Persuasive Speech Objectives May Include:

· To persuade listeners to change their beliefs, attitudes, values, and behaviors

· To modify listeners’ attitudes, beliefs, values, and behaviors

· To reinforce listeners’ pre-existing beliefs, attitudes, values, and behaviors

· To move listeners to action

· To realize the ethical responsibilities inherent in persuasive speaking


Actuation Speech: The speech to actuate is one in which the audience already agrees with the topic, but the speaker motivates listeners act. The purpose is, first, to reinforce attitudes, beliefs, and values, and second, to challenge the audience to behave in accordance with their attitudes. “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is” expresses the objective quite well. Students should choose interesting, meaningful topics.

Argumentative Speech: In this approach students will choose a controversial topic, a topic which will probably split the audience into sides or subgroups. Students need to be very familiar with chapters 16 and 17 in the textbook. In particular, the sections which discuss the use of logic and evidence to persuade and audience and how to persuade a receptive, neutral, or hostile audience.

Inspirational Speech: The purpose of inspirational speaking is to motivate an audience to improve: personally, emotionally, professionally, or spiritually. The speech may be geared toward experiencing greater success, developing attributes that evidence growth as a human being, achieving personal or professional goals, or helping others. Although the inspirational speech is often a “feel good” kind of speech, it is a challenge and it can create audience tension. Note: more emotional than logical appeal is typically present in this speech.

Time Range

5 minutes only! NO Q&A!


Persuasive; your purpose may be to change attitudes, values, or beliefs about something. Your purpose may be to change opinion, or to suggest policy. Your purpose may be to reframe the audience’s view of something, to reinforce their position regarding something, or to inoculate them against possible persuasive efforts from others. You may ask them to support specific actions or to take action themselves. You may not try to sell anything or persuade the audience to take a position or action which would lead to real world profit for yourself or anyone else.

Delivery Mode

Extemporaneous; you may speak from either outline or speaker’s notes, but you will be required to hand in a complete, well organized outline and any other notes or supplements to the outline that you use during delivery of the speech at the time of your presentation.

Delivery is of the utmost importance in persuasive speaking. If you are not perceived as trustworthy, knowledgeable, and interesting, neither will your topic. Work on creating a dynamic, energized, and enthusiastic delivery style for this speech. You will be speaking extemporaneously using a key word outline. You will be graded based upon the assessment form criteria so your ability to connect and communicate directly with the audience will be crucial.

Personal appearance and projected confidence and credibility are a must. Please refer to your written comments on enhancing your posture, eye contact, etc., and adjust accordingly.


In the introduction of your speech you want to accomplish the following three tasks: 1) Get the attention and interest of your audience; 2) reveal the purpose and topic of your speech – thesis statement; and 3) establish credibility with your audience members.

Please do not preview your points. Be creative – experiment with different ideas for getting the audience’s attention.


Provide Reasons and Examples and make sure your main points well selected and supported.

Additionally, please use transitional words. Please keep in mind that all supported material should be appropriate! Do not preview your points; build upon them.

Supporting material

Use a variety of supporting material in your speech, and try to balance the types of materials you use (e.g., don’t limit yourself to facts and statistics – incorporate testimony, narratives, and example as well.) Persuasive speaking requires a good deal of research, and this research should be incorporated into the text of the speech as you cite the sources of your information. Always go to the primary source of the research (i.e., the document in which the research or statistic was originally published) and avoid secondary sources of published research, such as popular magazines. You must cite 1-3 credible sources within the course of your speech, of which no more than one may be Internet-based. (Online periodicals and newspapers will not count as Internet-based.)


Your choice of language will be factored into your grade. Use language to build your credibility as a speaker by choosing language that is clear, concise, concrete, vivid, and exciting. Make sure your language choices reflect your cultural sensitivity and ethical responsibility as a speaker. Speak with conviction!


Make sure you transition from the body of your speech. And in the conclusion of your speech you want to accomplish the following three tasks: 1) alert the audience that the speech is ending; 2) summarize your main ideas; 3) motivate your audience to action; 4) and review your main points.

Final Appeal

This is your last chance to make a final appeal. You should walk towards the audience and look them directly in the eye and make your final appeal. Also, if you have handouts, literature, etc.. This is the time now to distribute them and persuade them to action.

After you finish speaking, pause briefly before returning to your seat – do not just run back to your desk because you are glad to be finished.

Visual Aids

For this speech you are required to use a visual aid (or aids) prepared outside of class to assist the audience in organizing/understanding some part of your presentation. You must use some type of original (that means constructed by you) 2-dimensional visual aid: either in poster, handout, or transparency form. Do not use the chalkboard as your visual aid.

You should have at least one effective, appropriate presentation aid, e.g., PowerPoint, etc., and you should use as many additional presentation aids as are appropriate and effective for your specific topic and purpose.

Remember: You should have at least 3 effective, appropriate research references. And you should use as many additional references that are effective and appropriate for your topic and purpose.

Your delivery should be dynamic, making effective and forceful use of movement and gesture, vocal variety, and language. The conclusion of the speech should be clear, forceful and persuasive.

Also you should dress appropriately!



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