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:

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. Labeled Sections. Label your introduction, main points, conclusions, transitions, and bibliography.
  4. Uniform Indentation. use uniform indentation to indicate main points, sub-points, sub-sub points, etc. Use the following symbols for each level of entry:
    1. Main Point
      1. Sub-Point
        1. Sub-Sub Point
          1. Sub-Sub-Sub Point
          2. Second Sub-Sub-Sub Point
        2. Second Sub-Sub Point
      2. Second Sub-Point
    2. Second main point
  5. Full Sentences.Use full sentences for each entry.
  6. 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.

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