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The Value of an Outline in Public Speaking

Glazed eyes. Yawns. Fidgeting. All of these are signs that a speaker has lost his or her audience. Nothing is guaranteed to produce more nervousness than an audience that can’t wait for you to pronounce your last sentence. How will an outline help you? An outline adds structure. It is the skeleton that supports the body of your speech. You know where you are going and it is easier to take your audience along with you. How does one prepare an outline? Begin by establishing your theme. What do you want your audience to carry away with them? What idea do you want them to remember, what conclusion do you want them to reach? Stated in one sentence, this is the destination you want to arrive at with your audience. Now choose your main points. These can be as few as two, for a short discussion, or as many as five. But no more than five. Remember our first paragraph? What does your audience already know? Don’t bore them with old news, excite them with something fresh. Above... read more

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