An outline is the written manifestation of the structure, a sort of a table-of-contents for the speech. According to the laws of structure we present them 3 times: briefly in the introduction, fully in the body and the succintly in the conclusion.
Benefits of outlines
Writing an outline for a speech does several important things to improve our public speaking:
- It forces us to organize: Once we have 2-3 points on the paper, and once we introduce them in the beginning of our speech, we automatically compartmentalize our thoughts.
- It helps us focus our thoughts: Under pressure many people find their thinking scattered and unfocused. Writing down the points protects them from getting lost or mixed.
- It saves time: Outlines are short and concise. Instead of writing a full speech we only jot down the main points and develop them on stage. This makes outlines ideal for preparing under time pressure.
The outlines for a speech should be short and written in big letters and if you find it difficult to write large try to CAPIATALIZE. The reason is that while speaking we often move around or stand up, thus distancing ourselves from the written paper and making it difficult to read. Also, under pressure it is harder to concentrate on long, small text.
The outlines should also be short, very short. Their purpose is not to provide us with the information, because it is impossible to read and digest during a speech. Instead they remind us where we are and give us anchors to our next points.
It is not necessary to write the introduction or the conclusion in the outline. The reason is that the introduction presents the outline and the conclusion summarizes it. Therefore it is enough to write the main points of the body and at most write where the introduction and conclusion come.
In the example to the right we can see what the outline should look like, and in the example on the next page we can read the full speech. Note that it is quite dangerous to try and write the full speech: Reading it will interrupt concentration, degrade the style (monotonous voice and loss of eye contact) and exacerbate stage fright.