Persuasive Speeches — Types, Topics, and Examples

Daniel Bal

What is a persuasive speech?

In a persuasive speech, the speaker aims to convince the audience to accept a particular perspective on a person, place, object, idea, etc. The speaker strives to cause the audience to accept the point of view presented in the speech.

The success of a persuasive speech often relies on the speaker’s use of ethos, pathos, and logos.

Success of a persuasive speech

Ethos is the speaker’s credibility. Audiences are more likely to accept an argument if they find the speaker trustworthy. To establish credibility during a persuasive speech, speakers can do the following:

Use familiar language.

Select examples that connect to the specific audience.

Utilize credible and well-known sources.

Logically structure the speech in an audience-friendly way.

Use appropriate eye contact, volume, pacing, and inflection.

Pathos appeals to the audience’s emotions. Speakers who create an emotional bond with their audience are typically more convincing. Tapping into the audience’s emotions can be accomplished through the following:

Select evidence that can elicit an emotional response.

Use emotionally-charged words. (The city has a problem … vs. The city has a disease …)

Incorporate analogies and metaphors that connect to a specific emotion to draw a parallel between the reference and topic.

Utilize vivid imagery and sensory words, allowing the audience to visualize the information.

Employ an appropriate tone, inflection, and pace to reflect the emotion.

Logos appeals to the audience’s logic by offering supporting evidence. Speakers can improve their logical appeal in the following ways:

Use comprehensive evidence the audience can understand.

Confirm the evidence logically supports the argument’s claims and stems from credible sources.

Ensure that evidence is specific and avoid any vague or questionable information.

Types of persuasive speeches

The three main types of persuasive speeches are factual, value, and policy.

Types of persuasive speeches

A factual persuasive speech focuses solely on factual information to prove the existence or absence of something through substantial proof. This is the only type of persuasive speech that exclusively uses objective information rather than subjective. As such, the argument does not rely on the speaker’s interpretation of the information. Essentially, a factual persuasive speech includes historical controversy, a question of current existence, or a prediction:

Historical controversy concerns whether an event happened or whether an object actually existed.

Questions of current existence involve the knowledge that something is currently happening.

Predictions incorporate the analysis of patterns to convince the audience that an event will happen again.

A value persuasive speech concerns the morality of a certain topic. Speakers incorporate facts within these speeches; however, the speaker’s interpretation of those facts creates the argument. These speeches are highly subjective, so the argument cannot be proven to be absolutely true or false.

A policy persuasive speech centers around the speaker’s support or rejection of a public policy, rule, or law. Much like a value speech, speakers provide evidence supporting their viewpoint; however, they provide subjective conclusions based on the facts they provide.

How to write a persuasive speech

Incorporate the following steps when writing a persuasive speech:

Step 1 – Identify the type of persuasive speech (factual, value, or policy) that will help accomplish the goal of the presentation.

Step 2 – Select a good persuasive speech topic to accomplish the goal and choose a position .

How to write a persuasive speech

Step 3 – Locate credible and reliable sources and identify evidence in support of the topic/position. Revisit Step 2 if there is a lack of relevant resources.

Step 4 – Identify the audience and understand their baseline attitude about the topic.

Step 5 – When constructing an introduction , keep the following questions in mind:

What’s the topic of the speech?

What’s the occasion?

Who’s the audience?

What’s the purpose of the speech?

Step 6 – Utilize the evidence within the previously identified sources to construct the body of the speech. Keeping the audience in mind, determine which pieces of evidence can best help develop the argument. Discuss each point in detail, allowing the audience to understand how the facts support the perspective.

Step 7 – Addressing counterarguments can help speakers build their credibility, as it highlights their breadth of knowledge.

Step 8 – Conclude the speech with an overview of the central purpose and how the main ideas identified in the body support the overall argument.

How to write a persuasive speech

Persuasive speech outline

One of the best ways to prepare a great persuasive speech is by using an outline. When structuring an outline, include an introduction, body, and conclusion:

Introduction

Attention Grabbers

Ask a question that allows the audience to respond in a non-verbal way; ask a rhetorical question that makes the audience think of the topic without requiring a response.

Incorporate a well-known quote that introduces the topic. Using the words of a celebrated individual gives credibility and authority to the information in the speech.

Offer a startling statement or information about the topic, typically done using data or statistics.

Provide a brief anecdote or story that relates to the topic.

Starting a speech with a humorous statement often makes the audience more comfortable with the speaker.

Provide information on how the selected topic may impact the audience .

Include any background information pertinent to the topic that the audience needs to know to understand the speech in its entirety.

Give the thesis statement in connection to the main topic and identify the main ideas that will help accomplish the central purpose.

Identify evidence

Summarize its meaning

Explain how it helps prove the support/main claim

Evidence 3 (Continue as needed)

Support 3 (Continue as needed)

Restate thesis

Review main supports

Concluding statement

Give the audience a call to action to do something specific.

Identify the overall importan ce of the topic and position.

Persuasive speech topics

The following table identifies some common or interesting persuasive speech topics for high school and college students:

Persuasive speech examples

The following list identifies some of history’s most famous persuasive speeches:

John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address: “Ask Not What Your Country Can Do for You”

Lyndon B. Johnson: “We Shall Overcome”

Marc Antony: “Friends, Romans, Countrymen…” in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar

Ronald Reagan: “Tear Down this Wall”

Sojourner Truth: “Ain’t I a Woman?”

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How to Write an Outline for a Persuasive Speech, with Examples

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Jim Peterson has over 20 years experience on speech writing. He wrote over 300 free speech topic ideas and how-to guides for any kind of public speaking and speech writing assignments at My Speech Class.

How to Write an Outline for a Persuasive Speech, with Examples intro image

Persuasive speeches are one of the three most used speeches in our daily lives. Persuasive speech is used when presenters decide to convince their presentation or ideas to their listeners. A compelling speech aims to persuade the listener to believe in a particular point of view. One of the most iconic examples is Martin Luther King’s ‘I had a dream’ speech on the 28th of August 1963.

Man Touches the Word Persuasion on Screen

What is Persuasive Speech?

Persuasive speech is a written and delivered essay to convince people of the speaker’s viewpoint or ideas. Persuasive speaking is the type of speaking people engage in the most. This type of speech has a broad spectrum, from arguing about politics to talking about what to have for dinner. Persuasive speaking is highly connected to the audience, as in a sense, the speaker has to meet the audience halfway.

Persuasive Speech Preparation

Persuasive speech preparation doesn’t have to be difficult, as long as you select your topic wisely and prepare thoroughly.

Here Are Some Steps to Follow:

1. select a topic and angle.

Come up with a controversial topic that will spark a heated debate, regardless of your position. This could be about anything. Choose a topic that you are passionate about. Select a particular angle to focus on to ensure that your topic isn’t too broad. Research the topic thoroughly, focussing on key facts, arguments for and against your angle, and background.

2. Define Your Persuasive Goal

Once you have chosen your topic, it’s time to decide what your goal is to persuade the audience. Are you trying to persuade them in favor of a certain position or issue? Are you hoping that they change their behavior or an opinion due to your speech? Do you want them to decide to purchase something or donate money to a cause? Knowing your goal will help you make wise decisions about approaching writing and presenting your speech.

3. Analyze the Audience

Understanding your audience’s perspective is critical anytime that you are writing a speech. This is even more important when it comes to a persuasive speech because not only are you wanting to get the audience to listen to you, but you are also hoping for them to take a particular action in response to your speech. First, consider who is in the audience. Consider how the audience members are likely to perceive the topic you are speaking on to better relate to them on the subject. Grasp the obstacles audience members face or have regarding the topic so you can build appropriate persuasive arguments to overcome these obstacles.

4. Build an Effective Persuasive Argument

Once you have a clear goal, you are knowledgeable about the topic and, have insights regarding your audience, you will be ready to build an effective persuasive argument to deliver in the form of a persuasive speech. 

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Start by deciding what persuasive techniques are likely to help you persuade your audience. Would an emotional and psychological appeal to your audience help persuade them? Is there a good way to sway the audience with logic and reason? Is it possible that a bandwagon appeal might be effective?

5. Outline Your Speech

Once you know which persuasive strategies are most likely to be effective, your next step is to create a keyword outline to organize your main points and structure your persuasive speech for maximum impact on the audience.

Start strong, letting your audience know what your topic is, why it matters and, what you hope to achieve at the end of your speech. List your main points, thoroughly covering each point, being sure to build the argument for your position and overcome opposing perspectives. Conclude your speech by appealing to your audience to act in a way that will prove that you persuaded them successfully. Motivation is a big part of persuasion.

6. Deliver a Winning Speech

Select appropriate visual aids to share with your audiences, such as graphs, photos, or illustrations. Practice until you can deliver your speech confidently. Maintain eye contact, project your voice and, avoid using filler words or any form of vocal interference. Let your passion for the subject shine through. Your enthusiasm may be what sways the audience. 

Persuasive Speech Outline

Close-Up of Mans Hands Persuading Someone

Topic: What topic are you trying to persuade your audience on?

Specific Purpose:  

Central idea:

  • Attention grabber – This is potentially the most crucial line. If the audience doesn’t like the opening line, they might be less inclined to listen to the rest of your speech.
  • Thesis – This statement is used to inform the audience of the speaker’s mindset and try to get the audience to see the issue their way.
  • Qualifications – Tell the audience why you are qualified to speak about the topic to persuade them.

After the introductory portion of the speech is over, the speaker starts presenting reasons to the audience to provide support for the statement. After each reason, the speaker will list examples to provide a factual argument to sway listeners’ opinions.

  • Example 1 – Support for the reason given above.
  • Example 2 – Support for the reason given above.

The most important part of a persuasive speech is the conclusion, second to the introduction and thesis statement. This is where the speaker must sum up and tie all of their arguments into an organized and solid point.

  • Summary: Briefly remind the listeners why they should agree with your position.
  • Memorable ending/ Audience challenge: End your speech with a powerful closing thought or recommend a course of action.
  • Thank the audience for listening.

Persuasive Speech Outline Examples

Male and Female Whispering into the Ear of Another Female

Topic: Walking frequently can improve both your mental and physical health.

Specific Purpose: To persuade the audience to start walking to improve their health.

Central idea: Regular walking can improve your mental and physical health.

Life has become all about convenience and ease lately. We have dishwashers, so we don’t have to wash dishes by hand with electric scooters, so we don’t have to paddle while riding. I mean, isn’t it ridiculous?

Today’s luxuries have been welcomed by the masses. They have also been accused of turning us into passive, lethargic sloths. As a reformed sloth, I know how easy it can be to slip into the convenience of things and not want to move off the couch. I want to persuade you to start walking.

Americans lead a passive lifestyle at the expense of their own health.

  • This means that we spend approximately 40% of our leisure time in front of the TV.
  • Ironically, it is also reported that Americans don’t like many of the shows that they watch.
  • Today’s studies indicate that people were experiencing higher bouts of depression than in the 18th and 19th centuries, when work and life were considered problematic.
  • The article reports that 12.6% of Americans suffer from anxiety, and 9.5% suffer from severe depression.
  • Present the opposition’s claim and refute an argument.
  • Nutritionist Phyllis Hall stated that we tend to eat foods high in fat, which produces high levels of cholesterol in our blood, which leads to plaque build-up in our arteries.
  • While modifying our diet can help us decrease our risk for heart disease, studies have indicated that people who don’t exercise are at an even greater risk.

In closing, I urge you to start walking more. Walking is a simple, easy activity. Park further away from stores and walk. Walk instead of driving to your nearest convenience store. Take 20 minutes and enjoy a walk around your neighborhood. Hide the TV remote, move off the couch and, walk. Do it for your heart.

Thank you for listening!

Topic: Less screen time can improve your sleep.

Specific Purpose: To persuade the audience to stop using their screens two hours before bed.

Central idea: Ceasing electronics before bed will help you achieve better sleep.

Who doesn’t love to sleep? I don’t think I have ever met anyone who doesn’t like getting a good night’s sleep. Sleep is essential for our bodies to rest and repair themselves.

I love sleeping and, there is no way that I would be able to miss out on a good night’s sleep.

As someone who has had trouble sleeping due to taking my phone into bed with me and laying in bed while entertaining myself on my phone till I fall asleep, I can say that it’s not the healthiest habit, and we should do whatever we can to change it.

  • Our natural blue light source is the sun.
  • Bluelight is designed to keep us awake.
  • Bluelight makes our brain waves more active.
  • We find it harder to sleep when our brain waves are more active.
  • Having a good night’s rest will improve your mood.
  • Being fully rested will increase your productivity.

Using electronics before bed will stimulate your brainwaves and make it more difficult for you to sleep. Bluelight tricks our brains into a false sense of daytime and, in turn, makes it more difficult for us to sleep. So, put down those screens if you love your sleep!

Thank the audience for listening

Final Thoughts

A persuasive speech is used to convince the audience of the speaker standing on a certain subject. To have a successful persuasive speech, doing the proper planning and executing your speech with confidence will help persuade the audience of your standing on the topic you chose. Persuasive speeches are used every day in the world around us, from planning what’s for dinner to arguing about politics. It is one of the most widely used forms of speech and, with proper planning and execution, you can sway any audience.

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15 Persuasive Speeches

Speeches that Make a Change

In this chapter . . .

For many public speeches, the specific purpose is to convince the audience of a particular opinion or claim or to convince them to take some action in response to the speech. When your intention is to affect change in your audience (not just the acquisition of knowledge) then you are delivering a persuasive speech. In this chapter you will learn about the elements of persuasion, why persuasion is difficult, and how to overcome people’s resistance to change by using effective and ethical methods.

Although a persuasive speech involves information—even as much as an informative speech—the key difference is that a persuasive speech is designed for “creating, reinforcing, or changing people’s beliefs or actions” (Lucas, 2015. p. 306). A persuasive speech makes something happen. In other words, it performs a job.

Traditional Views of Persuasion

In the fourth century BCE, the classic philosopher Aristotle took up the study of the public practices of the ruling class in Athenian society. For two years he observed the  rhetoric  (the art of persuasion) of the men who spoke in the assembly and the courts. In the end, he developed a theory about persuasiveness that has come down to us in history as a treatise called Rhetoric. Among his many ideas was the identification of three elements essential to persuasion: ethos, logos, and pathos. In short, they mean credibility, reasonability, and emotion.

Ethos has come to mean speaker character and credentials. It is the element that establishes the audience’s trust in you as a speaker. A speaker’s credibility is based on who the speaker is and what they know: experience, education, expertise, and background. If you’re delivering a persuasive speech about adopting a pet from a shelter and you have raised several shelter dogs, then you have credibility through experience and should share that fact about yourself with the audience to enhance their trust in your persuasive argument. Another way to establish your credibility is through research sources. You may not be an expert in climate change, but if you were giving a persuasive speech about it, you can cite reliable authoritative sources.

The word ethos looks very much like the word “ethics,” and there are many close parallels to the trust an audience has in a speaker and their honesty and ethical stance. In terms of ethics, it goes without saying that your speech will be truthful.

In addition to expertise and truthfulness is your personal involvement in the topic. Ideally you have chosen the topic because it means something to you personally. Audiences will have more trust in you if they feel you have something as stake or something personal in the subject. For example, perhaps your speech is designed to motivate audience members to take action against bullying in schools, and it’s important to you because you work with the Boys and Girls Club organization and have seen how anti-bullying programs can have positive results. Sharing your own involvement and commitment is key to establishing your credibility on this topic.

Logos is the second key element in Aristotle’s theory of rhetoric. Related to our word “logic,” the Greek term logos in persuasion means presenting ideas that appeal to logic or reason. Logos in a speech pertain to arguments that the audience would find acceptable. Imagine a speech, for example, which has the goal of persuading an audience to adopt healthier eating habits. Would the speech be effective if the arguments focused on how expensive organic foods are? Of course not.

Logic and reason are persuasive not only as matters of content.  Logos  pertains to organization, as well. An effective persuasive speech presents arguments in an organized fashion.

In words like “empathy,” “sympathy,” and “compassion” we see the root word behind the Greek word pathos. Pathos, for Aristotle, meant exciting emotions such as anger, joy, hate, love, and desire to persuade the audience of the rightness of a proposition. In a positive sense, appealing to the emotions of the audience is a highly effective persuasive tool. In the earlier example of a speech designed to encourage an audience to take action against bullying in schools, including a touching story about a student experiencing bullying would make the audience more likely to support your call for action.

However, we recognize that pathos can be used in a negative way. Emotional appeals that use anger, guilt, hatred, inflammatory language like name-calling, or that try to frighten the audience with horrible images, are counter-productive and even unethical. They might incite emotion in the audience, but they are poor uses of pathos.

One negative emotion used frequently by persuasive speakers is fear. Candidates for political office, for example, often try to provoke fear to move us to vote for them. Intense, over-the-top fear appeals, based on factual falsehoods or cherry-picking, and/or including shocking photos, are not ethical and are often dismissed by discerning audience members. Appealing to the emotion of fear can be ethical if it’s managed carefully. This means being strictly factual and avoiding extremes.

Persuasion and the Audience

It makes sense that if a speaker wants to affect the audience’s beliefs or actions, then the speaker must be perfectly clear about their expectations. If you were listening to a persuasive speech call for your audience to support animals, wouldn’t you want to know exactly what “support” the speaker was talking about? Giving money to charities? Volunteering at an animal shelter? Writing state legislators and urging them to change laws? Your job as a persuasive speaker is to be clear about what you want to create, reinforce, or change in your audience.

For your speech to have persuasive power, you must also consider your audience and choose a goal that is feasible for them. Persuasion isn’t an on/off switch. It’s more like a thermometer. Skillful persuasive speakers respect and identify a persuasive goal that is calibrated to the audience. Think of persuasion as a continuum or line going both directions. At one end is strong disagreement. At the other end is strong agreement. Your audience members, either as a group or individually, are sitting somewhere on that line in relation to your central idea statement, or what we are going to call a proposition in this chapter.

Persuasion Scale

For example, your speech proposition might be something like “The main cause of climate change is human activity.” You are claiming that climate change is due to the harmful things that humans have done to the environment. To be an effective persuasive speaker, one of your first jobs after choosing this topic would be to determine where your audience “sits” on the continuum.

+ 3 means strongly agree to the point of making lifestyle choices to lessen climate change (such as riding a bike instead of driving a car, recycling, eating certain kinds of foods, and advocating for government policy changes). + 2 means agree but not to the point of acting upon it or only acting on it in small ways. + 1 as mildly agrees with your proposition; that is, they think it’s probably true, but the issue doesn’t affect them personally. 0 means neutral, no opinion, or feeling too uninformed to decide. – 1 means mildly opposed to the proposition but willing to listen to those with whom they disagree. – 2 means disagreement to the point of dismissing the idea pretty quickly. – 3 means strong opposition to the point that the concept of climate change itself isn’t even listened to or acknowledged as a valid subject.

Since everyone in the audience is somewhere on this line or continuum, you can accept the fact that any movement toward +3 or to the right is a win. Trying to change an audience from -3 (strong disagreement) to +3 (strong agreement) in a single speech would be quite impossible. When you understand this, you can make strategic choices about the content of your speech.

In this example, if you knew that most of the audience was at -2 or -3, your speech could focus on opening their minds to the possibility of climate change and provide the science behind human causes. On the other hand, if you knew your audience was at +1 or +2, you could focus on urging them to take bold steps, like giving up their gasoline-powered vehicles.

A proposition is assumed to be in some way controversial, or a “stretch” for the audience. Some people in the audience will disagree with your proposition or at least have no opinion; they are not “on your side.”

There will be those in the audience who disagree with your proposition but who are willing to listen. Some members of the audience may already agree with you, although they don’t know why. Both groups could be called the  target audience . At the same time, another cluster of your audience may be extremely opposed to your position to the degree that they probably will not give you a fair hearing. They probably can’t be persuaded. Focus on your target audience, they are the one you can persuade.

Why is Persuasion Hard?

Persuasion is hard mainly because we have a bias against change. We go out of our way to protect our beliefs, attitudes, and values. We selectively expose ourselves to messages that we already agree with, rather than those that confront or challenge us. We find it uncomfortable to be confronted with conflicting information or viewpoints.

Additionally, during a persuasive speech the audience members are holding a mental dialogue with the speaker or at least the speaker’s content. The processes that the human mind goes through while it listens to a persuasive message is like a silent conversation. In their minds, audience members are producing doubts or reservations about your proposal. If we could listen in on one of these conversations, it might go something like this:

Speaker: Switching to a plant-based diet is the best action you can take to support a reduction in the CO-2 emissions harming the climate. Audience Member Mind: Yeah, I hear what you’re saying, but eating like that won’t give me enough protein.

The audience member has a doubt or reservation about the speaker’s proposal. We can call these doubts “yeah, buts” because the audience members are thinking, “Yeah, but what about—?”  It’s a skill of good persuasion speechwriting to anticipate reservations.

Solutions to the Difficulty of Persuasion

With these reasons for the resistance audience members have to persuasion, what is a speaker to do? Here are some strategies.

First, choose a feasible goal for the persuasive action you want the audience to take. Going back to our continuum, trying to move an audience from -3 to +2 or +3 is too big a move. Having reasonable persuasive goals is the first way to meet resistance. Even moving someone from -3 to -2 is progress, and over time these small shifts can eventually result in a significant amount of persuasion.

Secondly, as speakers we must address reservations. While speechwriters aren’t mind-readers, we can easily imagine reservations about our proposition and build a response to those reservations into the speech. Using the example above, a speaker might say:

Switching to a plant-based diet is the best action you can take to support a reduction in the CO-2 emissions harming the climate. I urge all of you to consider this important dietary change. Perhaps you are thinking that a plant-based diet won’t provide enough protein. That is a common concern. Nutritionists at the website Forks Over Knives explain how the staples of a PB diet—whole grains, legumes, and nuts—provide ample protein.

Here, the speaker acknowledges a valid reservation and then offers a rebuttal. This is called a two-tailed argument. The speaker articulates a possible argument against their proposition and then refutes it.

The third strategy is to keep in mind that since you are asking the audience to change something, they must view the benefits of the change as worth the stress of the change. In effect, audiences want to know: “What’s in it for me?” (WIIFM). As a speaker, you should give thought to that question and in your speech address the benefit, advantage, or improvement that the audience will gain by taking the action you propose.

Structure of a Persuasive Speech

A persuasive speech shares with an informational speech the same four elements for a strongly structured speech: introduction, body, conclusion, and connectors. Like informative speeches, preparation requires thoughtful attention to the given circumstances of the speech occasion, as well as audience analysis in terms of demographic and psychographic features. That said, there are some elements unique to a persuasive speech.

General and Specific Purpose General Purpose: To Persuade Specific Purpose: To motivate my audience of campus administrators to provide LGBTQ+ safe spaces on campus.

This looks familiar up to this point. The general purpose is one of the three broad speech goals (to instruct, to persuade, to inspire or entertain). The specific purpose statement follows a clear T.W.A.C. pattern:

T o +  W ord: To convince A udience: campus administrators C ontent: LGBTQ+ safe spaces

What is unique to persuasive speeches is what comes next, the proposition.

Propositions

Informational speeches require a thesis. This is the central idea of the speech; its “takeaway.” Persuasive speeches equally require a strong focus on the main idea, but we call this something else: a  proposition . A proposition is a statement that expresses a judgement or opinion about which you want audience in agreement. Remember that propositions must be something that can be argued. To say, “The earth is round” isn’t a proposition. “The earth is flat” is a proposition.

  • Converting to solar energy saves homeowners money.
  • A vegan diet is the most ethical way to eat.
  • Universities should provide on-line learning options for all classes.
  • The Constitution’s Second Amendment does not include possession of automatic weapons for private use.

Like a thesis statement for an informative speech, a proposition statement is best when it not only clearly states the judgment or opinion for which you seek audience agreement, but also provides a succinct preview of the reasons for that judgement.

Universities should provide LGBTQ+ safe spaces on campus to promote visibility, build community, and protect well-being for LGBTQ+ students and their allies.

Types of Propositions

If you take a closer look at the propositions above, you’ll notice that they suggest several types of persuasion. In fact, there are several broad categories of propositions, determined by their primary goal. These are: a) propositions of fact, b) propositions of value, c) propositions of policy, and d) propositions of definition.

Proposition of Fact

Speeches with this type of proposition attempt to establish the truth of a statement. The core of the proposition isn’t whether something is morally right or wrong, only that a statement is supported by evidence or not. These propositions are not facts such as “the chemical symbol for water is H20.” Rather, propositions of fact are statements over which people disagree and there is evidence on both sides. Some examples of propositions of fact are:

  • Experiments using animals are essential to the development of many life-saving medical procedures.
  • Climate change has been caused by human activity.

Notice that in none of these are any values—good or bad—mentioned. The point of these propositions is to prove with evidence the truth of a statement.

Proposition of Value

Propositions of fact have the primary purpose of arguing that something exists in a particular way. Propositions of value, on the other hand, have as their primary purpose to argue that one thing is better than another. When the proposition has a word such as “good,” “bad,” “best,” “worst,” “just,” “unjust,” “ethical,” “unethical,” “moral,” “immoral,” “beneficial,” “harmful,” “advantageous,” or “disadvantageous,” then it’s a proposition of value. Some examples include:

  • Hybrid cars are the best form of automobile transportation available today.
  • Mascots that involve Native American names, characters, and symbols are unjust.

Propositions of value require a first step: defining the “value” word. If you are trying to convince your audience that something is “unjust,” you will have to make clear what you mean by that term. For different people, “best” might mean “safest,” “least expensive,” “most environmentally responsible,” “stylish,” “powerful,” or “prestigious.” Obviously, in the case of the first proposition above, it means “environmentally responsible.” It’s the first job of the speaker, after introducing the speech and stating the proposition, to explain what “best form of automobile transportation” means. Then the proposition would be defended with separate arguments.

Proposition of Policy

These propositions are easy to identify because they almost always have the word “should” in them. These propositions call for a change in policy or practice (including those in a government, community, or school), or they can call for the audience to adopt a certain behavior.

  • The federal government should act to ensure clean water standards for all citizens.
  • Universities should eliminate attendance requirements.
  • States should lower taxes on food.

The proposition determines the approach to the speech, especially the organization. The exact phrasing of the proposition should be carefully done to be reasonable, positive, and appropriate for the context and audience.

Propositions of Definition

Propositions of definitions argue that a word, phrase, or concept has a particular meaning. Lawyers, legislators, and scholars often write briefs, present persuasive speeches, or compose articles to define terms that are vital to defendants, citizens, or disciplines. Some examples might be:

  • The Second Amendment to the Constitution does not include possession of automatic weapons for private use.
  • Alcoholism should be considered a disease because…
  • Thomas Jefferson’s definition of inalienable rights did not include a right to privacy.

In each of these examples, the proposition is that the definition of these things needs to be changed or viewed differently, but the audience isn’t asked to change an attitude or action.

These are not strict categories. A proposition of value most likely contains elements of facts and definitions, for example. However, identifying the primary category for a persuasive speech focuses the speaker on the ultimate purpose of the speech.

Pro-Arguments

Once you know your proposition, the next step is to make your case for your judgement or opinion through clear and distinct points. These are the main points of the body of your persuasive speech. We call these the “pro” or “for” arguments. You should present at least three distinct arguments in favor of your proposition. Expanding on the example above,

General Purpose: To Persuade Specific Purpose:  To motivate my audience of campus administrators to provide LGBTQ+ safe spaces on campus. Proposition: Universities should provide LGBTQ+ safe spaces on campus in order to promote visibility, build community, and protect well-being for LGBTQ+ students and their allies.

Three pro-arguments for the proposition are:

Pro-Argument #1: Creating a safe space makes LGBTQ+ community more visible and central to campus life, instead of marginalized. Pro-Argument #2: Safe spaces create a place where LGBTQ+ and their allies learn to build networks, friendship, and support circles. Pro-Argument #3: With a safe and centralized space bringing together this community, instances of bias or harassment can be brought to counselors, making for a safer community.

Two-Tailed Arguments

There is one more crucial element following pro-arguments. These are unique to persuasive speeches. As discussed above, it’s essential to anticipate and address audience reservations about your propositions. These are the two-tailed arguments that articulate the reservation and then address it or refute it. In the example we’re using, such a statement might look like this:

“Perhaps you are thinking that an LGBTQ+ safe space isn’t necessary on campus because there are already places on campus that provide this function. I understand that concern. However, a space that is officially provided by the University provides access to resources with trained personnel. The national organization CampusPride provides training to university facilitators for exactly this reason.”

There are some techniques for rebuttal or refutation that work better than others. You would not want to say, “If you are one of the people who believe this about my proposition, you are wrong.” It’s better to say that their reservations are “misconceptions,” “myths,” or “mistaken ideas” that are commonly held about the proposition.

Building Upon Your Persuasive Speech’s Arguments

Once you have constructed the key arguments, it’s time to be sure the main points are well supported with evidence.

First, your evidence should be from sources that the audience will find credible. If you can find the same essential information from two sources but know that the audience will find the information more credible from one source than another, use and cite the information from the more credible one. For example, if you find the same statistical data on Wikipedia and the US Department of Labor’s website, cite the US Department of Labor. Audiences also accept information from sources they consider unbiased or indifferent. Gallup polls, for example, have been considered reliable sources of survey data because unlike some organizations, Gallup does not have a cause (political or otherwise) it’s supporting.

Secondly, your evidence should be new to the audience. New evidence is more attention-getting, and you will appear more credible if you tell the audience something new (as long as you cite it well) than if you use the “same old, same old” evidence they have heard before.

Third, in order to be effective and ethical, your supporting evidence should be relevant and not used out of context, manipulated, or edited to change its meaning.

After choosing the evidence and apportioning it to the correct parts of the speech, you will want to consider the use of metaphors, quotations, rhetorical devices, and narratives that will enhance the language and “listenability” of your speech. Narratives are especially good for introduction and conclusions, to get attention and to leave the audience with something dramatic. You might refer to the narrative in the introduction again in the conclusion to give the speech a sense of finality.

Lastly, you will want to decide if you should use any type of presentation aid for the speech. The decision to use visuals such as PowerPoint slides or a video clip in a persuasive speech should take into consideration the effect of the visuals on the audience and the time allotted for the speech. The charts, graphs, or photographs you use should be focused and credibly done.

Organization of a Persuasive Speech

You can see that the overall structure of a persuasive speech follows a common model: introduction, body (arguments and support), two-tailed arguments, and conclusion. Study the example at the end of this chapter to see this structure in action.

In speechwriting, you can think of a speech structure like the building of a house and organization like the arrangement of the rooms within it. As with other speeches, persuasive speeches can be organized topically, chronologically, or spatially. However, persuasive speeches often follow a problem-solution or problem-cause-solution pattern.

Organization for a proposition of fact

If your proposition is one of fact or definition, it will be best to use a topical organization for the body of your speech. That means that you will have two to four discrete, separate topics in support of the proposition.

Proposition: Converting to solar energy saves homeowners money.

  • (Pro-Argument 1) Solar energy can be economical to install.
  • (Pro-Argument 2) The government awards grants for solar.
  • (Pro-Argument 3) Solar energy reduces power bills.
  • (Pro-Argument 4) Solar energy requires less money for maintenance.

Organization for a proposition of value

A persuasive speech that incorporates a proposition of value will have a slightly different structure. A proposition of value must first define the “value” word for clarity and provide a basis for the other arguments of the speech. Then the pro-arguments for the proposition based on the definition.

Proposition: Hybrid cars are the best form of automotive transportation available today.

  • (Definition of value) Automotive transportation that is best meets three standards: dependable, economical, and environmentally responsible.
  • (Pro-Argument 1) Studies show that hybrid cars are durable and dependable.
  • (Pro-Argument 2) Hybrid cars are fuel-efficient.
  • (Pro-Argument 3) Hybrid cars are environmentally responsible.

Organization for a propositions of policy

The most common type of outline organizations for speeches with propositions of policy is problem-solution or problem-cause-solution. Typically, we don’t feel any motivation to change unless we are convinced that some harm, problem, need, or deficiency exists, and even more, that it affects us personally. Therefore, the organization of a speech about policy needs to first explain the problem and its cause, followed by the solution in the form of 3-5 pro-arguments.

Proposition: Universities should provide on-line learning options for all classes.

  • (Problem) Regular attendance in a physical classroom is no longer possible for all students.
  • (Cause) Changes brought about by the COVID pandemic have made guaranteed classroom attendance difficult.
  • (Pro-Argument 1) Providing on-line learning options protects the health of students.
  • (Pro-Argument 2) On-line learning serves students who cannot come to campus.
  • (Pro-Argument 3) Access to on-line learning allows students to maintain employment while still going to school.

To complete this outline, along with introduction and conclusion, your pro-arguments should be supported with fact, quotations, and statistics.

Your persuasive speech in class, as well as in real life, is an opportunity to share a passion or cause that you believe will matter to society and help the audience live a better life. Even if you are initially uncomfortable with the idea of persuasion, we use it all the time in diverse ways. Choose your topic based on your commitment and experience, look for quality evidence, craft your proposition so that it will be clear and audience appropriate, and put the finishing touches on it with an eye toward enhancing your logos , ethos , and pathos .

Media Attributions

  • Persuasion Scale © Mechele Leon is licensed under a CC BY-NC-SA (Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike) license

Public Speaking as Performance Copyright © 2023 by Mechele Leon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

10 Persuasive Speech Techniques to Improve Your Public Speaking

Let me guess…

You wipe your clammy palms on the sides of your trousers.

Fidgeting, you pace back and forth, barely able to remember your lines.

You thumb through your notes once more.

Will the slides work? What if they don’t? Will your voice sound weird?

Such are the thoughts that attack you before public speaking.

Giving a speech is one of the most daunting experiences imaginable…

Creating a vortex of emotions.

So how do some people do it so easily?

What persuasive speech techniques do they use to mould their audience like putty?

Persuasive Speech Examples

“Speech is power: speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Look at some of the greatest speakers and leaders in history .

Abraham Lincoln, John F Kennedy, Winston Churchill…

They were puppet masters, listeners dangling on their every word.

Charlie Chaplain was another. Ok, not in the traditional sense, although this is one of my favourite movie speeches of all time…

And here are 35 more masterful speeches from which to draw inspiration.

When you study famous speakers of the past, analyse their persuasive speech techniques and use them in your own approach.

Model your public speaking on the best examples.

Also, you can learn from a variety of sources…

Persuasive advertising techniques mimic the devices used in speeches, to encourage purchasing decisions .

And there are similarities between persuasive speeches and essay writing.

Even Hollywood uses these methods in its storytelling.

How to Improve Your Public Speaking

Let me start with a story…

There was a man called Demosthenes who lived in ancient Athens and was born with a speech impediment.

Each time he addressed an audience he was ridiculed.

So he committed to improving his speeches and becoming more persuasive.

He practised by filling his mouth with pebbles and running up hills while speaking.

Every day he locked himself in an underground study to work on his speech devices.

And to ensure he stuck to his promise, he shaved half his head so he’d be too embarrassed to be seen in public.

The result?

He became one of the most famous orators in the nation and most sought-after speakers in Greece.

Not only is this story a good example of grit and determination, but also that you can improve your speeches with persistence and a few clever techniques.

So let’s gather some pebbles…

Persuasive Devices

The goal of a persuasive speech is to change an audience’s opinion or strengthen an existing belief.

You want to convince them about an idea or encourage them to take some form of action.

Here’s a broad overview of how to do it…

This is your credibility as a speaker, as viewed by your audience. It can be the difference between winning and losing speech before you’ve even spoken a word.

It consists of four parts…

  • Trustworthiness – If the audience trusts you, they’ll believe what you say
  • Similarity to audience – You can change your language to match your audience (chameleon effect)
  • Authority – What’s your position as speaker? More authority = more credibility
  • Expertise – How much do you know about your topic?

Appeals to the audience using logic.

  • The audience use deductive and inductive reasoning to assess the information you provide
  • Therefore you need to present sound reasoning and logical sequence of thought in your speech
  • Back up your claims with facts and research
  • Instead of changing the audience’s viewpoint, can you strengthen an existing belief which still supports your message?
  • Logos strengthens pathos and vice versa. Sound logic = more credibility in the eyes of the audience.

Appeal to the audience using emotion.

  • People often make decisions based on emotion rather than logic
  • Thus has been used in the advertising agencies for years, when they sell benefits over features
  • Can you inject more emotion into your speech to generate feelings of warmth or compassion?
  • Use power words , which forge strong emotional connections
  • Use analogies and metaphors to make your speech easy to understand
  • Tell stories which are attention gripping and ram your point home
  • Use visuals – think about the slides in TED talks
  • Use curiosity and surprise

Now lets drill down into the specific persuasive speech techniques to improve your public speaking.

Persuasive Speech Techniques

1. strong introduction.

You need to grab attention immediately. You could start with a controversial statement, a question or a story. Hollywood likes to begin their dramas with explosive action, before delivering the rest of the plot.

What’s the central theme of your speech? It’s easy to ramble off topic until an audience loses interest. Keep your speech tight and concise.

3. Rhetorical techniques

This a where a question is asked, but the speaker expects no response from the audience. It helps make the audience active participants and improve their emotional attachment to your message.

“You work hard to make this country great. Don’t you deserve a politician who’ll stand up for you…?”

4. Rule of three

This counts on our psychological tendency to value information delivered in three parts. We find it funnier and more satisfying because it combines brevity and rhythm while creating a pattern.

“Of the people, by the people, for the people.” Abraham Lincoln

5. Emotive language

Tap into pathos with powerful, visual language.

– Non-emotive – The burger tastes good – Emotive – The burger’s dripping with succulent, meaty juices

Humour can be powerful in speeches, but only when used well. You have to know your audience and be careful not to divide your listeners. You can focus the laughs on yourself, which makes you more relatable, or blend humour into a story.

7. Bandwagon

You can use this technique to suggest that everyone’s on board with a concept or idea. It taps into people’s fear of missing out. Even if you don’t have the facts to back up your claims, generalities are strongly suggestive.

“The public’s interest in the environment has exploded in the last year”.

8. Inverted Phrases

“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” John F. Kennedy

9. Explicitly  stated facts

The reason politicians are so annoying is that they’re incapable of giving a clear answer. They fear the dreaded comeback and so squirm around a topic. Include any solid facts in your speech, but just ensure they’re correct.

10. Repetition

We have small brains and sometimes they don’t absorb all they should. That’s why repetition works. It can deliver the final blow of your message.

“We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.” Winston Churchill

Public Speaking Voice

Try to vary the intonation and pitch of your voice. It keeps an audience on its toes, guessing what you’re about to say next.

Speaking very quietly can also be a powerful vocal technique, magnifying the importance of a topic.

At other times it’s important to project your voice to the back of the room.

Check out the video below…

Public Speaking Body Language

Though improving the oral delivery of your speeches takes time, improving your body language can lead to quick wins.

Research shows that changing your body language before an assessment can significantly affect performance.

By adopting a power pose before your speech, you can increase your testosterone levels (responsible for confidence) and decrease your cortisol levels (responsible for anxiety).

Standing with your hands on your hips ought to do the trick, although I like to use the gorilla pose.

Stand tall with your shoulders back to demonstrate confidence.

Make eye contact with the audience, and pick specific members out if you can. People will feel you’re speaking directly to them.

Use hand gestures to support the points you’re making. It’ll help make your speech visual and emphasise your message.

Final Thoughts

Improving your public speaking and becoming more persuasive is all about analysis and practice.

Luckily we live in an age where we don’t have to physically see great speakers in action to learn from them.

TED is a great resource. Listen to all the speakers you can and analyse their strengths and weaknesses.

These persuasive speech techniques will take you a long way, but put what you learn into practice.

You don’t even have to get up in front of an audience to do it. Record yourself on a camera to test your material and delivery.

The key is to create a tight feedback loop. Listen back to your efforts and course correct where necessary.

My final recommendation is to read this golden oldie by Dale Carnegie.

Good luck brave mind.

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example of persuasive speech in public speaking

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How to Write a Persuasive Public Speech

Last Updated: March 20, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Maureen Taylor . Maureen Taylor is the CEO and Founder of SNP Communications, a leadership communications company based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has been helping leaders, founders, and innovators in all sectors hone their messaging and delivery for almost 30 years, and has worked with leaders and teams at Google, Facebook, Airbnb, SAP, Salesforce, and Spotify. There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 94,105 times.

Public speaking is something many people fear, and when you must speak persuasively, the pressure is even greater. Many people aren’t sure where to start when they need to write a speech. Fortunately, if you choose a topic you’re passionate about and prepare yourself properly, you too can deliver a powerful and engaging speech.

Sample Persuasive Speeches

example of persuasive speech in public speaking

Researching your Topic

Step 1 Choose a compelling topic.

  • For example, if your school recently adopted school uniforms, you could write a compelling persuasive speech in favor of the new policy.

Step 2 Research the pros and cons.

  • For example, adopting a school uniform can reduce the distractions that students face at school. However, it can be a financial burden for parents who can’t afford to buy lots of new clothes for their children.

Step 3 Know your audience.

  • For example, if a parent is worried that providing school uniforms for their children would become a financial burden, you could point out that uniforms are more cost effective in the long run.

"To persuade your audience, it helps to understand who they are and why your presentation matters to them."

Maureen Taylor

Maureen Taylor

Step 4 Engage your audience with local examples.

  • If you were trying to convince a room full of angry parents that school uniforms are in the best interest of their child, you could mention the ways in which the uniforms have benefitted a particular member of the community.

Step 5 Write an outline.

  • The more time you spend on research and outlining, the less time you’ll have to spend writing the speech. Writing is much easier if you’ve prepared yourself properly.

Writing your Speech

Step 1 Set a goal.

  • For example, your goal might be to convince elementary school parents that a school uniform would benefit their children. Everything you would write would need to be relevant to this goal.

Step 2 Write how you would talk.

  • Read out loud as you write. [7] X Research source This technique will help show you how your speech sounds to an audience. Any awkward phrases will be easy to spot.

Step 3 Introduce your audience to your point of view.

  • If you were arguing in favor of school uniforms, you might say, “Buying new clothes is expensive. I certainly can’t afford to buy as much as I’d like. However, when you have less types of clothing to buy, you save money in the long run.

Step 4 Use evidence and empathy .

  • For example, to prove that school uniforms are beneficial for students, you might write about the personal experiences of a student who has benefitted from the new uniform policy.

Step 5 Help your audience visualize your point of view.

  • Tell the audience why they should care. While you’re helping them visualize your point of view, it’s important to remind them of the reasons they should agree with you.

Step 6 Write the conclusion and introduction last.

  • As a reminder, the “body” of a speech or paper refers to the writing between the introduction and the conclusion.
  • Try to include a “hook” in your introduction, or a sentence that is compelling and strongly worded. For example, you might write, “Many parents are against the new uniform policy. They wouldn’t be against it if they knew how beneficial it was to our students.”

Delivering your Speech

Step 1 Memorize your speech.

  • Rehearse your speech. You can do this in front of a mirror or in front of a small audience of family and friends. The more you practice the better your speech will be.
  • If you’re really worried about forgetting your speech, copy your speech word-for-word onto your notecards. Use one sentence per notecard and write in large letters.

Step 2 Speak clearly and slowly.

  • Don’t worry if you fumble over a few words. Your audience will be forgiving if you make a mistake. The important thing to do is to finish giving the speech.

Step 3 Make eye contact with your audience.

  • If you’re really nervous, stare over the audience. Find a spot on the wall over everyone’s heads to look at. Your audience will think that you’re making eye contact.

Step 4 Keep it short.

  • The Gettysburg Address is a good example of a short concise speech with less than three hundred words. [13] X Research source

Community Q&A

Community Answer

  • Read inspiring speeches, such as “Lend Me Your Ears” by William Safire. The more you read, the better your own writing will be. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
  • Consider introducing yourself at the beginning of the speech by saying, “Good afternoon. My name is…and I’m here to talk about…” Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0

example of persuasive speech in public speaking

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  • ↑ https://open.lib.umn.edu/communication/chapter/11-2-persuasive-speaking/
  • ↑ http://grammar.yourdictionary.com/style-and-usage/steps-for-writing-a-persuasive-speech.html
  • ↑ https://open.lib.umn.edu/publicspeaking/chapter/17-3-organizing-persuasive-speeches/
  • ↑ https://courses.lumenlearning.com/wm-publicspeaking/chapter/the-goals-of-a-speech/
  • ↑ https://publichealth.wustl.edu/write-rewrite-and-even-read-out-loud/
  • ↑ https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/empathy/definition
  • ↑ https://courses.lumenlearning.com/suny-realworldcomm/chapter/10-3-vocal-delivery/
  • ↑ https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/eye_contact_tips_to_make_your_presentations_stronger
  • ↑ https://rmc.library.cornell.edu/gettysburg/good_cause/transcript.htm

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Module 10: Persuasive Speaking

What is a persuasive speech, learning objectives.

Explain the objectives of a persuasive speech.

Persuasive speaking happens all the time:

  • A community member rallies neighbors to demand that the city replace a broken play structure at the park.
  • A child explains to her parents why she should get an extra half hour of screen time today.
  • A parent discusses with a teacher why he thinks his child should have an Individualized Education Program.
  • A landscaper talks to her supervisor about the advantages of investing in a new lawn machine.
  • Politicians explain why voters should vote for them and support their political agenda.
  • A defense attorney tries to convince a jury that her client is innocent of all charges.
  • An informercial says that you should buy this miracle detergent, which cleans your clothes by harnessing the power of dihydrogen monoxide.
  • A college student in a public speaking class argues that their university should stop considering the SAT and ACT for admissions decisions.

Persuasion means to cause someone to do or believe something based on reasoning and argument. Persuade comes from the Latin roots per – (thoroughly, strongly) and  suadere  (to advise), from the Proto-Indo-European root  *swād- (sweet, pleasant, agreeable; like the Sanskrit svadus,   sweet  or the word suave ). [1] Persuasion, in other words, is an attempt to make a viewpoint or a behavior agreeable to someone.  When your objective as a speaker is to convince your audience to adopt a particular belief or engage in a specific action, you are speaking to persuade.

When we persuade, we are acting as advocates and we are encouraging our audience to adopt a point of view or take a particular course of behavior. Learning how to be a better persuasive speaker also has the added benefit of making us better and smarter consumers of persuasive messages.

Persuasion is all around us, of course. Just think of advertising, for example. How many persuasive messages do you receive every day? What makes some of those messages more effective than others? Think about that question as you read this section and begin developing your own persuasive speech.

  • "persuade, v." "suade, v.,"  OED Online , Oxford University Press, September 2020, http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/141561 . ↵
  • What is a Persuasive Speech?. Authored by : Mike Randolph with Lumen Learning. License : CC BY: Attribution

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Social Sci LibreTexts

13.7: Sample Persuasive Speech Outlines

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Sample Outline: Persuasive Speech Using Topical Pattern

By Janet Aguilar

Specific Purpose: To persuade my classmates to eliminate their Facebook use.

Introduction: There she was late into the night still wide awake starring at her phone’s screen. In fact, she had to be at work early in the morning, but scrolling through her Facebook account kept her awake. That girl was me before I deactivated my Facebook account. I honestly could not tell you how many hours I spent on Facebook. In the survey that I presented to you all, one person admitted to spending “too much” time on Facebook. That was me in the past, I spent too much time on Facebook. Time is precious and once it is gone it does not return. So why do you spend precious time on Facebook? Time that could be spent with family, resting, or just being more productive.

Thesis/Preview: Facebook users should eliminate their usage because Facebook can negatively affect their relationships with others, their sleeping patterns and health, and their ability to focus on school work.

I. Family relationships can be affected by your Facebook usage.

A. In the survey conducted in class, 11 of 15 students confessed to have ignored someone while they were speaking.

1. Found myself ignoring my children while they spoke.

2. Noticed other people doing the same thing especially in parks and restaurants.

B. According to Lynn Postell-Zimmerman on hg.org, Facebook has become a leading cause for divorce.

C. In the United States, 1 in 5 couples mentioned Facebook as a reason for divorce in 2009.

Transition: We have discussed how Facebook usage can lead to poor relationships with people, next we will discuss how Facebook can affect your sleep patterns and health.

II. Facebook usage can negatively affect your sleep patterns and health.

A. Checking Facebook before bed.

1. In my survey 11 students said they checked their Facebook account before bed.

2. Staying on Facebook for long hours before bed.

B. Research has shown that Facebook can cause depression, anxiety, and addiction.

1. According to researchers Steels, Wickham and Acitelli in an article in the Journal of Social & Clinical Psychology titled “Seeing everyone else’s highlight reels: How Facebook usage is linked to depressive symptoms,” because Facebook users only view the positive of their friend’s life they become unhappy with their life and it can lead to becoming depressed and unhappy.

2. Marissa Maldonado on psychcentral.com, concluded from recent studies that, “Facebook increases people’s anxiety levels by making them feel inadequate and generating excess worry and stress.”

3. Facebook addiction is a serious issue, according to the article “Too much Facebook leads to anger and depression” found on cnn.com and written by Cara Reedy.

a. Checking Facebook everywhere we go is a sign of addiction

b. Not being able to deactivate your Facebook account.

Transitions: Many of you have probably never though as Facebook as a threat to your health, but we will now review how it can affect you as a college student.

III. Facebook negatively affects students.

A. I often found myself on Facebook instead of doing schoolwork.

B. I was constantly checking Facebook which takes away from study time.

C. I also found myself checking Facebook while in class, which can lead to poor grades and getting in trouble with the professor.

D. A study of over 1,800 college students showed a negative relationship between amount of Facebook time and GPA, as reported by Junco in a 2012 article titled, “Too much face and not enough books” from the journal Computers and Human Behavior.

Conclusion: In conclusion, next time you log on to Facebook try deactivating your account for a few day and see the difference. You will soon see how it can bring positive changes in your family relationships, will avoid future health problems, will help you sleep better, and will improve your school performance. Instead of communicating through Facebook try visiting or calling your close friends. Deactivating my account truly helped me, and I can assure you we all can survive without Facebook.

Junco, R. (2012). Too much face and not enough books: The relationship between multiple indices of Facebook use and academic performance. Computers in Human Behavior, 28(1), 187-198.

Maldonado, M. (2014). The anxiety of Facebook. Psych Central. Retrieved from http://psychcentral.com/lib/the-anxiety-of-facebook/

Postell-Zimmerman, L. (1995-2015). Facebook has become a leading cause in divorce cases . HG.org. Retrieved from http://www.hg.org/article.asp?id=27803

Reedy, C. (2015, March 2). Too much Facebook leads to envy and depression . CNNMoney. Retrieved from http://money.cnn.com/2015/03/02/tech...facebook-envy/

Steers, M. L. N., Wickham, R. E., & Acitelli, L. K. (2014). Seeing everyone else’s highlight reels: How Facebook usage is linked to depressive symptoms . Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 33(8), 701-731. DOI:10.1521/jscp.2014.33.8.701

Sample Outline: Persuasive Speech Using Monroe’s Motivated Sequence Pattern Speech to Actuate: Sponsoring a Child in Poverty

Specific Purpose: to actuate my audience to sponsor a child through an agency such as Compassion International.

Introduction (Attention Step)

I. How much is $38? That answer depends on what you make, what you are spending it for, and what you get back for it. (Grabber)

II. $38 per month breaks down to a little more than $1.25 per day, which is probably what you spend on a snack or soda in the break room. For us, it’s not very much. (Rapport)

III. I found out that I can provide better health care, nutrition, and even education for a child in Africa, South America, or Asia for the $38 per month by sponsoring a child through Compassion International. (Credibility)

IV. If I can do it, maybe you can too: (Bridge)

Thesis: Through a minimal donation each month, you can make the life of a child in the developing world much better.

Preview: In the next few minutes I would like to discuss the problem, the work of organizations that offer child sponsorships, how research shows they really do alleviate poverty, and what you can do to change the life of a child.

I. The problem is the continued existence and effects of poverty. (Need Step)

A. Poverty is real and rampant in much of the world.

1. According to a 2018 report of the Secretary General of the United Nations, 9.2% of the world lives on less than $1.90 per day.

a. That is 600 million people on the planet.

2. This number is supported by the World Poverty clock of the World Data Lab, which states that 8% ofthe world’s population lives in extreme poverty.

a. The good news is that this number is one third of what it was in 1990, mostly due to the rising middle class in Asia.

b. The bad news is that 70% of the poor will live in Africa, with Nigeria labeled the “Poverty Capital of the World,” according to the Brookings Institute.

B. Poverty means children do not get adequate health care.

1. One prevalent but avoidable disease is malaria, which takes the lives of 3000 children every day, according to UNICEF.

2. According to the World Health Organization, diarrheal diseases claimed 2.46 million lives in 2012 and is the second leading cause of death of children under 5.

C. Poverty means children do not get adequate nutrition, as stated in a report from UNICEF.

1. Inadequate nutrition leads to stunted growth.

2. Undernutrition contributes to more than one third of all deaths in children under the age of five.

D. Poverty means children are unlikely to reach adult age, according to the CIA World Fact Book quoted on the Info please website.

1. Child mortality rate in Africa is 8.04% (percentage dying before age 5), while in North American is .64%

2. Life expectancy in Sub-Saharan Africa is almost 30 years less than in the U.S.

E. Poverty also means children are unlikely to receive education and be trained for profitable work.

1. Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names, states the Global Issues website on Poverty Facts.

2. UNESCO, a part of the United Nations, reports that less than a third of adults in Sub-Saharan Africa have completed primary education.

Transition: Although in all respects poverty is better in 2019 than it has been in the past, poverty is still pervasive and needs to be addressed. Fortunately, some great organizations have been addressing this for many years.

II. Some humanitarian organizations address poverty directly through child sponsorships. (Satisfaction Step)

A. These organizations vary in background but not in purpose. The following information is gleaned from each organization’s websites.

1. Compassion International is faith-based, evangelical.

a. Around since the early 1950s, started in Korea.

b. Budget of $887 Million.

c. Serves 1.92 million babies, children, and young adults.

d. Works through local community centers and established churches.

2. World Vision is faith-based, evangelical.

a. Around since the 1950s.

b. Budget of far over $1 Billion.

c. 60% goes to local community programs but more goes to global networks, so that 86% goes to services.

d. World Vision has more extensive services than child sponsorship, such as water purification and disaster relief.

e. Sponsors three million children across six continents.

3. Children International is secular.

a. Around since 1936.

b. Budget of $125 Million.

c. 88% of income goes directly to programs and children.

d. Sponsors children in ten countries on four continents.

e. Sponsors X across X continents

4. Save the Children is secular, through…

a. One hundred years of history, began in post WWI Europe.

b. Budget of $880 Million.

c. 87% goes to services.

d. Sponsors 134 million children in 120 countries, including 450,000 in U.S.

5. There are other similar organizations, such as ChildFund and PlanUSA.

B. These organizations work directly with local community, on-site organizations.

1. The children are involved in a program, such as after school.

2. The children live with their parents and siblings.

3. The sponsor’s donation goes for medicine, extra healthy, nutritious food, shoes for school, and other items.

4. Sponsors can also help donate for birthdays and holidays to the whole family to buy food or farm animals.

Transition: Of course, any time we are donating money to an organization, we want to be sure our money is being effectively and ethnically used.

III. This concern should be addressed in two ways: Is the money really helping, and are the organizations honest? (Continuation of Satisfaction Step)

A. The organizations’ honesty can be investigated.

1. You can check through Charity Navigator.

2. You can check through the Better Business Bureau-Charity.

3. You can check through Charity Watch.

4. You can check through the organizations’ websites.

B. Secondly, is sponsoring a child effective? Yes.

1. According to Bruce Wydick, Professor of Economics at the University of San Francisco, child sponsorship is the fourth most effective strategy for addressing poverty, behind water purification, mosquito nets, and deworming treatments.

2. Dr. Wydick and colleagues’ work has been published in the prestigious Journal of Political Economy from the University of Chicago.

3. He states, “Two researchers and I recently carried out a study (sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development) on the long-term impacts of Compassion International’s child sponsorship program. The study, gathering data from over 10,000 individuals in six countries, found substantial impact on adult life outcomes for children who were sponsored through Compassion’s program during the 1980s and ’90s…In adulthood, formerly sponsored children were far more likely to complete secondary school and had a much higher chance of having a white-collar job. They married and had children later in life, were more likely to be church and community leaders, were less likely to live in a home with a dirt floor and more likely to live in a home with electricity.”

Transition: To this point I have spoke of global problems and big solutions. Now I want to bring it down to real life with one example.

IV. I’d like to use my sponsored child, Ukwishaka in Rwanda, as an example of how you can. (Visualization Step)

A. I have sponsored her for five years.

B. She is now ten years old.

C. She lives with two siblings and both parents.

D. She writes me, I write her back, and we share photos at least every two months.

E. The organization gives me reports on her project.

F. I hope one day to go visit her.

G. I believe Ukwishaka now knows her life can be more, can be successful.

Transition: We have looked at the problem of childhood poverty and how reliable, stable nongovernmental organizations are addressing it through child sponsorships. Where does that leave you?

V. I challenge you to sponsor a child like Ukwishaka. (Action Step)

A. Although I sponsor her through Compassion International, there are other organizations.

B. First, do research.

C. Second, look at your budget and be sure you can do this.

1. You don’t want to start and have to stop.

2. Look for places you “waste” money during the month and could use it this way.

3. Fewer snacks from the break room, fewer movies at the Cineplex, brown bag instead of eating out.

D. Talk to a representative at the organization you like.

E. Discuss it with your family.

F. Take the plunge. If you do.

1. Write your child regularly.

2. Consider helping the family, or getting friends to help with extra gifts.

I. In this speech, we have taken a look at the state of poverty for children on this planet, at organizations that are addressing it through child sponsorships, at the effectiveness of these programs, and what you can do.

II. My goal today was not to get an emotional response, but a realistically compassionate one.

III. You have probably heard this story before but it bears repeating. A little girl was walking with her mother on the beach, and the sand was covered with starfish. The little girl wanted to rescue them and send them back to the ocean and kept throwing them in. “It won’t matter, Honey,” said her mother. “You can’t get all of them back in the ocean.” “But it will matter to the ones that I do throw back,” the little girl answered.

IV. We can’t sponsor every child, but we can one, maybe even two. As Forest Witcraft said, “What will matter in 100 years is that I made a difference in the life of a child.” Will you make a difference?

AGScientific. (2019). Top ten deadly diseases in the world. Retrieved from http://agscientific.com/blog/2016/04...adly-diseases/

Compassion International. (2019). Financial integrity: The impact of our compassion. Retrieved from https://www.compassion.com/about/financial.htm

Exploring Public Speaking 285 Chapter 13: Persuasive Speaking Children’s International. (2019). Accountability. Retrieved from https://www.children.org/learn-more/accountability

Global Issues. (2013, January 7 ). Poverty facts and stats. Retrieved from http://www.globalissues.org/article/...acts-and-stats

Infoplease. (2019). What life expectancy really means . Retrieved form https://www.infoplease.com/world/hea...cy-countries-0

Kharas, H., Hamel, K., & Hofer, M. (2018, Dec. 13). Rethinking global poverty reduction in 2019 . Retrieved from https://www.brookings.edu/blog/futur...ction-in-2019/

Roser, M. (2019). Child and infant mortality rates . Retrieved from https://ourworldindata.org/child-mortality

Save the Children. (2019). Financial information . Retrieved from https://www.savethechildren.org/us/a...al-information

UNICEF. (2008). Tracking progress on child and maternal nutrition: A survival and development priority . Retrieved from https://www.unicef.org/publications/..._EN_110309.pdf

UNICEF (2019). The reality of Malaria . Retrieved from https://www.unicef.org/health/files/...icamalaria.pdf

United Nations. (2019). Poverty eradication . Retrieved from https://sustainabledevelopment.un.or...rtyeradication

World Vision. (2019). Financial accountability . Retrieved from https://www.worldvision.org/about-us...countability-2

Wydick, B., Glewwe, P., & Rutledge, L. (2013). Does international child sponsorship work? A six-country study of impacts on adult life outcomes. Journal of Political Economy, 121(2), 393–436. https://doi.org/10.1086/670138

Wydick, B. (2012, Feb.). Cost-effective compassion . Christianity Today, 56(2), 24-29.

Wydick, B. (2013). Want to change the world? Sponsor a child. Christianity Today.

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17.3 Organizing Persuasive Speeches

Learning objectives.

  • Understand three common organizational patterns for persuasive speeches.
  • Explain the steps utilized in Monroe’s motivated sequence.
  • Explain the parts of a problem-cause-solution speech.
  • Explain the process utilized in a comparative advantage persuasive speech.

A classroom of attentive listeners

Steven Lilley – Engaged – CC BY-SA 2.0.

Previously in this text we discussed general guidelines for organizing speeches. In this section, we are going to look at three organizational patterns ideally suited for persuasive speeches: Monroe’s motivated sequence, problem-cause-solution, and comparative advantages.

Monroe’s Motivated Sequence

One of the most commonly cited and discussed organizational patterns for persuasive speeches is Alan H. Monroe’s motivated sequence. The purpose of Monroe’s motivated sequence is to help speakers “sequence supporting materials and motivational appeals to form a useful organizational pattern for speeches as a whole” (German et al., 2010).

While Monroe’s motivated sequence is commonly discussed in most public speaking textbooks, we do want to provide one minor caution. Thus far, almost no research has been conducted that has demonstrated that Monroe’s motivated sequence is any more persuasive than other structural patterns. In the only study conducted experimentally examining Monroe’s motivated sequence, the researchers did not find the method more persuasive, but did note that audience members found the pattern more organized than other methods (Micciche, Pryor, & Butler, 2000). We wanted to add this sidenote because we don’t want you to think that Monroe’s motivated sequence is a kind of magic persuasive bullet; the research simply doesn’t support this notion. At the same time, research does support that organized messages are perceived as more persuasive as a whole, so using Monroe’s motivated sequence to think through one’s persuasive argument could still be very beneficial.

Table 17.1 “Monroe’s Motivated Sequence” lists the basic steps of Monroe’s motivated sequence and the subsequent reaction a speaker desires from his or her audience.

Table 17.1 Monroe’s Motivated Sequence

The first step in Monroe’s motivated sequence is the attention step , in which a speaker attempts to get the audience’s attention. To gain an audience’s attention, we recommend that you think through three specific parts of the attention step. First, you need to have a strong attention-getting device. As previously discussed in Chapter 9 “Introductions Matter: How to Begin a Speech Effectively” , a strong attention getter at the beginning of your speech is very important. Second, you need to make sure you introduce your topic clearly. If your audience doesn’t know what your topic is quickly, they are more likely to stop listening. Lastly, you need to explain to your audience why they should care about your topic.

In the need step of Monroe’s motivated sequence, the speaker establishes that there is a specific need or problem. In Monroe’s conceptualization of need, he talks about four specific parts of the need: statement, illustration, ramification, and pointing. First, a speaker needs to give a clear and concise statement of the problem. This part of a speech should be crystal clear for an audience. Second, the speaker needs to provide one or more examples to illustrate the need. The illustration is an attempt to make the problem concrete for the audience. Next, a speaker needs to provide some kind of evidence (e.g., statistics, examples, testimony) that shows the ramifications or consequences of the problem. Lastly, a speaker needs to point to the audience and show exactly how the problem relates to them personally.

Satisfaction

In the third step of Monroe’s motivated sequence, the satisfaction step , the speaker sets out to satisfy the need or solve the problem. Within this step, Monroe (1935) proposed a five-step plan for satisfying a need:

  • Explanation
  • Theoretical demonstration
  • Reference to practical experience
  • Meeting objections

First, you need to clearly state the attitude, value, belief, or action you want your audience to accept. The purpose of this statement is to clearly tell your audience what your ultimate goal is.

Second, you want to make sure that you clearly explain to your audience why they should accept the attitude, value, belief, or action you proposed. Just telling your audience they should do something isn’t strong enough to actually get them to change. Instead, you really need to provide a solid argument for why they should accept your proposed solution.

Third, you need to show how the solution you have proposed meets the need or problem. Monroe calls this link between your solution and the need a theoretical demonstration because you cannot prove that your solution will work. Instead, you theorize based on research and good judgment that your solution will meet the need or solve the problem.

Fourth, to help with this theoretical demonstration, you need to reference practical experience, which should include examples demonstrating that your proposal has worked elsewhere. Research, statistics, and expert testimony are all great ways of referencing practical experience.

Lastly, Monroe recommends that a speaker respond to possible objections. As a persuasive speaker, one of your jobs is to think through your speech and see what counterarguments could be made against your speech and then rebut those arguments within your speech. When you offer rebuttals for arguments against your speech, it shows your audience that you’ve done your homework and educated yourself about multiple sides of the issue.

Visualization

The next step of Monroe’s motivated sequence is the visualization step , in which you ask the audience to visualize a future where the need has been met or the problem solved. In essence, the visualization stage is where a speaker can show the audience why accepting a specific attitude, value, belief, or behavior can positively affect the future. When helping people to picture the future, the more concrete your visualization is, the easier it will be for your audience to see the possible future and be persuaded by it. You also need to make sure that you clearly show how accepting your solution will directly benefit your audience.

According to Monroe, visualization can be conducted in one of three ways: positive, negative, or contrast (Monroe, 1935). The positive method of visualization is where a speaker shows how adopting a proposal leads to a better future (e.g., recycle, and we’ll have a cleaner and safer planet). Conversely, the negative method of visualization is where a speaker shows how not adopting the proposal will lead to a worse future (e.g., don’t recycle, and our world will become polluted and uninhabitable). Monroe also acknowledged that visualization can include a combination of both positive and negative visualization. In essence, you show your audience both possible outcomes and have them decide which one they would rather have.

The final step in Monroe’s motivated sequence is the action step , in which a speaker asks an audience to approve the speaker’s proposal. For understanding purposes, we break action into two distinct parts: audience action and approval. Audience action refers to direct physical behaviors a speaker wants from an audience (e.g., flossing their teeth twice a day, signing a petition, wearing seat belts). Approval, on the other hand, involves an audience’s consent or agreement with a speaker’s proposed attitude, value, or belief.

When preparing an action step, it is important to make sure that the action, whether audience action or approval, is realistic for your audience. Asking your peers in a college classroom to donate one thousand dollars to charity isn’t realistic. Asking your peers to donate one dollar is considerably more realistic. In a persuasive speech based on Monroe’s motivated sequence, the action step will end with the speech’s concluding device. As discussed elsewhere in this text, you need to make sure that you conclude in a vivid way so that the speech ends on a high point and the audience has a sense of energy as well as a sense of closure.

Now that we’ve walked through Monroe’s motivated sequence, let’s look at how you could use Monroe’s motivated sequence to outline a persuasive speech:

Specific Purpose: To persuade my classroom peers that the United States should have stronger laws governing the use of for-profit medical experiments.

Main Points:

  • Attention: Want to make nine thousand dollars for just three weeks of work lying around and not doing much? Then be a human guinea pig. Admittedly, you’ll have to have a tube down your throat most of those three weeks, but you’ll earn three thousand dollars a week.
  • Need: Every day many uneducated and lower socioeconomic-status citizens are preyed on by medical and pharmaceutical companies for use in for-profit medical and drug experiments. Do you want one of your family members to fall prey to this evil scheme?
  • Satisfaction: The United States should have stronger laws governing the use of for-profit medical experiments to ensure that uneducated and lower-socioeconomic-status citizens are protected.
  • Visualization: If we enact tougher experiment oversight, we can ensure that medical and pharmaceutical research is conducted in a way that adheres to basic values of American decency. If we do not enact tougher experiment oversight, we could find ourselves in a world where the lines between research subject, guinea pig, and patient become increasingly blurred.
  • Action: In order to prevent the atrocities associated with for-profit medical and pharmaceutical experiments, please sign this petition asking the US Department of Health and Human Services to pass stricter regulations on this preying industry that is out of control.

This example shows how you can take a basic speech topic and use Monroe’s motivated sequence to clearly and easily outline your speech efficiently and effectively.

Table 17.2 “Monroe’s Motivated Sequence Checklist” also contains a simple checklist to help you make sure you hit all the important components of Monroe’s motivated sequence.

Table 17.2 Monroe’s Motivated Sequence Checklist

Problem-Cause-Solution

Another format for organizing a persuasive speech is the problem-cause-solution format. In this specific format, you discuss what a problem is, what you believe is causing the problem, and then what the solution should be to correct the problem.

Specific Purpose: To persuade my classroom peers that our campus should adopt a zero-tolerance policy for hate speech.

  • Demonstrate that there is distrust among different groups on campus that has led to unnecessary confrontations and violence.
  • Show that the confrontations and violence are a result of hate speech that occurred prior to the events.
  • Explain how instituting a campus-wide zero-tolerance policy against hate speech could stop the unnecessary confrontations and violence.

In this speech, you want to persuade people to support a new campus-wide policy calling for zero-tolerance of hate speech. Once you have shown the problem, you then explain to your audience that the cause of the unnecessary confrontations and violence is prior incidents of hate speech. Lastly, you argue that a campus-wide zero-tolerance policy could help prevent future unnecessary confrontations and violence. Again, this method of organizing a speech is as simple as its name: problem-cause-solution.

Comparative Advantages

The final method for organizing a persuasive speech is called the comparative advantages speech format. The goal of this speech is to compare items side-by-side and show why one of them is more advantageous than the other. For example, let’s say that you’re giving a speech on which e-book reader is better: Amazon.com’s Kindle or Barnes and Nobles’ Nook. Here’s how you could organize this speech:

Specific Purpose: To persuade my audience that the Nook is more advantageous than the Kindle.

  • The Nook allows owners to trade and loan books to other owners or people who have downloaded the Nook software, while the Kindle does not.
  • The Nook has a color-touch screen, while the Kindle’s screen is black and grey and noninteractive.
  • The Nook’s memory can be expanded through microSD, while the Kindle’s memory cannot be upgraded.

As you can see from this speech’s organization, the simple goal of this speech is to show why one thing has more positives than something else. Obviously, when you are demonstrating comparative advantages, the items you are comparing need to be functional equivalents—or, as the saying goes, you cannot compare apples to oranges.

Key Takeaways

  • There are three common patterns that persuaders can utilize to help organize their speeches effectively: Monroe’s motivated sequence, problem-cause-solution, and comparative advantage. Each of these patterns can effectively help a speaker think through his or her thoughts and organize them in a manner that will be more likely to persuade an audience.
  • Alan H. Monroe’s (1935) motivated sequence is a commonly used speech format that is used by many people to effectively organize persuasive messages. The pattern consists of five basic stages: attention, need, satisfaction, visualization, and action. In the first stage, a speaker gets an audience’s attention. In the second stage, the speaker shows an audience that a need exists. In the third stage, the speaker shows how his or her persuasive proposal could satisfy the need. The fourth stage shows how the future could be if the persuasive proposal is or is not adopted. Lastly, the speaker urges the audience to take some kind of action to help enact the speaker’s persuasive proposal.
  • The problem-cause-solution proposal is a three-pronged speech pattern. The speaker starts by explaining the problem the speaker sees. The speaker then explains what he or she sees as the underlying causes of the problem. Lastly, the speaker proposes a solution to the problem that corrects the underlying causes.
  • The comparative advantages speech format is utilized when a speaker is comparing two or more things or ideas and shows why one of the things or ideas has more advantages than the other(s).
  • Create a speech using Monroe’s motivated sequence to persuade people to recycle.
  • Create a speech using the problem-cause-solution method for a problem you see on your college or university campus.
  • Create a comparative advantages speech comparing two brands of toothpaste.

German, K. M., Gronbeck, B. E., Ehninger, D., & Monroe, A. H. (2010). Principles of public speaking (17th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon, p. 236.

Micciche, T., Pryor, B., & Butler, J. (2000). A test of Monroe’s motivated sequence for its effects on ratings of message organization and attitude change. Psychological Reports, 86 , 1135–1138.

Monroe, A. H. (1935). Principles and types of speech . Chicago, IL: Scott Foresman.

Stand up, Speak out Copyright © 2016 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Ethos, Pathos, Logos: 3 Pillars of Public Speaking and Persuasion

April 11, 2018 - Gini Beqiri

Persuasive speaking is a skill that you can apply regularly throughout your life, whether you are selling a product or being interviewed. 2,300 years ago,  Aristotle  determined the components needed for persuasive speaking. They are referred to as the three pillars of persuasion – ethos, pathos and logos. In this article, we discuss how to use the three pillars for public speaking.

What are ethos, pathos and logos?

Ethos, pathos and logos are modes of persuasion used to convince and appeal to an audience. You need these qualities for your audience to accept your messages.

  • Ethos : your credibility and character
  • Pathos : emotional bond with your listeners
  • Logos : logical and rational argument

Ethos – The Ethical Appeal

Ethos is Greek for “character” and “ethic” is derived from ethos.

Ethos consists of convincing your audience that you have good character and you are credible therefore your words can be trusted. Ethos must be established from the  start of your talk  or the audience will not accept what you say.

In fact, ethos is often established before your presentation, for example, you may be the CEO of the company you’re presenting to so you’re already perceived as a specialist.

Why is ethos important?

Characteristics of ethos.

There are four main characteristics of ethos:

  • Trustworthiness and respect
  • Similarity to the audience
  • Expertise and reputation/history

1. Trustworthiness and respect

The audience are more likely to be respect you and think that what you’re saying is true if they  perceive you as trustworthy . This judgement is formed using factors such as:

  • Ethics and values
  • Generosity and sharing
  • If you’re part of a group that stands for the above values, such as an NSPCC worker

2. Similarity to the audience

Listeners are more likely to be convinced by someone they can relate to. For example, you may share:

  • Age and gender
  • Race and culture
  • Personality etc

If you do not share traits with your audience you can choose to adjust your:

  • Mannerisms and gestures
  • Visual aids

But don’t do too much as your listeners will seen you as not being genuine.

Tony Robbins Ethos - Authority

Tony Robbins, a well known authority in the life coaching space, giving a TED Talk on ‘Why we do what we do’.

3. Authority

If the audience perceive that you are an expert they are more likely to be persuaded by what you say. Remember that every presenter has authority because they are the speaker.

For example:

  • Political authority e.g. a prime minister
  • Educational authority e.g. teacher

4. Expertise and reputation

Expertise is your knowledge of the subject.

Reputation is what your audience knows about your knowledge of the subject.

Reputation depends on:

  • Achievements or acknowledgments from others in the area, such as, awards and testimonials.
  • Your experience and the amount of years you have worked in this area.
  • How involved you were with this topic – are you a key character?
  • Your expertise should be verified, for example, you may be talking about different therapy treatments and your expertise is shown by you being a successful Clinical Psychologist.
  • Your contribution to the area , perhaps through blogs, books, papers and products.
  • Your authority

Merging the four characteristics of ethos

Not all of characteristics have to be present to develop high ethos, for example, a university lecturer speaking to her students is most likely perceived as trustworthy as the lecturer is known to provide correct information, she has authority over the 18-21 year olds due to her job title and her age.

But she’s not similar to her students because of this. She has been working in this area for 30 years and at the university for 5 years (expertise) and has contributed largely to the area through a number of studies and subsequent papers (reputation). This is enough ethos for the audience to be persuaded by what she says.

Another person, such as a manager addressing her employees may have a different combination of these traits but still have enough ethos. It’s hard to achieve complete ethos, especially considering that having authority often reduces similarity.

Improve ethos

Authority and reputation are usually predetermined before your presentation so it’s difficult to change the audience’s mind about this. But it’s easier to change people’s perception about how trustworthy and how alike you are during the presentation.

Improve ethos day to day:

  • Become an expert in the topics you present on because people are more likely to want to listen to someone who has researched a topic for 10 years rather than 2 years.
  • Ensure that people know about your expertise by promoting yourself, for example, ensure that people can easily access testimonials, reviews, papers etc.
  • Treat the trustworthy characteristics as your values, so practice being honest, ethical, compassionate etc.

Improve ethos before a speech:

  • Research your audience , especially concentrating on the traits you share, so you know how to appeal to them.
  • Show up early to the presentation venue to show the audience that you want to be there.
  • If, for example, you are speaking at a wider event, such as a conference, try to attend as much of it as possible. This means that you and the audience are sharing an experience so they are more likely to perceive you as similar to them.
  • If the venue requires information to advertise your presentation, emphasise your ethos in this material so people will know why they should come and see your talk.

Tell stories during a presentation to increase ethos

Telling personal stories during a presentation is a great way to increase ethos.

Increase ethos during a speech:

  • In your introduction draw attention to your ethos because this is the best way to demonstrate your credentials to that particular audience on that particular day. Highlight vital facts that demonstrate the main four traits of ethos but which are relevant to the topic and the audience. Don’t make the introduction long and irrelevant.
  • Tell personal stories  that show the audience that you follow your own recommendations because they are more likely to believe you on other points that cannot easily be confirmed.
  • Facts, stats and quotes  should be up-to-date and from reputable sources, for example, between choosing from social media or Mind’s website to quote a statistic about anxiety, you would choose Mind’s website as this has high ethos which in turn increases your ethos.
  • Reference people in the audience or previous speakers or events earlier that day. This forms connections with the audience.
  • Be unbiased by admitting that you and your opposition’s side agree on at least one matter. This highlights that you are credible because you are treating the topic with consideration and fairness.

Improve ethos after the presentation

  • Always stay for as long as you can after your speech in case audience members want to speak with you. This will also help with future presentations as it’s likely that this will become part of your reputation.
  • Stick to your promises, for example, during the  questions and answers session  you may have agreed to find out an answer to a question and tell everyone – ensure that you do this to be seen as honest.

Pathos – The Emotional Appeal

Pathos is Greek for suffering and experience. Empathy, sympathy and pathetic are derived from pathos.

Pathos is to persuade by appealing to the audience’s emotions. As the speaker, you want the audience to feel the same emotions you feel about something, you want to emotionally connect with them and influence them. If you have low pathos the audience is likely to try to find flaws in your arguments.

Why is pathos important?

Emotions are motivators so the audience is more  likely to be persuaded  and act on your requests by using pathos. Pathos is more likely to increase the chances of your audience:

  • Understanding your point of view.
  • Accepting your arguments.
  • Acting on your requests.

Example of pathos during a speech

Girls Who Code Founder Reshma Saujani explains how one of her students created an algorithm to detect false positives in breast cancer testing after her dad was diagnosed with cancer.

Watch the full video here:  Why We Need Women in Tech

Improving pathos

  • Choose  emotional points and topics , for example “Beat your social anxiety” would trigger more powerful emotions than “Learn how to speak in a group.”
  • Use  analogies and metaphors  – linking your ideas with something your listeners already know about and feel strongly about can trigger emotional responses. For example, “They are awful” compared to “They are poisonous.” This will use the audience’s knowledge that poison is bad and therefore this issue needs to be dealt with.
  • Use  emotionally charged words , for example, say “This kitchen roll is a life-saver” rather than “This kitchen roll is great”. Another way to make a statement more emotional is to use  vivid and sensory words  which allow the audience to experience the emotion. For instance, “The smell of your grandparents’ house” will increase the recollection of hopefully warm memories, and therefore will trigger certain emotions.
  • Positive emotions, such as joy, should be linked with your claims.
  • Negative emotions, such as anger, should be linked to your rival’s claims.
  • Using  humour  increases the likelihood that the audience are enjoying themselves and so they are more likely to like you and listen to you.
  • Visual aids  can sometimes be more powerful than words, for example, showing an image of a scared small child will have more impact than saying that children are often victims of domestic violence.
  • Research your audience  and find out what their shared values are. Target these values and beliefs because they are strongly associated to emotions.
  • Storytelling  is a quick way to form an emotional connection. It’s often used to link a part of a key message with an emotional response – you’ll be familiar with seeing this in adverts asking for charity donations.
  • Match what you’re saying with your body language , face and eyes. People often mirror emotions so by matching your body language with your words you increase the chances of triggering the desired emotions.
  • Also  match your voice to your words , for example, if you want to show sadness  speak in a soft voice , if you want to show excitement then increase your pace etc.
  • Stand as close as you can to the audience  so the speech feels more personal – don’t hide behind the computer screen.
  • Use words that carry suitable connotations , for example, if you asked a group of men whether they would like to be called “tall”, “lanky” or “big”. Even though the words have essentially the same meaning, the men are more likely to choose the word that has the most positive connotation, in this case the word “tall”.
  • If you have accidentally  caused a negative emotion find out why and apologise . For example, perhaps there have been severe interpersonal conflicts that you were unaware of and a joke you made upset audience members.

Logos – The Logical Appeal

The word “logic” is derived from logos.

Logos is to appeal to logic by relying on the audience’s intelligence and offering evidence in support of your argument. Logos also develops ethos because the information makes you look knowledgeable. Ask the following questions to decide if you have achieved logos:

  • Are my messages coherent?
  • Does the evidence support my claims?
  • Will the audience’s actions lead to my desired outcome?

Why is logos important?

Essentially, logical arguments that make sense are not easily dismissed.

Improving logos

  • Be comprehensive : Make sure your points and arguments can be understood
  • Be logical : Ensure that your arguments make sense and that your claims and evidence are not implausible. Have a plan for dealing with opposing viewpoints that your listeners may already believe.
  • Be specific : Base your claims on facts and examples as your arguments will be accepted quicker than something nonspecific and non-concrete. The more easily the evidence is accepted, the more easily the conclusions will be accepted.

Be comprehensive

  • Use language that your audience will understand. Avoid jargon and technical terminology.
  • Use simple figures and charts to make the presentations more understandable.
  • Make the relationship between your evidence and conclusions clear.
  • Analogies and metaphors  are helpful especially when explaining new ideas and theories.

Engage the audience during your speech to increase logos

Engage the audience by asking them questions during your speech to increase logos.

  • Ensure that the  audience is involved  by asking them engaging questions. This will make them active listeners so they may even come to your conclusion themselves.
  • Talk about opposing views as this allows you to explain why your logical arguments are more reasonable.
  • Deductive reasoning  is looking at the evidence and  coming to a conclusion . For example. “I don’t like loud places. That restaurant is really loud. So I won’t like that restaurant.”
  • Inductive reasoning  is when you add rational pieces, perhaps beliefs, to the evidence and come to a conclusion. The evidence is used to infer a conclusion but the conclusion is not guaranteed. For example: “All the vegan restaurants I have eaten in have been good. This is a vegan restaurant. So it must be good.”

The audience are using both types of reasoning as you speak, so their beliefs may interfere with them accepting your conclusions. Overcome these by building your argument on the audience’s widely held beliefs – commonplaces. For example, a company’s main value and therefore commonplace may be “Compassion makes us the best company”.

Use the audience’s commonplace like a fact and apply it to a new situation. So if you want to encourage your staff to join a committee, use their commonplace, for example, rather than your belief say: “This committee needs considerate and kind-hearted people.”

Be specific

  • Facts and stats cannot be debated and they signify the truth.
  • Visual evidence, such as, objects and  videos  are hard to challenge.
  • Citing specialists and authorities on a topic increases the quality of your evidence and therefore your claims.
  • Tell stories, such as, case studies or personal experiences. The audience would like to hear your own stories if you’re a specialist, for example, “When I was excavating in Nottingham…”

There is uncertainty over which pillar is the most important – Aristotle thought that logos was vital but when used by itself it lacks impact. So ensure that you treat all three pillars with equal importance to succeed in persuading your audience.

Public Speaking Resources

237 Easy Persuasive Speech Topics and Guide

A persuasive speech is a speech written and delivered to convince people of the speaker’s viewpoint. It uses words to make the audience ‘see’ the speaker’s point of view and to ‘sway’ them into agreeing with it.

It is not a simple matter of presenting gathered facts and evidence. More than just seeing why the speaker thinks that way, a persuasive speech tries to persuade the audience in accepting that line of thought and make it the way they, too, think.

To jump to the persuasive speech topic section, click here .

This is where it differs from an argument. The difference between an argumentative and persuasive speech is that one tries to prove a point while the other tries to affect the listener’s perspective.

  • Informative Speech Topics and Ideas
  • Toastmasters Project 9: Persuade With Power

Table of Contents

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Visualization, writing introduction for persuasive speech, persuasive speech videos, persuasive speech topics, persuasive speech topics about animals and pets, persuasive speech topics about automobiles, persuasive speech topics about education, persuasive speech topics about environment, persuasive speech topics about ethical issues, persuasive speech topics about food, persuasive speech topics about health.

Some examples of a persuasive speech are sales pitch, the speech of politicians, the speech of environmentalists, the speech of feminists, the speech of animal activists, etc.

In the above examples, you must have noticed that all these kind of speech has a goal. A sales pitch is to get you to buy something, politicians give speeches to get you to vote for them, and environmentalists, feminists, and animal activists have a cause to advocate. They all want you to ‘do’ something.

Action is a persuasive speech’s end goal. Ultimately, the speaker wants to persuade you to do something. And why would you do that?

Say, an environmentalist wants people to re-cycle because they think or know that it is good for the environment. Now, it is the people who need to know and think recycling is good for the environment. Only then they would recycle.

Therefore, a more complete definition of a persuasive speech would be “Speech that convinces the audience of a certain idea to inspire them into the desired action.”

Art of Persuasion

Persuasive speech is an art form.

Take an example of a man who was begging in the street. He had a hat in front of him and a sign that said “I am blind, please help” He got a few coins. Then, a lady came along, turned the sign around, and wrote something. A lot more people started to give the man money. His hat was filled with coins. What did that lady write? What persuaded people to give?

“Today is a beautiful day and I cannot see it.”

The second line got him more money because it ‘affected’ people, it appealed to their emotions more than the straightforward “I am blind, please help.” This is called pathos.

According to Aristotle, there are three components of or modes to affect people. They are Ethos, Pathos, and Logos.

Ethos in layman’s terms is credibility or authority. The dictionary defines it as “the character or disposition of a community, group, person, etc.” So, you need to have that disposition that makes you a reliable or trustable person.

For example, a woman talking about women’s problems is more likely to have an effect on the audience than a male speaker. The principal comes into the class and tells you ‘Tomorrow is a holiday and no questions will be asked. But if your teacher says so, you will investigate first. You will be more eager to listen to a popular person in the field than to a newbie.

It is having an effect on people by your person so that they would be more receiving of you.

Pathos in Greek means ‘suffering’ or ‘experience’. It is generally defined as an appeal to people’s emotions. Like in the story of the blind boy above, Pathos is to tap into people’s experience of suffering in order to move them towards a certain action.

Of course, those people have not experienced blindness but they can imagine losing the privilege of sight that they now possess. In simple words, it is to evoke feelings of pity, fear, anger, and such.

Logos is the logical appeal. This is to persuade by the means of reasoning. If the speaker makes a claim such as ‘polythene bags should be banned, then he should give a reason as to ‘why’ like ‘polythene bags do not biodegrade and continue to pollute the environment or facts like ‘Thousands of bags are produced every week and are dumped somewhere after use’ or ‘every bag produced since 19_ still exists somewhere on earth today.’

Presentation- Monroe’s motivated sequence

Presentation is very important. It is the backbone. How you perform your speech, how you deliver the words have the maximum effect on people. Therefore, a speech needs to be organized.

Monroe’s motivated sequence is a technique for organizing persuasive speech. It consists of the following steps.

Grab their attention. Start with a startling statement, an intriguing story, a dramatic action, anything that will make the audience take notice of you. This is also the introduction part. Hook them. Build their interest.

Now, convince the people that there is a problem. More than that, convince them that action needs to be taken against the problem, that it will not go away by itself. Tap into their imagination to show how this problem affects them. Use reasons and facts to support your claims and to impress upon them the need for change.

The audience should be looking forward to the ‘solution’ to the problem. They should want to know what they can do. In this step, introduce your solution. Demonstrate or give examples to make the audience understand how it works and how it solves the problem. Use testimonials or statistics to prove the effectiveness of that solution.

Paint a world where nothing was done and how it affected them. Also, paint a world where they did as you suggested and how it changed the situation for the better. Use vivid imagery to make them ‘feel’ the troubles and relief of not doing and doing as you said. Create a viable scenario. It should be relatable and believable.

Call to action. Strike when the iron is hot. It should be something that they can readily do and immediately. More the time passes less they are likely to follow with it as other things in life take precedence and the feeling of urgency is lost. Make it easy too. Do most of the handiwork so they have to put the least effort.

This is a classic technique developed by Alan Monroe in the mid-1930s. It is still the most effective basis for many persuasive speeches.

Some people are born with the skill of persuasion while others can build on it by applying such techniques and practicing. Here are some Persuasive Speech Topics that you can practice with.

Take a look at the video below. It explains how to write an introduction for a persuasive speech.

Below are 6 sample videos of persuasive speeches.

  • Why homeschooling is good and should be promoted. (School)

Some students do better in a group with a healthy competition to keep them motivated. Some children are better off studying on their own, continuing at their own fast or slow pace which is hindered when moving along with other children.

  • Students should get minimum of 45 minutes tiffin break. (School)

All work and no play make Jack a dull boy. Keeping children cooped up in a room for a long is not good. They need regular refreshing breaks to revitalize, to talk with their friends…

  • Is it racism to ban Marijuana when smoking tobacco is legal? (Funny)

Everybody knows cigarettes are harmful and addictive. Yet, there are big industries manufacturing these drugs on a large scale. Then there is Marijuana that is less harmful, less addictive, and has dozens of use; is it not racism to ban it?

  • Some juveniles needs to be prosecuted as adults. (School?)

More and more teenagers are committing heinous crimes. They know they will get off easy, that they will not face serious consequences. According to the level of savagery committed, juveniles should at times be prosecuted as adults.

  • Are pretty or handsome students really dumber? (School)

This is just a stereotype, just like saying women are less logical and others. Or. That appears to hold true in most cases. As time is limited, people who spend more time on appearance spend less time learning and those who spend time learning fails to look after their appearance.

  • Proficiency in academics is not the only measure of intelligence. (School)

Are grades everything? Different people possess different types of intelligence but grades measure only a few kinds. Is it not like judging a fish on its ability to climb a tree?

  • What is the right age to start owing a mobile phone? (Parenting)

Most parents believe that the right age to own mobile is when children can pay for it so that they can be aware of their expenditure. Else, they might engage in long, unnecessary conversation and…

  • Should children be bought a mobile phone for emergencies? (Parenting)

Mobiles or cell phones are the fastest means of communication. Should children, therefore, be allowed to owe mobiles so that they can contact their guardians in case of emergency?

  • Homework should be banned. (School)

Children spend most of their waking hours in school. They have only a few hours at the home to do things other than academics. But homework is the tag along with that…

  • Should men pay child support even if pregnancy was a one sided decision? (Feminism)

If a woman decides to bear a child despite her partner’s protest, is he still obligated to provide monetary support upon divorce for the same reason?

  • Laws should not be based on religion.

There are many religions. Their ideas vary. But the law should be uniform. Basing laws on certain religions is like forcing the ideas of that religion on every citizen.

  • Birth controls should be free and easily available. (Feminism?)

If teen pregnancy is to be avoided, birth controls should be free and easily available with no parental permission required. Imagine asking your parents if you can have sex or parents permitting it. It is the same as unavailability of the contraceptives which takes us back to square one.

  • Honking unnecessarily should be punishable.

Honking during a traffic jam is not going to clear it up. It only disturbs and aggravates everyone else. Honking at girls is offensive. Honking to bully is wrong. Honking unnecessarily like this should be considered criminal and punished.

  • Divorced and happy parents is better for the children than living in a conflicted home.

Some parents stay together for the sake of their children but fail to get along. This creates a very tense environment and that is not how a home should be.

  • Hiding your HIV status in a relationship should be punishable by law.

HIV is a serious disease with no cure available. If a person is aware of his/her HIV positivity, withholding the information and therefore transmitting it to the unsuspecting partner in the process is criminal.

  • Legalization of prostitution has more positive effects than negative.

Stopping prostitution is impossible. They will continue to operate underground where they face many problems. Girls get trafficked, tricked, or forced into it. Making it legal will at least ensure safety and justice to the sex workers and will also help control forced labor.

  • Schools should take bullying more seriously. / Why bullying is a serious offense. (School)

Bullying is very damaging to the victim and can take a very dangerous turn. But it is dismissed as children’s play in most cases. We don’t realize its seriousness until it is too late…

  • Partial Birth Abortion is a sin.

In this method of abortion, a living baby is pulled out from the womb feet first. The base of the skull is punctured and the brain is removed with a powerful suction machine. This is no different from murder. It is usually allowed by law only in order to save the mother’s life but many healthy mothers’ babies are aborted this way every year…

  • All institutions like schools, colleges and offices should start only after 10.

When such institutions start early, people need to wake up earlier for preparation. Waking up feeling unrested can make a person inactive, irritable, and unproductive. Scientists say that a person’s mind is not fully awake until 10 in the morning…

  • Sexual relationship before marriage is not a crime.

Sex is a biological need and a healthy sex life has a lot of mental and physical benefits. If the partners involved are adults and there is mutual consent…

  • School and teachers should stay away from student’s personal life. (School?)

Every institution has some rule. This rule should govern the members within the institution. But some schools like to take this beyond the school grounds and have control over what students do and do not in their personal time.

  • Energy drinks should be considered borderline medicines. (Health)

Energy drinks provide added energy. So, it should only be consumed when your body lacks energy, in a weakened state, like medicine. Plus, it contains a lot of caffeine that does more harm than good…

  • Parents should properly answer their children’s curiosities. (Parenting)

‘How does a baby come?’ children ask and parents tell them about gods and storks. This raises more questions and does nothing but confuse the child. Try to give an anatomically correct answer without being graphic. Never try to dismiss any of their questions or scold them…

  • Euthanasia, is it ethical?

A person should get to choose whether they want to live or die in dire conditions. Or. Euthanasia is no different from suicide. Supporting euthanasia is like supporting suicide.

  • Prospective parent(s) should get a psychiatric approval before adoption. (Parenting)

We want to find a home for every orphaned child but we want a happy home. There are many sick people out there who want to adopt a child only to abuse them or for some other kind of personal gain…

  • Cigarettes should be illegal.

Cigarettes are like drugs and they should be illegal just like drugs are. It has adverse health effects on the smoker as well as people around him…

  • Smoking in public places should be fined.

Cigarettes are very harmful and their harmful smoke does not affect the smoker alone. It affects the surrounding people as well. Not all people are suicidal that way. Why should they suffer? When one’s action harms the other, it is an offense.

  • Are uniforms necessary?

Uniform brings uniformity. It eliminates frivolous fashion competition which is not what school is for… Or. Clothes are a form of expression. Students spend most of their time in school. They should be comfortable with what they wear…

  • Number of children one can have should be limited and children with previous partner(s) counts.

Four from two, eight from four; population multiplies that way. Already, the earth has become so crowded. If this is to continue, we will rid this world of ourselves.

  • Would it be ethical to genetically design babies? (Technology?)

Yes. Why not use science to cure diseases and eradicate the possibility of a child’s suffering? Or. This method can be misused to alter more than just a threat of diseases and that will disturb the diversity in the gene pool…

  • ‘Living together’ relationships, good or bad?

Marriage cannot keep together those who want to go their separate ways and those who want to together do not need such a constitution.

  • ‘Early to sleep, early to rise’ benefits.

They say ‘Early to sleep and early to rise makes a man healthy and wise.’ This was not said without a reason. Going to bed early and waking up early the next day have many benefits, for both our mind and body.

  • Every property should compulsorily have trees. (Environment)

Trees produce oxygen and filters air. We need more trees. But the population is increasing. We are cutting down trees to erect concrete buildings instead…

  • Fast foods are overpriced.

Fast foods like French fries, burgers, pizza, etc. cost way more than they actually should. The restaurants are ripping us off. Take fries for example…

  • Using animals as test subjects is cruel and unfair. (Animal rights)

For you, it is one animal among many. But for that particular animal, one life is all it has and you have no right to play with it.

  • Why Gay Marriage should be legalized. (Gay rights)

Homosexuality is not a disease. It is how people are. They want to marry their partner for the same reasons heterosexual couples do. Not legalizing gay marriage is discrimination…

  • Marriage is not about procreation. (Gay rights)

One, almost logical, reason people give against gay marriage is that they cannot bear kids because of which it is definitely not natural/ biological or ‘how god intended’. But marriage is not about procreation. It is about you and your comfort or happiness, about who you want to spend the rest of your life with.

  • Electronics are stealing childhood.

These days, children spend a lot of time on mobile phones, computers, or other electronic devices instead of running around, going out, and playing as a child should.

  • Teens cannot be good parents. (School/ Parenting)

Some teens decide to start a family when the female partner gets pregnant. While this is seen as an admirable option against abortion, are teen parents really good for the kid?

  • Ads should be tested for sexist messages before being aired. (Feminism)

Not only children but everyone learns from what they see and hear. The subliminal sexist messages in ads impart gender roles on their minds, undoing a lot of feminists’ efforts. But mostly, it brainwashes the coming generation and we should not allow that.

  • Protection and breeding of white tigers is illogical; why hinder natural selection? (Environment/ Animal rights)

White tigers do not fare well in the wild due to their color. It was a case of mutation that would have naturally been eliminated if humans had not interfered. I am not saying all living white tigers must be killed but why are people breeding it in captivity instead of letting it die out? Just because they’re pretty and we like pretty?

  • Exotic pets are not pets. (Animal rights)

Exotic animals belong in the wild. They need to be with their own kind, living in their natural habitat. They should not be isolated in people’s homes where their mobility is limited.

  • Feminism should be made a compulsory subject in high school and college. (Feminism)

Feminism is an eye-opener. It is something every man and woman should know of. Thus, it should be a compulsory and common subject instead of being exclusive to Arts or few other faculty.

  • Age 16 is not juvenile. (School?)

Are 16-year-olds really kids? Can they not be expected to know the difference between right and wrong? Maybe they do not know it is a crime to download songs and movies but what about rape and murder? If 16 is old enough to drive in most countries, it is old enough to be tried as an adult.

  • Playing Video games for few hours does good. (School/ parenting?)

It has been found out that playing a few hours of video game help improve people’s hand-eye coordination and enhances cognitive power. Also, games based on real history or science can impart knowledge…

  • Read before agreeing to sites and applications.

We download apps and software and signup on different sites. Each of these requires us to click ‘I agree’. We click this ‘I agree’ without actually reading the agreement. This can later cause problems…

  • Is death penalty ethical?

It is not ethical to eliminate people like we try to eliminate diseases. What about human rights? Or. What kind of rights for the person who does not respect others’ rights and freedom? It is a befitting punishment.

  • Send drug dealers to prison but addicts for rehabilitation.

Drug Addicts are victims too. They need rehabilitation, not prison. Dealers are the real criminals.

  • Parents should cook tastier option instead of making children eat the healthy foods they don’t want.

If not meat then milk and pulses. There is a range of choices for the required nutrition. So why should children have to eat something they don’t like? Just give them a tastier option.

  • If girls can wear pants, boys can wear skirts. (Funny?)

Is all equality fighting for girls only? What about boys’ rights? When girls can wear boys’ clothes why can boys not wear that of girls?

  • Being slim is not just about looks but health too. (Health?)

Beauties were those who were plum. Now, skinny is the fashion. But to those who want to be ‘comfortable’ in their size, know that a slim body is more than just looks.

  • There should be one holiday in the middle of workdays.

Saturday and Sunday’s rest do not keep us charged up to Friday. This makes people less productive by Thursday and Friday. A break in the middle would be wonderfully refreshing…

  • Considering the real meaning behind Nursery Rhymes, should they be taught to children? (School)

The fun nursery rhyme “Ring around the Rosie” is actually about the bubonic plague that killed nearly 15% of the country. This is only an example among many. Consider the lyrics of “Three blind mice” that goes “… Who cut off their tails, With a carving knife.” Is it okay to teach these to the children?

  • Countries should provide free Wi-Fi in tourist destinations.

Doing this will help tourists as they will be able to contact their people without wandering around confused in a foreign land. This will definitely increase the flow of both national and international tourists. It will be most helpful to students from abroad.

  • Know the woes of genetically modified Chickens.

To meet the demand of the growing population, chickens are fed hormones and other drugs to make them grow faster and fat, especially the meat in the breast area. Because of this, the chickens cripple under their own weight. They suffer terribly…

  • Children should be allowed to use electronics like mobile, notebooks etc. during breaks. (Students)

Using electronics during class is certainly bad and for a number of reasons. But break times belong to the students. Breaks are for recreation. If students choose to enjoy electronics, what is wrong with that?

  • Teachers, too, should keep their mobiles in silent during class.

Class time is for teaching and learning. Students should keep their mobile in silence so as to not disturb the class. But, so should the teacher. They shouldn’t pick up their call during class.

  • Humans are consuming way more salt than necessary. (Health)

Sodium is important. But the larger amount of sodium intake has often been associated with an increase in blood pressure that leads to strokes. 1500 to 2300mg is the maximum amount per day.

  • Benefits of donating blood.

Donating blood is the right thing to do. It saves lives. There are a few moral reasons as such to donate blood but do you know that you are not losing anything either? Donating blood is good for your own health too…

  • Why become an organ donor?

Perfectly healthy people die when trying to donate their organs to their loved ones. Even if they survive, they may have to face complications and they are now, somehow, deficient. If an organ could be got…

  • Original organic fruits taste better than the hybrids.

Hybrid fruits are larger and juicer but it lacks in terms of taste. The taste tastes diluted…

  • Why people who have should give.

Many people suffer from poverty. They have a hard time meeting basic needs like food, shelter, and clothes.

  • Why suicide over ‘love troubles’ is stupid. (Students)

Life moves on. Time heals. Things will happen if you continue to live. But the exaggerated fictional idea of love that the movies market has…

  • Why women should earn irrespective of their husband’s economic status. (Feminism)

Be independent. Money is power. Do not let anyone have an upper hand and be vulnerable to possible abuse…

  • Recycle e-waste. (Environment)

E-waste contains many recoverable materials such as aluminum, copper, gold, silver etc. Reusing this will take a load off of natural resources. E-waste also contains toxins like mercury, lead, beryllium, and others that will inevitably infuse into soil and water.

  • Do not tolerate abuse, speak out. (Feminism)

Certainly, nobody enjoys abuse? Then why do women continue to stay in abusive relationship despite being educated and holding a good job? Why do they tolerate other kinds of abuse as well? There are many reasons for this…

  • Every citizen should be required to, at least, pass high school. (School)

Up to high school, the education is basic. Imagine needing to stop ocean pollution. An educated person would be more easily persuaded or would know why ocean pollution is bad. Or. There are good and bad people. Education will teach the good how to be good and may persuade the bad…

  • Hostels, is it good or bad for children? (Parenting)

Hostels teach children independence. They learn to do a lot in their own. Or. No one can take better care of children than their parents. Children need parents’ love and support. Away in the hostel, surrounded by children no wiser than themselves…

  • Teachers should discuss among themselves to avoid giving too much homework. (School)

After studying for hours in school, spending all the hours in-home doing homework will mentally tire the student. Homework should be very light. But light homework of all the teachers added will take up all of the students’ time. So…

  • Importance of clubs in school or colleges. (School)

School and college clubs are the best way to learn different valuable skills in. In school and college-level clubs, the eligibility for membership is less strict and one gets to learn from the more skilled seniors.

  • Should plastic surgery be so commercial?

Everyone wants to look good. When accidents or attacks disfigure us, we can turn to plastic surgery to try and gain back our lost selves. But intentionally altering ourselves to…

  • Online piracy should be monitored more strictly.

People have a right to their intellectual property. It is so easy to find and download pirated materials that it seems non-criminal…

  • Are single-sex schools better than coed? (School)

According to research done in Korea, students from single-sex schools scored better than those from coed and had more chances of pursuing college-level education. However, this is from a general viewpoint. When considering students at an individual level, it really depends on what kind of environment that particular student does better in.

  • Spaying or neutering pets is good or bad? (Animal right)

Some say that neutering or spaying pets have a lot of benefits, both for the animal and the owner. Others say that neutering or spaying does not change much but only invites diseases upon the poor animal.

  • Are master’s degree or doctorate really necessary? (Students)

High School teaches us the basics and a bachelor is more career-oriented. We can get a good job after bachelor and hone our skills for a better position. Is a master’s and higher degree really important when we can learn more in the field?

  • Who is more responsible for poaching? Poachers or buyers? (Animal right)

This may be an ‘egg first or chicken question. Scientists have now found out that chickens come first but the question ‘Poacher or buyers’ remains.

  • What kind of food should school or college canteen offer? (Student)

From unhealthy commercial food items to unappetizing bland gibberish; can school or college canteens not offer an in-between option? What would be best for the students?

  • What age is proper to talk about the birds and the bees? (Parenting)

From the time a child starts asking about sex is the time from when to start talking about the birds and the bees. Children as young as 4-5 years old are curious about where a baby comes from. Answer them truthfully but avoid being graphic. Also, answer only what they ask.

  • Fee for facilities aside, the tuition fee should be fixed by the government. (Student)

Schools and colleges take a ridiculous amount of tuition fees. It is understandable that according to the facilities provided, the fee may be less or more but the tuition fee, at least, should be a fixed amount that greedy schools cannot increase as they wish.

  • How long should a drunk driver lose his license for?

Drinking and driving can be fatal to both the driver and an innocent passerby. But people do not take it seriously. They think they can handle their liquor and end up causing accidents. This is absolute carelessness.

  • The amount of water one should drink per day. (Health)

About 60% of the human body is water. We continually lose this water through skin and urine. This causes dehydration…

  • Aliens exist. (Paranormal)

There have been many UFO sightings and stories of alien abduction. Even in the old age paintings, cave paintings, Sanskrit scrolls, the extraterrestrial life form is evident. Scientists have found other habitable planets. An intelligent life form somewhere other than Earth is no longer an idea of a fantasist…

  • White meat over red meat or the other way around? (Health)

White meat is less fatty but red meat contains more vitamins like zinc, iron, and B vitamins…

  • Why religion and science should go hand in hand. / Why religion should evolve with scientific discoveries. (Philosophy)

Science explores the universe for answers while religion makes claims about it. Science is open to change, it acknowledges that it can err and backs its claims with evidence. Religion on the other hand is a ‘belief’ system

  • Should astrologers, mediums and the likes be arrested for fraud? (Paranormal)

Do heavenly bodies really affect our personality or future? Do dead ones really become spirits and can be contacted through mediums? Or are these all just a big hoax?

  • Cats or dogs?

Are you a cat person or a dog person? Say why a dog is better than a cat as a pet or that cat makes a better pet.

  • Benefits of eating fruit over drinking its juice. (Health)

There is a whole fruit and we throw away more than half of the substance when choosing to drink its juice even though eating the fruit itself is healthier because of the fiber it contains.

  • Women shouldn’t have to change their last name after marriage. (Feminism)

Having to change our last name after marriage is sexist. It confirms the power males hold over the women in our patriarchal society.

  • Internet promotes communication, not kill it.

Social networks like Facebook, Twitter, messenger, and others keep us in contact with many friends that we would otherwise have forgotten. It is an easy means of communication…

  • Does pressure build or break a person?

Pressure is healthy. It drives us. Or. Yes. Pressure drives us. It drives us nuts.

  • Hiring volunteers on zero pay is cruel.

Volunteers are those who want to donate labor. They need not be paid for their work but what about their expenses like transportation and others? These kinds of expenses, at least, should be covered.

  • Learning multiple language widens our perception of the world.

There are always those words that cannot be exactly translated to another language. This is because that way of thinking does not exist in that other language. It is like the egg of Cristopher. We discover a new way of expressing ourselves, one we couldn’t think of in the limitation of our own language.

  • Oceans are not trash bins. (Environment)

Tons of human waste are thrown into the ocean. This is creating a big problem in the ocean ecosystem…

  • Killing for fun is inhuman, hunting is inhuman. (Animal rights)

How to have fun with animals? By playing with them, baby talking to them, watching them in their weird but fun action. Not by chasing them down and killing them.

  • Cigarette, alcohol or drugs are not the answer for stress or other problems in life.

People tend to depend on harmful substances like cigarettes, alcohol, or drugs when faced with a problem or when under stress. These substances do not cure stress but could be a self-harming method of coping with problems. People under stress tend to show more unhealthy behaviors such as these…

  • Music heals.

On hearing good music, the brain releases dopamine. Dopamine is an essential chemical that plays a number of important roles in the brain and body. Music has also proven effective against stress…

  • Why breakfast is the important meal of the day. (Health)

Breakfast is the first meal after a long gap during the night. It provides us with vital nutrients like calcium, vitamins, minerals, and energy…

  • Fairytales should be re-written for the next generation children.

Fairytales often star a damsel in distress who not only ‘waits’ for a handsome rescuer but also possesses subjugating qualities like obedience, daintiness, etc. It imparts sexist values in young minds…

  • How a time table can help manage our daily lives.

People do not realize how time table can make our day-to-day lives much more manageable and therefore fruitful or efficient. Some find it tedious and some pretentious…

  • Everyone should learn swimming.

Swimming is not just for fun like cycling. It could save someone’s life. It is an important survival skill that everyone should know of.

  • Good thoughts lead to good actions.

Our actions result from our thoughts. Action is a mind’s reflection…

  • Benefits of meditation. (Health)

Meditation has a lot of benefits, both on body and mind. It reduces stress, improves concentration, reduces irritability, increases perseverance, etc…

  • Zoos are not big enough for wild animals. (Animal rights)

How large can you make a zoo? And how can it mimic nature when different animals are confined separately. Wild animals belong in the wild.

Some more Persuasive Speech Topics:

  • Why is adopting a pet better than buying one?
  • How does having a pet better your everyday life?
  • Having a snake as a pet is as cool as it sounds
  • Should you get rid of a pet that harms another person?
  • Is breeding pets for sale unethical?
  • Selfies with animals in tourist locations should be made equal
  • A dog is the perfect pet
  • Why a pet is essential for a growing child
  • Owning a pet makes you healthier
  • Slaughterhouses are unethical
  • Animals are facing extinction, we should do something about it
  • Why wild animals should be left in the wild
  • Petting exotic animals should be made illegal
  • Why dolphin farming is horrific
  • The Yulin Dog festival displays one of the worst sides of humans
  • Why neutering your pets is wrong
  • Advantages of owning a horse(besides looking fantastic)
  • People need to stop fueling pug markets.
  • Is animal slaughter for religious purposes ethical?
  • Manual drivers are unnecessarily aggressive about their cars
  • Why you should not drive without a kid seat
  • Why sports cars are not worth it
  • If you can’t call while driving, then why is there a hands-free mode?
  • New ideas for lessons drivers have to take before getting a license
  • Should you charge people for driving tests?
  • Why cycling is cooler than driving
  • Why traffic rules are designed against bike rides
  • Driving licenses should need a renewal every 5 years
  • Why co-ed education is the best way to teach
  • GPA isn’t everything
  • 9.30 is too early
  • Why teachers need to be recertified
  • Listening to music during exams should be allowed
  • Should sports and arts be mandatory?
  • Does our school curriculum need obligatory life skill classes?
  • Phones in classes are beneficial and convenient
  • Every student should be encouraged to take a gap year
  • Cyber-bullying should be punished the same as bullying
  • Why art classes are just as important as science
  • School canteens need to serve healthier alternatives
  • More institutes should promote nternational exchange programs
  • Curriculums should be designed with the job market in mind
  • Textbooks are overpriced and should be replaced with digital alternatives
  • Should religion be taught in schools?
  • Is repeating classes beneficial for underperforming students?
  • Students should not have to ask to use the restroom
  • Is having a handwriting class beneficial?
  • Is there a point to giving homework?
  • Education needs to be available in prisons
  • We are being overcharged for education
  • Online learning should be held to equal importance as schools
  • Are teachers paid enough?
  • Is there room for commercial advertisement in schools?
  • Are study halls still relevant?
  • Are our children safe at school?
  • School trips are a waste of money
  • Educational institutes should be more welcoming to technological changes
  • Schools should teach multiple languages
  • Public schools are better than private schools
  • Why meditation should be included in the daily curriculum
  • Are scholarships reaching the right people?
  • Current environmental laws are insufficient
  • Green energy is the future
  • The environmental impact of palm oil
  • The environmental impact of single-use bags
  • Fishing restrictions need to be stricter
  • Oil spills are deadly to marine life
  • Leaving fossil fuels behind
  • Pollution has reached alarming levels
  • Garden owners should be allowed to grow exotic plants
  • Switch to hybrid cars to help the environment
  • Rainforests are going extinct at an alarming rate
  • Why natural resources are quickly going extinct
  • Alternative energy sources should be pushed by governments
  • Euthanasia should be legalized
  • Why eating meat does not make me a bad person
  • Can true equality ever really be achieved?
  • Is messing with unborn children’s genetics ethical?
  • Stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason
  • Animal testing is a necessary part of production
  • Why we need to stop producing and buying fur
  • Prostitution should be legalized
  • Doping and it’s place in sports 
  • Why workplace relationships should be avoided
  • Is religion a cult?
  • Should prayers be included in schools?
  • Parents should not be able to choose the sex of their unborn child
  • Donating to charities is a scam
  • Aborting fetuses with birth defects is not immoral
  • Wars have positive consequences as well
  • Why genital mutilation in infants needs to be stopped
  • Conventional beauty standards are misleading
  • China’s One-child policy was a good idea for population control
  • Animal testing and why it is immoral
  • Why banning cigarettes and alcohol from advertisements is not effective
  • Sugar is added to everything we eat
  • Children should be taught to cook
  • Why growing your own food will help both you and the environment
  • Peanuts: The secret superfood
  • We should be more open to genetically engineered food products
  • The proper way to dispose your food waste
  • The loopholes in labelling laws
  • Keto goes against the natural human evolution
  • Artificial chemicals in our food products is harming us
  • The legal age for contraceptive treatment should be lowered
  • Fast food is slowly killing you
  • How positive thinking can change your life
  • Breakfast isn’t the most important meal of the day
  • Stomach stapling should not be normalized
  • If you don’t wear a seat belt, you are putting yourself at great risk
  • How diabetes can affect your work
  • How daily exercise can change your life
  • Stress as the leading cause of teen suicide
  • Diet pills are a scam
  • Body shaming is putting lives at risk
  • Contraceptive education is an effective solution for teen pregnancy
  • There is such a thing as too much soda
  • Free condom distribution at schools is better than teaching about abstinence
  • The toothpick you pick matters
  • Surrogacy should be more widely accepted
  • Why insomnia should be taken as a more serious health concern
  • Helmets and seatbeat save lives
  • Restaurants need to be more vigilant about handling allergies
  • How Big Pharma is controlling your life
  • The medical field is criminally underfunded
  • We are eating too much salt
  • Organ donation should be an opt-out system
  • The dangers of an anti-vaxxers movement
  • Why fire drills are ineffective
  • Why you need to take that vacation
  • Good sleep is underrated
  • Why vaping is not a better alternative
  • Your stress is killing you
  • It is not healthy for children to be vegetarians
  • Parents don’t need to be informed about underage abortions
  • Donating blood should be encouraged early
  • How much do you know about what’s in your food

I hope you find the tips for persuasive speech and persuasive speech topics useful. Let me what you think of them by commenting below.

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Are you struggling to find good persuasive speech topics? It can be hard to find a topic that interests both you and your audience, but in this guide we've done the hard work and created a list of 105 great persuasive speech ideas. They're organized into ten categories and cover a variety of topics, so you're sure to find one that interests you.

In addition to our list, we also go over which factors make good persuasive speech topics and three tips you should follow when researching and writing your persuasive speech.

What Makes a Good Persuasive Speech Topic?

What makes certain persuasive speech topics better than others? There are numerous reasons, but in this section we discuss three of the most important factors of great topics for a persuasive speech.

It's Something You Know About or Are Interested in Learning About

The most important factor in choosing and creating a great persuasive speech is picking a topic you care about and are interested in. You'll need to do a lot of research on this topic, and if it's something you like learning about, that'll make the process much easier and more enjoyable. It'll also help you sound passionate and informed when you talk, both important factors in giving an excellent persuasive speech.

It's a Topic People Care About

In fourth grade, after being told I could give a persuasive speech on any topic I wanted to , I chose to discuss why the Saguaro cactus should be the United State's national plant. Even though I gave an impassioned talk and drew a life-size Saguaro cactus on butcher paper to hang behind me, I doubt anyone enjoyed the speech much.

I'd recently returned from a family vacation to Arizona where I'd seen Saguaro cacti for the first time and decided they were the coolest thing ever. However, most people don't care that much about Saguaro cacti, and most people don't care what our national plant is or if we even have one (for the record, the US has a national flower, and it's the rose).

Spare yourself the smattering of bored applause my nine-old self got at the end of my speech and choose something you think people will be interested in hearing about. This also ties into knowing your audience, which we discuss more in the final section.

It Isn't Overdone

When I was in high school, nearly every persuasive speech my classmates and I were assigned was the exact same topic: should the drinking age be lowered to 18? I got this prompt in English class, on standardized tests, in speech and debate class, etc. I've written and presented about it so often I could probably still rattle off all the main points of my old speeches word-for-word.

You can imagine that everyone's eyes glazed over whenever classmates gave their speeches on this topic. We'd heard about it so many times that, even if it was a topic we cared about, speeches on it just didn't interest us anymore.

The are many potential topics for a persuasive speech. Be wary of choosing one that's cliche or overdone. Even if you give a great speech, it'll be harder to keep your audience interested if they feel like they already know what you're going to say.

An exception to this rule is that if you feel you have a new viewpoint or facts about the topic that currently aren't common knowledge. Including them can make an overdone topic interesting. If you do this, be sure to make it clear early on in your speech that you have unique info or opinions on the topic so your audience knows to expect something new.

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105 Topics for a Persuasive Speech

Here's our list of 105 great persuasive speech ideas. We made sure to choose topics that aren't overdone, yet that many people will have an interest in, and we also made a point of choosing topics with multiple viewpoints rather than simplistic topics that have a more obvious right answer (i.e. Is bullying bad?). The topics are organized into ten categories.

Arts/Culture

  • Should art and music therapy be covered by health insurance?
  • Should all students be required to learn an instrument in school?
  • Should all national museums be free to citizens?
  • Should graffiti be considered art?
  • Should offensive language be removed from works of classic literature?
  • Are paper books better than e-books?
  • Should all interns be paid for their work?
  • Should employees receive bonuses for walking or biking to work?
  • Will Brexit hurt or help the UK's economy?
  • Should all people over the age of 65 be able to ride the bus for free?
  • Should the federal minimum wage be increased?
  • Should tipping in restaurants be mandatory?
  • Should Black Friday sales be allowed to start on Thanksgiving?
  • Should students who bully others be expelled?
  • Should all schools require students wear uniforms?
  • Should boys and girls be taught in separate classrooms?
  • Should students be allowed to listen to music during study hall?
  • Should all elementary schools be required to teach a foreign language?
  • Should schools include meditation or relaxation breaks during the day?
  • Should grades in gym class affect students' GPAs?
  • Should teachers get a bonus when their students score well on standardized tests?
  • Should children of undocumented immigrants be allowed to attend public schools?
  • Should students get paid for getting a certain GPA?
  • Should students be allowed to have their cell phones with them during school?
  • Should high school students be allowed to leave school during lunch breaks?
  • Should Greek life at colleges be abolished?
  • Should high school students be required to volunteer a certain number of hours before they can graduate?
  • Should schools still teach cursive handwriting?
  • What are the best ways for schools to stop bullying?
  • Should prostitution be legalized?
  • Should people with more than one DUI lose their driver's license?
  • Should people be required to shovel snow from the sidewalks in front of their house?
  • Should minors be able to drink alcohol in their home if they have their parent's consent?
  • Should guns be allowed on college campuses?
  • Should flag burning as a form of protest be illegal?
  • Should welfare recipients be required to pass a drug test?
  • Should white supremacist groups be allowed to hold rallies in public places?
  • Should assault weapons be illegal?
  • Should the death penalty be abolished?
  • Should beauty pageants for children be banned?
  • Is it OK to refuse to serve same-sex couples based on religious beliefs?
  • Should transgender people be allowed to serve in the military?
  • Is it better to live together before marriage or to wait?
  • Should affirmative action be allowed?
  • Should prisoners be allowed to vote?
  • Should Columbus Day be replaced with Indigenous Peoples' Day?

Government/Politics

  • Should the government spend more money on developing high-speed rail lines and less on building new roads?
  • Should the government be allowed to censor internet content deemed inappropriate?
  • Should Puerto Rico become the 51st state?
  • Should Scotland declare independence from the United Kingdom?
  • Whose face should be on the next new currency printed by the US?
  • Should people convicted of drug possession be sent to recovery programs instead of jail?
  • Should voting be made compulsory?
  • Who was the best American president?
  • Should the military budget be reduced?
  • Should the President be allowed to serve more than two terms?
  • Should a border fence be built between the United States and Mexico?
  • Should countries pay ransom to terrorist groups in order to free hostages?
  • Should minors be able to purchase birth control without their parent's consent?
  • Should hiding or lying about your HIV status with someone you're sleeping with be illegal?
  • Should governments tax soda and other sugary drinks and use the revenue for public health?
  • Should high schools provide free condoms to students?
  • Should the US switch to single-payer health care?
  • Should healthy people be required to regularly donate blood?
  • Should assisted suicide be legal?
  • Should religious organizations be required to pay taxes?
  • Should priests be allowed to get married?
  • Should the religious slaughter of animals be banned?
  • Should the Church of Scientology be exempt from paying taxes?
  • Should women be allowed to be priests?
  • Should countries be allowed to only accept refugees with certain religious beliefs?
  • Should public prayer be allowed in schools?

Science/Environment

  • Should human cloning be allowed?
  • Should people be allowed to own exotic animals like tigers and monkeys?
  • Should "animal selfies" in tourist locations with well-known animal species (like koalas and tigers) be allowed?
  • Should genetically modified foods be sold in grocery stores?
  • Should people be allowed to own pit bulls?
  • Should parents be allowed to choose the sex of their unborn children?
  • Should vaccinations be required for students to attend public school?
  • What is the best type of renewable energy?
  • Should plastic bags be banned in grocery stores?
  • Should the United States rejoin the Paris Agreement?
  • Should puppy mills be banned?
  • Should fracking be legal?
  • Should animal testing be illegal?
  • Should offshore drilling be allowed in protected marine areas?
  • Should the US government increase NASA's budget?
  • Should Pluto still be considered a planet?
  • Should college athletes be paid for being on a sports team?
  • Should all athletes be required to pass regular drug tests?
  • Should professional female athletes be paid the same as male athletes in the same sport?
  • Are there any cases when athletes should be allowed to use steroids?
  • Should college sports teams receive less funding?
  • Should boxing be illegal?
  • Should schools be required to teach all students how to swim?
  • Should cheerleading be considered a sport?
  • Should parents let their children play tackle football?
  • Will robots reduce or increase human employment opportunities?
  • What age should children be allowed to have a cell phone?
  • Should libraries be replaced with unlimited access to e-books?
  • Overall, has technology helped connect people or isolate them?
  • Should self-driving cars be legal?
  • Should all new buildings be energy efficient?
  • Is Net Neutrality a good thing or a bad thing?
  • Do violent video games encourage players to become violent in real life?

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3 Bonus Tips for Crafting Your Persuasive Speech

Of course, giving a great persuasive speech requires more than just choosing a good topic. Follow the three tips below to create an outstanding speech that'll interest and impress your audience.

Do Your Research

For a persuasive speech, there's nothing worse than getting an audience question that shows you misunderstood the issue or left an important piece out. It makes your entire speech look weak and unconvincing.

Before you start writing a single word of your speech, be sure to do lots of research on all sides of the topic. Look at different sources and points of view to be sure you're getting the full picture, and if you know any experts on the topic, be sure to ask their opinion too.

Consider All the Angles

Persuasive speech topics are rarely black and white, which means there will be multiple sides and viewpoints on the topic. For example, for the topic "Should people be allowed to own pit bulls?" there are two obvious viewpoints: everyone should be allowed to own a pit bull if they want to, and no one should be allowed to own a pit bull. But there are other options you should also consider: people should only own a pit bull if they pass a dog training class, people should be able to own pit bulls, but only if it's the only dog they own, people should be able to own pi tbulls but only if they live a certain distance from schools, people should be able to own pit bulls only if the dog passes an obedience class, etc.

Thinking about all these angles and including them in your speech will make you seem well-informed on the topic, and it'll increase the quality of your speech by looking at difference nuances of the issue.

Know Your Audience

Whenever you give a speech, it's important to consider your audience, and this is especially true for persuasive speeches when you're trying to convince people to believe a certain viewpoint. When writing your speech, think about what your audience likely already knows about the topic, what they probably need explained, and what aspects of the topic they care about most. Also consider what the audience will be most concerned about for a certain topic, and be sure to address those concerns.

For example, if you're giving a speech to a Catholic organization on why you think priests should be allowed to marry, you don't need to go over the history of Catholicism or its core beliefs (which they probably already know), but you should mention any research or prominent opinions that support your view (which they likely don't know about). They may be concerned that priests who marry won't be as committed to God or their congregations, so be sure to address those concerns and why they shouldn't worry about them as much as they may think. Discussing your topic with people (ideally those with viewpoints similar to those of your future audience) before you give your speech is a good way to get a better understanding of how your audience thinks.

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More Resources for Writing Persuasive Speeches

If you need more guidance or just want to check out some examples of great persuasive writing, consider checking out the following books:

  • Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches in History by William Safire—This collection of great speeches throughout history will help you decide how to style your own argument.
  • The Essentials of Persuasive Public Speaking by Sims Wyeth—For quick direct tips on public speaking, try this all-purpose guide.
  • Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World's Top Minds by Carmine Gallo—This popular book breaks down what makes TED talks work and how you can employ those skills in your own presentations.
  • We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Make Good Art by Neil Gaiman—These two recent speeches by contemporary writers offer stellar examples of how to craft a compelling (and engaging) argument.

Conclusion: Persuasive Speech Ideas

Good persuasive speech topics can be difficult to think of, but in this guide we've compiled a list of 105 interesting persuasive speech topics for you to look through.

The best persuasive speech ideas will be on a topic you're interested in, aren't overdone, and will be about something your audience cares about.

After you've chosen your topic, keep these three tips in mind when writing your persuasive speech:

  • Do your research
  • Consider all the angles
  • Know your audience

What's Next?

Now that you have persuasive speech topics, it's time to hone your persuasive speech techniques. Find out what ethos, pathos, logos, and kairos are and how to use them here .

Looking to take your persuasive technique from speech to sheets (of paper)? Get our three key tips on how to write an argumentative essay , or learn by reading through our thorough breakdown of how to build an essay, step by step .

Want a great GPA? Check out our step-by-step guide to getting good grades in high school so you can have a stellar transcript.

Interested in learning about other great extracurricular opportunities? Learn more about job shadowing , community service , and volunteer abroad programs.

Still trying to figure out your courses? Check out our expert guide on which classes you should take in high school.

Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points? We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:

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Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.

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Persuasive Speech

Persuasive Speech Examples

Cathy A.

16 Best Persuasive Speech Examples for Students

Published on: Dec 12, 2018

Last updated on: Nov 9, 2023

persuasive speech examples

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Share this article

Persuasive speech is a type of speech where the speaker tries to convince the audience of his point of view. 

For most people, writing and delivering a persuasive speech can seem difficult. However, with the help of examples and some good tips, you can write an effective speech. 

In this blog, you can find some amazing examples that you can use to follow and take inspiration. You can easily download and read these examples whenever you need help with writing your persuasive speech. 

So, let’s read on!

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Good Persuasive Speech Examples

Picking an interesting and engaging topic for your persuasive speech is crucial. With the help of some good persuasive speech examples, you can easily get through the persuasive speech writing process.

Here are some good persuasive speech examples that will help you get inspired. Get help from these examples and save yourself time.

Famous Persuasive Speech Examples

Policy Persuasive Speech Examples

How to Start a Persuasive Speech Examples

After hours of writing and practicing, here comes a time for delivering the speech. As soon as you start your speech, you notice that people are talking to each other, checking their phones, changing seats, and doing everything but paying attention to you.

Why is that?

That might be because of your boring and mundane start to the speech. The beginning of your speech decides how long the audience will tune into your speech. If you don’t get them interested in your speech right from the start, there are few chances that they will pay attention to your message.

Here is an example speech that demonstrates how to begin your speech effectively:

How to Start a Speech Example

Apart from the technique used in this example, here are five effective ways to kick-start your speech:

  • Start With a Famous Quote

Opening with a famous and relevant quote helps you make a good impression on the audience’s mind. It helps you set the tone for the rest of your speech.

For example: “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” – Patrick Henry

  • Ask a Rhetorical Question

Asking a rhetorical question at the beginning of your speech arouses the audience's curiosity. It is an effective way of engaging and understanding your audience.

For example: “Do you want to be a failure for the rest of your life?”

  • Make a Shocking Statement

You can start with a shocking statement by keeping the audience guessing what you are about to say next. A shocking or interesting statement gets people immediately involved and listening to your every word.

For example: "Imagine a world where the air we breathe is more expensive than the food we eat."

  • Create a ‘what If’ Scenario

Asking a ‘what if’ question makes the audience follow your thought process. They immediately start thinking about what could be the answer to your ‘what if’ scenario.

For example: “What if we don’t wake up tomorrow? How different are we today?”

  • Use a Surprising Statistic

A surprising statistic that resonates with your audience helps you get your message across right away. Real, shocking statistics have the potential to trigger the audience’s emotional appeal.

For example: "Did you know that 7.5 million plastic bottles are discarded every hour in the United States?"

By following any of these tips, you can easily grab the audience’s attention every time.

How to Write a Persuasive Speech - Examples

Persuasive speech writing is an interesting task if you are familiar with the steps. This speech example demonstrates how to write a speech step by step. Use this example to write a successful persuasive speech that is both interesting and appealing to the audience.

How to Write a Persuasive Speech Example

Persuasive Speech Outline Examples

The standard  persuasive speech outline consists of an introduction, body, and conclusion. Making a well-structured outline for your speech is the best way to ensure success. 

Here is an outline example to help you structure your speech. 

Persuasive Speech Outline Template PDF

Persuasive Speech Examples for High School Students

Speech writing and speech competition are common activities in schools. It helps students learn and enhance their public speaking skills and critical thinking. 

Here are some persuasive speech examples for high school-level students.

Persuasive Speech Example for High School

Persuasive Speech Example for Highschool Students

Persuasive Speech Examples for College Students

If you are a college student looking for an example to help with your persuasive speech, look no further. Check out these examples below. 

Persuasive Speech Examples College

Persuasive Speech Examples About Social Media

Short Persuasive Speech Examples for Students

In most cases, the speaker has limited time to deliver their speech. The following short persuasive examples show speeches that are written with specific time limits in mind. These will help you understand how long your speech should be for an allotted time. 

3 Minute Persuasive Speech Example PDF

2 Minute Persuasive Speech Example

Short Persuasive Speech Examples About Life (PDF)

5 Minute Persuasive Speech Example

Funny Persuasive Speech Examples

Persuasive speeches often deal with serious topics. However, they can be for fun and entertainment as well! Here is an example of a funny, persuasive speech.

Funny Persuasive Speech Example

Motivational Persuasive Speech Examples

A motivational speech is a  type of persuasive speech  where the speaker intended to motivate the audience.

Below are some motivational persuasive speech examples. 

Motivational Speech Example

Call to Action Persuasive Speech

Finally, here’s a persuasive speech example from real life. You can watch this persuasive TED talk that aims to convince the audience to quit social media:

Good Persuasive Speech Topics

Now that you’ve checked out some examples, you are ready to start writing your own persuasive speech. But what should you write about? Here are some amazing persuasive speech ideas for you. 

  • The shift to sustainable transportation is long overdue.
  • Adopting a plant-based diet is the best way to ensure personal and environmental well-being.
  • Promoting financial literacy education is the key to economic empowerment.
  • Raising the minimum wage is a necessity for livable incomes.
  • Opt-out organ donation can save more lives.
  • Food deserts must be confronted to ensure equal access to healthy nutrition.
  • Individual responsibility plays a crucial role in fighting climate change.
  • Social media's negative impact on mental health is widespread.
  • Stricter gun control measures are vital for balancing Second Amendment rights with public safety.
  • Shifting to sustainable energy sources is an urgent matter.

Need more ideas? Check out 250+ persuasive speech topics to find the best topic for your speech.

To Conclude,

With the help of these examples, you can deliver a captivating address to persuade the audience listening to your speech. 

However, remember that only having a great topic and structured outline is not enough. You should establish an emotional connection, maintain proper body language, and support your arguments with facts to make a successful speech.

Moreover, if you need help from experts, we’ve got you covered. Our fast essay writing service is experienced in providing perfect speeches within your deadline. Also, we craft unique persuasive speeches from scratch, according to your custom requirements. 

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COMM 101: Fundamentals of Public Speaking - Valparaiso

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Persuasive topics answer a question or argue a point of view. The goal is to sway your audience to your way of thinking. Below are some broad categories you can consider for your persuasive speech: 

  • Health & Medicine
  • Science & Technology
  • Society & Culture

Use the Library Research Guide below to see how to search library resources like Opposing Viewpoints in Context  to find materials for your persuasive speeches. 

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49 Sample Persuasive Speech Outline

Student Example

Persuasive Speech Outline

  • This is a student example of Monroe’s Motivated Sequence.
  • This student’s outline is well developed, coherent, integrates research, follows a strong organizational pattern, and meets all expectations of an outline in a public speaking course.
  • Click on the Google Document provided for a sample speech outline.

Public Speaking Copyright © by Dr. Layne Goodman; Amber Green, M.A.; and Various is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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COMMENTS

  1. Persuasive Speech Outline, with Examples

    March 17, 2021 - Gini Beqiri A persuasive speech is a speech that is given with the intention of convincing the audience to believe or do something. This could be virtually anything - voting, organ donation, recycling, and so on.

  2. Persuasive Speeches

    February 13, 2024 Edited by Courtney Adamo Fact-checked by Paul Mazzola Definition Types How to write Outline Topics Examples What is a persuasive speech? In a persuasive speech, the speaker aims to convince the audience to accept a particular perspective on a person, place, object, idea, etc.

  3. 11.2 Persuasive Speaking

    Foundation of Persuasion. Persuasive speaking seeks to influence the beliefs, attitudes, values, or behaviors of audience members. In order to persuade, a speaker has to construct arguments that appeal to audience members. Arguments form around three components: claim, evidence, and warrant. The claim is the statement that will be supported by ...

  4. Persuasive Speech Preparation & Outline, with Examples

    One of the most iconic examples is Martin Luther King's 'I had a dream' speech on the 28th of August 1963. What is Persuasive Speech? Persuasive speech is a written and delivered essay to convince people of the speaker's viewpoint or ideas. Persuasive speaking is the type of speaking people engage in the most.

  5. Persuasive Speaking

    In each example listed, Lucas's definition of persuasion is being implemented: you are asking a person or group to agree with your main idea. When using persuasion in a public speech, the goal is to create, change, or reinforce a belief or action by addressing community problems or controversies.

  6. 17.2 Types of Persuasive Speeches

    Stand up, Speak out 17.2 Types of Persuasive Speeches Learning Objectives Differentiate among the four types of persuasive claims. Understand how the four types of persuasive claims lead to different types of persuasive speeches. Explain the two types of policy claims. Burns Library, Boston College - Maya Angelou - CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

  7. Persuasive Speeches

    15 Persuasive Speeches Speeches that Make a Change In this chapter . . . For many public speeches, the specific purpose is to convince the audience of a particular opinion or claim or to convince them to take some action in response to the speech.

  8. Structure of a Persuasive Speech

    Learning Objectives Identify characteristic structures of a persuasive speech. In many ways, a persuasive speech is structured like an informative speech. It has an introduction with an attention-getter and a clear thesis statement.

  9. 13.5: Constructing a Persuasive Speech

    13.5: Constructing a Persuasive Speech. Page ID. Kris Barton & Barbara G. Tucker. Florida State University & University of Georgia via GALILEO Open Learning Materials. In a sense, constructing your persuasive speech is the culmination of the skills you have learned already. In another sense, you are challenged to think somewhat differently.

  10. What is Persuasive Speaking?

    In a nutshell, persuasive speeches must confront the complex challenge of influencing or reinforcing peoples' beliefs, attitudes, values, or actions, all characteristics that may seem natural, ingrained, or unchangeable to an audience.

  11. 10 Persuasive Speech Techniques to Improve Your Public Speaking

    Persuasive Speech Examples "Speech is power: speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel." Ralph Waldo Emerson Look at some of the greatest speakers and leaders in history. Abraham Lincoln, John F Kennedy, Winston Churchill… They were puppet masters, listeners dangling on their every word. Charlie Chaplain was another.

  12. 110 Interesting Persuasive Speech Topics to Impress Your Audience

    Introduction Are you having a hard time coming up with the right persuasive speech topic? One that isn't boring or cliche? Are you looking for a persuasive speech topic that will both interest you and captivate your audience? It's easier said than done, right? Creating and delivering an interesting persuasive speech is a major endeavor.

  13. How to Write a Persuasive Public Speech: 15 Steps (with Pictures)

    1 Choose a compelling topic. If you have the freedom to choose your own topic, make sure you choose a compelling and interesting subject to talk about. The topic should be important to you but not so important that you can't keep your composure while speaking.

  14. What Is a Persuasive Speech?

    Persuasion, in other words, is an attempt to make a viewpoint or a behavior agreeable to someone. When your objective as a speaker is to convince your audience to adopt a particular belief or engage in a specific action, you are speaking to persuade. When we persuade, we are acting as advocates and we are encouraging our audience to adopt a ...

  15. 13.7: Sample Persuasive Speech Outlines

    Public Speaking It's About Them - Public Speaking in the 21st Century (Kim et al.) 13: Persuasive Speaking ... Sample Outline: Persuasive Speech Using Monroe's Motivated Sequence Pattern Speech to Actuate: Sponsoring a Child in Poverty. Specific Purpose: to actuate my audience to sponsor a child through an agency such as Compassion ...

  16. 17.3 Organizing Persuasive Speeches

    First, a speaker needs to give a clear and concise statement of the problem. This part of a speech should be crystal clear for an audience. Second, the speaker needs to provide one or more examples to illustrate the need. The illustration is an attempt to make the problem concrete for the audience.

  17. Ethos, Pathos, Logos: 3 Pillars of Public Speaking and Persuasion

    Ethos, pathos and logos are modes of persuasion used to convince and appeal to an audience. You need these qualities for your audience to accept your messages. Ethos: your credibility and character. Pathos: emotional bond with your listeners. Logos: logical and rational argument.

  18. 100 Easy Persuasive Speech Topics: A Guide

    Here are some Persuasive Speech Topics that you can practice with. Writing Introduction for Persuasive Speech. Take a look at the video below. It explains how to write an introduction for a persuasive speech. Persuasive Speech Videos. Below are 6 sample videos of persuasive speeches.

  19. 105 Interesting Persuasive Speech Topics for Any Project

    The Essentials of Persuasive Public Speaking by Sims Wyeth—For quick direct tips on public speaking, try this all-purpose guide. Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World's Top Minds by Carmine Gallo—This popular book breaks down what makes TED talks work and how you can employ those skills in your own presentations.

  20. 15+ Persuasive Speech Examples to Learn From

    1. Good Persuasive Speech Examples 2. How to Start a Persuasive Speech Examples 3. How to Write a Persuasive Speech - Examples 4. Persuasive Speech Outline Examples 5. Persuasive Speech Examples for High School Students 6. Persuasive Speech Examples for College Students 7. Short Persuasive Speech Examples for Students 8.

  21. Persuasive Speeches

    Persuasive topics answer a question or argue a point of view. The goal is to sway your audience to your way of thinking. Below are some broad categories you can consider for your persuasive speech: Education; Laws; Health & Medicine; Politics; Science & Technology; Economy; Society & Culture

  22. Sample Persuasive Speech Outline

    49 Sample Persuasive Speech Outline Student Example Persuasive Speech Outline This is a student example of Monroe's Motivated Sequence. This student's outline is well developed, coherent, integrates research, follows a strong organizational pattern, and meets all expectations of an outline in a public speaking course.

  23. How to Build Consensus with Public Speaking

    A well-structured speech helps you organize your thoughts, clarify your main points, and guide your audience through your argument. A simple and effective structure is the problem-solution-benefit ...