How to make an outline for giving talks in the public


If you are opportuned to give a presentation, speech or a talk, many get it all wrong by writing out all they are to say beginning with the introduction through to the conclusion, they labour, they labour by writing out every bit of expression to be made , and a whole lot of drafts may have been made before it’s completion, which is time consuming.

How do you prepare your talks?

How is a talk supposed to be prepared?

Is there an easier way to prepare a talk?

All you need is an outline, if you learn to prepare an outline, there would be no need to labour yourself writing out everything​. You will have more time to practice how your delivery will be, making your talk more easier to give and interesting to listen to and it reaches the heart of your audience.

A topic, subject or theme may be what you are given with no reference, i.e you search out your materials and develop your talk yourself. Stones you may be asked to cover a specific area of the topic of subject or a few instructions on how to go about it. All you need to do is prepare your outline.

Preparing an Outline

In preparing an outline, there are main points you need to take Cognizance of, which should be written in CAPITAL LETTERS, Below the minutes points write out additional points that support it, it could be two or more supporting the main point or more.


Outline format

NOTE: These additional points must support the main points, while the main points relate directly to the theme or topic.

Carefully indent the additional points even if they are written in small letters. While you list the additional points, write reference materials you may likely duel on while giving the talk, a short note on its main points will help you remember what it has in it.

Outline – Analyze, Select and Organise

A theme is what you need first. This may not necessarily be a single word, but rather a central idea that needs to be conveyed including the angle from which you plan to discuss the subject.

If you are given a theme, analyze each main word carefully. If it is to be developed based on a published material, study the material with the theme in mind, if it is a subject, then you can choose the theme. If possible do some research on the subject to find a suitable theme. An open mind with regards to the topic will give avenue to new ideas on the subject.

The beauty of Research

As you ascertain main point, ask yourself:

Why is this material important to my audience?
What is my objective?
Your objective should not be to cover the material, neither should it be to impress the audience of how good you are at giving talks, but to accomplish something for them.

After you have​ gotten your objective and a consistent theme with it, do more research, one which will be of particular value to your Audience, be specific, informative and helpful in your delivery. Try to be selective in your research as you may begin to have more materials than you can use.

Identify main points to be discussed, theee is need to develop your theme by achieving your objective. Do not have a long list of main points; how many main points should ther be? For a short discussion​, two points and usually five for an hour long discourse. Why? The fewer the main points the more likely your audience will remember​ them.

Organize your Material

Decide and select what directly relatesto your main points, details that will add freshness to your presentation, when choosing quotations to support the main points, note ideas that will help you to reason on those quote’s meanings fully. Put thsm u der the main points to which it belongs. If there are information that does not fit in​ on the main point, discard it – even if it is very interesting – save it I a file for subsequent use. Try reducing your material by keeping only the best in​stead of covering too much, as it will make you tend to speak too fast, resulting in a shallow coverage. A few strong points of real value goes a long way in reaching the heart of your audience.

Before now, your materials should be arranged in logical sequence or order of which to come first and Next depending on what is most effective to get to your objective, possibly according to cause and effect or problem and solution. Lead your listeners from one thought to another to logical conclusions. Think about how your presentation will sound to your audience. Will they readily follow you line of thought? Will they be moved to act on what they hear in harmony with the objective you have in mind?


Prepare an interest arousing introduction, that shows your audience that what you are going to discuss is of real value to them. A few sentences to that effect will be helpful. Finally plan a motivating conclusion consistent with your objective.


If you work out your outline early enough you will have time to refine it before you deliver the talk. There may be need to support some ideas with a few statistics, an illustration or experience. Current event or that of local interest may help your audience see the relevance of the material. In reviewing you may see more opportunities to adapt the information to your audience. Refining shape your material into an effective talk.


  • Determine why your subject is important to your audience and what your objective is.
  • Select a theme; if one is assigned, analyze it.
  • Gather informative helpful material
  • Identify your main points
  • Organize your material, keep only the best.
  • Prepare an interest​-arousing introduction
  • Plan a motivating conclusion
  • Review your talk, refine it.


  1. Adigheji November 15, 2017

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