Posted by: George E Burney | April 9, 2012

Public Speaking – Why Nothing Compares With A Good Outline

Many beginning speakers prepare and give their presentations verbatim, or word-for-word. This is one of the least effective ways to prepare and present material orally. Using an outline is far more efficient and effective. Why? Consider just a few of the reasons why this is so:

1. Using an outline forces a speaker to organize his material in a logical manner. A logical presentation is easier for the audience to accept and recall later.

2. It takes less time to outline material and prepare it for presentation. Once outlined, changes and revisions are easily accommodated. A manuscript, or word-for-word presentation, may require much more work to incorporate changes, since material surrounding the revision must also be tweaked to make that passage flow smoothly.

3. It takes less time to review an outlined presentation than to read over one which has been written out word-for-word. This also saves time in preparation.

4. An outline helps the speaker to shift his focus from a misguided concentration on specific words to be used to the specific ideas he wants to cover. This helps to keep his presentation fresh and spontaneous, since each time he gives it, he may choose slightly different words to express his ideas. He therefore avoids giving a speech which sounds “canned.”

5. Using an outline when presenting allows for better audience contact. The speaker is  not tied to his notes. He can actually look at various members of his audience as he speaks to them, and note their reactions to his words. He can elaborate, rephrase or explain as he feels is necessary for his audience to get the point.

Much more could be said, but the most telling argument is this: Once a speaker uses an outline to make a presentation, he’ll never go back to using a manuscript.

Copyright © 2012 by George Burney and betterpublicspeaking


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