What exactly is a Speech Outline?

We’re in the middle of a Communications Revolution. The focus has been on writing (web pages, blogs, social media). However, more and more, you’ve got to speak well. I don’t mean grammar and accent, I mean you need to communicate ideas in presentations, conferences, video meetings, and phone meetings etc.


Structuring your ideas is the cornerstone skill of all great communication, and the clarity of your outline determines how well other will receive it.

The good news is, creating an outline can be very quick:


1. Know what you’re talking about

Research *is* writing.


2. Find the map before you head-off

If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you ever get there?


Don’t start blindly typing a script or creating slides without a map. First, think through the skeleton of the thing. Major points, subheads and title. Be as objective as you can (this is hard!) and look at the idea from the audiences perspective.

An outline takes the guesswork – and much of the *actual work* – out of the picture.


3. The magic 15 minutes

Get a kitchen timer. Or, use the one on your smartphone.

Sit down at your desk with your notes, research, outline and

coffee. Set that timer for 30-minutes and punch the “start” button.

*DO NOT* get up from your desk until 15-minutes pass and the buzzer goes off.


Here’s the trick: don’t try to write. Don’t stress about it.


After a few minutes of sitting there, staring at the page, your cat,

out the window, whatever, you’ll get so *bored* that you’ll begin to



When the 15 minutes is up, go do something else for a while. Then,

come back for another 15-minutes of not trying.


If you get six or seven of these sessions in during a day, you’ll

be so far ahead of the game, you’ll wonder why you ever struggled

to write in the first place.


3. Make more presentations

The more you do it, the more experience you’ll have and the natural it will be. It will still require focus, but eventually you will become good speaker. And

that, my friends, can change your life, and your business.


There are dozens of ways to create a speech outline. Some are confusing and most are incomplete.

An effective Outline is a synopsis of your talk, which:

  • Helps you look into the mind of your audience
  • Guides you to clarify a central message
  • Identifies additional key points/messages
  • Maps out a structure for your talk
  • Shows the logical flow of your ideas to assist in editing
  • Displays related items at a glance

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