Simple Template for a Speech

25Jul07

Public speaking is arguably one of the more stressful assignments you will have to navigate in college. I am not so sure about bigger universities, but at Hamilton College (pop. ~ 1,800 students) oral presentations are a component of nearly every course.

One particular aspect of speech-making that I think deserves more attention is the planning stage. The presentations conducted by faculty are almost always succinct and flow in a logical form, but I have seen many student presentations that were all over the map. This may be due to lack of planning, or perhaps we students just need to implement a strict game plan to ensure the point we are trying to makes it to the audience. I came across a great article today at ‘Ian’s Messy Desk’ that offers a simple template for an effective speech:

The outline is based on three simple steps:

  1. Tell them what you’re going to tell them
  2. Tell them
  3. Tell them what you told them

Speech Outline

  1. Introduction (tell them what you’re going to tell them)
    1. Open with a quote or anecdote
    2. State the main reason for your speech
    3. Summarize your three principle points
      1. First point
      2. Second point
      3. Third point
  2. Body (tell them)
    1. First point – start with your strongest point. Give your listeners something to grab on to.
    2. Second point – this is the weaker or weakest point. Sandwich it between the stronger points.
    3. Third point – come back with another strong point.
  3. Conclusion (tell them what you told them)
    1. Re-state your three main points
      1. First point
      2. Second point
      3. Third point
    2. Summarize the idea you’ve presented
    3. Conclude with a compelling remark or a call to action

There’s nothing new in this outline. Aristotle talked about this more than 2,000 years ago. Why are we using such an old template? Because it works! Give it a try.

The original article can be found here.

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