The Structure of a Speech


The following presentation outline is a very simple way to organize your material into a speech format.

Note that the presentation outline is not a word-for-word script for the speech but an outline of ideas to serve as an organizational and presentation tool for the speaker.



1. Pre-speech preparation


Decide on your topic.


Analyze your audience. What do they already know about your topic? Are they interested in the topic?

Refine and limit topic

Based on your analysis of the audience you may need to slightly change you topic, by either changing the focus, or the scale of the topic.

Purpose Statement

Write down a clear statement of what it is you intend to achieve. What is the purpose of your speech.

For example; The purpose of this speech is to inform the audience how to travel in Japan without spending too much money.

Organizational Method or Pattern

There is no single way to organize a speech. The pattern you will select will be determined by the information you have and the specific purpose you want to achieve. There are six basic patterns for organizing a speech:

       Logical or topical






Once you have completed these five parts of the 'Header', you are then ready to start planning the speech itself.


2. Introduction


In the introduction, you state the topic of your speech. You tell the audience the main points of your speech. In other words, you say what you are going to speak about.


        What is the topic of your speech?

        Why should the audience listen to your speech ?

        What will your main points be?



Greeting and Attention grabber


How will you greet the audience? How will you get the audience's attention? Think of something (a short story, an anecdote, statistics, etc.) that will make the audience sit up and listen.


Thesis Statement


The 'purpose statement' is where you simply state what your goal is. However, it is not possible to use this in the speech. You need to convert it to a 'thesis statement'. A thesis statement is one sentence in the introduction in which you declare your purpose and topic.

For example, a thesis statement of the above purpose statement would be; 'Traveling in Japan need not be an extravagance.'




If the audience do not know who you are, you will not only need to introduce yourself, but you will also need to 'establish your credibility'. This means you will have to explain to the audience why you are 'qualified' to speak about the subject.


Outline of main the points - overview


What are your main points?



Tell your audience why you think your presentation will be useful to them.


3. The body




Think of a sentence that will make it clear to the audience that you have finished the introduction, and are now about to start the body of the speech.


Main points and ideas


Main ideas

Supporting ideas

Details & Examples


Write your main points and ideas here

What ideas will you tell the audience to support your main points?

What details or examples do you have?

Will you have any visuals to help explain your points?

main ideas = sub-topics

supporting ideas = sub-sub topics

evidence = details and examples


4. The conclusion


In the conclusion, you should summarize the main points of your speech, and emphasize what you want the audience to remember.


        What were the main points of your speech, and what do you want the audience to remember?




Think of a sentence that will make it clear to the audience that you have finished the body and are now coming to the end of the speech.


Restatement of main points


Summarize your main ideas and think of which piece of information you really want the audience to remember.



Think of a final sentence to help the audience remember your speech.