How To Write A Persuasive Speech

Portrait of Socrates, Roman marble, Louvre museum
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One of the three categories of speech writing is the persuasive speech. This kind of speech is used especially when you want to change your audience’s behaviour. The objective is to make people think differently or act in a certain way.

A persuasive speech is not a new concept. Greek philosopher Socrates described three components a speech should have to be effective:

  • Ethos: refers to a speaker’s style of presentation.
  • Pathos: aims at striking an emotional chord with the audience.
  • Logos: appeals to the rational side of listeners and should include proofs and examples.

To give a successful persuasive speech each of these components should be considered.

To be effective you have to capture the attention of your audience this is done with ethos. It can be telling a joke, voice intonation or gestures. Use pathos to connect. Make people want to believe you by making them like you and see that you share goals and beliefs. Make them see how whatever it is you are proposing helps them or makes the world a better place. The most well written speech is a disaster unless it it appeals to audience interests. You can facilitate their interest the most by being passionate about your topic. Nothing disappoints an audience more than a speech that feels like it’s written by somebody else and that the speaker is merely quoting it from memory.

Finally, reel your audience in with inescapable logic. Make them see that what you are proposing not only makes them feel good, but is unavoidably true.

As an aside, speakers on the left of the political spectrum tend to emphasize pathos, while those on the right tend to emphasize logos. Ideally, a balance between the two will be effective with the widest possible audience. This does not mean that the speaker must change his or her convictions, but rather seek a balanced approach.

  • Persuasive Speech Paper – When you are required to deliver a speech, it is important that you have a specific outline or plan on how to execute your delivery of words and discussions.
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  • confusion » Blog Archive » Comm 100 – Persuasive Speech – Brian Beggerly Comm. 100. Persuasive Speech. Specific Purpose: To persuade my audience to take personal action to end the situation in Tibet. Main Idea: China has and continues to violate the human rights of the people of Tibet. …
  • » Persuasive Speech? Only with Passion, Please! – A Public Speaking Blog post providing public speaking training or public speaking tips by Scott A Dennison, expert mentor to the public speaking industry.
  • Persuasive Speech Outline – Depending on the type and aim of your persuasion, there are a number of ways you can structure your speech to ensure maximum effectiveness. The most basic and also the most common way to structure a persuasive speech, is to present a problem to your listener and then solve it by presenting a convincing solution. Ideally this should also be backed up with supporting evidence to make the solution seem more valid.
  • Persuasive Techniques – People best remember the beginning and end of your speech. Use evidence to increase the persuasiveness of your message. Present a balanced argument and you will appear more trustworthy.
  • Persuading Uninformed Supportive And Mixed Groups Of People. – Information can be biased when persuading uniformed people. Persuade people who support you by energising them. An uninformed person simply lacks knowledge or expertise of a subject.
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2 Responses to “How To Write A Persuasive Speech”

  1. It may be worth noting that when most people set out to persuade others, they do it by offering reasons why the other person should be persuaded to do or think or behave or believe as the persuader would like. However, I think Socrates would agree that what effectively persuades people is not intellectual reasoning, but emotional pleas. I’m not necessarily talking about emotion-drenched begging, but definitely appeals to emotion and feeling are what will affect a person much more than logical arguments. Further, appeals to ways of curing existing problems are far more persuasive than appeals to stave of a potential future problem; that means the persuader should paint a picture of a problem that’s very real and that the “persuadee” can identify with and feel the inherent pain of this problem today.

    David Portney

    By Public Speaking Training Expert, David Portney on Mar 31, 2009

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  1. May 23, 2010: Conservative Monitor » Blog Archive » Speaking Effectively, Conservatively

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