The Speech Outline

Learning Objectives

Explain the purpose of the speech outline.

A manatee puzzle with pieces missing

A well-organized outline will give you a much clearer sense of which pieces are still missing from your speech.

A speech outline is a valuable tool in your speech preparation and delivery. Putting together an outline will enable you to do the following:

  • Organize your materials following the pattern you’ve selected for your speech. The outline structure will give you a clear picture of the path and distribution of your topic.
  • Since each main point should have a similar length and number of supporting materials, an outline allows you to visually identify any imbalances in the length or depth of your main points.
  • 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 points in an outline format, you might decide to rearrange them to have the most unexpected main point be the last one.
  • A speech outline will empower you to give your best delivery. With a logical structure and flow that is easier for you to remember, you’ll be able to deliver your message with confidence and clarity.
  • Overall, assembling your outline requires you to critically evaluate every piece of content along with its organization so that your speech is well edited and logical.

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