Persuasive Speeches

Many speeches at school and at work are persuasive. Most people want to persuade their audience to their point of view. It’s a popular from of speaking in many circumstances. So, how do you prepare and structure a persuasive oral?

Let’s assume your audience is your class or peers and the teacher or boss.

Choose a topic you care about. If you like social issues or economic issues, choose one of them.

Research several articles and sources to find arguments and look for evidence on your side.

Research and find arguments on the other side, and think of refutes.

Think of a great sizzling opening. A quote, a stat, a story or a question all make a sizzling start.

Summarise your arguments and signpost them to the audience.

 After a great intro and summary, start with what the other side would argue and rebut it, with evidence.

 Then move into your first argument and evidence.

Link it to the seconds and repeat ,using a different form of evidence.

Link your final argument and support it too with evidence.

Signal your conclusion, sum up and finish with a bang.

Good finishes include: a call to action, a quote, another story or some alliteration, relevant to the topic.

Types of evidence.

There are seven types of evidence: stats, analogy, anecdote, precedence, logic, scenario and quotes.

Using stats is great providing there are not too many. And make them real. For example, if you say that there were 100,00 people there, add something like, “That’s as many people to fill the MCG.”

An analogy or comparison makes the point real and the audience can picture it. For example, if you said that you need to get your teeth checked every six months, just as you need to get your car serviced every six months, that would be a solid analogy.

An anecdote helps the audience picture what you are trying to show. Use plenty of adjectives and specific verbs. It will make your story real.

Precedence is about an event that has gone before. Or in another place. So, if you said, ”Just as Prohibition failed to stop people drinking in America in the 30s, so making pot illegal does not stop people smoking weed today.” You would be using solid evidence.  

Logic is basically common sense or cause and effect. If you say, “there is a direct link been shown between smoking and lung cancer. So, don’t smoke.” You would be using logic.

Another name for a scenario is a hypothetical. This means a made up situation or story. You could paint a picture of the future as bleak if we fail to stop climate change. If you used plenty of adjectives and great active verbs, your audience is likely to be persuaded.

The best form of evidence is quotes. They should be from experts, famous people (most are white and dead), journalists, or relevant people for your topic. Quote correctly and even use the voice of the person if you know it.

Overall, persuasive speaking is the most common form of speaking for students. It’s needed for debating, and SACs and at uni and in work.

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