Public Speaking – Preparing Your Speaking Outline

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There are two types of outline that are useful in the preparation and delivering of a speech or presentation. The working outline helps in the preparation of a speech and the speaking outline is used by the speaker to assist them in the delivering the speech.

Once the speech has been prepared, the speaker will be familiar with the content but may not be able to remember the order and what they are to present. The speaking outline can help in this situation.

A speaking outline is a very brief outline of the main points and sub-points of the speech using clear and simple words or phrases. The speaking outline will help the speaker recall the order of the speech and what is to be presented.

A speaking outline can be used in the following ways:

(i) Memorizing the outline so that it will not be forgotten. By writing and speaking it several times (from memory) the outline will be remembered. If something is forgotten or the order is mixed up, refer back to the working outline to refresh your memory.
(ii) Writing it on a single piece of paper so that it all can be seen at a single glance. This is especially useful if you have a podium or lectern to rest it on.
(iii) Writing out brief notes on index cards so that they can be help in your hand. This can help you to move freely and not be tied to one spot.

If you need to quote verbatim a large amount of information for the sake of accuracy the speaking outline should include this information.

A speaking outline will help you keep on track when presenting without preventing you from connecting to your audience – you are free to maintain eye contact, gesture and move.

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