Persuasion is an invaluable skill to have regardless of profession. In a public speaking environment, a good speaker that can command a crowd and easily persuade them into their opinions is as good as it gets.
Table of Contents
- What exactly is a persuasive speech?
- What is the purpose of a persuasive speech?
- What are the different persuasive approaches?
- 11 Tips for a persuasive speech
- Wrapping Up,
What exactly is a persuasive speech?
A persuasive speech is one where the speaker has a clear goal in mind to argue their opinion. All of the content is geared toward convincing the audience.
In this article, you’ll find persuasive speech topics and examples so you can have a well-rounded idea of how to win your audience over.
Many tactics can be used to argue your point without coming across as aggressive or condescending. We will be covering tactics like problem/solution model, credibility angle, and much more.
Let’s get right to it!
What is the purpose of a persuasive speech?
Before setting a convincing speech as our goal, we need to understand precisely what we are working towards.
Once you get an enticing look into our objectives, you will be able to better focus on attaining it.
- Inform the audience about the issue at hand on a fundamental level.
- Emphasize the importance of the issue at hand. Elaborate on how it affects a person or people in their day to day lives. Personalize the issue.
- Argue your point but give them a few opinions of the opposing side as well for a balanced argument.
- Try to get through to the audience via facts, ideas, and emotions.
- Pick up on visual cues and tailor your content for maximum impact.
What are the different persuasive approaches?
The right approach is essential when it comes to persuasive speeches. This approach can differ depending on your topic as well as your audience.
But when we get right to it, persuasion tactics are pretty straightforward. Understanding these approaches can help you pick which one rings most true to your natural style and apply it in your speeches.
The word ‘ethos’ refers to character. It, thus, appeals to the principles that any person stands by. When you choose an ethos approach, you decide to appeal to a person’s morals and ethics.
It is the moral duty of every citizen to take a stand against littering. Each individual can help keep our neighborhood and the country itself clean by doing our part.
The word ‘pathos’ refers to suffering or pity. It, thus, appeals to the emotions of a person. In this method, a speaker attempts to make the audience connect to the speech emotionally to invoke change.
Over half of all the sea turtles in this world have ingested some or the other plastic form.
This plastic goes on to rupture their internal organs, leaving them unable to feed. We can stop this by doing our part to solve ocean pollution.
The word ‘logos’ refers to logic or intellect. It, thus, utilizes facts and data to change an audience’s mind.
If the entire world went vegan, the effect on greenhouse gases would be tremendous. According to The Vegan Society, this greenhouse gas reduction could save up to 8 million lives by 2050.
11 Tips for a persuasive speech
Now that you know which persuasive speech style suits you best, we are ready to write our persuasive speech. Here are our eleven tips and tricks:
Do not slack when it comes to research. People will automatically be drawn to someone who can establish credibility on stage.
For instance: if you are a structural engineer talking about the dangers of non-earthquake friendly structures, people are more likely to listen to you.
This does not mean that you need a master’s degree in any subject to be able to speak about it. It just means that you need to come prepared.
Audiences can differentiate fact from fluff. You need to back up each of your arguments with irrefutable data.
Some simple Google searches just won’t do.
Your data needs to come from credible sources as well. This is what will get your audiences to pause and rethink their opinions.
If you need help in conducting your research, browse through our article on How to give a well-researched speech?
For an audience to take you seriously, you must first establish yourself as someone to be taken seriously.
An influencer is only as strong as his reach. The process for this starts right at the drawing board for topic ideas.
Pick something that you either already know about or feel strongly about. This will make the research process a lot easier.
Your goal is to convince the audience that you have something of value to provide.
When you come prepared, you will have a different aura of confidence itself that your audience will respond to.
Establish Credibility Early
There’s a time and place to hold back information for a significant build-up. Establishing credibility is not one of those times.
If you have a substantial standing in a field pertaining to your topic, make sure to include it in your introduction itself.
You will get the crowd’s attention as someone who has something valuable to provide.
Even if you aren’t directly involved in the field, talking about the years of experience you have in pursuing this topic will go a long way to establishing your credibility.
Your opening plays a huge role in whether or not your audience decides to pay attention to the rest of your speech.
This is why you cannot be sloppy when it comes to speech structure. Begin right away with an attention-grabbing statistic, quote, question, or story.
Add your credibility and explain the importance of the issue. This is to explain why this issue demands their time and attention.
You must know the saying, “we first feast with our eyes.” No matter how good your content, if you deliver it in sloppy, unpressed attire, you will lose a majority of your audience.
Have you ever noticed that from door-to-door salesmen to CEOs, are always dressed up in well-ironed shirts and immaculate suits? Is this simply a coincidence? Unlikely.
People respond better to well-dressed speakers. You immediately have to put less effort into getting their attention once you’re on stage, now you only have to work on keeping it.
Your dressing will also depend on the venue as well as the audience. This only pertains to how formal you need to keep it.
You don’t want to overdress either because you might come across as a try-hard.
Keep it simple
It might be tempting to pack your speech with all the statistics you can find to support your case.
However, while a few well-planned statistics can drive your point home, too many can be overwhelming for your audience.
It is good to have data back your argument, but you have to make sure that your message is relayed to your audience.
Including too many numbers, charts, and figures can make your speech seem cold, even for a logos approach.
Keep your goal in mind.
Never lose sight of your goal. It is not to simply get your speech done and over with, but to win them over.
Make this goal clear to you as you draft your speech itself.
Make sure you can make your audience resonate with the issue at hand. This way, they will be more open to being persuaded to begin with.
With your thesis in hand, you are likely either trying to change their mind about an issue or looking to make a call for action.
As such, look out for common mistakes. Do not spend too much time merely informing the audience about the issue with no build-up.
Information is good, but you may lose their attention by the time you get to argue your point.
Similarly, do not simply complain about the issue at hand. Make purposeful statements and guide them towards your stance.
Persuade, Do Not Confront
Many speakers tend to take a very aggressive approach to persuasive speaking. Remember, a good argument is always done on equal footing.
You will never win over an audience by belittling their stance. As a speaker, you need to master the art of balance. Never make your audience feel attacked.
Present your information in a way that says it is understandable why many people hold that opinion, but gently nudge them to your argument.
Highlight the positives and do not zero in on the negatives.
There is no one perfect speech that will work across all audiences. Depending on your audience, your speech will definitely need to be tweaked.
This is where audience analysis comes in. What is your crowd demographic?
Are they likely to be knowledgeable about your topic, or will you need to include more explanation in your speech?
For persuasion, there is no one formula. To convince any audience, you must personalize your content to their preferences.
Think about it, are you more likely to listen to a general announcement or one that personally caters to your views and needs?
If you want to improve your audience analysis skills, browse through our article on Knowing Your Audience.
This will help you research your audience beforehand and pick up on the subtle non-verbal cues that they’re sending your way. Audience analysis is more than just eye-contact.
Once you can read your audience, you will be able to better understand whether they are responding to your arguments. You can then tweak your speech accordingly for the best results.
Most people think that a persuasive speech means simply steam-roll your audience with facts that support your thesis.
However, this can present a very one-sided view that leaves your listeners skeptical. You need to give your audience some credit.
If you only try to show them your way, it is likely that even if they change their perspective, it won’t last.
You need to present a balanced presentation but with a stronger emphasis on your arguments.
This way, you will explain your point but also make the audience feel as though they got to decide for themselves. You want to persuade but more than that you want to present your views objectively.
Never approach an argument by belittling the other side as it will only reflect poorly on you. Give equal respect to both sides and speak in facts.
You want to keep it classy. It will make any audience interactions much simpler if you come prepared with the counter-arguments.
Remember, a persuasive speech is about your audience. No matter how much you love your content, you will need to tweak it to fit their tastes.
How can you achieve this? By asking questions. Frame your questions in a way that touches issues they care about. You can also build a story to win over their care.
Never talk at your audience. Always talk to them. You can achieve this by not just trying to speak more conversationally but also by having an open body language.
This also includes making purposeful eye contact and stage movements. People trust the people with who they have a bond. As a speaker, it is your job to create that bond.
It is easy to pad your speech with call-to-action messages and hope for the best. However, to really make sure your speech makes a difference, you will have to do more than just that.
If you want to learn how to make your speech delivery more natural so that audiences respond well, then browse through our article on How to create a natural flow in your speech.
Suppose you’d like to learn how to better utilize your body gestures and eye contact to persuade your audience.
In that case, these articles might suit your needs: Different types of body gestures to enhance your speech and Can effective eye contact be practiced?
Use Plenty of Examples
If you keep talking about just the issue at hand, there is a chance that the audience might not be able to connect.
To make sure that your message appeals to them, try to include examples that they can relate to.
As we discussed, there are different persuasive approaches according to the situation. If you want to go for a logical approach, try not to use probabilities.
Don’t go for the “Here’s what might happen” and instead pick. “Here are four instances where this negative effect occurred.
For a pathos approach, give emotionally relatable examples. Stories often suit this approach. And for ethos, try to invoke their conscience.
Conclude with a Call to Action
As the purpose of your speech is to persuade, the strongest conclusion, in this case, is a Call to Action. You need to highlight your argument and make your case.
This is just the build-up. You want the pay-off to be action. You can do this by reminding your audience of your speech’s key points, restating your argument, and then encouraging change.
Add emotion. Add vocal variety. Use your body gestures. Everything in your speech will build-up to this ending, so you want to make sure it’s worth it.
Don’t use your conclusion as just a way to quickly wrap up your speech. Make full use of the emotional or logical impact you’ve created.
Pick definitive things that they can do. Do not generalize and say, “We should all work to make the world cleaner.”
Not only is that obvious, but it is so vast that most people will simply forget it. A call-to-action is supposed to be direct.
Try, “If what I’ve said today resonates with you, then let us agree to do our part by reusing our plastic bottles.
Well, there you have it! All the tools you need to persuade your audience to your opinions. Remember, all these tips and tricks will only be as good as your practice.
Everybody has a unique speaking style that will enhance these tips. You may have different strengths than the persuasive speakers that you look up to.
Figure out what works for you so that you can work to really make it shine. All the best and happy speaking!