Need A Speech Outline Template? I’ve Got Just the One

speech outline template

Mark Twain was not only one of the greatest American writers of his time (and now), he was also an incredible lecturer. His speeches sold out everywhere he went and made his listeners laugh, cry and cheer. He had a formula he followed for delivering these praised speeches, and—guess what—I’ve got it to share!

The key to his template is that he organized his speeches into small pieces and used short sentences. He faithfully employed the “Rule of Three,” which you can read about here –paying close attention to creating a beginning, middle and end to each of his stories. He then approached his speeches using this disciplined template:

The Introduction:

  • Acknowledge the audience.
  • Say specifically—yet briefly—what you are talking about.
  • Make them laugh.

The Middle:

  • Move it along.
  • Leave things out. Do not explain everything.
  • Use rhetorical devices: compare and contrast, self-deprecating humor, callbacks, similes, and metaphors.

The End:

  • Say it again in as few lines as you can.
  • Say thanks.
  • Make them laugh.

It was a formula that obviously worked. Try using his blueprint the next time you find yourself giving a speech and see how it goes. Along with his outline, remember some of his greatest words of wisdom spoke to challenging yourself to be different and authentic. Use his template to insert your own voice and distinctive style that sets you apart from the rest. Get more tips on how to approach your next speech from my book, A Climb to the Top.

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