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How to Outline a Speech

Regardless of the type of presentation you are giving, certain elements are typically going to be included. Specifically, you should have a clear introduction, main ideas that are easy to follow, and a conclusion to wrap up the speech. This form highlights the typical components of a speech; you can use it to frame your own presentation.


Your introduction sets the stage for the rest of your speech. As the first thing the audience hears from you, it is also one of the most remembered parts of a speech. It should contain three main elements.

A. Hook: This will grab your audience’s attention and make them interested in your speech. For example, you might ask a question, tell a story, or cite a shocking statistic. Generally, you don’t need to tell the audience your name.

B. Thesis: Just like in a paper, your speech has a thesis. It is what you are here to prove to your audience.

C. Road map: In a speech, you want to signal where you are going to be going and how you’re going to get there; it helps your audience follow you, since they can’t go back and re-read anything like they could in a paper. Your road map previews your main points.



The main section of your speech, where you make your main points. These are what you to laid out in your road map, and this is where transitioning is particularly important. For most speeches, 2-3 main points will give you sufficient content while also being easily followed by the audience. You want to think about the logical order of your points, which would easily flow into one another. 

A. First point: _________________________________________________________________________
Transition: ____________________________________________________________________________

B. Second point: _______________________________________________________________________
Transition: _____________________________________________________________________________

C. Third point: _________________________________________________________________________
Transition: _____________________________________________________________________________


Use your conclusion to summarize your main points, but don’t restate them word for word, similar to the conclusion of an essay. There’s a tendency to end speeches by saying “and that’s all I have,” but this is the last impression you’re giving your audience, and it’s an opportunity to drive home why your message is important.

A. Paraphrase your thesis and main points: _____________________________________________

B. Tell your audience why your message is important: ___________________________________

Contact Information

Amy Gaffney

Oral Communication Center Director
Kirner-Johnson 222
315-859-4401 oralcomm@hamilton.edu


Feb 8 – May 18

S 3 p.m. – 10 p.m.

M 12 p.m. – 10 p.m.

T 12 p.m. – 10 p.m.

W 12 p.m. – 10 p.m.

T 12 p.m. – 10 p.m.

F 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.

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