How to Write a Speech Outline

We all have at least a bit of experience with creating outlines for things. It was drilled into us throughout high school, how important it was to create an outline before fleshing out our book reports or research papers.

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When it comes to speeches, the principle still stands. Outlining can be a great jumping-off point to launch into your speech. It can help you get all of your thoughts organized and ensure that you cover everything you need to before you work out the rest of the details.

A good speech outline is a public speaker’s best friend. Here’s how to add this essential tool to your speech writing practice to become a more effective public speaker and other public speaking tips.

State the Central Idea and Specific Purpose of the Speech

The first step to creating a persuasive speech outline template is establishing your purpose and finding the center of your speech.

This includes both the central statement of the speech and what sort of actionable item you want your audience to leave the speech with, especially when learning how to write a persuasive speech. You should be able to put the main idea of your speech into one simple sentence.

Is the main idea of your speech that water conservation is essential to maintaining our planet? Do you want your audience to walk out the door and feel compelled to go vote for a certain candidate? Or do you just want them to seize life each day?

You have to know where you want to end up before beginning your persuasive speech outline, even if you are just starting with a rough draft.

Do Your Research and Gather Your Materials

Now that you know what your goal is, it’s time to do the research. Lots of it.

If you are writing an argumentative essay, find out the opposing argument and what evidence they have to back up their viewpoint. This way, you know the main points and supporting point to focus on to disprove or argue against. What makes you a good public speaker, and how to become a public speaker? It is being a true expert on what you speak on. Make sure you know what you’re talking about to write an effective speech.

The Intro

Now it’s time to actually write out the outline for a successful speech. What better place to start than at the beginning?

The intro is important because it’s how you draw the audience into the speech you’re about to make. A weak introduction will make your audience quickly tune out and once they’re mentally out of it, it’s nearly impossible to bring them back in.

Here are the elements and layout of how to start a presentation effectively.

Something to Grab Their Attention

The very first thing you need to do for a successful speech is getting your audience’s attention. Don’t start by boring them with your lengthy credentials or even stating your purpose right off the bat, but instead, tell them something that will make them listen and pique their interest.

A few good attention-grabbers are:

  • Telling a story
  • Opening with a quote
  • Presenting them with a “what if” scenario
  • Telling a joke

These techniques will engage their minds and make them lean in instead of check their watch and wait for your speech to end. After you’ve grabbed the audience’s attention, that’s when you can introduce your thesis statement, which is basically the main point of your speech.

Relate Yourself to Your Audience

Next, you need to relate yourself to your audience. Whatever your speech topic is, you can combine this with your attention-grabber at the beginning or add a bit of information where you connect your own story to your audience’s experiences.

State Your Credentials

Lastly, you can go ahead and state your credentials. Let them know why you know what you’re talking about to verify your abilities and knowledge on the subject.

The Body

The body is the meat of your speech and something that takes the bulk of your informative speech outline template. It includes all of your arguments, your statistics, your reasoning, and your appeals to their emotions and logic.

Here’s how to make the biggest part of your outline clear and straightforward.

Write Out Your Main Points and Sub Points in Full Sentences

First, you need to write out each of your key points and sub-points in complete sentences. It’s important to write out those full sentences for the sake of clarity instead of just jotting down a few words on each point.

Each main point should have one or two sub-points that back it up and support it. The sub points provide specifics and examples to contextualize and clarify what you mean by the main points.

Make Notes to Remind Yourself of the Central Theme and Purpose

When you get in the zone of speaking on something, it’s easy to wander off-topic in the interest of providing more entertainment.

Make notes throughout your speech preparation outline reminding you of your central theme and what you want the audience to get out of your speech. This is an excellent method to work your way back to the core of your speech if you happen to veer off-track.

Keep It Structured

With the body of your speech, it’s important to keep things structured. This also helps you focus on driving home the point of the presentation. Since it’s the largest part of your speech, it’s easy to get jumbled and messy in the middle. Keep your body outline structured enough that each part has a definite purpose.


Lastly, and possibly most importantly, learn how to end a speech properly. Make it clear that you’re transitioning into wrapping things up, then follow these two easy steps to create a powerful conclusion that will truly move your audience.

Restate the Central Idea and Points in a Few Sentences

Your conclusion should say in a few sentences what you just said for the past speech. Create a short, easily digestible transition statement with two sentences that get the idea of your speech across clearly and concisely. You want to state, in no uncertain terms, what the main point of your speech was.

Finish Strong

Once you have restated the purpose of your speech, it’s time to make it memorable. You can finish strong by returning to the story you began at the start of your presentation, inspiring your audience with a call to action, or leave them laughing with some humor.

Preparation Always Pays Off

Though it seems like a lot of work to do on the front-end, creating an outline for your speech is necessary to create the best presentation possible. Prepare for your speech with an outline and prepare for your public speaking career with a coach like Maui Mastermind to set yourself up for success.

How to Write a Speech Outline
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How to Write a Speech Outline
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