Preparation & Speaking Outlines: Differences & Importance

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  • 0:01 Speech Outlines
  • 0:33 What Is a Preparation Outline?
  • 1:54 What Is a Speaking Outline?
  • 3:46 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Cathryn Jackson

Cat has taught a variety of subjects, including communications, mathematics, and technology. Cat has a master's degree in education and is currently working on her Ph.D.

In many public speaking classes you will be asked to create a preparation outline and a speaking outline. These outlines are important in the process of speech construction and delivery.

Speech Outlines

Jasmine is taking her first public speaking class. She's excited about the class, but she isn't sure about some of the terms and concepts. She has been asked to create a preparation outline and a speaking outline for her speech. She's only learned how to outline English papers.

What is a preparation outline? What is a speaking outline? In this lesson, you will learn about these two types of outlines in speech, including how they're created, used, formatted, and what to include and omit in each outline. First, let's discuss the preparation outline.

What Is a Preparation Outline?

A preparation outline is the full sentence outline used to construct and organize all of the components in your speech. Your teacher will rarely ask you to construct a full manuscript for your speech, so the preparation outline is really the construction of the main content of your speech. You will create it after selecting and researching your topic. You will use this outline when practicing your speech and constructing your speaking outline. For your preparation outline be sure to include all of the speech components, including the introduction, main points, conclusion, and transition sentences. You will also need to include a title, and your general purpose, specific purpose, central idea, and preview.

Do not include paragraphs unless you are quoting a specific source. Remember, this is a full sentence outline, not a manuscript. You will format the main sections of your speech using Roman numerals. These are for your introduction, main points, and conclusion. The next level should be capital letters. These are for each of the sub-points of your introduction, main points, and conclusion. Also, if you have a sub sub-point, use a number and your support will have a lower case letter. You will learn how to create a preparation outline in detail in the Outlining a Speech: Standard Form and Organization Pattern lesson of this chapter!

What Is a Speaking Outline?

A speaking outline is the outline used as speaking notes to remind the speaker of the parts of a speech during delivery. In essence, a speaking outline is used to jog the speaker's memory during delivery. This is often written on an index card or notecard because they're small and easy to carry while delivering your speech. You'll need to create your speaking outline as you begin practicing your speech, after you've created the final draft of your preparation outline. A speaking outline can be different for each speaker, since the words that jog a person's memory will be different from person to person.

However, there are some suggestions on what to include: the key words for each section of your speech, a basic outline, and any quotes or numbers that are difficult to remember. Citations are also a good thing to have in a speaking outline so that you don't forget to give proper credit to your sources. Don't include full sentences unless it is a quote that you are having trouble remembering. You also don't need to format and title your speaking outline. Since the general purpose, specific purpose, central idea, and organizational pattern are tools for your preparation outline, but not a speaking part of your speech, you do not need to include these things.

A notecard used as a speaking outline
Speaking Outline

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