A persuasive speech doesn’t make you talk till your throat’s dry.
In today’s discussion, we’ll break down the proven formula successful orators use to move minds and hearts.
Whether you’re running for office, pitching new product, or advocating for an important cause, let’s check out how to write a persuasive speech.
Table of Contents
Tips for Audience Engagement
What is a Persuasive Speech?
Have you ever been truly moved by a speaker who had you hanging on their every word? Who took you on such an inspiring journey that you left wanting to take action? Those are the hallmarks of a master persuader at work.
A persuasive speech is a type of public speaking designed to literally change minds and motivate behaviour. It’s part communication magic, part psychology hack – and with the right tools, anyone can learn to do it.
At its core, a persuasive speech aims to convince an audience of a specific idea or course of action by appealing to both logic and emotion. It lays out clear arguments while also tapping into passions and values.
A successful persuasive structure will introduce the topic, outline key points, address counterarguments, and conclude with a memorable call to action. Visual aids, stories, rhetorical devices and enthusiastic delivery all enhance the experience.
Although meant to be convincing, quality persuaders never resort to manipulation. Rather, they present solid facts with empathy and honour other perspectives along the journey.
From campaign speeches to PTA fundraisers, the ability to strategically rally support around a viewpoint through oration alone is a talent worth cultivating. So whether you aspire to inspire social change or simply motivate mindsets in your circle, adding persuasion to your public speaking playbook is sure to magnify your impact.
How to Write a Persuasive Speech
Crafting the perfect persuasive address requires thoughtful planning. But fear not, with the right framework you’ll be well on your way to masterfully motivating any audience.
#1. Research the subject
They say knowing is half the battle. When you’re doing research on the topic, you’ll unconsciously remember every detail and information along the way. And because of that, smooth information will flow out of your mouth before you know it.
Get familiarised with reputational research papers, peer-reviewed journals and expert opinions to craft a concrete foundation for your speech. They also present different views and counterarguments so you can address them on the day.
You can map each point with a respective counterargument using a mind-mapping tool for a structured and more organised approach.
#2. Cut down the fluff
This is no time to flex your wealth of ultra-complicated technical words. The idea of a persuasive speech is to get your point across verbally.
Make it sound natural so that you have no trouble spewing it out loud and your tongue doesn’t linger trying to pronounce something like anthropomorphism.
Avoid lengthy constructions that cause you to stumble. Chop the sentences down to short and concise pieces of information.
See this example:
- It could be said that in light of the presently existing circumstances which are currently surrounding us at this moment in time, there may potentially exist certain conditions that might feasibly be conducive toward potentially providing an optimum environment for potentially achieving desired outcomes.
Sounds unnecessarily long and complex, isn’t it? You can just bring this down to something like this:
- The current circumstances could create conditions conducive to achieving desired outcomes.
The clearer version gets the same point across in a more direct and succinct way by removing extra words, simplifying the phrasing and structure, and using more active rather than passive construction.
#3. Craft a persuasive speech structure
The general outline for a speech needs to be clear and logical. Here are some tips on how to craft one:
- Start with a compelling hook. Capture attention instantly with a surprising stat, intriguing anecdote or open question. Pique curiosity about the issue.
- Clearly state your thesis up front. Distil your central argument and goal into a concise, memorable statement. Paint the picture of what you aim to achieve.
- Support your thesis with well-chosen facts. Cite respected sources and data-driven evidence to rationally reinforce key talking points. Appeal to logic as well as emotion.
- Anticipate objections and address counterarguments respectfully. Show you understand opposing viewpoints yet position why yours is most sound.
- Weave in illustrative stories and examples. Relate concepts to people’s lives through a compelling narrative. Paint a vivid mental image they’ll never forget.
- Close powerfully with a call to action. Inspire audiences to take a specific next step that furthers your cause. Motivate minds and spark an enduring commitment to your vision.
#4. Tell a story
While logic and facts are important, truly moving an audience to act requires connecting on a deeper human level through emotion.
Persuasive speeches that only present dry statistics and reasoning, no matter how sound, will fail to inspire.
To craft a speech that sways hearts as well as minds, strategically incorporate stories, anecdotes and value-based language tailored to your listeners.
Describe how the issue personally impacts real people in a way the audience can relate to and feel empathetic towards. Share a short, engaging narrative that puts a vivid face to the topic.
Appeal to your crowd’s core beliefs and priorities by framing your argument in terms of principles they cherish such as justice, empathy or progress.
Tap into emotions like pride, hope or outrage to energise their conviction to support your solution. With targeted emotional insights paired with rational appeals, you’ll guide your audience along a far more persuasive journey of the heart and soul.
Short Persuasive Speech Examples
Here are examples of short persuasive speeches. A convincing one should have a specific purpose, as well as central arguments built on it.
Persuasive Speech Example 1:
Title: Why Recycling Should Be Mandatory
Specific Purpose: To persuade my audience that recycling should be required by law in all communities.
Central Idea: Recycling helps the environment, conserves natural resources and saves money; therefore, all communities should pass laws to mandate recycling programs.
Persuasive Speech Example 2:
Title: Why Social Media Is Detrimental to Teen Mental Health
Specific Purpose: To persuade parents to monitor and limit their teen’s social media usage.
Central Idea: Excessive social media use has been linked to increased anxiety, depression and loneliness in teens by promoting social comparison and FOMO. Implementing reasonable limits can help protect mental well-being.
Persuasive Speech Example 3:
Title: Why School Lunches Need Improvement
Specific Purpose: To persuade the PTA to lobby for healthier cafeteria food options.
Central Idea: The current lunch offerings at our school are often overly processed and lack nutrients, leading to obesity risks. Upgrading to fresher, whole foods will boost student health and focus.
Persuasive Speech Topics
Practising a chosen speech topic can increase your persuasion skills tremendously. Here are some topics to kickstart:
- School/education related:
- Year-round schooling, later start times, homework policies, funding for arts/sports, dress codes
- Social issues:
- Immigration reform, gun control laws, LGBTQ+ rights, abortion, marijuana legalisation
- Sugar/food taxes, banning plastic straws, GMO labelling, smoking bans, green energy initiatives
- Social media regulations, driverless cars, surveillance laws, video game restrictions
- Minimum wage increases, universal basic income, trade policies, taxes
- Criminal justice:
- Prison/sentencing reform, police use of force, drug decriminalisation, private prisons
- International relations:
- Foreign aid, refugees/asylum, trade agreements, military budget
- Gender roles, body positivity, social media/TV influence, work-life balance
- Free will vs. determinism, ethical consumption, technology’s impact, social justice
- Ratings systems, content restrictions, media bias, streaming vs. cable
In closing, an effective persuasive speech has the power to inspire change and bring people together behind important causes. If you understand audience psychology and craft your message strategically with passion and precision, you too can sway minds on issues you care about.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I start a persuasive speech?
Start your persuasive speech with a startling statistic, fact or emotional story to hook the audience instantly.
What makes a good persuasive speech?
A good persuasive speech often comprises logic, emotion and credibility. Satisfying all three criteria will enhance your argument.