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7 Presentation Outlines That Work | How To Write A Speech

A key to having a great speech is that it must have a structure for the audience to follow and remember it by. Lots of videos would try to teach you the one true framework. But there is no one true framework. Let me tell you about 7.

Why must a speech even have a structure to it. Can’t you just get up there and talk about everything you know? Or what ever comes to mind?

No. No you can’t.

You see the purpose of a speech is to give something useful to an audience. Assuming your audience is humans, they need a way to organize something in their heads so they can remember it. Also so they can come to the same conclusion you did.

For this you need a structure. A skeleton. A framework. Something that organizes the content for them.

Starting with a framework also helps you. It gives you a starting point. Sort of a fill in the the blanks worksheet. Which will help you create faster.

Here are the 7 Frameworks:

  1. The Tim Ferris
  2. Hands, Heart, and Head
  3. The Listical
  4. The Hero’s Journey
  5. The Pitch
  6. The Podcast or YouTube Episode
  7. The Framework is the Framework

This list is just the tip of the iceberg, and I’m going to go over them pretty fast here. If you want a deeper dive claim the ebook here.

The Tim Ferris

I’m a fan of Tim and he wrote a blog post a number of years back about how he structures his speeches. It is a simple three-point structure and has been my go-to for generic speeches. It is even how I structure impromptu speeches because it is so easy. It is also basically the 5 paragraph essay you learned in English class.

You start with an opening. You have three points. For each of the points, you give a Case Study or Story to illustrate or prove the concept and a discussion of the point. The discussion can come first or after the case study/story.

It is pretty basic and you can use it for just about anything.

Hands, Heart, and Head

I just learned this one recently from Travis White who learned it from a friend who learned it from a speaking guru name Pat Quinn.

It’s structured like this. The basic top-level outline is where it gets its name. The sections of the speech are Hands, Heart, Head, Heart. Here’s what that means.

You open by handing them useful stuff. These are the 3 resources open I mentioned in the How To Start A Speech episode.

Then you move into Heart, where you Tell stories. The way Travis explained it, you give them a story of the ordinary to show them what is ordinary. Then a story of the Extraordinary to show them what is extraordinary. And explain why one is ordinary and the other extraordinary.

Then you move into Head, where you explain the strategy and give them a plan. Once you give them a plan, you tell back it up with testimonials that are examples that worked.

To close you go back to Heart and close with another emotional story.
This takes quite a bit more preparation but builds in much more power to your speech.

As an interesting aside, I noticed Travis uses this framework for not just speeches, but blog posts as well. Check out his blog via the link in the description.

The list

Or in elite internet slang, the logistical.

You give a list of X number of things that can change your life. Then each point is one of those things.

For instance, oh, I don’t know. 7 Speech Frameworks That Slay The Audience.

Really it is the title that makes this one popular. Those numbered lists make people click and the title is generally to the point.

But you can screw up the opening and closing very easily because you don’t have any structure for them.

The Hero’s Journey

Tell a story using this classic structure. Donald Miller at Storybrand has summed this structure into one long sentence. A simple framework that you flesh out for your speech.

  • A character
  • With a Problem
  • Meets a guide who understands their fear
  • and gives them a plan
  • that calls them to action
  • that results in
  • success
  • or failure – tragic results.

Get Donald’s book Storybrand for an indepth dive into this structure.

The Pitch

The pitch is generally used to sell something. Specifically, my variation is what I use to pitch businesses. When I pitched my video game company this was the structure I used to raise $20,000.

It goes Problem, Solution, Competition, Team, Call To Action.

Start with what is the problem do people have, that your product or company is solving.

How do you solve that problem in a unique way?
Who is your competition and how are you better.
Who is your team to make this happen?

And end with a Call To Action. Generally to give you money.

If you can quickly and concisely deliver each of these points, those listening will be primed to do your call to action. If you poorly answer those points, you are going to have to do some explaining.

The Podcast or YouTube Episode

This is the basic framework I use for episodic content. It is the outline of my podcasts, and it is the outline of this YouTube channel.

Open with a Teaser where you tell what this episode is about. That leads into the Canned Pre-recorded Opening.

When you come out of the pre-record stuff, you generally going to have a Repeated but varied opening. Something you say every time coming out of the intro. In general, it varies some.

For Example, for my ems podcast, we opened with sidekick references to introduce the hosts. Something like, “Welcome to EMS Newbie, I’m Ron Davis and playing Batman to my Robin is paramedic Kelly Grayson.”

The next week it might be “playing Obi Won to my Luke Skywalker is”
Then we’d move into Banter a general back and forth between hosts.

After a bit of that, we get into the Core Content of the episode which is what we had promised in the Title and the teaser.

After that was done, we’d have a Live close, which like varied open, this is something you say at the end of every episode that may vary some. It should include a call to action.

That goes into the pre-recorded close. Which in the case of this show, includes the bloopers.

The Framework is the Framework

Lastly, if you are talking about a framework, then that framework is the structure of the talk. A dead giveaway to use the framework is if your framework is an acronym. That tells you to just present the acronym as your structure. The acronym will give them all they need to remember your points.

Those 7 frameworks or structures for your speech are a lot. I created a short ebook with all of these in it. You can download it here for free.

Question of the Day: What is your go to structure for a speech?

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