September 7


Mastering the Art of Speech Preparation: Crafting The Main Points

By Joshua Turner

September 7, 2023

Preparing a speech can be a daunting task, especially if you’re new to public speaking. One of the first steps in this process is creating a speech outline. This outline serves as a roadmap for your speech, helping you to organize your thoughts and ideas in a clear and concise manner. But what should be included in a speech outline? And how can you ensure that your outline effectively supports the main point of your speech?

Understanding the purpose and structure of a speech outline is crucial for effective public speaking. A well-crafted outline can help you to stay on track and deliver a compelling message to your audience.

This article explores the key components of a speech outline, from the introduction to the conclusion. We’ll also provide tips and strategies for incorporating research, incorporating visual aids, and preparing for delivery.

Whether you’re a seasoned speaker or a novice, this guide will help you to create a speech outline that supports your main point and engages your audience.

Key Takeaways

  • A speech outline serves as a roadmap for your speech, helping you to organize your thoughts and ideas in a clear and concise manner.
  • Understanding the purpose and structure of a speech outline is crucial for effective public speaking.
  • Incorporating research, visual aids, and preparation for delivery are essential components of a successful speech outline.

Understanding Speech Preparation

History of Public Speaking

Public speaking can be traced back to ancient Greece, where it was considered an essential skill for leaders and philosophers. In fact, the term “rhetoric” was coined by Aristotle to describe the art of persuasive speaking. Over time, public speaking has become an integral part of modern society, with speeches used to inspire, educate, and entertain.

Modern Technology and Public Speaking

With the advent of modern technology, public speaking has become even more accessible and impactful. Speakers can now reach a global audience through live streaming and social media platforms. Tools such as teleprompters and presentation software have made it easier for speakers to deliver their messages effectively.

However, it’s important to note that technology should not be relied upon to replace the fundamental skills of public speaking. A skilled speaker should still be able to engage their audience without the aid of technology.

Public speaking has a rich history and continues to evolve with modern technology. A successful speaker should be able to adapt to these changes while still maintaining the core principles of effective communication.

Structure of a Speech


The title of a speech should be a concise and attention-grabbing phrase that accurately reflects the content of the speech. It should be clear, specific, and memorable to the audience.

Specific Purpose Statement

The specific purpose statement is a single sentence that states the purpose of the speech. It should be written clearly, concisely and focus on what the speaker hopes to accomplish with the speech.

Central Idea

The central idea is the main point of the speech. It should be a clear and concise statement that summarizes the overall message of the speech. The central idea should be specific and focused, and the content of the speech should support it.

In a speech outline, the structure should be clear and organized.

  • The outline should include an introduction, body, and conclusion, and each section should be clearly labeled.
  • The introduction should include a hook to grab the audience’s attention, a thesis statement presenting the central idea, and an overview of the main points covered in the speech.
  • The body should include several main points that support the central idea, and each main point should be supported by evidence and examples.
  • The conclusion should summarize the speech’s main points and leave the audience with a final thought or call to action.

A well-structured speech outline is essential for a successful speech. It helps the speaker stay organized and focused, and it ensures that the audience can easily follow along with the content of the speech.

The Body of the Speech

The body of a speech is where the speaker presents the main points and subpoints that support the thesis statement. To make the speech effective, the speaker should use transitions, internal summaries, and internal previews to help the audience follow the idea flow.

Main Points

The main points of a speech are the key ideas that the speaker wants to convey to the audience. These main points should be clear, concise, and memorable. They should also be relevant to the topic and support the thesis statement.

To ensure that the main points are effective, they should be organized logically and presented in a way that is easy for the audience to follow.


Subpoints are the details that support the main points. They should be specific, relevant, and clearly connected to the main points. Subpoints should also be organized in a logical sequence that helps the audience to understand the main points and the overall message of the speech.


Transitions are phrases or sentences that connect the main points and subpoints together. They should be smooth and seamless to help the audience follow the speaker’s train of thought. Transitions can be used to signal a change in topic, summarize the previous point, or preview the next point.

Internal Summaries

Internal summaries are brief recaps of the main points that have been covered so far in the speech. They are used to help the audience remember the key ideas and to reinforce the speaker’s message. Internal summaries should be clear, concise, and presented appropriately throughout the speech.

Internal Previews

Internal previews are brief previews of the main points that will be covered later in the speech. They help the audience anticipate the speaker’s message and prepare them for what is coming next. Internal previews should be clear and concise and presented at appropriate intervals throughout the speech.

By organizing the speech in a logical and engaging way, the speaker can capture the audience’s attention and deliver a memorable message.

Visual Framework and Symbolization

Pattern of Symbolization

When creating a speech/presentation outline, it is important to consider the pattern of symbolization that will be used. This refers to the way in which symbols, such as images or metaphors, are used throughout the speech to convey meaning. A consistent symbolization pattern can help reinforce the speech’s main point and make it more memorable for the audience.


Another important aspect of creating a visual framework for a speech is the use of indentation. This can help visually organize the speech’s main points and sub-points, making it easier for the speaker to keep track of their ideas and for the audience to follow along. It is important to use a consistent system of indentation throughout the outline to avoid confusion.

Creating a clear visual framework and pattern of symbolization can greatly enhance the effectiveness of a speech. By using consistent formatting and symbolism, the speaker can convey their message in a way that is both memorable and easy to understand for the audience.

Incorporating Research and Sources


When incorporating quotations into your speech/presentation, it is important to ensure that they are relevant and add value to your main points. Use quotations sparingly and only when they provide a unique perspective or insight on your topic. Always properly cite your sources and give credit to the original author.


A bibliography is a list of sources used in your research, and it should be included in your speech/presentation. Make sure to use credible sources and properly cite them using the appropriate citation style. A well-organized bibliography can help your audience understand the depth of your research and the credibility of your sources.

Keep research notes throughout your preparation process, so you can easily reference them when creating your bibliography.

Incorporating research and sources into your speech can add credibility and depth to your presentation. Using relevant quotations and properly citing your sources can provide your audience with valuable insights and information.

Preparing for Delivery

Speaking Outline

A clear and concise speaking outline is essential for a successful speech. It should include the main points and supporting details of the speech. Use bullet points and subheadings to organize your thoughts. Make sure to practice your speaking outline several times before delivering the speech.

Delivery Cues

Delivery cues are physical and vocal signals that help you deliver your speech effectively. They include gestures, facial expressions, tone of voice, and pacing. Practice your delivery cues to ensure they are natural and appropriate for your speech.

Eye Contact

Maintaining eye contact with the audience is crucial for establishing a connection and building trust. Look at different sections of the audience to ensure everyone feels included. Avoid staring at one person or reading from notes the entire time. Practice your eye contact techniques to make them feel natural.

Preparing for delivery is as important as preparing the content of your speech. A well-prepared speaker who delivers their speech effectively is more likely to be successful.

Special Considerations in Public Speaking

When preparing a speech, it’s important to consider leadership, body-piercing hazards, acoustical engineering, and noise control. By considering these factors, you can deliver a powerful and effective speech that resonates with your audience.


Leadership is a crucial aspect of public speaking. A good speaker should be able to inspire and motivate the audience. A leader should also be able to communicate effectively, listen to feedback, and adapt to the audience’s needs. A speaker who can do these things will be able to deliver a powerful and memorable speech.

Body Piercing Hazards

When preparing to speak in public, it’s essential to consider any body piercings you may have. Tongue piercings, in particular, can affect speech clarity and cause discomfort. It’s best to remove any piercings that may interfere with your speech and avoid getting new piercings before a speaking engagement.

Acoustical Engineering and Noise Control

Acoustical engineering and noise control are important indoor and outdoor speaking event considerations. Electric appliances, crowd noise, and the sounds of nature can all affect the clarity of your speech. Choosing a location with good acoustics and using microphones and speakers to ensure your message is heard loud and clear is important.

Tips for Effective Speech Preparation

Main Tips

When preparing a speech, there are four main tips to keep in mind.

  • Start early to give yourself plenty of time to research and organize your thoughts.
  • Know your audience and tailor your speech to their interests and needs.
  • Practice your delivery to ensure you are confident and comfortable with your material.
  • Be prepared for the unexpected, such as technical difficulties or interruptions.

Brief Phrases vs. Complete Sentences

When creating your speech outline, it’s significant to strike a balance between brief phrases and complete sentences. While using complete phrases helps provide clarity and consistency, doing it too frequently can make your outline clumsy and difficult to read. Instead, try using brief phrases that capture the main points of each section. This will make it easier to glance at your outline and quickly recall your key ideas.


Your speech/presentation slides should be legible and easy to read. This means using a clear font, appropriate font size, and plenty of white space to break up the text. Consider using bullet points or tables to organize your information. Additionally, be sure to proofread your outline carefully to catch any typos or errors that could distract from your message.

Effective speech preparation is key to delivering a successful presentation. By following these tips and carefully crafting your outline, you’ll be well on your way to delivering a memorable and impactful speech.


Mastering the art of speech is essential for delivering a compelling and impactful presentation. A well-crafted speech outline functions as a roadmap, aiding in the organization of thoughts and the effective presentation of main points. It is vital to grasp the outline’s purpose and structure, as it serves to support the core message of your speech and captivate your audience.

By incorporating research, visual aids, and preparation techniques, you can enhance the quality of your speech and captivate your audience. Remember the rich history of public speaking and the evolution of technology, but also recognize the importance of maintaining fundamental skills and connection with your audience.

Structure your outline with a clear title, specific purpose statement, and central idea that summarizes your message. Organize the body of your speech with clear main points, subpoints, transitions, internal summaries, and internal previews to guide your audience’s understanding. Utilize a visual framework, symbolization patterns, and proper indentation to enhance your outline’s visual appeal and organization.

Incorporate relevant quotations, cite sources in a bibliography, and ensure credibility through research. Prepare for delivery by creating a concise speaking outline, practicing delivery cues, and maintaining eye contact with the audience. Consider special considerations in public speaking, such as leadership, body piercing hazards, and acoustical engineering.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What are the main points in a speech outline?

The main points in a speech outline are the key ideas that support the thesis statement of the speech. They should be organized in a logical order and presented in a clear and concise manner.

Q. What should be included in the contents of a speech outline?

The contents of a speech outline should include the introduction, body, and conclusion of the speech. The introduction should grab the audience’s attention, state the purpose of the speech, and preview the main points.

The body should present the main points and supporting details. The conclusion should summarize the main points and leave a lasting impression on the audience.

Q. What is the correct format for a speech outline?

The correct format for a speech outline is to use Roman numerals for the main points, capital letters for the sub-points, Arabic numerals for the supporting details, and lowercase letters for the sub-details. Each level should be indented and aligned with the corresponding level above it

Q. How can I tailor my speech to the audience’s interests and needs?

Know your audience by researching their demographics, interests, and expectations. Tailor your speech to align with their knowledge level and ensure the content is relevant and engaging to them. Consider using examples and language that resonate with the audience.

Q. How can I ensure that my main points are clear and concise?

Focus on one key idea per point to ensure clarity and conciseness in your main points. Be specific and avoid unnecessary details. Use clear language and avoid ambiguity to make your main points memorable and easy to understand.

Q. How can I improve my delivery and connect with the audience?

Practice your delivery using a clear and concise speaking outline multiple times. Pay attention to your body language, facial expressions, tone of voice, and pacing. Maintain eye contact with the audience to establish a connection and engage them in your speech.

Q. Should my speech outline be in complete sentences or brief phrases?

It’s best to strike a balance between complete sentences and brief phrases. Complete sentences can ensure clarity and coherence, but too many can make your outline cumbersome. Use brief phrases to capture the main points and make them easier to reference during your speech.

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