Preparation Outlines

Course(s) Used:

  • Public Speaking

Goals and Objectives:

  • Students understand that every presentation includes an introduction, body, and conclusion.
  • Students know the different types of outlines.
  • Students know the primary criteria for effective outlining.
  • Students practice organizing points into an outline which meets these criteria.

Rationale: Preparing an outline will help you prepare, research, and organize your presentation. Outlining is a key competency in Public Speaking.

Materials Needed


  • None


  • Classroom computer and projector

Outline of the Lesson

  1. Review of previous session’s content
  2. Lesson opening
  3. Every presentation has three major sections:
    1. Introduction
    2. Body
    3. Conclusion
  4. Types of Outlines
    1. Alphanumeric Outlines vs. Decimal Outlines
    2. Full-sentence outlines vs. Topic Outlines1
  5. Outline Principles2
    1. Parallelism (Writing all items in full sentences will fulfill this requirement.)
    2. Coordination (All items at the same level should have the same level of importance.)
    3. Subordination (Top-level items should be general and information deeper in the outline should be more specific.)
    4. Division (Each item, if divided, should be divided into two or more parts.)
  6. Face-to-face Formative Assessment:
    1. Group students into groups of 5 students
    2. Each group creates a full-sentence outline for a presentation about “how to do something” (15 minutes)
    3. Groups revise the outline to follow the 4 outline principles (5 min)
    4. Groups transfer the outline onto note cards (one full-sentence item per note card)
    5. Groups shuffle the note cards and pass their presentation to another group
    6. Groups re-construct an outline from the cards (10 min)
    7. Groups fix problems with the outline (5 minutes)
    8. Debrief the activity
  7. Hybrid/Online Formative Assessment:
    1. Download the activity document from the Learning Management System
    2. Re-order the main points in the document so they work as an outline
    3. Upload the document to the Activity Dropbox for this week
  8. Lesson closing


This lesson requires students to use notebook paper and note cards. Strategic grouping may be necessary for improved peer mentoring.

Variations and Accommodations

Follow guidance from local accommodation authorities. Students for whom writing by hand and moving physical objects will present an unreasonable burden may be accommodated if necessary. Students may be placed in groups strategically if needed.

  1. Full sentence outlines are used in this class. ^
  2. Tardiff, E., & Brizee, A. (2013, March 1). Four Main Components for Effective Outlines. Retrieved October 12, 2016, from ^