Outlines and Content

One of the most valuable tools to any speaker, or writer for that matter, is an outline. They force us to clearly organize and articulate how our ideas will be presented. If you’ve never used an outline to write a paper or a speech, this week might be challenging, but it should also arm you with a skill that will empower you.

We can think of outlines as the underlying infrastructure of a speech. It is the skeleton on which we hang all of our content. Once we have our topic, thesis, and main points, we can get down to the business of writing a speech. That means dealing with content. Many students mistakenly think “content” is the same as “facts”. The two are actually very different. Facts are specific pieces of information that typically come with a citation or reference. Content refers to everything in your speech.

There are three kinds of outlines so we’ll start by discussing how those outlines work and what we can do with them. Then we’ll talk about how to fill them in and use them in a speech. Finally, we'll look at different forms of content and how that content, including numbers, stories, and quotes, is used most effectively in our speeches.

Previous Week

Prepare Yourself...

What is the central purpose of an outline and how does creating one aid in developing your speech?

How are numbers and stories related to each other and how can they be used together?

Where is the best place to start researching for a speech?

What are the three important elements of an oral footnote?