Outline template for writing a speech

In comparison with giving a speech, writing a speech is a fairly simple process. I try and stick with a basic outline when preparing a speech. That way, I don’t have to worry about the structure, but can focus on content.

A couple of months ago I posted a . This outline below is a generic structure that can be used for many types of presentations: persuading the audience, teaching, communicating information, etc. All will fit within this outline. It works for everything from five-minute pitch to a 90–minute keynote, and beyond.

The outline is based on three simple steps:

  1. Tell them what you’re going to tell them
  2. Tell them
  3. Tell them what you told them

Speech Outline

  1. Introduction (tell them what you’re going to tell them)
    1. Open with a quote or anecdote
    2. State the main reason for your speech
    3. Summarize your three principle points
      1. First point
      2. Second point
      3. Third point
  2. Body (tell them)
    1. First point – start with your strongest point. Give your listeners something to grab on to.
    2. Second point – this is the weaker or weakest point. Sandwich it between the stronger points.
    3. Third point – come back with another strong point.
  3. Conclusion (tell them what you told them)
    1. Re-state your three main points
      1. First point
      2. Second point
      3. Third point
    2. Summarize the idea you’ve presented
    3. Conclude with a compelling remark or a call to action

There’s nothing new in this outline. Aristotle talked about this more than 2,000 years ago. Why are we using such an old template? Because it works! Give it a try.