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Easy Template to Help Outline Your Speech

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An outline helps provide you with a sense of direction. Think of it like your GPS navigation or a roadmap. It helps get you to your destination. I've created a guide to help make the outlining process as easy as possible. Please see the following template:

Include Speech Title

(Try condensing your thesis into six or fewer words – think simple, catchy, and memorable – this helps to focus your main idea)


I.  Attention getter: Start with a rehearsed story, thought-provoking quote, shocking fact, rhetorical question, or some other way to hook the audience right away. Avoid introducing yourself, yes/no or dead-end questions, or my personal least favorite opening, “Hey guys, so today I’m going to talk about XYZ”.

II. Introduce your topic: Provide necessary background information, context, and/or definitions.

III. Thesis statement: Provide a single declarative sentence expressing your main idea.

IV. Establish credibility: Tell the audience why you chose the topic, why this impacts you as a speaker, and why the audience should care about this subject.

V. Preview main points:

(Transition statement: use a signpost such as first, next, moving on, etc.; or consider a question, or a review-preview statement e.g. we just discussed ____ now we can talk about  ____)


Split your thesis statement into 2-5 main points or ‘subordinate-themes’. Think carefully about the optimal way to sequence your points.

I. Main Point 1 – First section relating to your theme

                A. You will further split the first point to exemplify below

                                1. Example, fact, or other supporting material.

                                                a. You may split the content further if needed

                                                b. You must have at least a second point

                                2. Subordinate points should be indented appropriately.

                B. Coordinate points should be aligned.

(Transition statement)


II. Main Point 2






(Transition statement)

III. Main Point 3


(Transition statement)


I. Signal your conclusion with some kind of review statement by reiterating your main points.

II. Remind the audience of your main idea/goal/thesis.

III. Provide lesson, moral, or inspiration to emphasize the significance of your message.

IV. Closing statement: Make sure the last thing you say is memorable and provides a sense of closure. You  may use a method similar to the attention getter. You may also ‘call back’ to something mentioned earlier. Lastly, you can provide the audience with a direct or indirect call to action – encouraging them to take action on this issue. Avoid ending with “that’s it”!

Work Cited/Reference List

List all citations used throughout your speech here at the end of your work. You should follow APA/MLA/CMS style guides for formatting.

Make sure you also provided IN-TEXT citations within your main points. See style guide for instructions regarding IN-TEXT citations (APA included as follows):