6 Tips for Writing a Persuasive Speech (On Any Topic)
B y far, the best way to learn how to write speeches is to read the great ones, from Pericles’ Funeral Oration, to Dr. King’s Mountaintop speech, to Faulkner’s Nobel acceptance address. But if you’re looking for some quick tips, here are a few things to bear in mind next time you’re asked to give a speech:
1. Write like you talk. There is no First Law of Speechwriting, but if there were, it would probably be something like this: a speech is meant to be spoken, not read. That simple (and obvious) fact has a few important (and less obvious) implications. Use short words. Write short sentences. Avoid awkward constructions that might cause a speaker to stumble. Tip: Read the speech aloud as you’re writing. If you do it enough, you’ll start hearing the words when you type them.
2. Tell a story . I once wrote speeches for a governor whose aide told me: speechwriting is about slinging soundbites together. That approach is a recipe for writing neither good speeches nor good soundbites. Whenever we sat down to discuss a speech for the first time, President Obama would ask us: What’s the story we’re trying to tell? Like any good story, a speech has its own narrative arc. For the President, it’s usually a slow warm-up, a substantive middle, and an inspirational end. That’s his style. Tell your story in whatever way feels natural. Tip: A good story can be a lot more powerful than the most compelling facts and statistics.
3. Structure matters . It’s usually harder to figure out the right structure for a speech – the order of the points to make – than the words themselves. The order of those points matters because an argument that’s clear and logical is more likely to be persuasive. There is a reason that some of America’s greatest speechwriters – from Lincoln to JFK’s speechwriter Ted Sorensen to President Obama himself – studied the law, a profession that values the ability to make a logical argument. Tip: Lists (like this one) are one way to impose a structure on a speech.
4. Be concise. It is said that Woodrow Wilson once gave the following reply to a speaking request: “If you’d like me to speak for five minutes, I’ll need a month to prepare. If you’d like me to speak for 20 minutes, I’ll need two weeks. But if you’d like me to speak for an hour, I’m ready right now.” As Wilson knew, it’s harder to be concise than verbose. But the best way to make a point is concisely, as Churchill did when he announced during a wartime address: “The news from France is very bad.” Next time you think you can’t afford to cut that paragraph you love, remember: the Gettysburg Address, perhaps the greatest speech in American history, is fewer than 300 words. Tip: Challenge yourself to cut as many words as possible from each sentence without losing the line’s meaning.
5. Be authentic. If you’ve ever given a speech, you’ve probably been told, “Just speak from the heart.” It’s not very helpful writing advice, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Once, when we were writing President Obama’s 2008 Democratic Convention address, we got stuck on a certain section of the speech. The President advised us: Think about the moment we’re in, think about what the country is going through, and write something that feels true. It was a helpful reminder to stop focusing on polls and soundbites and simply say something we believed in as simply as we could. Tip: Sharing a personal story can help you find your voice and build a connection with the audience.
6. Don’t just speak – say something. When Michelangelo was tasked with painting the Sistine Chapel, he considered it a thankless job. He would have much rather spent his time sculpting than painting. But he used the occasion to paint perhaps the most revered fresco in history. So, the next time you’re asked to speak, don’t just write a speech, write a great one. A speech’s greatness has as much to do with its values as anything else. No one remembers the speeches of segregationists, though there were no doubt eloquent preachers spewing hate in the days of Jim Crow. No one remembers Hitler’s speeches, though few would dispute his oratorical prowess. Of course, Hitler, like the segregationists, lost. But it’s also because hope will always be more compelling than hate. It’s no accident that the best-known, best-loved speech in history – the Sermon on the Mount – is an articulation of humanity’s highest ideals. Tip: Before sitting down to write, get inspired by reading great speeches from collections like William Safire’s “Lend Me Your Ears.”
Adam Frankel is VP, External Affairs at Andela . Previously, he was Special Assistant and Senior Speechwriter to President Barack Obama.
- Introducing TIME’s Women of the Year 2023
- Biden Unlikely to Attend King Charles' Coronation
- TIME Turns 100
- Column: The Death of "Dilbert" and False Claims of White Victimhood
- For People with Eating Disorders, the Buzz About Ozempic Is a Nightmare
- The Parent Files: How Parenting Helped Marie Kondo Make Room For a Little Mess
- Your Houseplants Have Some Powerful Health Benefits
- Why You Should Report Your Rapid Test Results
- The 5 Best TV Shows Our Critic Watched in February
Contact us at [email protected] .
- SUGGESTED TOPICS
- The Magazine
- Most Popular
- Managing Yourself
- Managing Teams
- Work-life Balance
- The Big Idea
- Data & Visuals
- Reading Lists
- Case Selections
- HBR Learning
- Topic Feeds
- Account Settings
- Email Preferences
5 Tips for Giving a Persuasive Presentation
When you need to sell an idea at work or in a presentation, how do you do it? Five rhetorical devices can help — Aristotle identified them 2,000 years ago, and masters of persuasion still use them today: Ethos. Start your talk by establishing your credibility and character. Show your audience that you are committed […]
When you need to sell an idea at work or in a presentation, how do you do it? Five rhetorical devices can help — Aristotle identified them 2,000 years ago, and masters of persuasion still use them today:
- Ethos. Start your talk by establishing your credibility and character. Show your audience that you are committed to the welfare of others, and you will gain their trust.
- Logos. Use data, evidence, and facts to support your pitch.
- Pathos. People are moved to action by how a speaker makes them feel. Wrap your big idea in a story that will elicit an emotional reaction.
- Metaphor. Compare your idea to something that is familiar to your audience. It will help you clarify your argument by making the abstract concrete.
- Brevity. Explain your idea in as few words as possible. People have a limited attention span, so talk about your strongest points first.
Source: This tip is adapted from “The Art of Persuasion Hasn’t Changed in 2,000 Years,” by Carmine Gallo
- Words with Friends Cheat
- Wordle Solver
- Word Unscrambler
- Scrabble Dictionary
- Anagram Solver
- Wordscapes Answers
Make Our Dictionary Yours
Sign up for our weekly newsletters and get:
- Grammar and writing tips
- Fun language articles
- #WordOfTheDay and quizzes
We'll see you in your inbox soon.
6 Steps for Writing a Persuasive Speech
- DESCRIPTION persuasive speech by businesswoman
- SOURCE Hill Street Studios / DigitalVision / Getty Images
Writing a persuasive speech doesn’t have to be difficult, as long as you select your topic wisely and properly prepare. If you’re ready to learn how to write a persuasive speech, follow these key steps and you’ll be on your way.
Step 1: Select a Topic and Angle
Come up with a controversial topic, one that will spawn heated debates regardless of your position. This could be just about anything, from abortion to human trafficking or even animal rights. Assuming you are able to select your topic, choose one that you are passionate about.
- If you’re a teen, explore persuasive speech topics for high school for topic ideas.
- Adult speech writers can browse unique persuasive speech topics for inspiration.
To ensure your topic isn’t too broad, select a particular angle you will focus on. Research the topic thoroughly, focusing on background, key facts and arguments for and against your angle.
Step 2: Define Your Persuasive Goal
Once you have chosen a topic, the next step is to decide exactly what your goal is with regards to persuading the audience.
- Are you trying to persuade them in favor of a certain position on an issue?
- Are you hoping they’ll change a behavior or an opinion as a result of listening to your speech?
- Do you want them to make a decision to purchase something or donate money to a cause?
Knowing what your goal is will help you make wise decisions about how to approach writing and presenting your speech. Explore persuasive writing examples to see different goals in action.
Step 3: Analyze the Audience
Understanding the perspective of your audience is critical any time you are writing a speech. This is especially true with a persuasive speech, because not only are you seeking to get them to listen to you, but you’re also hoping they’ll take a particular action after listening to your presentation.
- Consider who is in the audience (age, sex, other demographic characteristics, and why they are there).
- Consider how audience members are likely to perceive the topic you are speaking on so you can better relate to them on the subject.
- Grasp the obstacles audience members face or have with regards to the topic so you can build appropriate persuasive arguments to eradicate the obstacles.
Step 4: Build an Effective Persuasive Argument
Once you have a clear goal, are knowledgeable about the topic and have insights regarding your audience, you’ll be ready to build an effective persuasive argument to deliver in the form of a speech. Follow the best practices for writing a memorable speech .
Start by deciding what persuasive techniques are most likely to help you accomplish your goal.
- Would an emotional appeal help win attendees over to your way of thinking?
- Should you use a rhetorical question to get audience members to reflect on possibilities?
- Is there a good way to sway the audience with logic and appeals to reason ?
- Is it possible that a bandwagon appeal might be effective?
Step 5: Outline Your Speech
Once you know which persuasive strategies are most likely to be effective, your next step will be to create a keyword outline to organize your main points and structure your persuasive speech for maximum impact.
- Start strong, letting your audience know what your topic is, why it matters and what you hope to convince them to do as a result of your presentation.
- List your main points, thoroughly covering each, being sure to build the argument for your position and overcome opposing perspectives.
- Conclude by appealing to audience members to act in a way that will indicate that you have successfully persuaded them.
Since motivation is a big part of persuasion, the steps for writing a motivational speech can be very helpful as you organize your speech.
Step 6: Deliver a Winning Speech
Of course, what you say is important, but how you say it is also critical. This includes your overall presentation style and visual aids.
- Select appropriate visual aids to share with your audience, such as charts, graphs, photos, or illustrations that will help engage and persuade your audience.
- Practice until you can deliver your speech confidently. Maintain eye contact, project your voice and avoid ums, uhs and other forms of vocal interference.
- Let your passion about your subject shine through, as your enthusiasm may be just what it takes to motivate audience members to see things your way.
Follow these tips for giving a great speech and you’ll be on your way to delivering a powerful persuasive speech that’s sure to have winning results.
Build on Your Persuasive Speaking Skills
Whether you’re delivering a persuasive speech for a class assignment, a work-related presentation or a social issue that you strongly support, following these steps can help you prepare. Now that you’re familiar with the steps for writing a persuasive speech, further build on your persuasive abilities by coming up with an elevator pitch about yourself. In essence, an elevator pitch is really just a 30 to 60 second persuasive speech that can help you introduce yourself quickly and effectively when you have an opportunity to build new connections.
- EXPLORE Coupons Tech Help Pro Random Article About Us Quizzes Contribute Train Your Brain Game Improve Your English Popular Categories Arts and Entertainment Artwork Books Movies Computers and Electronics Computers Phone Skills Technology Hacks Health Men's Health Mental Health Women's Health Relationships Dating Love Relationship Issues Hobbies and Crafts Crafts Drawing Games Education & Communication Communication Skills Personal Development Studying Personal Care and Style Fashion Hair Care Personal Hygiene Youth Personal Care School Stuff Dating All Categories Arts and Entertainment Finance and Business Home and Garden Relationship Quizzes Cars & Other Vehicles Food and Entertaining Personal Care and Style Sports and Fitness Computers and Electronics Health Pets and Animals Travel Education & Communication Hobbies and Crafts Philosophy and Religion Work World Family Life Holidays and Traditions Relationships Youth
- HELP US Support wikiHow Community Dashboard Write an Article Request a New Article More Ideas...
- EDIT Edit this Article
- PRO Courses New Tech Help Pro New Expert Videos About wikiHow Pro Coupons Quizzes Upgrade Sign In
- Browse Articles
- Quizzes New
- Train Your Brain New
- Improve Your English New
- Support wikiHow
- About wikiHow
- Easy Ways to Help
- Approve Questions
- Fix Spelling
- More Things to Try...
- H&M Coupons
- Hotwire Promo Codes
- StubHub Discount Codes
- Ashley Furniture Coupons
- Blue Nile Promo Codes
- NordVPN Coupons
- Samsung Promo Codes
- Chewy Promo Codes
- Ulta Coupons
- Vistaprint Promo Codes
- Shutterfly Promo Codes
- DoorDash Promo Codes
- Office Depot Coupons
- adidas Promo Codes
- Home Depot Coupons
- DSW Coupons
- Bed Bath and Beyond Coupons
- Lowe's Coupons
- Surfshark Coupons
- Nordstrom Coupons
- Walmart Promo Codes
- Dick's Sporting Goods Coupons
- Fanatics Coupons
- Edible Arrangements Coupons
- eBay Coupons
- Log in / Sign up
- Education and Communications
- Communication Skills
- Public Speaking
How to Write a Persuasive Speech
Last Updated: February 10, 2023 References Approved
This article was co-authored by Patrick Muñoz . Patrick is an internationally recognized Voice & Speech Coach, focusing on public speaking, vocal power, accent and dialects, accent reduction, voiceover, acting and speech therapy. He has worked with clients such as Penelope Cruz, Eva Longoria, and Roselyn Sanchez. He was voted LA's Favorite Voice and Dialect Coach by BACKSTAGE, is the voice and speech coach for Disney and Turner Classic Movies, and is a member of Voice and Speech Trainers Association. There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article has 79 testimonials from our readers, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 1,484,925 times.
A persuasive speech is a speech intended to convince the audience to do something. Whether you want to get people to vote, stop littering, or change their minds about an important issue, persuasive speeches are an effective way to sway an audience. There are many elements that go into a successful persuasive speech. But, with some preparation and practice, you can deliver a powerful speech.
Preparing to Write
- Especially if your topic is a controversial one, it's a good idea to know the arguments on all sides of the issue.  X Research source Whatever argument you are making, you'll be more persuasive if you can address the views of the opposing side.
- Spend some time reading books or articles about your topic. You can go to the library and ask a librarian for help finding books, or just go online and find some articles. Make sure to use reliable sources, like major news organizations, or academic books or articles.
- Opinion-oriented sources, like editorials, talk radio, or partisan cable news, can be valuable for finding out what other people think about your topic. But, don't rely on them as your only source of information. They can be very biased. If you use them at all, make sure to read a variety of viewpoints on the matter, not just one side.
- For example, if your topic is recycling, it's important to know a lot about recycling. But, your speech will need to reflect exactly what you hope the audience will do. Are you trying to get people to vote in favor of a citywide recycling program? Or are you trying to convince them to sort out their glass and cans and put them in a separate bin? These will be different speeches, so having the goal spelled out early will help you craft your message.
- An audience that knows little about your topic will need more background information and simpler language. An audience made up of experts on the topic would likely find such a simple speech boring.
- Likewise, an audience that already supports your view on a topic will be easier to persuade to take some action. You won't need to convince them you are right, but only that they need to do something. By contrast, an audience that does not agree with you will need persuasion to even consider your point of view.
- For example, imagine you want to convince your audience to support a city-wide recycling program. If they already think recycling is important, you only need to convince them of the value of this specific program. But, if they don't care about recycling or oppose it, you will need to first convince them that recycling is worthwhile.
- Ethos. These are appeals to the audience's ethics or morals.  X Research source For example: "Recycling is the right thing to do. Wasting our limited resources steals from future generations, which is immoral."
- Pathos. These are appeals to the audience's emotions.  X Research source For example: "Think of the animals that lose their homes every day because of trees being chopped down. If we recycled more, we could save these beautiful forests."
- Logos. These are appeals to the audiences logic or intellect.  X Research source For example: "We know that there is a limited supply of natural resources. We can make this supply last longer by recycling."
- You can rely on any one or some combination.
- The number of points you can make to support your position will be determined by how much time you have to speak.
- As a rule of thumb, three to four supporting points is usually a good number.  X Research source
- For example, in the speech about recycling, your three main points might be: 1. Recycling saves resources, 2. Recycling reduces the amount of garbage, and 3. Recycling is cost-effective.
Writing your Speech
- An attention grabber. This could be a statement (or sometimes a visual) that gets your audience's attention. It can be a good idea to be a little startling or dramatic at the opening of your speech. For example, you might start with information (or pictures) showing how a nearby landfill is nearly full to capacity.
- A link to the audience. This is a means of showing that you have something in common with the audience. Show that you have a similar background or share an emotional connection of some kind. This will really depend on knowing your audience. For example, if you are a parent, speaking to other parents, you might emphasize the concern for your own children's future. If you share a common interest or ideological position with your audience, you can emphasize that.
- Your credentials. This is a means of showing that you are knowledgeable or an authority on the topic of the speech. Highlight the research you've done on your topic. If you have any personal or professional experience with the topic, be sure to emphasize that, too. In the recycling example, you might say "I've invested many hours studying the recycling issue and the types of programs available in other cities."
- Your goal. Explain to the audience what you hope the speech will accomplish. For example: "I hope by the end of my talk that you will agree that we need a city wide recycling program."
- A road map. Finally, tell the audience what the main points of the speech will be. For example, "I believe we must start a recycling program for these three reasons...."
- Arrange these points logically. Don't jump from one point to the next, and then back again. Instead, complete an argument, then move on to another that flows logically from it.  X Research source
- Use credible sources from your research to back the points you are making. Even if your point is more emotional (pathos), introducing some factual information will make your argument stronger. For example "Each year, 40,000 acres of beautiful forests are destroyed to make paper, according to a study from the American Recycling Institute."
- Use real life examples that the audience can relate to. Even an argument based on facts and logic (logos) should relate to the audience's lives and interests. For example: "In these hard economic times, I know many of you are afraid that a recycling program will mean a costly increase in taxes. But, the city of Springfield started a program like this one three years ago. So far they've seen an increase in revenue as a result of the program. Many residents have seen a decrease in their taxes as a result."
- Make sure that you describe opposing views fairly and objectively. Consider whether someone who actually holds that view would approve of the way you are describing their position. If you aren't sure, find someone who thinks that way and ask!
- For example, you would not want to say: "opponents of recycling just don't care if we waste our precious resources, or our money." That's not a fair description of their opinion.
- Instead, you might say: "opponents of recycling are concerned that the cost might be much higher than just using new materials," and then go on to offer an argument about why recycling might be the more cost-effective option.
- Don't just restate, verbatim, what you've already said. Instead, use this as an opportunity to reinforce the way your main points support your call to action. For example: "To sum up, I've shown you (points a, b, and c). These three undeniable facts point to a city-wide recycling program as the most sensible and ethical step we can take in helping create a more sustainable future. Please, join me in voting 'yes' on this program in November."
Delivering your Speech
- Try practicing in front of a mirror, so that you can see how you are delivering the speech. This can help you notice your facial expressions and body language. These can help or hinder your ability to get your message across.
- For example, you might notice you are slouching, or that that you fidget with your collar. These actions suggest to an audience that you aren't confident.
- Better still, record yourself with a video camera and watch the tape afterwards. This can help you see (and hear) where your delivery needs improvement.  X Research source It has the benefit of providing audio, and also won't distract you as much as a mirror when you're speaking.
- Once you've practiced on your own a few times, try giving the speech to a small group of friends or family members. Ask for their feedback on your message and delivery.
- Generally speaking, this will mean dressing professionally. But, the degree of formality will vary. A speech to a film club to convince them to show your film won't require the same degree of formality as speaking to the executives of a movie distribution company. For the executives, you would want to wear a suit. For the film club, that might be overdoing it.
- Be friendly and make eye contact with the audience.
- Move around, where appropriate, but don't fidget or pick at your clothes or hair.
- Don't read the speech. It's okay to use a few notes to keep yourself on track, but your speech should be mostly memorized.
- Roll with the punches. If you make a mistake, don't let it derail your whole speech. This might be an opportunity to use a little humor. Then, move on.
- For example, if you want them to contact the mayor, demanding a recycling program, don't just ask them to do it. Give them stamped, addressed envelopes to send a letter, or cards with the mayor's phone number and email address. If you do this, many more people are likely to follow through.
Speak from your heart and connect with your audience. Look them in the eyes and really talk to them. Make sure you're comfortable delivering your speech and that you use a warm, confident tone.
- Look around at the audience, making eye contact, especially during pauses in your speech. If you're feeling nervous about this, pick out a single person in the audience and pretend you are speaking only to them. After a little while, pick someone else, and repeat.  X Research source ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Speak forward, projecting your voice toward the audience with confidence. Do not speak down toward the floor. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Try to cite sources for statistics and use credible, non-biased sources. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Avoid being confrontational, when possible. Don't be sarcastic or mocking when discussing viewpoints other than your own. This can be alienating to your audience, even those who may agree with you. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 55 Not Helpful 17
- Don't be pompous or arrogant during your speech. Be humble, and be open to questions, suggestions, and feedback. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 1 Not Helpful 1
You Might Also Like
- ↑ http://grammar.yourdictionary.com/style-and-usage/steps-for-writing-a-persuasive-speech.html
- ↑ http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/standards_docs/english/2010/lesson_plans/communication/9-12/7_9-12_communictionwriting_persuasivewritingspeaking%20.pdf
- ↑ http://www.best-speech-topics.com/writing-a-persuasive-speech.html
- ↑ https://www.speechanddebate.org/wp-content/uploads/Tips-for-Writing-a-Persuasive-Speech.pdf
- ↑ https://www.comm.pitt.edu/structuring-speech
- ↑ https://www.leonardoenglish.com/blog/recording-yourself-in-english
- ↑ https://www.zenbusiness.com/blog/eyecontact/
About This Article
To write a persuasive speech, start with a strong opening that will make your reader want to pay attention, including an attention grabber, your credentials, the essay's goal, and a road map for the essay. Next, offer persuasive evidence or reasons why the reader should support your viewpoint. Arrange these points logically, use credible sources, and employ some real life examples. Additionally, address counter-arguments to show that you’re looking at the topic from all sides. Finally, conclude by clearly letting the audience know how to put your ideas into action. To learn how to involve your audience when you deliver your speech, keep reading. Did this summary help you? Yes No
- Send fan mail to authors
Reader Success Stories
Feb 8, 2022
Did this article help you?
Jun 28, 2019
Mar 27, 2017
Mavis Agyeiwaa Kyei
Oct 27, 2020
Jun 5, 2017
- Do Not Sell or Share My Info
- Not Selling Info
wikiHow Tech Help Pro:
Develop the tech skills you need for work and life
A Comprehensive Guide to Writing a Persuasive Speech
- Speech Writing
The term Persuasion means the efforts to change the attitudes or opinions of others through various means.
It is present everywhere: election campaigns, salesmen trying to sell goods by giving offers, public health campaigns to quit smoking or to wear masks in the public spaces, or even at the workplace; when an employee tries to persuade others to agree to their point in a meeting.
Persuasive Speech is a category of speech that attempts to influence the listener’s beliefs, attitudes, thoughts, and ultimately, behavior.
They are used in all contexts and situations . It can be informal , a teenager attempting to convince his or her parents for a sleepover at a friend’s house.
But not to confuse these with informative speeches! These also aim to inform the audience about a particular topic or event, but they lack any attempt at persuasion.
The most typical setting where this kind of speech is practiced is in schools and colleges.
An effective speech combines both the features of an informative and persuasive speech for a better takeaway from an audience’s point of view.
Also, according to the context or situation, you may not be able to meet your audience several times, unlike TV ads, which the audience sees repeatedly and hence believes the credibility of the product.
So, how to write and deliver an effective persuasive speech?
How to start a persuasive speech? What are the steps of writing a persuasive speech? What are some of the tricks and tips of persuasion?
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND BEFORE WRITING A PERSUASIVE SPEECH
1. get your topic right, passion and genuine interest in your topic.
It is very important that you as a speaker are interested in the chosen topic and in the subsequent arguments you are about to put forward. If you are not interested in what you are saying, then how will the audience feel the same?
Passion towards the topic is one of the key requirements for a successful speech as your audience will see how passionate and concerned you are towards the issue and will infer you as a genuine and credible person.
The audience too will get in the mood and connect to you on an emotional level, empathizing with you; as a result of which will understand your point of view and are likely to agree to your argument.
Before even asking the reason behind being so happy, you “catch the mood”; i.e., you notice that your mood has been boosted as a result of seeing your friend happy.
Why does it happen so? The reason is that we are influenced by other people’s moods and emotions.
It also means that our mood affects people around us, which is the reason why speaking with emotions and passion is used by many successful public speakers.
So, if someone shows a lot of anxiety or excitement while speaking, we conclude that the issue is very important and we should do something about it, and end up feeling similar reactions.
Meaningful and thought-provoking
Choose a topic that is meaningful to you and your audience. It should be thought-provoking and leave the audience thinking about the points put forward in your speech.
Topics that are personally or nationally relevant and are in the talks at the moment are good subjects to start with.
However, be considerate in choosing a sensitive topic, since it can leave a negative impression on your listeners. But if worded in a neutral and unbiased manner, it can work wonders.
Also, refrain from choosing sensitive topics like the reality of religion, sexuality, etc.
2. Research your topic thoroughly
Research on persuasion conducted by Hovland, Janis, and Kelley states that credible communicators are more persuasive than those who are seen as lacking expertise.
How to go about researching? Many people think that just googling about a topic and inferring 2-3 articles will be enough. But this is not so.
For writing and giving an effective speech, thorough research is crucial for you as a speaker to be prepared and confident.
Try to find as many relevant points as possible, even if it is against your viewpoint. If you can explain why the opposite viewpoint is not correct, it will give the audience both sides to an argument and will make decision-making easier.
Also, give credit to the source of your points during your speech, by mentioning the original site, author, or expert, so the audience will know that these are reliable points and not just your opinion, and will be more ready to believe them since they come from an authority.
Analyze your audience
Know who comprises your audience so that you can alter your speech to meet their requirements.
Demographics like age group, gender ratio, the language with which they are comfortable, their knowledge about the topic, the region and community to which they belong; are all important factors to be considered before writing your speech.
Ask yourself these questions before sitting down to write:
Is the topic of argument significant to them? Why is it significant? Would it make sense to them? Is it even relevant to them?
This can be done by surveying your audience way before the day of giving your speech. Short polls and registration forms are an effective way to know your audience.
They ensure confidentiality and maintain anonymity, eliminating social desirability bias on part of the audience, and will likely receive honest answers.
OUTLINE OF A PERSUASIVE SPEECH
Most speeches follow the pattern of Introduction, Body and Conclusion.
However, persuasive speeches have a slightly different pathway.
BODY OR SUPPORTING STATEMENTS( ATLEAST 3 ARGUMENTS)
CONCLUSION OR A CALL TO ACTION
Grab attention of your audience.
The first few lines spoken by a speaker are the deciding factor that can make or break a speech.
Hence, if you nail the introduction, half of the task has already been done, and you can rest assured.
Chances are high that the audience will be in anticipation of what you are about to speak and their sole focus will be on you.
This sets the stage.
Use quotes that are relevant and provocative to set the tone of your speech. It will determine the mood of your audience and get them ready to receive information.
An example can be “The only impossible journey is the one you never begin” and then state who gave it, in this case, Tony Robbins, an American author.
Use what-if scenarios
Another way to start your speech is by using what-if scenarios and phrases like “suppose if your home submerges in water one day due to global warming…”.
This will make them the center of attention and at the same time grabbing their attention.
Use personal anecdotes
Same works with personal experiences and stories.
Everyone loves listening to first-hand experiences or a good and interesting story. If you are not a great storyteller, visual images and videos will come to your rescue.
After you have successfully grabbed and hooked your audience, the next and last step of the introduction is introducing your thesis statement.
It introduces the topic to your audience and is one of the central elements of any persuasive speech.
It is usually brief, not more than 3 sentences, and gives the crux of your speech outline.
How to make a thesis statement?
Firstly, research all possible opinions and views about your topic. See which opinion you connect with, and try to summarize them.
After you do this, you will get a clear idea of what side you are on and this will become your thesis statement.
So, for instance, if you choose to speak on the topic of the necessity of higher education, your thesis statement could be something like this:
Although attending university and getting a degree is essential for overall development, not every student must be pushed to join immediately after graduating from school.
And then you can structure your speech containing the reasons why every student should not be rushed into joining a university.
3. BODY OF THE SPEECH
The body contains the actual reasons to support your thesis.
Ideally, the body should contain at least 3 reasons to support your argument.
So, for the above-mentioned thesis, you can support it with possible alternatives, which will become your supporting statements.
These become your supporting reasons and answers the question “why”.
Each reason has to be resourcefully elaborated, with explaining why you support and why the other or anti-thesis is not practical.
At this point, you have the option of targeting your audience’s ethos, pathos, or logos.
Ethos is the ethical side of the argument. It targets morals and puts forth the right thing or should be.
This technique is highly used in the advertising industry.
The reason: they are liked by the masses and exhibit credibility and trust.
Advertisers endorse their products via a celebrity to try to show that the product is reliable and ethical.
The same scenario is seen in persuasive speeches. If the speaker is well-informed and provides information that is backed by research, chances are high that the audience will follow it.
Pathos targets the emotional feelings of the audience.
This is usually done by narrating a tragic or horrifying anecdote and leaves the listener moved by using an emotional appeal to call people to action.
The common emotions targeted by the speaker include the feeling of joy, love, sadness, anger, pity, and loneliness.
Stories give life to your argument, making the audience more involved in the matter and arousing sympathy and empathy.
Visuals and documentaries are other mediums through which a speaker can attract the audience’s emotions.
What was your reaction after watching an emotional documentary? Did you not want to do something about the problem right away?
Emotions have the power to move people to action.
The last technique is using logos, i.e., logic. This includes giving facts and practical aspects of why this is to be done or why such a thing is the most practical.
It is also called the “logical appeal”.
This can be done by giving inductive or deductive reasoning.
Inductive reasoning involves the speaker taking a specific example or case study and then generalizing or drawing conclusions from it.
For instance, a speaker tells a case study of a student who went into depression as the child wasn’t able to cope with back-to-back stress.
This problem will be generalized and concluded that gap year is crucial for any child to cope with and be ready for the challenges in a university.
On the other hand, deductive reasoning involves analyzing general assumptions and theories and then arriving at a logical conclusion.
So, in this case, the speaker can give statistics of the percentage of university students feeling drained due to past exams and how many felt that they needed a break.
This general data will then be personalized to conclude how there is a need for every student to have a leisure break to refresh their mind and avoid having burned out.
Using any of these 3 techniques, coupled with elaborate anecdotes and supporting evidence, at the same time encountering counterarguments will make the body of your speech more effective.
Make sure to spend some time thinking through your conclusion, as this is the part that your audience will remember the most and is hence, the key takeaway of your entire speech.
Keep it brief, and avoid being too repetitive.
It should provide the audience with a summary of the points put across in the body, at the same time calling people to action or suggesting a possible solution and the next step to be taken.
Remember that this is your last chance to convince, hence make sure to make it impactful.
Include one to two relevant power or motivational quotes, and end by thanking the audience for being patient and listening till the end.
Watch this clip for a better understanding.
TIPS AND TRICKS OF PERSUASION
A general pattern among influential speeches is this: all start with a powerful and impactful example, be it statistics about the issue, using influential and meaning statements and quotes, or asking a rhetorical question at the beginning of their speech.
Why do they do this? It demonstrates credibility and creates a good impression- increasing their chance of persuading the audience.
Hence, start in such a manner that will hook the audience to your speech and people would be curious to know what you are about to say or how will you end it.
Keep your introduction short
Keep your introduction short, and not more than 10-15% of your speech.
If your speech is 2000 words, then your introduction should be a maximum of 200-250 words.
Or if you are presenting for 10 minutes, your introduction should be a maximum of 2 minutes. This will give you time to state your main points and help you manage your time effectively.
Be clear and concise
Use the correct vocabulary to fit in, at the same time making sure to state them clearly, without beating around the bush.
This will make the message efficient and impactful.
Answer the question “why”
Answer the question “why” before giving solutions or “how”.
Tell them why is there a need to change. Then give them all sides of the point.
It is important to state what is wrong and not just what ought to be or what is right, in an unopinionated tone.
Unless and until people don’t know the other side of things, they simply will not change.
Once you have stated the problem, you imply or hint at the solution.
Never state solutions, suggest them; leaving the decision up to the audience.
You can hint at solutions: “don’t you think it is a good idea to…?” or “is it wrong to say that…?”, instead of just stating solutions.
Use power phrases
Certain power-phrases come in handy, which can make the audience take action.
Using the power phrase “because” is very impactful in winning and convincing others.
This phrase justifies the action associated with it and gives us an understanding of why is it correct.
For instance, the phrase “can you give me a bite of your food?” does not imply attitude change.
But using “may I have a bite of your food because I haven’t eaten breakfast?” is more impactful and the person will likely end up sharing food if you use this power- phrase, because it is justifying your request.
Another power-phrase is “I understand, but…”.
This involves you agreeing with the opposite side of the argument and then stating your side or your point of view.
This will encourage your audience to think from the other side of the spectrum and are likely to consider your argument put forth in the speech.
Use power words
Use power words like ‘incredible’, ‘fascinating’, ‘unquestionable’, ‘most important’, ‘strongly recommend’ in your speech to provoke your audience into awe.
Watch this video of some of the common but effective words that can be used in a persuasive speech.
Give an emotional appeal
Like mentioned earlier as one of the techniques of persuasion called pathos, targeting emotions like joy, surprise, fear, anticipation, anger, sadness, or disgust gives your speech an emotional appeal, and more feel to your content, rather than just neutrally stating facts and reasons.
Hence, to keep your audience engaged and not get bored, use emotions while speaking.
Make use of the non=verbal elements
Actions speak louder than words, and they create a huge difference if used effectively.
There is so much else to a speech than just words.
Non-verbal elements include everything apart from your words.
Maintaining eye contact, matching your body language with your words for effective transmission of the message including how you express your emotions, making use of the visual signs and symbols via a PPT are all important parts of any speech.
Check your paralanguage i.e., your voice intonation, pitch, speed, effective pauses, stressing on certain words to create an impact.
Doing all of these will make your speech more real and effective, and will persuade your audience into taking action.
Give real-life examples
Speak facts and avoid giving opinions.
However, just mentioning hard statistical facts will take you nowhere, as there is a chance that people may not believe the data, based on the possibility of them recollecting exceptions.
Hence, back up your statistics with real-life examples of situations.
Also, consider using precise numerical data.
For example, using “5487 people die due to road accidents every day”, instead of “approximately 5500 people”.
Have no personal stake
You can lose credibility if the audience feels that you have a personal stake in it.
Suppose that you are speaking for the idea of using reusable plastic products, and you say that you are from a company that sells those goods.
People are likely to perceive your argument as promoting self-interest and will not be ready to change their opinion about reusable plastic products.
Consequently, if you argue against your self-interest, your audience will see you as the most credible.
So, if you say that you are working in a plastics manufacturing company and have a statistical record of the pollution caused by it; and then promote reusable plastic as an alternative to stop pollution and save the environment, people are likely to accept your point of argument.
The you attitude
Shift your focus to the audience, and chances are high that they are likely to relate the issue to themselves and are most likely to change.
Hence, use the “you attitude” i.e., shifting focus to the listener and giving them what they want to hear and then making subtle additions to what you want them to hear.
Make a good first impression
The first impression is indeed the last. This is the reason why image consultancy is such a growing sector.
A good first impression works wonders on the people around you, including the audience, and makes your work of convincing a lot easier.
Avoid appearing shabby, ill-mannered, and refrain from using uncourteous and biased language.
Doing these will reverse the effect you want from the audience and will drive them away from your opinion.
HOW TO MAKE A GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION?
If you are the type who gets nervous easily and have fear of public speaking, practice till you excel in your task.
I used to dread speaking in front of people, and partly still do.
Earlier, unless and until someone called my name to state my opinion or start with the presentation, I didn’t even raise my hand to say that I have an opinion or I am left to present on the topic.
I had to do something about this problem. So, I made a plan.
2 weeks before the presentation, I wrote the script and read it over and over again.
After reading multiple times, I imagined my room to be the classroom and practiced in front of a mirror.
The main thing I was concerned about was keeping my head clear on the day of my presentation. And that’s what happened.
Since my mind was clear and relaxed, and I had practiced my speech over and over again, presenting came more naturally and confidently.
You might ask what is the purpose of impression management?
Impressions are used for Ingratiation i.e., getting others to like us so that they will be more than willing to accept or agree to your point.
If you like someone, you are drawn towards them and are likely to agree on what they agree or say.
TIP- Try to come early to the venue, and dress appropriately to the needs of the occasion. And don’t forget to smile!
PERSUASIVE SPEECH EXAMPLES
1. wendy troxel – why school should start later for teens.
Almost all the important elements of a persuasive speech are found in this TED talk by Wendy Troxel.
Take a closer look at how she starts her introduction in the form of a real-life personal story, and how she makes it relevant to the audience.
Humor is used to hook the audience’s attention and in turn their interest.
She is also likely to be perceived as credible, as she introduces herself as a sleep researcher, and is speaking on the topic of sleep.
Thesis of how early school timings deprive teenagers of their sleep and its effects is introduced subtly.
The speaker supports her statements with facts, answers the question “why” and most importantly, presents both sides of an argument; effects of less to lack of sleep and its consequences and the effects of appropriate and more sleep on teenagers.
The use of non-verbal elements throughout the speech adds value and richness to the speech, making it more engaging.
The use of Pathos as a persuasive technique appeals to the audience’s emotions; at the same time backing the argument with Logos, by giving scientific reasons and research findings to support the argument.
Lastly, the speech is meaningful, relevant, and thought-provoking to the audience, who are mostly parents and teenagers.
2. Crystal Robello- Being an introvert is a good thing
In this example, Crystal Robello starts by giving personal experiences of being an introvert and the prejudices faced.
Notice how even without much statistics the speech is made persuasive by using Ethos as a technique; and how credibility is achieved by mentioning leaders who are introverts.
3. Greta Thunberg- School strike for climate
One of my favorite speeches is the above speech by Greta Thunberg.
She uses all the techniques; pathos, ethos and logos.
Also notice how the speaker speaks with emotions, and uses body and paralanguage efficiently to create a dramatic impact on the audience.
Her genuine interest is clearly reflected in the speech, which makes the audience listen with a level of concern towards the topic, climate change.
To sum up, we looked at the things to keep in mind before writing a speech and also became familiar with the general outline or the structure of a persuasive speech.
We also looked at some of the tips and tricks of persuasion, and lastly, got introduced to 3 amazing persuasive speech examples.
So, now that you know everything about persuasion, rest assured and keep the above-mentioned things in mind before starting your next speech!
Also, check out related posts:
Enroll in our transformative 1:1 Coaching Program
Schedule a call with our expert communication coach to know if this program would be the right fit for you
4 Types of Public Speaking (A Complete Guide)
Importance of Public Speaking in Everyday Life
How to Politely End a Zoom Call: 5 Easy Ways
- [email protected]
- +91 98203 57888
Copyright 2023 Frantically Speaking All rights reserved
Get our latest tips and tricks in your inbox always
Kindly drop your contact details so that we can arrange call back.
Select Country Afghanistan Albania Algeria AmericanSamoa Andorra Angola Anguilla Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Colombia Comoros Congo Cook Islands Costa Rica Croatia Cuba Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guam Guatemala Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iraq Ireland Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Marshall Islands Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands Netherlands Antilles New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Northern Mariana Islands Norway Oman Pakistan Palau Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Poland Portugal Puerto Rico Qatar Romania Rwanda Samoa San Marino Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Tajikistan Thailand Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Wallis and Futuna Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe land Islands Antarctica Bolivia, Plurinational State of Brunei Darussalam Cocos (Keeling) Islands Congo, The Democratic Republic of the Cote d'Ivoire Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Guernsey Holy See (Vatican City State) Hong Kong Iran, Islamic Republic of Isle of Man Jersey Korea, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Republic of Lao People's Democratic Republic Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Macao Macedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Micronesia, Federated States of Moldova, Republic of Mozambique Palestinian Territory, Occupied Pitcairn RÃ©union Russia Saint BarthÃ©lemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan Da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Sao Tome and Principe Somalia Svalbard and Jan Mayen Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan, Province of China Tanzania, United Republic of Timor-Leste Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Viet Nam Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, U.S.
How to Write and Structure a Persuasive Speech
- Homework Tips
- Learning Styles & Skills
- Study Methods
- Time Management
- Private School
- College Admissions
- College Life
- Graduate School
- Business School
- Distance Learning
- M.Ed., Education Administration, University of Georgia
- B.A., History, Armstrong State University
The purpose of a persuasive speech is to convince your audience to agree with an idea or opinion that you present. First, you'll need to choose a side on a controversial topic, then you will write a speech to explain your position, and convince the audience to agree with you.
You can produce an effective persuasive speech if you structure your argument as a solution to a problem. Your first job as a speaker is to convince your audience that a particular problem is important to them, and then you must convince them that you have the solution to make things better.
Note: You don't have to address a real problem. Any need can work as the problem. For example, you could consider the lack of a pet, the need to wash one's hands, or the need to pick a particular sport to play as the "problem."
As an example, let's imagine that you have chosen "Getting Up Early" as your persuasion topic. Your goal will be to persuade classmates to get themselves out of bed an hour earlier every morning. In this instance, the problem could be summed up as "morning chaos."
A standard speech format has an introduction with a great hook statement, three main points, and a summary. Your persuasive speech will be a tailored version of this format.
Before you write the text of your speech, you should sketch an outline that includes your hook statement and three main points.
Writing the Text
The introduction of your speech must be compelling because your audience will make up their minds within a few minutes whether or not they are interested in your topic.
Before you write the full body you should come up with a greeting. Your greeting can be as simple as "Good morning everyone. My name is Frank."
After your greeting, you will offer a hook to capture attention. A hook sentence for the "morning chaos" speech could be a question:
- How many times have you been late for school?
- Does your day begin with shouts and arguments?
- Have you ever missed the bus?
Or your hook could be a statistic or surprising statement:
- More than 50 percent of high school students skip breakfast because they just don't have time to eat.
- Tardy kids drop out of school more often than punctual kids.
Once you have the attention of your audience, follow through to define the topic/problem and introduce your solution. Here's an example of what you might have so far:
Good afternoon, class. Some of you know me, but some of you may not. My name is Frank Godfrey, and I have a question for you. Does your day begin with shouts and arguments? Do you go to school in a bad mood because you've been yelled at, or because you argued with your parent? The chaos you experience in the morning can bring you down and affect your performance at school.
Add the solution:
You can improve your mood and your school performance by adding more time to your morning schedule. You can accomplish this by setting your alarm clock to go off one hour earlier.
Your next task will be to write the body, which will contain the three main points you've come up with to argue your position. Each point will be followed by supporting evidence or anecdotes, and each body paragraph will need to end with a transition statement that leads to the next segment. Here is a sample of three main statements:
- Bad moods caused by morning chaos will affect your workday performance.
- If you skip breakfast to buy time, you're making a harmful health decision.
- (Ending on a cheerful note) You'll enjoy a boost to your self-esteem when you reduce the morning chaos.
After you write three body paragraphs with strong transition statements that make your speech flow, you are ready to work on your summary.
Your summary will re-emphasize your argument and restate your points in slightly different language. This can be a little tricky. You don't want to sound repetitive but will need to repeat what you have said. Find a way to reword the same main points.
Finally, you must make sure to write a clear final sentence or passage to keep yourself from stammering at the end or fading off in an awkward moment. A few examples of graceful exits:
- We all like to sleep. It's hard to get up some mornings, but rest assured that the reward is well worth the effort.
- If you follow these guidelines and make the effort to get up a little bit earlier every day, you'll reap rewards in your home life and on your report card.
Tips for Writing Your Speech
- Don't be confrontational in your argument. You don't need to put down the other side; just convince your audience that your position is correct by using positive assertions.
- Use simple statistics. Don't overwhelm your audience with confusing numbers.
- Don't complicate your speech by going outside the standard "three points" format. While it might seem simplistic, it is a tried and true method for presenting to an audience who is listening as opposed to reading.
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.
International Study Centre
- Student life
- Durham University
- International Foundation Year
- English Language Preparation
- Prepare for Success
- Entry requirements
- Visa information
- Before you arrive
- Ask a question
How to write a persuasive speech
Being able to write and deliver a persuasive speech is not only a skill that will help you at university – but something that will help you in both your career and your personal life. Whether you’re giving a graded speech for a class, explaining something as part of your job, or defending something you’re passionate about, delivering a persuasive speech will only help you to succeed. Follow our tips for how to develop your skills in persuasive speech writing.
What is a persuasive speech?
To persuade someone is to change their point of view and have them agree with you. In a university setting, this may be for a graded presentation or a debate. Although given verbally, your first step will be to write the speech before you deliver it – this will ensure you are fully prepared, have time to think about what you want to say, and ensure everything is properly researched. You don’t want to get caught out saying something that is untrue.
Persuasive speech topics
The first thing you need to do when writing a persuasive speech is to choose your topic. If you’re giving a speech as part of your university degree, this may have been provided to you as part of the assignment. If one hasn’t been provided, but the speech is for a specific class , try to think about the topics covered in your previous lessons or suggested reading from the teacher. Use the knowledge you’ve already gained in the class and show your teacher just how much you’ve paid attention.
Passion is key
If there are no guidelines on choosing your persuasive speech topic, then you have more choice when making your decision. This is a great opportunity to talk about something you’re truly passionate about. If your audience sees you are genuinely interested in your topic, they will see your speech as more authentic and credible. How can you persuade someone to side with you if it doesn’t seem like you believe in what you’re saying yourself?
Persuasive speech examples
If you’re still struggling to think of a topic, here are some examples that might help. When choosing from the below examples, it is still important to select a topic that interests you. Some good examples of persuasive speech topics for university students include:
- Is eating meat unethical?
- Should the minimum wage be increased?
- Should cities offer free bike sharing programmes?
- Can money buy happiness?
- Should we abolish daylight savings time?
- Are art and music programmes an essential part of schooling?
- Should more people use public transportation?
- Should teenagers be allowed to purchase violent video games?
- Should we donate unused food from supermarkets?
- Should we keep animals in zoos?
Now that you’ve picked your topic, you can start writing your speech. The first thing you need to know is your opinion. Are you for or against your topic? Once you’ve decided which side of the argument you want to defend, you can begin writing your persuasive speech.
Research, research, research
All university assignments begin with research, and persuasive speeches are no different. You can research however suits you best, utilising library resources, books you own, and the internet. It may even help to research both sides of the argument, including the opposing opinion to your own, to get a better understanding of your chosen topic.
Persuasive speech structure
Start your persuasive speech with a strong introduction, grabbing the attention of your audience. This can be emotional, shocking, or funny – as long as it is powerful. After you have your audience’s attention, you should clearly introduce the topic of your speech.
You now need to distil your research into a few key arguments. These should be the most powerful and persuasive arguments from your research, the ones that you believe will convince your listeners to agree with your point of view. Choose between two to four key arguments to keep your audience interested.
When giving a persuasive speech, it is important to acknowledge and address any counter arguments from the opposition. Not only does this show that you have done your research, but it addresses any concerns or doubts your audience may have.
Lastly, you should finish your persuasive speech with a strong closing argument. You may choose to save your strongest argument for this point, or reinforce a previous point you made. Either way, your closing argument should be the thing your audience remembers the most.
Giving a persuasive speech as an international student
If you’re studying at a UK university and English isn’t your first language, you may worry about writing a persuasive speech as part of your degree programme. The best way to prepare in this scenario is to make sure you have a strong understanding of the English language. At Durham University International Study Centre, you can take a pathway programme designed to develop all the skills you need to succeed as an international students. These programmes include a core English module programme designed to develop your language skills to a university level.
You can also develop your English language skills outside of the classroom. Choosing to live in student accommodation gives you even more opportunities to speak English in a less formal setting. And who knows? You can even practise delivering a persuasive speech by convincing your flatmates what to cook for dinner tonight.
Frequently asked questions
What is an example of persuasive speech .
A persuasive speech is any time you are having to choose a side of an argument and present it to another person. Persuasive speeches are used in many different areas of life. This could be in a school or university setting, in a job, or in a social setting.
What are some good persuasive speech topics for university?
When choosing a persuasive speech topic for university, always choose a topic or cause you’re interested in and passionate about. If you want to convince other people to agree with your stance, you must be seen to believe in it yourself.
How do you start a persuasive speech?
The best persuasive speeches always start with an impactful opening that grabs the audience’s attention. If you hope to persuade someone to agree with you, they need to listen to your whole argument. A strong opening ensures the audience is listening to you from the very start.
- Online Learning
- Student Life
- Student Stories
- Study Abroad
- Study Experience
- University Preparation
- What is Matrix+ Online?
- English ADV
- Maths EXT 1
- English STD
- Maths STD 2
- Maths EXT 2
- Trial Exam Prep Online Courses
- HSC Exam Prep Courses
- UCAT Prep Courses
- UCAT Prep Course
- Trial Exam Prep Courses
- For aspiring students
- Inspirational Teachers
- Great Learning Environment
- Proven Results
- Customer Reviews
- For future team members
- Work at Matrix
- Jobs at Matrix
- Primary School Survival Guide
- Opportunity Class Guide
- Selective Schools Guide
- ATAR & Scaling
- Get HSC Ready in 28 Days
- High Schools Guide
- NSW High School Rankings
- Online Learning Guide
- Student Wellbeing Guide
- Student Success Secrets
- Survival Guides
- VCE School Rankings
- Year 6 English
- Year 7 & 8 English
- Year 9 English
- Year 10 English
- Year 11 English Std
- Year 11 English Adv
- Year 12 English Std
- Year 12 English Adv
- HSC English Skills
- How to Write an Essay
- English Techniques Toolkit
- How to Analyse Poetry
- Year 7 Maths
- Year 8 Maths
- Year 9 Maths
- Year 10 Maths
- Year 11 Maths Adv
- Year 11 Maths Ext 1
- Year 12 Maths Std 2
- Year 12 Maths Adv
- Year 12 Maths Ext 1
- Year 12 Maths Ext 2
- Year 11 Biology
- Year 11 Chemistry
- Year 11 Physics
- Year 12 Biology
- Year 12 Chemistry
- Year 12 Physics
- Physics Practical Skills
- Periodic Table
- ATAR Calculator
- Help Centre
- Maths Exam Book
- Term Courses
- Holiday Courses
- Trial Exam Prep
- HSC Exam Prep
- Year 3 English Online Course
- Year 3 Maths Online Course
- OC Test Prep
- Year 4 English Online Course
- Year 4 Maths Online Course
- Year 5 Online
- Year 6 Online
- Year 7 English Online Course
- Year 7 Maths Online Course
- Year 8 English Online Course
- Year 8 Maths Online Course
- Year 9 English Online Course
- Year 9 Maths Adv Online Course
- Year 9 Science Online Course
- Year 10 English Online Course
- Year 10 Maths Online Course
- Year 10 Science Online Course
- Year 11 English Adv Online Course
- Year 11 Maths Adv Online Course
- Year 11 Maths Ext 1 Online Course
- Year 11 Biology Online Course
- Year 11 Chemistry Online Course
- Year 11 Physics Online Course
- Year 12 English Standard Online Course
- Year 12 English Advanced Online Course
- Year 12 Maths Standard 2 Online Course
- Year 12 Maths Advanced Online Course
- Year 12 Maths Ext 1 Online Course
- Year 12 Maths Ext 2 Online Course
- Year 12 Biology Online Course
- Year 12 Chemistry Onlne Course
- Year 12 Physics Online Course
- Trial Exam Preparation Online Courses
- HSC Exam Prep Online Courses
- HSC Trial Exam Prep Online Courses
- Year 7 English Live Online Course
- Year 7 Maths Live Online Course
- Year 8 English Live Online Course
- Year 8 Maths Live Online Course
- Year 9 English Live Online Course
- Year 9 Maths Adv Live Online Course
- Year 9 Science Live Online Course
- Year 10 English Live Online Course
- Year 10 Maths Live Online Course
- Year 10 Science Live Online Course
- Year 11 English Advanced Live Online Course
- Year 11 Maths Advanced Live Online Course
- Year 11 Maths Ext 1 Live Online Course
- Year 11 Biology Live Online Course
- Year 11 Chemistry Live Online Course
- Year 11 Physics Live Online Course
- Year 12 English Advanced Live Online Course
- Year 12 Maths Adv Live Course
- Year 12 Maths Extension 1 Live Course
- Year 12 Maths Extension 2 Live Online Course
- Year 12 English Standard Live Online Course
- Year 12 Biology Live Online Course
- Year 12 Chemistry Live Online Course
- Year 12 Physics Live Online Course
- Online Learning
- Student Success Secrets Guide
- Year 11 Maths
The Top 5 Persuasive Techniques for Speeches
- The Top 5 Persuasive Techniques for Speeches1111
In this article, we will show you the top 5 techniques you must use in your speeches to wow your audience.
Too often, students’ speeches are simply an essay on legs. They lack the techniques that give speeches its life. So, this is why we’re showing you how to use the 5 best persuasive techniques for speeches to convince your audiences.
5 persuasive techniques for speeches:
- Rhetorical questions
- Personal anecdotes
- Inclusive language
- Emotive language
1. Rhetorical questions
A rhetorical question is a question that you ask for dramatic effect, instead of acquiring answers.
This is one of the most commonly used persuasive techniques for speeches because it is so effective at engaging your audience.
However, overusing rhetorical techniques can also make your speech sound too repetitive and uncertain. So, you need to find the right balance!
So, let’s see how we can do this.
1. Force your audience to think
If you ask an open-ended question without providing an answer, your audience will automatically start thinking about their own answers.
For example, “W hat do you think the world will look like in 50 years? “
What were some ideas that popped into your head?
Is the world exactly the same as ours today? Does it have levitating cars and magic glasses? Or is it dying from climate change?
You see, when someone asks you a rhetorical question, you start to explore different ideas in your mind. You might even find yourself exploring new possibilities that you haven’t considered before!
2. Emphasise a specific point
You can use rhetorical questions to emphasise your previous statement. This will make your audience think hard about the importance of what you said and agree with you.
For example: “ 67% of all Australians are overweight. Are you one of them? “
Here, the rhetorical question hammers the preceding statement in your mind. You realise that 67% is actually a really high percentage of overweight Australians.
3. Evoke emotions
Rhetorical questions can also evoke emotions by putting the audience in a situation where they can empathise with what is being discussed.
Let’s change the statement, “ Future generations will never see tigers or polar bears again ” into a rhetorical question.
“ What if your child and their child can never see a tiger or polar bear again? “
See how it is an effective way to make the audience feel what you want them to feel. This helps you convince them to believe your speech.
Want to improve your English speech writing?
With Matrix+ , you will get access to clear theory video lessons that will guide you through your English content. Have high-quality resources delivered to your doorstep and access fast feedback through Q&A boards with expert teachers. Learn more about Matrix + Online Courses now.
Get ahead with Matrix+ Online
Expert teachers, detailed feedback and one-to-one help. Learn at your own pace, wherever you are.
2. Personal anecdotes
A personal anecdote is a short story about an experience in your life.
It is usually provocative, interesting, humorous, shocking, and/or touching… You name it!
If you watch any TED talk, you will see that all their speakers use personal anecdotes. Sometimes this lasts for a minute or two. Sometimes this goes on for 10 or 20 minutes.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should also make your whole 5-6 minute speeches into a personal anecdote.
Use it sparingly but effectively. We will show you how!
1. Have a message
You can’t just use a personal anecdote because you want to tell a story. It needs to have a message that supports your thesis.
This way, you’re clearly showing your audience what is beneficial or not through your own experiences…
Which helps you convince them to believe your speech!
So, select a story that supports your argument and hammer down your message by telling the audience what you learned at the end of your anecdote.
2. Use it with purpose
Where you place your anecdote in your speech will determine it’s purpose. Ensure that you know exactly why you are using your anecdote to help you use it at the right time.
a. Introduce a complex idea
Use your anecdote at the beginning of your speech to set the stage. This will slowly introduce your complex ideas to the audience instead of directly confronting them with it.
b. Make an idea more relatable
You can ground your message in real-life by using an anecdote in the introduction or body of your speech. This will engage audiences and help them think that the message also applies to them.
c. Consistently re-iterate a message
You need to use an anecdote in the early stages of your speech, then consistently refer to parts of your anecdote throughout the speech. This will continually remind your audience about the message in your anecdote.
d. Hammer down your message
Use an anecdote at the closing of your speech to hammer down your thesis. This is a good opportunity to highlight what you have learned from your experiences and show your audience that they can do the same.
3. Be descriptive
The audience wants to feel what you felt in your story. They want to know what you were thinking.
So, be descriptive and bring your story to life!
Describe what you saw, heard, smelt or felt. Tell them what you thought!
4. But be authentic
Don’t confuse descriptiveness with lack of authenticity. Your whole speech will lose credibility when your personal anecdotes sound unrealistic.
So, you mustn’t exaggerate or make up a story. Your audience wants to know what you experienced, not what you’re imagining.
Also, use a conversational tone and easy everyday language. This will make it sound more realistic and relatable.
Here is an example. Which one of these statements seems more authentic.
- “ I helped my ma pick tomatoes “
- “ I helped my mother pick Solanum Lycopersicum. “
The first statement is much easier to understand and relatable. The second statement is confusing and remove the element of relatability.
A tricolon is another very commonly used persuasive techniques for speeches.
However, they are effective at convincing your audience because they leave a strong, lasting impression on your audience.
So, a tricolon basically refers to a set of 3 words, phrases or clauses.
Remember, 3 is the magic number!
For example, let’s see which statement is more memorable:
- They killed the dog and stole the TV and car.
- They killed the dog. They stole the TV. They took the car.
Notice how the 2nd statement is much more interesting and memorable!
So, let’s see the all different ways we can use tricolon:
You can use a set of 3 different or repetitive words :
- eg. Live. Life. Love.
- eg. No. No. No!
- eg. “[The phoenix] recreate us, when we are torn, hurt and even destroyed” (Doris Lessing, On Not Winning a Nobel Prize Speech)
- eg. “G ood women who do good things for good reasons ” (Margaret Atwood, Spotty Handed Villainesses Speech )
You can also use a tricolon by making a set of 3 different or repetitive phrases:
- eg. After all this time, nothing has changed. After all this time, people are still suffering. After all this time, we are still learning.
- eg. “ It is spending the sweat of its labourers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. “ (Dwight Eisenhower, Chance for Peace Speech )
Another way to use tricolon is making a set of 3 different or repetitive clauses :
- “ Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. ” (Benjamin Franklin)
- “ We committed the murders. We took the children from their mothers. We practised discrimination and exclusion. ” (Paul Keating, Redfern Speech”
- eg. “ We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence ” (Winston Churchill, We Shall Fight on the Beaches Speech )
Note : Repeating the beginning of successive sentences in also known as anaphora .
The 3 Little Pigs an example of the rule of 3!
4. Inclusive language
Inclusive language refers to pronouns that include your audience like 1st and 2nd person pronouns.
They are persuasive because they directly engage with your audience, and give them a sense of responsibility and inclusivity.
So, let’s examine the different ways we can use inclusive pronouns:
Everyone loves to feel included. So, using first-person plural pronouns is a great way to engage your audience and extend your message to them as well.
These include “us” and “we”.
For example, which statement sounds more convincing?
- People must take action to stop climate change!
- We must take action to stop climate change!
The 2nd one of course! This is because using inclusive pronouns make the audience feel responsible and included in your speech.
2. “Us and them”
The ‘us and them paradigm’ is one of the most effective techniques to convince your audience to act one way and not the other.
So, how does it work?
Let’s view an example from JK Rowling’s The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Power of Imagination Speech to help us understand this.
“ They can refuse to hear screams or to peer inside cages. ” vs “ We have the power to imagine better. ”
Here, we see that Rowling clearly categories 2 types of people;
- Them : The people who lack empathy and aren’t willing to help others
- Us : The people who have the power to help and are willing to do it
By using this paradigm, she excludes her audience from the unfavourable group and aligns them in the favourable group.
Therefore, she convinces the audience to believe in her message because she places faith in them.
This is how you should use the us and them paradigm.
Using 2nd person pronouns like “you” is very provocative. It excludes you (the speaker) from the audience.
So, it is not a good idea to use 2nd person pronouns when you are trying to convince them to do something.
Why? Well, let’s view an example.
- We need to start planting more trees to help!
- You need to start planting more trees to help!
See how the 2nd person pronoun places the blame on the audience? This will make them less convinced to act because you made them feel inferior to you (the speaker).
Instead, you should use 2nd person pronouns to provoke thought and/or questions or to confirm positive characteristics.
For example, “ You are all intelligent people. ” or “ Have you ever felt this way before?”
Notice how these sentences are still provocative, but it doesn’t place the blame on the audience? This is how you should use 2nd person language.
5. Emotive language
Emotive language is another one of the most effective persuasive techniques for speeches.
Well, emotive language refers to the particular selection of words and phrases that appeal to the audience’s pathos… in other words, emotions.
For example, let’s examine Sir William Deane’s speech, It is Still Winter at Home.
- “Their loss is a profound tragedy for their families and friends”
- “Their deaths represent probably the greatest single peacetime loss of young Australians.”
Now, let’s remove the emotive language from these lines and see the difference:
- The deaths are hard for their families and friends.
- Many Australians died in the incident.
See how there are no longer any emotions or ‘life’ in the speech without emotive language [pun not intended]. We are no longer concerned with the speech.
So, how can we use emotive language in our speeches?
1. Adjectives and adverbs
Use adjectives and adverbs that hold emotional weight to convince the audience.
For example, don’t just say “The girl was bullied by the boys.” This is too bland.
Instead, add some adjectives and adverbs to make it appeal to the audience’s empathy.
For example, “The small, innocent girl was continuously bullied by the big boys.”
2. Metaphors and similes
Use metaphors and similes to compare one thing to another.
This will help the audience imagine what you are describing and make your speech sound more convincing.
For example, don’t simply say “The light was bright”. Instead, you say “The light was as blinding as the sun”
See how this paints a more vivid image? This helps the audience imagine and feel what you want them to feel.
With in-depth Theory Lesson Videos, insightful theory books, and detailed feedback, the Matrix+ Year 10 English Rhetoric and Persuasion course will help you ace your next speech. Learn more .
Written by Tammy Dang
© Matrix Education and www.matrix.edu.au, 2018. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Matrix Education and www.matrix.edu.au with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
People who read this also read
Angela’s hacks: get a head start on year 12 by accelerating maths, the ultimate holiday reading list for students, english advanced vs english standard vs english studies for the new syllabus.
- How To Analyse A Related Text
- 8 Common Mistakes HSC English Students Make In Exams
- How To Ace the UMAT Exam – Varun Gopi
- 6 Common Errors In Year 12 Maths Extension 2 Integration
- All About ATAR & Scaling
Get free study tips and resources delivered to your inbox.
- Your Name *
- Your Email *
OK, I understand
6 Tips for Writing a Persuasive Speech (On Any Topic) · 1. Write like you talk. There is no First Law of Speechwriting, but if there were, it
The following outlines the basic format of a persuasive speech, but speeches may take alternative forms. Introduction. There are four key components to an
5 Tips for Giving a Persuasive Presentation · Ethos. Start your talk by establishing your credibility and character. · Logos. Use data, evidence
6 Steps for Writing a Persuasive Speech · Step 1: Select a Topic and Angle · Step 2: Define Your Persuasive Goal · Step 3: Analyze the Audience · Step 4: Build an
Tips · Look around at the audience, making eye contact, especially during pauses in your speech. · Speak forward, projecting your voice toward the audience with
Choose a topic that is meaningful to you and your audience. It should be thought-provoking and leave the audience thinking about the points put forward in your
Tips for Writing Your Speech · Don't be confrontational in your argument. You don't need to put down the other side; just convince your audience
Crafting a persuasive speech · 1. Become an expert and anticipate counterarguments · 2. Set and state a goal · 3. Learn about your audience · 4.
The best persuasive speeches always start with an impactful opening that grabs the audience's attention. If you hope to persuade someone to
The Top 5 Persuasive Techniques for Speeches · a. Introduce a complex idea. Use your anecdote at the beginning of your speech to set the stage. · b. Make an idea