The Preparation Outline
A preparation outline is a precursor to your speech outline. As its name suggests, a preparation outline helps you prepare your speech. Presentations that require significant research, visual aids, or other type of content outside of speech rehearsal usually require organization and preparation in the form of an outline.
An outline is a list of items organized according to a consistent principle. Each item may be divided into additional sub-items or sub-points. A preparation outline consists of three main sections, which includes the introduction, body, and conclusion. It also includes the title of the speech.
The types of preparation outlines for speeches vary. However, it is up to you to evaluate the style most appropriate for the speech, as well as the best form to assist you.
Common outline styles include sentence outlines, topics outlines, chronological outlines, and alphanumeric outlines. While sentence outlines follow a hierarchical structure composed of sentences and headings around the subject of the speech, topics outlines are comprised of topics and subtopics. Alphanumeric outlines include a prefix in the form of a roman numeral at the top level, upper-case letters for the next level, arabic numerals for the third level, and lowercase letter for the final level.
If, for example, you have separate visual aids for the introduction, main points in the body of your speech, and your conclusion, than using a sentence style for your preparation outline may be more appropriate. Your preparation outline will start with the introduction, along with a list of the points you would like to cover before launching into the body of your speech. This may include a preview of the main topic, an attention-grabbing quote or statistic to support the main argument of your presentation.
The body of your speech will contain the details and descriptors to support the main point, topic, or argument of the speech. Here you will state each of the main points or topics you covered in your introduction, followed by supporting facts and details. Sub-topics should be added underneath each main topic covered in the body of the preparation outline
No matter what type of speech you are giving, every preparation outline should have a conclusion. The conclusion allows you to re-state and emphasize your main topic or argument (mentioned in the introduction) in a summary or list of key points. Moreover, you should identify how you will end your speech for the audience. Additional items you can add to the preparation outline include references or a "works cited" list including sources you have used to prepare your speech.
Remember, an outline is simply your guide. While there are traditional and non-traditional ways of outlining, do not get caught up worrying about "right and wrong" ways to outline. However, a standard preparation outline can serve as a helpful aid for a well-prepared and organized presentation.