every point within a talk should serve the purpose of proving the talk's main idea and its importance. Make sure these points will be understood by the audience, and there’s a clear explanation as to why they matter.

You also want to make sure the talk is relevant to the audience. Does this talk make a connection with the guests? Is it relatable? Speakers' should always keep the listener and what they might want or need to know in mind.

Next: TEDx Publishing Guidelines + Fact-Checking Guide

Illustrated TEDx speaker guide

Some guidance is best with a little creativity sprinkled in. Check out the illustrated guide for speakers!

  • Some TEDx teams choose to include a volunteer speaking coach. While there are advantages to doing this, many professional speaker coaching tactics go against the TED and TEDx format. If you decide to try one out one, keep a close eye on their work and make sure the speaker's independent voice is preserved.
  • Speakers should talk like they talk, not how they write. This is why it’s sometimes better for speakers to simply outline their talks and never produce a full written script.
  • Make sure that your speakers’ language is conversational in tone, never bombastic.
  • Encourage honest, contagious emotions – wonder, optimism, anger, surprise, etc.
  • Be wary of overstatements, utopianism, fake emotion, fake self-deprecation, TED puns, and suspicious claims.
  • Personal anecdotes are like garnishes. Just the right amount can make a delicious meal, but too much of the wrong kind can destroy a meal.

Rules to remember

Our Content Guidelines give you a set of standards to follow when it comes to TEDx talks, so it’s important both you and your speaker use this as a guide. In fact, make it a requirement that your speaker reads it. This includes:

  • No selling from the stage
  • No political agendas
  • No religious proselytizing (including new age beliefs)
  • Only good science.

Also make sure that your speakers know the TEDx rules , which includes information about content and copyright laws, and make sure they sign the speaker release (located under the Recording and sharing content section).

Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

Welcome to the Purdue Online Writing Lab

OWL logo

Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

The Online Writing Lab at Purdue University houses writing resources and instructional material, and we provide these as a free service of the Writing Lab at Purdue. Students, members of the community, and users worldwide will find information to assist with many writing projects. Teachers and trainers may use this material for in-class and out-of-class instruction.

The Purdue On-Campus Writing Lab and Purdue Online Writing Lab assist clients in their development as writers—no matter what their skill level—with on-campus consultations, online participation, and community engagement. The Purdue Writing Lab serves the Purdue, West Lafayette, campus and coordinates with local literacy initiatives. The Purdue OWL offers global support through online reference materials and services.

A Message From the Assistant Director of Content Development 

The Purdue OWL® is committed to supporting  students, instructors, and writers by offering a wide range of resources that are developed and revised with them in mind. To do this, the OWL team is always exploring possibilties for a better design, allowing accessibility and user experience to guide our process. As the OWL undergoes some changes, we welcome your feedback and suggestions by email at any time.

Please don't hesitate to contact us via our contact page  if you have any questions or comments.

All the best,

Social Media

Facebook twitter.

Ukraine’s Zelenskyy fires head of state guard over assassination plot

Ukrainian state security said earlier this week that they unearthed an assassination plot including two state guards.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks during a joint press conference with European Council President Charles Michel and President of Moldova Maia Sandu in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has fired the head of the state guards following allegations that two members were involved in a plot to assassinate the embattled Ukrainian head of state.

Zelenskyy dismissed former leader of the state guards Serhiy Rud on Thursday, after the state security service (SBU) said earlier this week that it had unearthed an assassination plot against Zelenskyy and other important officials. A successor for Rud has yet to be named.

Keep reading

Zelenskyy confident us will not ‘betray’ ukraine, full text: zelenskyy’s speech to the un general assembly, ukraine’s zelenskyy denies war with russia at ‘stalemate’.

The SBU said that the assassinations were meant to be a “gift” for Russian President Vladimir Putin as he was sworn in for a new term in office on Tuesday.

The SBU said that the two men, both colonels in the state guard, had planned to take Zelenskyy hostage and later kill him.

Other key officials, including SBU head Vasyl Maliuk and Kyrylo Budanov, the military intelligence agency’s head, were also said to be targets of the failed effort.

Moscow has not commented on the allegations by the SBU, which alleged that the two bodyguards had passed on sensitive information to the FSB, Russia’s security service.

It is not the first assassination effort that the Ukrainian leader has faced down, stating last year that at least five Russian plots have been foiled since the war began.

Zelenskyy’s administration has faced growing difficulties in recent months, and has shaken up some key staffing positions as progress in the country’s war against Russia stalls out and officials face accusations of corruption.

In February, Zelenskyy named Oleksandr Syrskyii as the new army chief after dismissing General Valerii Zaluzhny from the position.


  1. 😍 Public speaking outline. Speech Outline: What is it & Why is it

    speech outline document

  2. 7+ Informative Speech Outline Templates

    speech outline document

  3. FREE 8+ Sample Speech Outline Templates in PDF

    speech outline document

  4. Free Speech Outline Templates

    speech outline document

  5. Speech Outline Template

    speech outline document

  6. 43 Informative Speech Outline Templates Examples With

    speech outline document


  1. Persuasive Speech

  2. Outline speech essay

  3. Basic CSS Part 04 (Brackets Editor)

  4. Speech with Keyword Outline (Bed Bugs)

  5. Developing an OO Outline

  6. Mastering Informative Speech


  1. How to Write an Effective Speech Outline: A Step-by-Step Guide

    When outlining your speech, make sure to decide how much time you'd like to give each of your main points. You might even consider setting specific timers during rehearsals to get a real feel for each part's duration. Generally speaking, you should allot a fairly equal amount of time for each to keep things balanced.

  2. Sample speech outline: examples with a printable template☺

    1. choosing a topic, 2. audience analysis, 3. choosing the best organizational pattern to fit your speech purpose, 4. what to put in each part of your speech: introduction, body and conclusion. a printable speech outline template to download. links to 2 completed examples of speech outlines (a demonstration and a persuasive speech.

  3. Speech Outline Examples

    The outline for a public speech, according to COMM 101 online textbook The Public Speaking Project, p.p. 8-9. Use these samples to help prepare your speech outlines and bibliographies: Sample Speech Preparation Outline. This type of outline is very detailed with all the main points and subpoints written in complete sentences. Your bibliography ...

  4. How to Write an Informative Speech Outline: A Step-by-Step Guide

    An informative speech outline is a document used to plan the structure and core content of a public speech. It's used by speakers to ensure their talk covers all the important points, stays on-topic and flows logically from one point to another. ... In short, an effective informative speech outline should strongly focus on bringing all of ...

  5. Preparation: How to write a Speech Outline (with Examples)

    Before you begin writing your outline, you should take a step back and think about your speech as a whole. First, think about the 3 keystones for your presentation or speech, i.e. the audience, your subject matter and of course, you, as the speaker. Then, write a few notes down about each keystone and how they relate with each other.

  6. How To Write A Speech Outline

    To create a working outline, you will need: A speech topic. An idea for the "hook" in your introduction. A thesis statement. 3-5 main points (each one should make a primary claim that you support with references) A conclusion. Each of your main points will also have sub-points, but we'll get to those in a later step.

  7. Outlining Your Speech

    A speaking outline is the outline you will prepare for use when delivering the speech. The speaking outline is much more succinct than the preparation outline and includes brief phrases or words that remind the speakers of the points they need to make, plus supporting material and signposts. [2] The words or phrases used on the speaking outline ...

  8. 7.4 Outlining Your Speech

    Speaking Outline. A speaking outline is the outline you will prepare for use when delivering the speech. The speaking outline is much more succinct than the preparation outline and includes brief phrases or words that remind the speakers of the points they need to make, plus supporting material and signposts (Beebe & Beebe, 2003).

  9. How to Write a Speech Outline (with Pictures)

    1. State your first point. The outline of the body of your speech will begin with the first point you intend to make in your speech. Write out a smooth transition from your introduction into the body of your speech. Your first point will be a top-level entry on your outline, typically noted by a Roman numeral.

  10. How to Write a Speech Outline

    1. Presentation title. Create a simple yet captivating title to capture attention and set expectations. 2. Two to four chunks. Make your speech easily digestible by segmenting it into chunks. Depending on what the situation calls for, you can choose two to four chunks or main ideas.

  11. Basic Speech Outline: Samples & Exampels (with Writing Guide)

    Step 1: open the speech with a greeting and introduction. As a matter of courtesy, it is a good thing to open the speech with a greeting. Follow this by introducing yourself. Take time also to thank those who have attended that event as well as its organizers. Lastly, thank the person who asked you to arise and speak.

  12. The Speech Outline

    An outline will show gaps in material or support. For example, you might notice you've got strong examples and testimony for your second main point, but that some research findings or statistics are still needed. Assessing your outline will enable you to double-check the flow or order of your speech. For instance, when you see your main ...

  13. Outline of Speech

    Here is the basic speech outline, including an introduction, body, and conclusion. For planning purposes, each section is explained to understand the textual arrangements best. Examples are given later in the text. Introduction Every basic speech outline includes an introduction. This is your speech opening, and it needs to be robust and ...

  14. Persuasive Speech Outline, with Examples

    Persuasive Speech Outline, with Examples. A persuasive speech is a speech that is given with the intention of convincing the audience to believe or do something. This could be virtually anything - voting, organ donation, recycling, and so on. A successful persuasive speech effectively convinces the audience to your point of view, providing ...

  15. Parts of the Speech Outline

    Central Idea. Write your central idea at the top of your outline so you can refer to it frequently and verify that every component of your speech is directly tied to it. Labeled Sections. Label your introduction, main points, conclusions, transitions, and bibliography. Uniform Indentation. use uniform indentation to indicate main points, sub ...

  16. Persuasive Speech Preparation & Outline, with Examples

    Reason 3 ( Provide one reason as to why listeners should act or think the way your thesis suggests.) Example 1 - Support for the reason given above. Example 2 - Support for the reason given above. The most important part of a persuasive speech is the conclusion, second to the introduction and thesis statement.

  17. PDF How to Outline a Speech

    Your introduction sets the stage for the rest of your speech. As the first thing the audience hears from you, it is also one of the most remembered parts of a speech. It should contain three main elements. Hook: This will grab your audience's attention and make them interested in your speech. For example, you might ask a question, tell a story ...

  18. PDF Speech Outline Template

    Speech Outline Template Specific Purpose Statement A sentence that summarizes the intent of the speech. Introduction A paragraph that captures the attention of the audience, establishes your credibility and previews the speech and the structure. (Transition) Body I. Main Point A. Sub-point 1. Supporting point 2. Supporting point B. Sub-Point 1.

  19. 29+ Speech Outline Templates

    Documents; Outline Templates; 29+ Speech Outline Templates - PDF, DOC. When you download a free speech outline template sample, you will find that this premium template helps you to clarify what you wish to say to the audience as well as organize all the print material you have in an easy and reliable manner.

  20. 43 Informative Speech Outline Templates & Examples

    3.3 Explanatory Speech. 3.4 Demonstration Speech. 4 Informative Speech Outline Templates. 5 Checklist for Your Informative Speech. 5.1 Eye Contact. 5.2 Tone of Your Voice. 5.3 Expressive Hand and Body Gestures. 6 Informative Speech Samples. 7 Tips for Your Informative Speech from a Professional.

  21. How to Write a Demonstration Speech Outline

    A demonstration speech outline should include the following elements: 1. Introduction: Start off the speech with an attention-grabbing statement or anecdote to draw in the audience's interest. 2. Objectives: Explain the purpose of your speech, what you will be demonstrating, and what outcomes you hope to achieve.

  22. Outline + script

    6 months before the event's day: Thesis and basic outline due 5 months out: A script or detailed outline due 4 months out: Second draft and first rehearsals 3 months out: Final draft and more rehearsals 2 months out: Bi-weekly rehearsals 1 month out: Weekly rehearsals 2 weeks out: Take a break. (Don't think about the talk.)

  23. Welcome to the Purdue Online Writing Lab

    The Online Writing Lab at Purdue University houses writing resources and instructional material, and we provide these as a free service of the Writing Lab at Purdue.

  24. Free AI Outline Generator

    Ahrefs' Outline Generator uses a language model that learns patterns, grammar, and vocabulary from large amounts of text data - then uses that knowledge to generate human-like text based on a given prompt or input. The generated text combines both the model's learned information and its understanding of the input.

  25. Ukraine's Zelenskyy fires head of state guard over assassination plot

    Full text: Zelenskyy's speech to the UN General Assembly list 3 of 3 Ukraine's Zelenskyy denies war with Russia at 'stalemate' ...