A Detailed Speech Outline

This page explains how to make a detailed outline of a speech. It should be remembered that depending on the type of speech, the outline may vary. However, if you base your speeches on this outline you should be able to make a successful speech.

In order to make a detailed and useful outline you must understand the structure of a speech. The basic structure of a speech and how to make a simple outline has been explained on another page. On that page it was shown that there are three main parts to a speech; The Introduction, The Body, and The Conclusion. These three parts can be further broken down. The structure of these three main parts can be seen in the outline below.

A presentation outline is a way to organize your material logically and clearly. You should make an outline before you start to write a speech. In fact the writing of a speech comes towards the end of the speech creation process (see '11 Steps to Creating a Speech'). By using a presentation outline, you can "see" your speech and determine where you need to add or revise information. It provides the structure for the introduction, body, and conclusion of your speech. In addition, it can serve as your speaking script.

This outline consists of Four parts; The Header, The Introduction, The Body, and The Conclusion. Before you start writing your speech you should make an outline using these 4 headings and their sub headings.

1. Header

Topic

Decide on your topic.

Audience

Analyze your audience. What do they already know about your topic? Are they interested in the topic?

Refine and limit topic

Based on your analysis of the audience you may need to slightly change you topic, by either changing the focus, or the scale of the topic.

Purpose Statement

Write down a clear statement of what it is you intend to achieve. What is the purpose of your speech.

For example; The purpose of this speech is to inform the audience how to travel in Japan without spending to much money.

Organizational Method or Pattern

There is no single way to organize a speech. The pattern you will select will be determined by the information you have and the specific purpose you want to achieve. There are six basic patterns for organizing a speech:

    • Logical or topical
    • Chronological
    • Spatial
    • Classification
    • Problem-Solution
    • Cause-effect

Once you have completed these five parts of the 'Header', you are then ready to start planning the speech itself.

2. Introduction

Greeting and Attention getter

How will you greet the audience? How will you get the audience's attention? Think of a sentence that will make the audience sit up and listen.

Thesis Statement

The 'purpose statement' is where you simply state what your goal is. However, it is not possible to use this in the speech. You need to convert it to a 'thesis statement'. A thesis statement is one sentence in the introduction in which you declare your purpose and topic.

For example, a thesis statement of the above purpose statement would be; 'Traveling in Japan need not be an extravagance.'

Credibility

If the audience do not know who you are, you will not only need to introduce yourself, but you will also need to 'establish your credibility'. This means you will have to explain to the audience why you are 'qualified' to speak about the subject.

Outline of main the points - overview

What are your main points?

Why?

Tell your audience why you think your presentation will be useful to them.

3. The body

Transition

Think of a sentence that will make it clear to the audience that you have finished the introduction, and are now about to start the body of the speech.

Main points and ideas

Main ideas
Supporting ideas
Details & Examples
Visuals
Write your main points and ideas here What ideas will you tell the audience to support your main points? What details or examples do you have? Will you have any visuals to help explain your points?

main ideas = sub-topics

supporting ideas = sub-sub topics

evidence = details and examples

4. The conclusion

Transition

Think of a sentence that will make it clear to the audience that you have finished the body and are now coming to the end of the speech.

Restatement of main points

Summarize your main ideas and think of which piece of information you really want the audience to remember.

Closer

Think of a final sentence to help the audience remember your speech.

Note that the presentation outline is not a word-for-word script for the speech but an outline of ideas to serve as an organizational and presentation tool for the speaker.

Once you have finished the outline you are then ready to start writing.

Copy this into a word processor document, and use the headings to make your own outline for your demonstration speech.