Persuasive Speeches — Types, Topics, and Examples

Daniel Bal

What is a persuasive speech?

In a persuasive speech, the speaker aims to convince the audience to accept a particular perspective on a person, place, object, idea, etc. The speaker strives to cause the audience to accept the point of view presented in the speech.

The success of a persuasive speech often relies on the speaker’s use of ethos, pathos, and logos.

Success of a persuasive speech

Ethos is the speaker’s credibility. Audiences are more likely to accept an argument if they find the speaker trustworthy. To establish credibility during a persuasive speech, speakers can do the following:

Use familiar language.

Select examples that connect to the specific audience.

Utilize credible and well-known sources.

Logically structure the speech in an audience-friendly way.

Use appropriate eye contact, volume, pacing, and inflection.

Pathos appeals to the audience’s emotions. Speakers who create an emotional bond with their audience are typically more convincing. Tapping into the audience’s emotions can be accomplished through the following:

Select evidence that can elicit an emotional response.

Use emotionally-charged words. (The city has a problem … vs. The city has a disease …)

Incorporate analogies and metaphors that connect to a specific emotion to draw a parallel between the reference and topic.

Utilize vivid imagery and sensory words, allowing the audience to visualize the information.

Employ an appropriate tone, inflection, and pace to reflect the emotion.

Logos appeals to the audience’s logic by offering supporting evidence. Speakers can improve their logical appeal in the following ways:

Use comprehensive evidence the audience can understand.

Confirm the evidence logically supports the argument’s claims and stems from credible sources.

Ensure that evidence is specific and avoid any vague or questionable information.

Types of persuasive speeches

The three main types of persuasive speeches are factual, value, and policy.

Types of persuasive speeches

A factual persuasive speech focuses solely on factual information to prove the existence or absence of something through substantial proof. This is the only type of persuasive speech that exclusively uses objective information rather than subjective. As such, the argument does not rely on the speaker’s interpretation of the information. Essentially, a factual persuasive speech includes historical controversy, a question of current existence, or a prediction:

Historical controversy concerns whether an event happened or whether an object actually existed.

Questions of current existence involve the knowledge that something is currently happening.

Predictions incorporate the analysis of patterns to convince the audience that an event will happen again.

A value persuasive speech concerns the morality of a certain topic. Speakers incorporate facts within these speeches; however, the speaker’s interpretation of those facts creates the argument. These speeches are highly subjective, so the argument cannot be proven to be absolutely true or false.

A policy persuasive speech centers around the speaker’s support or rejection of a public policy, rule, or law. Much like a value speech, speakers provide evidence supporting their viewpoint; however, they provide subjective conclusions based on the facts they provide.

How to write a persuasive speech

Incorporate the following steps when writing a persuasive speech:

Step 1 – Identify the type of persuasive speech (factual, value, or policy) that will help accomplish the goal of the presentation.

Step 2 – Select a good persuasive speech topic to accomplish the goal and choose a position .

How to write a persuasive speech

Step 3 – Locate credible and reliable sources and identify evidence in support of the topic/position. Revisit Step 2 if there is a lack of relevant resources.

Step 4 – Identify the audience and understand their baseline attitude about the topic.

Step 5 – When constructing an introduction , keep the following questions in mind:

What’s the topic of the speech?

What’s the occasion?

Who’s the audience?

What’s the purpose of the speech?

Step 6 – Utilize the evidence within the previously identified sources to construct the body of the speech. Keeping the audience in mind, determine which pieces of evidence can best help develop the argument. Discuss each point in detail, allowing the audience to understand how the facts support the perspective.

Step 7 – Addressing counterarguments can help speakers build their credibility, as it highlights their breadth of knowledge.

Step 8 – Conclude the speech with an overview of the central purpose and how the main ideas identified in the body support the overall argument.

How to write a persuasive speech

Persuasive speech outline

One of the best ways to prepare a great persuasive speech is by using an outline. When structuring an outline, include an introduction, body, and conclusion:

Introduction

Attention Grabbers

Ask a question that allows the audience to respond in a non-verbal way; ask a rhetorical question that makes the audience think of the topic without requiring a response.

Incorporate a well-known quote that introduces the topic. Using the words of a celebrated individual gives credibility and authority to the information in the speech.

Offer a startling statement or information about the topic, typically done using data or statistics.

Provide a brief anecdote or story that relates to the topic.

Starting a speech with a humorous statement often makes the audience more comfortable with the speaker.

Provide information on how the selected topic may impact the audience .

Include any background information pertinent to the topic that the audience needs to know to understand the speech in its entirety.

Give the thesis statement in connection to the main topic and identify the main ideas that will help accomplish the central purpose.

Identify evidence

Summarize its meaning

Explain how it helps prove the support/main claim

Evidence 3 (Continue as needed)

Support 3 (Continue as needed)

Restate thesis

Review main supports

Concluding statement

Give the audience a call to action to do something specific.

Identify the overall importan ce of the topic and position.

Persuasive speech topics

The following table identifies some common or interesting persuasive speech topics for high school and college students:

Persuasive speech examples

The following list identifies some of history’s most famous persuasive speeches:

John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address: “Ask Not What Your Country Can Do for You”

Lyndon B. Johnson: “We Shall Overcome”

Marc Antony: “Friends, Romans, Countrymen…” in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar

Ronald Reagan: “Tear Down this Wall”

Sojourner Truth: “Ain’t I a Woman?”

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How to Write an Outline for a Persuasive Speech, with Examples

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Jim Peterson has over 20 years experience on speech writing. He wrote over 300 free speech topic ideas and how-to guides for any kind of public speaking and speech writing assignments at My Speech Class.

How to Write an Outline for a Persuasive Speech, with Examples intro image

Persuasive speeches are one of the three most used speeches in our daily lives. Persuasive speech is used when presenters decide to convince their presentation or ideas to their listeners. A compelling speech aims to persuade the listener to believe in a particular point of view. One of the most iconic examples is Martin Luther King’s ‘I had a dream’ speech on the 28th of August 1963.

In this article:

What is Persuasive Speech?

Here are some steps to follow:, persuasive speech outline, final thoughts.

Man Touches the Word Persuasion on Screen

Persuasive speech is a written and delivered essay to convince people of the speaker’s viewpoint or ideas. Persuasive speaking is the type of speaking people engage in the most. This type of speech has a broad spectrum, from arguing about politics to talking about what to have for dinner. Persuasive speaking is highly connected to the audience, as in a sense, the speaker has to meet the audience halfway.

Persuasive Speech Preparation

Persuasive speech preparation doesn’t have to be difficult, as long as you select your topic wisely and prepare thoroughly.

1. Select a Topic and Angle

Come up with a controversial topic that will spark a heated debate, regardless of your position. This could be about anything. Choose a topic that you are passionate about. Select a particular angle to focus on to ensure that your topic isn’t too broad. Research the topic thoroughly, focussing on key facts, arguments for and against your angle, and background.

2. Define Your Persuasive Goal

Once you have chosen your topic, it’s time to decide what your goal is to persuade the audience. Are you trying to persuade them in favor of a certain position or issue? Are you hoping that they change their behavior or an opinion due to your speech? Do you want them to decide to purchase something or donate money to a cause? Knowing your goal will help you make wise decisions about approaching writing and presenting your speech.

3. Analyze the Audience

Understanding your audience’s perspective is critical anytime that you are writing a speech. This is even more important when it comes to a persuasive speech because not only are you wanting to get the audience to listen to you, but you are also hoping for them to take a particular action in response to your speech. First, consider who is in the audience. Consider how the audience members are likely to perceive the topic you are speaking on to better relate to them on the subject. Grasp the obstacles audience members face or have regarding the topic so you can build appropriate persuasive arguments to overcome these obstacles.

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4. Build an Effective Persuasive Argument

Once you have a clear goal, you are knowledgeable about the topic and, have insights regarding your audience, you will be ready to build an effective persuasive argument to deliver in the form of a persuasive speech. 

Start by deciding what persuasive techniques are likely to help you persuade your audience. Would an emotional and psychological appeal to your audience help persuade them? Is there a good way to sway the audience with logic and reason? Is it possible that a bandwagon appeal might be effective?

5. Outline Your Speech

Once you know which persuasive strategies are most likely to be effective, your next step is to create a keyword outline to organize your main points and structure your persuasive speech for maximum impact on the audience.

Start strong, letting your audience know what your topic is, why it matters and, what you hope to achieve at the end of your speech. List your main points, thoroughly covering each point, being sure to build the argument for your position and overcome opposing perspectives. Conclude your speech by appealing to your audience to act in a way that will prove that you persuaded them successfully. Motivation is a big part of persuasion.

6. Deliver a Winning Speech

Select appropriate visual aids to share with your audiences, such as graphs, photos, or illustrations. Practice until you can deliver your speech confidently. Maintain eye contact, project your voice and, avoid using filler words or any form of vocal interference. Let your passion for the subject shine through. Your enthusiasm may be what sways the audience. 

Close-Up of Mans Hands Persuading Someone

Topic: What topic are you trying to persuade your audience on?

Specific Purpose:  

Central idea:

  • Attention grabber – This is potentially the most crucial line. If the audience doesn’t like the opening line, they might be less inclined to listen to the rest of your speech.
  • Thesis – This statement is used to inform the audience of the speaker’s mindset and try to get the audience to see the issue their way.
  • Qualifications – Tell the audience why you are qualified to speak about the topic to persuade them.

After the introductory portion of the speech is over, the speaker starts presenting reasons to the audience to provide support for the statement. After each reason, the speaker will list examples to provide a factual argument to sway listeners’ opinions.

  • Example 1 – Support for the reason given above.
  • Example 2 – Support for the reason given above.

The most important part of a persuasive speech is the conclusion, second to the introduction and thesis statement. This is where the speaker must sum up and tie all of their arguments into an organized and solid point.

  • Summary: Briefly remind the listeners why they should agree with your position.
  • Memorable ending/ Audience challenge: End your speech with a powerful closing thought or recommend a course of action.
  • Thank the audience for listening.

Persuasive Speech Outline Examples

Male and Female Whispering into the Ear of Another Female

Topic: Walking frequently can improve both your mental and physical health.

Specific Purpose: To persuade the audience to start walking to improve their health.

Central idea: Regular walking can improve your mental and physical health.

Life has become all about convenience and ease lately. We have dishwashers, so we don’t have to wash dishes by hand with electric scooters, so we don’t have to paddle while riding. I mean, isn’t it ridiculous?

Today’s luxuries have been welcomed by the masses. They have also been accused of turning us into passive, lethargic sloths. As a reformed sloth, I know how easy it can be to slip into the convenience of things and not want to move off the couch. I want to persuade you to start walking.

Americans lead a passive lifestyle at the expense of their own health.

  • This means that we spend approximately 40% of our leisure time in front of the TV.
  • Ironically, it is also reported that Americans don’t like many of the shows that they watch.
  • Today’s studies indicate that people were experiencing higher bouts of depression than in the 18th and 19th centuries, when work and life were considered problematic.
  • The article reports that 12.6% of Americans suffer from anxiety, and 9.5% suffer from severe depression.
  • Present the opposition’s claim and refute an argument.
  • Nutritionist Phyllis Hall stated that we tend to eat foods high in fat, which produces high levels of cholesterol in our blood, which leads to plaque build-up in our arteries.
  • While modifying our diet can help us decrease our risk for heart disease, studies have indicated that people who don’t exercise are at an even greater risk.

In closing, I urge you to start walking more. Walking is a simple, easy activity. Park further away from stores and walk. Walk instead of driving to your nearest convenience store. Take 20 minutes and enjoy a walk around your neighborhood. Hide the TV remote, move off the couch and, walk. Do it for your heart.

Thank you for listening!

Topic: Less screen time can improve your sleep.

Specific Purpose: To persuade the audience to stop using their screens two hours before bed.

Central idea: Ceasing electronics before bed will help you achieve better sleep.

Who doesn’t love to sleep? I don’t think I have ever met anyone who doesn’t like getting a good night’s sleep. Sleep is essential for our bodies to rest and repair themselves.

I love sleeping and, there is no way that I would be able to miss out on a good night’s sleep.

As someone who has had trouble sleeping due to taking my phone into bed with me and laying in bed while entertaining myself on my phone till I fall asleep, I can say that it’s not the healthiest habit, and we should do whatever we can to change it.

  • Our natural blue light source is the sun.
  • Bluelight is designed to keep us awake.
  • Bluelight makes our brain waves more active.
  • We find it harder to sleep when our brain waves are more active.
  • Having a good night’s rest will improve your mood.
  • Being fully rested will increase your productivity.

Using electronics before bed will stimulate your brainwaves and make it more difficult for you to sleep. Bluelight tricks our brains into a false sense of daytime and, in turn, makes it more difficult for us to sleep. So, put down those screens if you love your sleep!

Thank the audience for listening

A persuasive speech is used to convince the audience of the speaker standing on a certain subject. To have a successful persuasive speech, doing the proper planning and executing your speech with confidence will help persuade the audience of your standing on the topic you chose. Persuasive speeches are used every day in the world around us, from planning what’s for dinner to arguing about politics. It is one of the most widely used forms of speech and, with proper planning and execution, you can sway any audience.

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persuasive examples in speech

Persuasive Speech Examples: Taking A Stand In Speech

Persuasive speech examples - use words vs. social ills

Persuasive speeches have been used throughout history to shape public opinion and shape behavior, and examples abound. Persuasive speech examples include virtually any topic – voting, racism, school uniforms, safety, organ donation, recycling, and so on.

From a teenager asking his parents to go out with friends to an aspiring politician convincing voters to choose him, many people use a persuasive speech to convince their audience members to do something. A successful persuasive speech entails getting someone to take action and be swayed to the speaker’s side.

Table of Contents

What Is A Persuasive Speech?

While an informative speech aims to enlighten the audience about a particular subject, a persuasive speech aims to influence the audience — and convince them to accept a particular point of view. 

The central idea is to persuade, whether discussing a persuasive essay or ‌public speaking. This form of communication is a call to action for people to believe in and take action upon something.

Throughout history, persuasive speech ideas and their communicators have played a vital role in driving change, whether on a personal, community, societal, national, or even global level. 

We’ve seen leaders and important figures sway public opinions and spark movements. Persuasive speech has been there to raise awareness about a specific issue (e.g., labor rights, gender equality). People have been using such speeches to establish authority, negotiate, and, ultimately, urge the audience to join their side.

Persusaisve speech example as speaker passes enthusiasm to audience

What Are Some Examples Of A Persuasive Speech Topic?

There’s a wide range of good persuasive speech topics . To give you an idea, here’s a list of persuasive speech topics:

  • Social media is taking a toll on young people’s mental health
  • Cell phones and too much screen time are making people lazier
  • Violent video games make people more aggressive
  • Why authorities must ban fast food for children
  • Schools and workplaces should take more action to curb obesity rates
  • Why public schools are better than private ones
  • College athletes should undergo steroid tests
  • There’s more to high school and college students than their GPAs
  • Should award-giving bodies rely on the popular vote or the judges’ vote?
  • There’s a need to regulate the use of painkillers more heavily
  • Cloning must not be legalized
  • More government budget should be allocated to health care
  • Why businesses must invest in renewable energy
  • Should military units be allowed to use drones in warfare?
  • How freedom of religion is affecting society
  • Libraries are becoming obsolete: A step-by-step guide on keeping them alive
  • Should euthanasia be allowed in hospitals, clinical settings, and zoos?
  • Developing countries must increase their minimum wage
  • Global warming is getting more intense
  • The death penalty must be abolished

What Is An Example Of How Start Of A Persuasive Speech?

Persuasion is an art. And when you’re given the chance to make a persuasive speech, one of the first things you must do is to settle down with a thesis statement. Then, you must identify at least two main points, pre-empt counterarguments, and organize your thoughts with a ‌persuasive speech outline.

Remember that your opening (and closing) statements should be strong. Right at the start, you must captivate your audience’s attention. You can give an impactful factual statement or pose a question that challenges conventional views. 

The success of a speech doesn’t only end with writing a persuasive one. You must also deliver it with impact. This means maintaining eye contact, keeping your posture open, and using a clear voice and an appropriate facial expression.

What Are The 3 Points To Persuasive Speech?

There are three pillars of a persuasive speech. First is ethos, which taps into the audience’s ethical beliefs. To convince them and establish your credibility, you must resonate with the morals they uphold. 

The second one is pathos, which refers to the emotional appeal of your narrative. One approach is to share an anecdote that your audience can relate to. To effectively appeal to your audience’s emotions, you must also use language, tone, diction, and images to paint a better picture of your main point.

On other other hand, logos appeals to logic. This is why it’s important to pepper your speech with facts.

How Are Persuasive Speeches Used?

You may know persuasive speeches as those stirring speeches delivered by politicians and civil rights and business leaders. In reality, you yourself could be using it in everyday life.

There are different types of persuasive speeches. While some mobilize bigger movements, others only persuade a smaller audience or even just one person.

You can use it in a personal context . For example, you’re convincing your parent to extend your curfew or eat at a certain restaurant. In grander ways, you can also use it to advocate for social and political movements. If you’re in business, marketing, or sales, you can use persuasive speech to promote your brand and convince others to buy your product or service. 

For example, a teen might try to persuade a parent to let them stay out beyond curfew, while a civil rights leader might use persuasion to encourage listeners to fight racism.

No matter the context of your speech, an effective persuasive speech can compel someone or a group of people to adopt a viewpoint, take a particular action, and change a behavior or belief.

Persuasive speech examples - persuade elderly parent

What Are Persuasive Speech Examples?

This AI-created speech about walking shows how a persuasive speech is laid out, using Monroe’s Motivated Sequence (i.e., attention, need, satisfaction, visualization, and call to action) to convey the message that walking can overcome the risks of modern life

The introduction sets up the speech:

“Let’s be honest, we lead an easy life: automatic dishwashers, riding lawnmowers, T.V. remote controls, automatic garage door openers, power screwdrivers, bread machines, electric pencil sharpeners… We live in a time-saving, energy-saving, convenient society. It’s a wonderful life. Or is it?”

Unfortunately, lack of exercise leads to health problems. Walking can overcome the effects of lack of exercise, lethargy, and poor diet. The body of the speech delves into this concept in detail and then concludes with a call to the audience to walk more.

AI pick up the pattern that many living persons have perfected over the year.

Maya Angelou, an American poet and civil rights activist, delivered this compelling poem as a persuasive speech . The performance concludes with this inspiring message about overcoming hardship and discrimination: “Leaving behind nights of terror and fear, I rise/ Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear, I rise/ Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave/ I am the dream and the hope of the slave/ I rise, I rise, I rise.” 

Maya Angelou inspired this sign

What Are Some Historical Examples Of Persuasive Speech?

Maya Angelou is just one of the important figures who have delivered powerful speeches etched in history. These individuals have risen and relayed impactful messages, championing advocacies that would resonate with people during their time — and beyond.

Below are more moving examples of a persuasive speech:

The Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln

Context: In November 1863, during the American Civil War, US President Abraham Lincoln delivered this speech in commemoration of the dedication of the Gettysburg National Ceremony (also known as the Soldiers’ National Ceremony).

Snippet: “Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We come to dedicate a portion of it as a final resting place for those who died here, that the nation might live. This we may, in all propriety, do. 

“ But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow, this ground, The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have hallowed it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here. 

“ It is rather for us, the living, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us that, from these honored dead, we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here, gave the last full measure of devotion that we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

The Finest Hour by Winston Churchill

Context: In his nearly 40-minute long speech in June 1940, over a month since Winston Churchill became the British Prime Minister, he sparked hope that they could win the impending Battle of Britain during the Second World War. 

Snippet: “What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. 

If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free, and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us, therefore, brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’”

I Have a Dream by Mary Wollstonecraft

Context: In her 1792 speech, the British writer and women’s rights advocate shared her dream — that a day will come when women will be treated as rational human beings.

Snippet: “These may be termed utopian dreams. – Thanks to that Being who impressed them on my soul, and gave me sufficient strength of mind to dare to exert my own reason, till, becoming dependent only on him for the support of my virtue, I view, with indignation, the mistaken notions that enslave my sex. 

“ I love man as my fellow; but his scepter, real or usurped, extends not to me unless the reason of an individual demands my homage; and even then, the submission is to reason and not to man. In fact, the conduct of an accountable being must be regulated by the operations of its own reason; or on what foundation rests the throne of God?”

These snippets of their persuasive speech capture the very essence of this form of communication: to convince the audience through compelling and valid reasoning, evoking their feelings and moral principles, and motivating them to act and join a movement, big or small. 

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Persuasive Speech: How to Write an Effective Persuasive Speech

Persuasive Speech How to Write a Persuasive Speech

Most often, it actually causes the other person to want to play “Devil’s advocate” and argue with you. In this article, we are going to show you a simple way to win people to your way of thinking without raising resentment. If you use this technique, your audience will actually WANT to agree with you! The process starts with putting yourself in the shoes of your listener and looking at things from their point of view.

Background About How to Write a Persuasive Speech. Facts Aren’t Very Persuasive.

In a Persuasive Presentation Facts Aren't Very Persuasive

Most people think that a single fact is good, additional facts are better, and too many facts are just right. So, the more facts you can use to prove your point, the better chance you have of convincing the other person that you are right. The HUGE error in this logic, though, is that if you prove that you are right, you are also proving that the other person is wrong. People don’t like it when someone proves that they are wrong. So, we prove our point, the other person is likely to feel resentment. When resentment builds, it leads to anger. Once anger enters the equation, logic goes right out the window.

In addition, when people use a “fact” or “Statistic” to prove a point, the audience has a natural reaction to take a contrary side of the argument. For instance, if I started a statement with, “I can prove to you beyond a doubt that…” before I even finish the statement, there is a good chance that you are already trying to think of a single instance where the statement is NOT true. This is a natural response. As a result, the thing that we need to realize about being persuasive is that the best way to persuade another person is to make the person want to agree with us. We do this by showing the audience how they can get what they want if they do what we want.

You may also like How to Design and Deliver a Memorable Speech .

A Simple 3-Step Process to Create a Persuasive Presentation

Persuasion Comes from both Logic and Emotion

The process below is a good way to do both.

Step One: Start Your Persuasive Speech with an Example or Story

When you write an effective persuasive speech, stories are vital. Stories and examples have a powerful way to capture an audience’s attention and set them at ease. They get the audience interested in the presentation. Stories also help your audience see the concepts you are trying to explain in a visual way and make an emotional connection. The more details that you put into your story, the more vivid the images being created in the minds of your audience members.

This concept isn’t mystical or anything. It is science. When we communicate effectively with another person, the purpose is to help the listener picture a concept in his/her mind that is similar to the concept in the speaker’s mind. The old adage is that a “picture is worth 1000 words.” Well, an example or a story is a series of moving pictures. So, a well-told story is worth thousands of words (facts).

By the way, there are a few additional benefits of telling a story. Stories help you reduce nervousness, make better eye contact, and make for a strong opening. For additional details, see Storytelling in Speeches .

I’ll give you an example.

Factual Argument: Seatbelts Save Lives

Factual Arguments Leave Out the Emotion

  • 53% of all motor vehicle fatalities from last years were people who weren’t wearing seatbelts.
  • People not wearing seatbelts are 30 times more likely to be ejected from the vehicle.
  • In a single year, crash deaths and injuries cost us over $70 billion dollars.

These are actual statistics. However, when you read each bullet point, you are likely to be a little skeptical. For instance, when you see the 53% statistic, you might have had the same reaction that I did. You might be thinking something like, “Isn’t that right at half? Doesn’t that mean that the other half WERE wearing seatbelts?” When you see the “30 times more likely” statistic, you might be thinking, “That sounds a little exaggerated. What are the actual numbers?” Looking at the last statistic, we’d likely want to know exactly how the reporter came to that conclusion.

As you can see, if you are a believer that seatbelts save lives, you will likely take the numbers at face value. If you don’t like seatbelts, you will likely nitpick the finer points of each statistic. The facts will not likely persuade you.

Example Argument: Seatbelts Save Lives

A Story or Example is More Persuasive Because It Offers Facts and Emotion

When I came to, I tried to open my door. The accident sealed it shut. The windshield was gone. So I took my seatbelt off and scrambled out the hole. The driver of the truck was a bloody mess. His leg was pinned under the steering wheel.

The firefighters came a few minutes later, and it took them over 30 minutes to cut the metal from around his body to free him.

A Sheriff’s Deputy saw a cut on my face and asked if I had been in the accident. I pointed to my truck. His eyes became like saucers. “You were in that vehicle?”

I nodded. He rushed me to an ambulance. I had actually ruptured my colon, and I had to have surgery. I was down for a month or so, but I survived. In fact, I survived with very few long-term challenges from the accident.

The guy who hit me wasn’t so lucky. He wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. The initial impact of the accident was his head on the steering wheel and then the windshield. He had to have a number of facial surgeries. The only reason he remained in the truck was his pinned leg. For me, the accident was a temporary trauma. For him, it was a life-long tragedy.

The Emotional Difference is the Key

As you can see, there are major differences between the two techniques. The story gives lots of memorable details along with an emotion that captures the audience. If you read both examples, let me ask you a couple of questions. Without looking back up higher on the page, how long did it take the firefighters to cut the other driver from the car? How many CDs did I have? There is a good chance that these two pieces of data came to you really quickly. You likely remembered this data, even though, the data wasn’t exactly important to the story.

However, if I asked you how much money was lost last year as a result of traffic accidents, you might struggle to remember that statistic. The CDs and the firefighters were a part of a compelling story that made you pay attention. The money lost to accidents was just a statistic thrown at you to try to prove that a point was true.

The main benefit of using a story, though, is that when we give statistics (without a story to back them up,) the audience becomes argumentative. However, when we tell a story, the audience can’t argue with us. The audience can’t come to me after I told that story and say, “It didn’t take 30 minutes to cut the guy out of the car. He didn’t have to have a bunch of reconstructive surgeries. The Deputy didn’t say those things to you! The audience can’t argue with the details of the story, because they weren’t there.

Step 2: After the Story, Now, Give Your Advice

When most people write a persuasive presentation, they start with their opinion. Again, this makes the listener want to play Devil’s advocate. By starting with the example, we give the listener a simple way to agree with us. They can agree that the story that we told was true. So, now, finish the story with your point or your opinion. “So, in my opinion, if you wear a seatbelt, you’re more likely to avoid serious injury in a severe crash.”

By the way, this technique is not new. It has been around for thousands of years. Aesop was a Greek slave over 500 years before Christ. His stories were passed down verbally for hundreds of years before anyone ever wrote them down in a collection. Today, when you read an Aesop fable, you will get 30 seconds to two minutes of the story first. Then, at the conclusion, almost as a post-script, you will get the advice. Most often, this advice comes in the form of, “The moral of the story is…” You want to do the same in your persuasive presentations. Spend most of the time on the details of the story. Then, spend just a few seconds in the end with your morale.

Step 3: End with the Benefit to the Audience

3 Step Process to Write an Effective Persuasive Speech

So, the moral of the story is to wear your seatbelt. If you do that, you will avoid being cut out of your car and endless reconstructive surgeries .

Now, instead of leaving your audience wanting to argue with you, they are more likely to be thinking, “Man, I don’t want to be cut out of my car or have a bunch of facial surgeries.”

The process is very simple. However, it is also very powerful.

How to Write a Successful Persuasive Speech Using the “Breadcrumb” Approach

Once you understand the concept above, you can create very powerful persuasive speeches by linking a series of these persuasive stories together. I call this the breadcrumb strategy. Basically, you use each story as a way to move the audience closer to the ultimate conclusion that you want them to draw. Each story gains a little more agreement.

So, first, just give a simple story about an easy to agree with concept. You will gain agreement fairly easily and begin to also create an emotional appeal. Next, use an additional story to gain additional agreement. If you use this process three to five times, you are more likely to get the audience to agree with your final conclusion. If this is a formal presentation, just make your main points into the persuasive statements and use stories to reinforce the points.

Here are a few persuasive speech examples using this approach.

An Example of a Persuasive Public Speaking Using Breadcrumbs

Marijuana Legalization is Causing Huge Problems in Our Biggest Cities Homelessness is Out of Control in First States to Legalize Marijuana Last year, my family and I took a mini-vacation to Colorado Springs. I had spent a summer in Colorado when I was in college, so I wanted my family to experience the great time that I had had there as a youth. We were only there for four days, but we noticed something dramatic had happened. There were homeless people everywhere. Keep in mind, this wasn’t Denver, this was Colorado City. The picturesque landscape was clouded by ripped sleeping bags on street corners, and trash spread everywhere. We were downtown, and my wife and daughter wanted to do some shopping. My son and I found a comic book store across the street to browse in. As we came out, we almost bumped into a dirty man in torn close. He smiled at us, walked a few feet away from the door, and lit up a joint. He sat on the corner smoking it. As my son and I walked the 1/4 mile back to the store where we left my wife and daughter, we stepped over and walked around over a dozen homeless people camped out right in the middle of the town. This was not the Colorado that I remembered. From what I’ve heard, it has gotten even worse in the last year. So, if you don’t want to dramatically increase your homelessness population, don’t make marijuana legal in your state. DUI Instances and Traffic Accidents Have Increased in Marijuana States I was at the airport waiting for a flight last week, and the guy next to me offered me his newspaper. I haven’t read a newspaper in years, but he seemed so nice that I accepted. It was a copy of the USA Today, and it was open to an article about the rise in unintended consequences from legalizing marijuana. Safety officials and police in Colorado, Nevada, Washington, and Oregon, the first four state to legalize recreational marijuana, have reported a 6% increase in traffic accidents in the last few years. Although the increase (6%) doesn’t seem very dramatic, it was notable because the rate of accidents had been decreasing in each of the states for decades prior to the law change. Assuming that only one of the two parties involved in these new accidents was under the influence, that means that people who aren’t smoking marijuana are being negatively affected by the legalization. So, if you don’t want to increase your chances of being involved in a DUI incident, don’t legalize marijuana. (Notice how I just used an article as my evidence, but to make it more memorable, I told the story about how I came across the article. It is also easier to deliver this type of data because you are just relating what you remember about the data, not trying to be an expert on the data itself.) Marijuana is Still Largely Unregulated Just before my dad went into hospice care, he was in a lot of pain. He would take a prescription painkiller before bed to sleep. One night, my mom called frantically. Dad was in a catatonic state and wasn’t responsive. I rushed over. The hospital found that Dad had an unusually high amount of painkillers in his bloodstream. His regular doctor had been on vacation, and the fill-in doctor had prescribed a much higher dosage of the painkiller by accident. His original prescription was 2.5 mg, and the new prescription was 10 mg. Since dad was in a lot of pain most nights, he almost always took two tablets. He was also on dialysis, so his kidneys weren’t filtering out the excess narcotic each day. He had actually taken 20 MG (instead of 5 MG) on Friday night and another 20 mg on Saturday. Ordinarily, he would have had, at max, 15 mg of the narcotic in his system. Because of the mistake, though, he had 60 MGs. My point is that the narcotics that my dad was prescribed were highly regulated medicines under a doctor’s care, and a mistake was still made that almost killed him. With marijuana, there is really no way of knowing how much narcotic is in each dosage. So, mistakes like this are much more likely. So, in conclusion, legalizing marijuana can increase homelessness, increase the number of impaired drivers, and cause accidental overdoses.

If you use this breadcrumb approach, you are more likely to get at least some agreement. Even if the person disagrees with your conclusion, they are still likely to at least see your side. So, the person may say something like, I still disagree with you, but I totally see your point. That is still a step in the right direction.

For Real-World Practice in How to Design Persuasive Presentations Join Us for a Class

Our instructors are experts at helping presenters design persuasive speeches. We offer the Fearless Presentations ® classes in cities all over the world about every three to four months. In addition to helping you reduce nervousness, your instructor will also show you secrets to creating a great speech. For details about any of the classes, go to our Presentation Skills Class web page.

For additional details, see Persuasive Speech Outline Example .

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75 Persuasive Speech Topics and Ideas

October 4, 2018 - Gini Beqiri

To write a captivating and persuasive speech you must first decide on a topic that will engage, inform and also persuade the audience. We have discussed how to choose a topic and we have provided a list of speech ideas covering a wide range of categories.

What is persuasive speech?

The aim of a persuasive speech is to inform, educate and convince or motivate an audience to do something. You are essentially trying to sway the audience to adopt your own viewpoint.

The best persuasive speech topics are thought-provoking, daring and have a clear opinion. You should speak about something you are knowledgeable about and can argue your opinion for, as well as objectively discuss counter-arguments.

How to choose a topic for your speech

It’s not easy picking a topic for your speech as there are many options so consider the following factors when deciding.

Familiarity

Topics that you’re familiar with will make it easier to prepare for the speech.

It’s best if you decide on a topic in which you have a genuine interest in because you’ll be doing lots of research on it and if it’s something you enjoy the process will be significantly easier and more enjoyable. The audience will also see this enthusiasm when you’re presenting which will make the speech more persuasive.

The audience’s interest

The audience must care about the topic. You don’t want to lose their attention so choose something you think they’ll be interested in hearing about.

Consider choosing a topic that allows you to be more descriptive because this allows the audience to visualize which consequently helps persuade them.

Not overdone

When people have heard about a topic repeatedly they’re less likely to listen to you as it doesn’t interest them anymore. Avoid cliché or overdone topics as it’s difficult to maintain your audience’s attention because they feel like they’ve heard it all before.

An exception to this would be if you had new viewpoints or new facts to share. If this is the case then ensure you clarify early in your speech that you have unique views or information on the topic.

Emotional topics

Emotions are motivators so the audience is more likely to be persuaded and act on your requests if you present an emotional topic.

People like hearing about issues that affect them or their community, country etc. They find these topics more relatable which means they find them more interesting. Look at local issues and news to discover these topics.

Desired outcome

What do you want your audience to do as a result of your speech? Use this as a guide to choosing your topic, for example, maybe you want people to recycle more so you present a speech on the effect of microplastics in the ocean.

Jamie Oliver persuasive speech

Persuasive speech topics

Lots of timely persuasive topics can be found using social media, the radio, TV and newspapers. We have compiled a list of 75 persuasive speech topic ideas covering a wide range of categories.

Some of the topics also fall into other categories and we have posed the topics as questions so they can be easily adapted into statements to suit your own viewpoint.

  • Should pets be adopted rather than bought from a breeder?
  • Should wild animals be tamed?
  • Should people be allowed to own exotic animals like monkeys?
  • Should all zoos and aquariums be closed?

Arts/Culture

  • Should art and music therapy be covered by health insurance?
  • Should graffiti be considered art?
  • Should all students be required to learn an instrument in school?
  • Should automobile drivers be required to take a test every three years?
  • Are sports cars dangerous?
  • Should bicycles share the roads with cars?
  • Should bicycle riders be required by law to always wear helmets?

Business and economy

  • Do introverts make great leaders?
  • Does owning a business leave you feeling isolated?
  • What is to blame for the rise in energy prices?
  • Does hiring cheaper foreign employees hurt the economy?
  • Should interns be paid for their work?
  • Should employees receive bonuses for walking or biking to work?
  • Should tipping in restaurants be mandatory?
  • Should boys and girls should be taught in separate classrooms?
  • Should schools include meditation breaks during the day?
  • Should students be allowed to have their mobile phones with them during school?
  • Should teachers have to pass a test every decade to renew their certifications?
  • Should online teaching be given equal importance as the regular form of teaching?
  • Is higher education over-rated?
  • What are the best ways to stop bullying?
  • Should people with more than one DUI lose their drivers’ licenses?
  • Should prostitution be legalised?
  • Should guns be illegal in the US?
  • Should cannabis be legalised for medical reasons?
  • Is equality a myth?
  • Does what is “right” and “wrong” change from generation to generation?
  • Is there never a good enough reason to declare war?
  • Should governments tax sugary drinks and use the revenue for public health?
  • Has cosmetic surgery risen to a level that exceeds good sense?
  • Is the fast-food industry legally accountable for obesity?
  • Should school cafeterias only offer healthy food options?
  • Is acupuncture a valid medical technique?
  • Should assisted suicide be legal?
  • Does consuming meat affect health?
  • Is dieting a good way to lose weight?

Law and politics

  • Should voting be made compulsory?
  • Should the President (or similar position) be allowed to serve more than two terms?
  • Would poverty reduce by fixing housing?
  • Should drug addicts be sent for treatment in hospitals instead of prisons?
  • Would it be fair for the government to detain suspected terrorists without proper trial?
  • Is torture acceptable when used for national security?
  • Should celebrities who break the law receive stiffer penalties?
  • Should the government completely ban all cigarettes and tobacco products
  • Is it wrong for the media to promote a certain beauty standard?
  • Is the media responsible for the moral degradation of teenagers?
  • Should advertising be aimed at children?
  • Has freedom of press gone too far?
  • Should prayer be allowed in public schools?
  • Does religion have a place in government?
  • How do cults differ from religion?

Science and the environment

  • Should recycling be mandatory?
  • Should genetically modified foods be sold in supermarkets?
  • Should parents be allowed to choose the sex of their unborn children?
  • Should selling plastic bags be completely banned in shops?
  • Should smoking in public places be banned?
  • Should professional female athletes be paid the same as male athletes in the same sport?
  • Should doping be allowed in professional sports?
  • Should schools be required to teach all students how to swim?
  • How does parental pressure affect young athletes?
  • Will technology reduce or increase human employment opportunities?
  • What age should children be allowed to have mobile phones?
  • Should libraries be replaced with unlimited access to e-books?
  • Should we recognize Bitcoin as a legal currency?
  • Should bloggers and vloggers be treated as journalists and punished for indiscretions?
  • Has technology helped connect people or isolate them?
  • Should mobile phone use in public places be regulated?
  • Do violent video games make people more violent?

World peace

  • What is the safest country in the world?
  • Is planetary nuclear disarmament possible?
  • Is the idea of peace on earth naive?

These topics are just suggestions so you need to assess whether they would be suitable for your particular audience. You can easily adapt the topics to suit your interests and audience, for example, you could substitute “meat” in the topic “Does consuming meat affect health?” for many possibilities, such as “processed foods”, “mainly vegan food”, “dairy” and so on.

After choosing your topic

After you’ve chosen your topic it’s important to do the following:

  • Research thoroughly
  • Think about all of the different viewpoints
  • Tailor to your audience – discussing your topic with others is a helpful way to gain an understanding of your audience.
  • How involved are you with this topic – are you a key character?
  • Have you contributed to this area, perhaps through blogs, books, papers and products.
  • How qualified are you to speak on this topic?
  • Do you have personal experience in it? How many years?
  • How long have you been interested in the area?

While it may be difficult to choose from such a variety of persuasive speech topics, think about which of the above you have the most knowledge of and can argue your opinion on.

For advice about how to deliver your persuasive speech, check out our blog  Persuasive Speech Outline and Ideas .

Frantically Speaking

A Comprehensive Guide to Writing a Persuasive Speech

Hrideep barot.

  • Speech Writing

call of action- persuasion

The term Persuasion means the efforts to change the attitudes or opinions of others through various means.

It is present everywhere: election campaigns, salesmen trying to sell goods by giving offers, public health campaigns to quit smoking or to wear masks in the public spaces, or even at the workplace; when an employee tries to persuade others to agree to their point in a meeting.

How do they manage to convince us so subtly? You guessed it right! They engage in what is called Persuasive Speech.

Persuasive Speech is a category of speech that attempts to influence the listener’s beliefs, attitudes, thoughts, and ultimately, behavior.

They are used in all contexts and situations . It can be informal , a teenager attempting to convince his or her parents for a sleepover at a friend’s house.

It can also be formal , President or Prime Minister urging the citizens to abide by the new norms.

But not to confuse these with informative speeches! These also aim to inform the audience about a particular topic or event, but they lack any attempt at persuasion.

The most typical setting where this kind of speech is practiced is in schools and colleges.

An effective speech combines both the features of an informative and persuasive speech for a better takeaway from an audience’s point of view.

However, writing and giving a persuasive speech are different in the sense that you as a speaker have limited time to call people to action.

Also, according to the context or situation, you may not be able to meet your audience several times, unlike TV ads, which the audience sees repeatedly and hence believes the credibility of the product.

So, how to write and deliver an effective persuasive speech?

How to start a persuasive speech? What are the steps of writing a persuasive speech? What are some of the tricks and tips of persuasion?

Read along till the end to explore the different dimensions and avenues of the science of giving a persuasive speech.

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND BEFORE WRITING A PERSUASIVE SPEECH

1. get your topic right, passion and genuine interest in your topic.

It is very important that you as a speaker are interested in the chosen topic and in the subsequent arguments you are about to put forward. If you are not interested in what you are saying, then how will the audience feel the same?

Passion towards the topic is one of the key requirements for a successful speech as your audience will see how passionate and concerned you are towards the issue and will infer you as a genuine and credible person.

The audience too will get in the mood and connect to you on an emotional level, empathizing with you; as a result of which will understand your point of view and are likely to agree to your argument.

Consider this example: your friend is overflowing with joy- is happy, smiling, and bubbling with enthusiasm.

Before even asking the reason behind being so happy, you “catch the mood”; i.e., you notice that your mood has been boosted as a result of seeing your friend happy.

Why does it happen so? The reason is that we are influenced by other people’s moods and emotions.

It also means that our mood affects people around us, which is the reason why speaking with emotions and passion is used by many successful public speakers.

Another reason is that other’s emotions give an insight into how one should feel and react. We interpret other’s reactions as a source of information about how we should feel.

So, if someone shows a lot of anxiety or excitement while speaking, we conclude that the issue is very important and we should do something about it, and end up feeling similar reactions.

Meaningful and thought-provoking

Choose a topic that is meaningful to you and your audience. It should be thought-provoking and leave the audience thinking about the points put forward in your speech.

Topics that are personally or nationally relevant and are in the talks at the moment are good subjects to start with.

If you choose a controversial topic like “should euthanasia be legalized?”, or” is our nation democratic?”, it will leave a dramatic impact on your audience.

However, be considerate in choosing a sensitive topic, since it can leave a negative impression on your listeners. But if worded in a neutral and unbiased manner, it can work wonders.

Also, refrain from choosing sensitive topics like the reality of religion, sexuality, etc.

2. Research your topic thoroughly

persuasive examples in speech

Research on persuasion conducted by Hovland, Janis, and Kelley states that credible communicators are more persuasive than those who are seen as lacking expertise.

Even if you are not an expert in the field of your topic, mentioning information that is backed by research or stating an expert’s opinion on the issue will make you appear as a knowledgeable and credible person.

How to go about researching? Many people think that just googling about a topic and inferring 2-3 articles will be enough. But this is not so.

For writing and giving an effective speech, thorough research is crucial for you as a speaker to be prepared and confident.

Try to find as many relevant points as possible, even if it is against your viewpoint. If you can explain why the opposite viewpoint is not correct, it will give the audience both sides to an argument and will make decision-making easier.

Also, give credit to the source of your points during your speech, by mentioning the original site, author, or expert, so the audience will know that these are reliable points and not just your opinion, and will be more ready to believe them since they come from an authority.

Other sources for obtaining data for research are libraries and bookstores, magazines, newspapers, google scholar, research journals, etc.

Analyze your audience

Know who comprises your audience so that you can alter your speech to meet their requirements.

Demographics like age group, gender ratio, the language with which they are comfortable, their knowledge about the topic, the region and community to which they belong; are all important factors to be considered before writing your speech.

Ask yourself these questions before sitting down to write:

Is the topic of argument significant to them? Why is it significant? Would it make sense to them? Is it even relevant to them?

In the end, the speech is about the audience and not you. Hence, make efforts to know your audience.

This can be done by surveying your audience way before the day of giving your speech. Short polls and registration forms are an effective way to know your audience.

They ensure confidentiality and maintain anonymity, eliminating social desirability bias on part of the audience, and will likely receive honest answers.

OUTLINE OF A PERSUASIVE SPEECH

Most speeches follow the pattern of Introduction, Body and Conclusion.

However, persuasive speeches have a slightly different pathway.

INTRODUCTION

BODY OR SUPPORTING STATEMENTS( ATLEAST 3 ARGUMENTS)

CONCLUSION OR A CALL TO ACTION

1. INTRODUCTION

Grab attention of your audience.

persuasive examples in speech

The first few lines spoken by a speaker are the deciding factor that can make or break a speech.

Hence, if you nail the introduction, half of the task has already been done, and you can rest assured.

No one likes to be silent unless you are an introvert. But the audience expects that the speaker will go on stage and speak. But what if the speaker just goes and remains silent?

Chances are high that the audience will be in anticipation of what you are about to speak and their sole focus will be on you.

This sets the stage.

Use quotes that are relevant and provocative to set the tone of your speech. It will determine the mood of your audience and get them ready to receive information.

An example can be “The only impossible journey is the one you never begin” and then state who gave it, in this case, Tony Robbins, an American author.

Use what-if scenarios

Another way to start your speech is by using what-if scenarios and phrases like “suppose if your home submerges in water one day due to global warming…”.

This will make them the center of attention and at the same time grabbing their attention.

Use personal anecdotes

Same works with personal experiences and stories.

Everyone loves listening to first-hand experiences or a good and interesting story. If you are not a great storyteller, visual images and videos will come to your rescue.

After you have successfully grabbed and hooked your audience, the next and last step of the introduction is introducing your thesis statement.

What is a thesis statement?

It introduces the topic to your audience and is one of the central elements of any persuasive speech.

It is usually brief, not more than 3 sentences, and gives the crux of your speech outline.

How to make a thesis statement?

Firstly, research all possible opinions and views about your topic. See which opinion you connect with, and try to summarize them.

After you do this, you will get a clear idea of what side you are on and this will become your thesis statement.

However, the thesis should answer the question “why” and “how”.

So, for instance, if you choose to speak on the topic of the necessity of higher education, your thesis statement could be something like this:

Although attending university and getting a degree is essential for overall development, not every student must be pushed to join immediately after graduating from school.

And then you can structure your speech containing the reasons why every student should not be rushed into joining a university.

3. BODY OF THE SPEECH

The body contains the actual reasons to support your thesis.

Ideally, the body should contain at least 3 reasons to support your argument.

So, for the above-mentioned thesis, you can support it with possible alternatives, which will become your supporting statements.

The option of a gap year to relax and decide future goals, gaining work experience and then joining the university for financial reasons, or even joining college after 25 or 35 years.

These become your supporting reasons and answers the question “why”.

Each reason has to be resourcefully elaborated, with explaining why you support and why the other or anti-thesis is not practical.

At this point, you have the option of targeting your audience’s ethos, pathos, or logos.

Ethos is the ethical side of the argument. It targets morals and puts forth the right thing or should be.

This technique is highly used in the advertising industry.

Ever wondered why celebrities, experts, and renowned personalities are usually cast as brand ambassadors.?

The reason: they are liked by the masses and exhibit credibility and trust.

Advertisers endorse their products via a celebrity to try to show that the product is reliable and ethical.

The same scenario is seen in persuasive speeches. If the speaker is well-informed and provides information that is backed by research, chances are high that the audience will follow it.

Pathos targets the emotional feelings of the audience.

This is usually done by narrating a tragic or horrifying anecdote and leaves the listener moved by using an emotional appeal to call people to action.

The common emotions targeted by the speaker include the feeling of joy, love, sadness, anger, pity, and loneliness.

All these emotions are best expressed in stories or personal experiences.

Stories give life to your argument, making the audience more involved in the matter and arousing sympathy and empathy.

Visuals and documentaries are other mediums through which a speaker can attract the audience’s emotions.

What was your reaction after watching an emotional documentary? Did you not want to do something about the problem right away?

Emotions have the power to move people to action.

The last technique is using logos, i.e., logic. This includes giving facts and practical aspects of why this is to be done or why such a thing is the most practical.

It is also called the “logical appeal”.

This can be done by giving inductive or deductive reasoning.

Inductive reasoning involves the speaker taking a specific example or case study and then generalizing or drawing conclusions from it.

For instance, a speaker tells a case study of a student who went into depression as the child wasn’t able to cope with back-to-back stress.

This problem will be generalized and concluded that gap year is crucial for any child to cope with and be ready for the challenges in a university.

On the other hand, deductive reasoning involves analyzing general assumptions and theories and then arriving at a logical conclusion.

So, in this case, the speaker can give statistics of the percentage of university students feeling drained due to past exams and how many felt that they needed a break.

This general data will then be personalized to conclude how there is a need for every student to have a leisure break to refresh their mind and avoid having burned out.

Using any of these 3 techniques, coupled with elaborate anecdotes and supporting evidence, at the same time encountering counterarguments will make the body of your speech more effective.

4. CONCLUSION

Make sure to spend some time thinking through your conclusion, as this is the part that your audience will remember the most and is hence, the key takeaway of your entire speech.

Keep it brief, and avoid being too repetitive.

It should provide the audience with a summary of the points put across in the body, at the same time calling people to action or suggesting a possible solution and the next step to be taken.

Remember that this is your last chance to convince, hence make sure to make it impactful.

 Include one to two relevant power or motivational quotes, and end by thanking the audience for being patient and listening till the end.

Watch this clip for a better understanding.

TIPS AND TRICKS OF PERSUASION

Start strong.

A general pattern among influential speeches is this: all start with a powerful and impactful example, be it statistics about the issue, using influential and meaning statements and quotes, or asking a rhetorical question at the beginning of their speech.

Why do they do this? It demonstrates credibility and creates a good impression- increasing their chance of persuading the audience.

Hence, start in such a manner that will hook the audience to your speech and people would be curious to know what you are about to say or how will you end it.

Keep your introduction short

Keep your introduction short, and not more than 10-15% of your speech.

If your speech is 2000 words, then your introduction should be a maximum of 200-250 words.

Or if you are presenting for 10 minutes, your introduction should be a maximum of 2 minutes. This will give you time to state your main points and help you manage your time effectively.

Be clear and concise

Use the correct vocabulary to fit in, at the same time making sure to state them clearly, without beating around the bush.

This will make the message efficient and impactful.

Answer the question “why”

Answer the question “why” before giving solutions or “how”.

Tell them why is there a need to change. Then give them all sides of the point.

It is important to state what is wrong and not just what ought to be or what is right, in an unopinionated tone.

Unless and until people don’t know the other side of things, they simply will not change.

Suggest solutions

Once you have stated the problem, you imply or hint at the solution.

Never state solutions, suggest them; leaving the decision up to the audience.

You can hint at solutions: “don’t you think it is a good idea to…?” or “is it wrong to say that…?”, instead of just stating solutions.

Use power phrases

Certain power-phrases come in handy, which can make the audience take action.

Using the power phrase “because” is very impactful in winning and convincing others.

This phrase justifies the action associated with it and gives us an understanding of why is it correct.

For instance, the phrase “can you give me a bite of your food?” does not imply attitude change.

But using “may I have a bite of your food because I haven’t eaten breakfast?” is more impactful and the person will likely end up sharing food if you use this power- phrase, because it is justifying your request.

Another power-phrase is “I understand, but…”.

This involves you agreeing with the opposite side of the argument and then stating your side or your point of view.

This will encourage your audience to think from the other side of the spectrum and are likely to consider your argument put forth in the speech.

Use power words

Use power words like ‘incredible’, ‘fascinating’, ‘unquestionable’, ‘most important’, ‘strongly recommend’ in your speech to provoke your audience into awe.

Watch this video of some of the common but effective words that can be used in a persuasive speech.

Give an emotional appeal

Like mentioned earlier as one of the techniques of persuasion called pathos, targeting emotions like joy, surprise, fear, anticipation, anger, sadness, or disgust gives your speech an emotional appeal, and more feel to your content, rather than just neutrally stating facts and reasons.

Hence, to keep your audience engaged and not get bored, use emotions while speaking.

Make use of the non=verbal elements

Actions speak louder than words, and they create a huge difference if used effectively.

There is so much else to a speech than just words.

Non-verbal elements include everything apart from your words.

Maintaining eye contact, matching your body language with your words for effective transmission of the message including how you express your emotions, making use of the visual signs and symbols via a PPT are all important parts of any speech.

Check your paralanguage i.e., your voice intonation, pitch, speed, effective pauses, stressing on certain words to create an impact.

Doing all of these will make your speech more real and effective, and will persuade your audience into taking action.

Give real-life examples

Speak facts and avoid giving opinions.

However, just mentioning hard statistical facts will take you nowhere, as there is a chance that people may not believe the data, based on the possibility of them recollecting exceptions.                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Hence, back up your statistics with real-life examples of situations.

Also, consider using precise numerical data.

For example, using “5487 people die due to road accidents every day”, instead of “approximately 5500 people”.

Have no personal stake

You can lose credibility if the audience feels that you have a personal stake in it.

Suppose that you are speaking for the idea of using reusable plastic products, and you say that you are from a company that sells those goods.

People are likely to perceive your argument as promoting self-interest and will not be ready to change their opinion about reusable plastic products.

Consequently, if you argue against your self-interest, your audience will see you as the most credible. 

So, if you say that you are working in a plastics manufacturing company and have a statistical record of the pollution caused by it; and then promote reusable plastic as an alternative to stop pollution and save the environment, people are likely to accept your point of argument.

The you attitude

Shift your focus to the audience, and chances are high that they are likely to relate the issue to themselves and are most likely to change.

Hence, use the “you attitude” i.e., shifting focus to the listener and giving them what they want to hear and then making subtle additions to what you want them to hear.

Make a good first impression

The first impression is indeed the last. This is the reason why image consultancy is such a growing sector.

A good first impression works wonders on the people around you, including the audience, and makes your work of convincing a lot easier.

Avoid appearing shabby, ill-mannered, and refrain from using uncourteous and biased language.

Doing these will reverse the effect you want from the audience and will drive them away from your opinion.

HOW TO MAKE A GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION?

If you are the type who gets nervous easily and have fear of public speaking, practice till you excel in your task.

I used to dread speaking in front of people, and partly still do.

Earlier, unless and until someone called my name to state my opinion or start with the presentation, I didn’t even raise my hand to say that I have an opinion or I am left to present on the topic.

I had to do something about this problem. So, I made a plan.

2 weeks before the presentation, I wrote the script and read it over and over again.

After reading multiple times, I imagined my room to be the classroom and practiced in front of a mirror.

The main thing I was concerned about was keeping my head clear on the day of my presentation. And that’s what happened.

Since my mind was clear and relaxed, and I had practiced my speech over and over again, presenting came more naturally and confidently.

You might ask what is the purpose of impression management?

Impressions are used for Ingratiation i.e., getting others to like us so that they will be more than willing to accept or agree to your point.

If you like someone, you are drawn towards them and are likely to agree on what they agree or say.

TIP- Try to come early to the venue, and dress appropriately to the needs of the occasion. And don’t forget to smile!

PERSUASIVE SPEECH EXAMPLES

1. wendy troxel – why school should start later for teens.

Almost all the important elements of a persuasive speech are found in this TED talk by Wendy Troxel.

Take a closer look at how she starts her introduction in the form of a real-life personal story, and how she makes it relevant to the audience.

Humor is used to hook the audience’s attention and in turn their interest.

She is also likely to be perceived as credible, as she introduces herself as a sleep researcher, and is speaking on the topic of sleep.

Thesis of how early school timings deprive teenagers of their sleep and its effects is introduced subtly.

The speaker supports her statements with facts, answers the question “why” and most importantly, presents both sides of an argument; effects of less to lack of sleep and its consequences and the effects of appropriate and more sleep on teenagers.

The use of non-verbal elements throughout the speech adds value and richness to the speech, making it more engaging.

The use of Pathos as a persuasive technique appeals to the audience’s emotions; at the same time backing the argument with Logos, by giving scientific reasons and research findings to support the argument.

Lastly, the speech is meaningful, relevant, and thought-provoking to the audience, who are mostly parents and teenagers.

2. Crystal Robello- Being an introvert is a good thing

In this example, Crystal Robello starts by giving personal experiences of being an introvert and the prejudices faced.

Notice how even without much statistics the speech is made persuasive by using Ethos as a technique; and how credibility is achieved by mentioning leaders who are introverts.

3. Greta Thunberg- School strike for climate

One of my favorite speeches is the above speech by Greta Thunberg.

She uses all the techniques; pathos, ethos and logos.

Also notice how the speaker speaks with emotions, and uses body and paralanguage efficiently to create a dramatic impact on the audience.

Her genuine interest is clearly reflected in the speech, which makes the audience listen with a level of concern towards the topic, climate change.

To sum up, we looked at the things to keep in mind before writing a speech and also became familiar with the general outline or the structure of a persuasive speech.

We also looked at some of the tips and tricks of persuasion, and lastly, got introduced to 3 amazing persuasive speech examples.

So, now that you know everything about persuasion, rest assured and keep the above-mentioned things in mind before starting your next speech!

Also, check out related posts:

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15 Persuasive Speeches

Speeches that Make a Change

In this chapter . . .

For many public speeches, the specific purpose is to convince the audience of a particular opinion or claim or to convince them to take some action in response to the speech. When your intention is to affect change in your audience (not just the acquisition of knowledge) then you are delivering a persuasive speech. In this chapter you will learn about the elements of persuasion, why persuasion is difficult, and how to overcome people’s resistance to change by using effective and ethical methods.

Although a persuasive speech involves information—even as much as an informative speech—the key difference is that a persuasive speech is designed for “creating, reinforcing, or changing people’s beliefs or actions” (Lucas, 2015. p. 306). A persuasive speech makes something happen. In other words, it performs a job.

Traditional Views of Persuasion

In the fourth century BCE, the classic philosopher Aristotle took up the study of the public practices of the ruling class in Athenian society. For two years he observed the  rhetoric  (the art of persuasion) of the men who spoke in the assembly and the courts. In the end, he developed a theory about persuasiveness that has come down to us in history as a treatise called Rhetoric. Among his many ideas was the identification of three elements essential to persuasion: ethos, logos, and pathos. In short, they mean credibility, reasonability, and emotion.

Ethos has come to mean speaker character and credentials. It is the element that establishes the audience’s trust in you as a speaker. A speaker’s credibility is based on who the speaker is and what they know: experience, education, expertise, and background. If you’re delivering a persuasive speech about adopting a pet from a shelter and you have raised several shelter dogs, then you have credibility through experience and should share that fact about yourself with the audience to enhance their trust in your persuasive argument. Another way to establish your credibility is through research sources. You may not be an expert in climate change, but if you were giving a persuasive speech about it, you can cite reliable authoritative sources.

The word ethos looks very much like the word “ethics,” and there are many close parallels to the trust an audience has in a speaker and their honesty and ethical stance. In terms of ethics, it goes without saying that your speech will be truthful.

In addition to expertise and truthfulness is your personal involvement in the topic. Ideally you have chosen the topic because it means something to you personally. Audiences will have more trust in you if they feel you have something as stake or something personal in the subject. For example, perhaps your speech is designed to motivate audience members to take action against bullying in schools, and it’s important to you because you work with the Boys and Girls Club organization and have seen how anti-bullying programs can have positive results. Sharing your own involvement and commitment is key to establishing your credibility on this topic.

Logos is the second key element in Aristotle’s theory of rhetoric. Related to our word “logic,” the Greek term logos in persuasion means presenting ideas that appeal to logic or reason. Logos in a speech pertain to arguments that the audience would find acceptable. Imagine a speech, for example, which has the goal of persuading an audience to adopt healthier eating habits. Would the speech be effective if the arguments focused on how expensive organic foods are? Of course not.

Logic and reason are persuasive not only as matters of content.  Logos  pertains to organization, as well. An effective persuasive speech presents arguments in an organized fashion.

In words like “empathy,” “sympathy,” and “compassion” we see the root word behind the Greek word pathos. Pathos, for Aristotle, meant exciting emotions such as anger, joy, hate, love, and desire to persuade the audience of the rightness of a proposition. In a positive sense, appealing to the emotions of the audience is a highly effective persuasive tool. In the earlier example of a speech designed to encourage an audience to take action against bullying in schools, including a touching story about a student experiencing bullying would make the audience more likely to support your call for action.

However, we recognize that pathos can be used in a negative way. Emotional appeals that use anger, guilt, hatred, inflammatory language like name-calling, or that try to frighten the audience with horrible images, are counter-productive and even unethical. They might incite emotion in the audience, but they are poor uses of pathos.

One negative emotion used frequently by persuasive speakers is fear. Candidates for political office, for example, often try to provoke fear to move us to vote for them. Intense, over-the-top fear appeals, based on factual falsehoods or cherry-picking, and/or including shocking photos, are not ethical and are often dismissed by discerning audience members. Appealing to the emotion of fear can be ethical if it’s managed carefully. This means being strictly factual and avoiding extremes.

Persuasion and the Audience

It makes sense that if a speaker wants to affect the audience’s beliefs or actions, then the speaker must be perfectly clear about their expectations. If you were listening to a persuasive speech call for your audience to support animals, wouldn’t you want to know exactly what “support” the speaker was talking about? Giving money to charities? Volunteering at an animal shelter? Writing state legislators and urging them to change laws? Your job as a persuasive speaker is to be clear about what you want to create, reinforce, or change in your audience.

For your speech to have persuasive power, you must also consider your audience and choose a goal that is feasible for them. Persuasion isn’t an on/off switch. It’s more like a thermometer. Skillful persuasive speakers respect and identify a persuasive goal that is calibrated to the audience. Think of persuasion as a continuum or line going both directions. At one end is strong disagreement. At the other end is strong agreement. Your audience members, either as a group or individually, are sitting somewhere on that line in relation to your central idea statement, or what we are going to call a proposition in this chapter.

Persuasion Scale

For example, your speech proposition might be something like “The main cause of climate change is human activity.” You are claiming that climate change is due to the harmful things that humans have done to the environment. To be an effective persuasive speaker, one of your first jobs after choosing this topic would be to determine where your audience “sits” on the continuum.

+ 3 means strongly agree to the point of making lifestyle choices to lessen climate change (such as riding a bike instead of driving a car, recycling, eating certain kinds of foods, and advocating for government policy changes). + 2 means agree but not to the point of acting upon it or only acting on it in small ways. + 1 as mildly agrees with your proposition; that is, they think it’s probably true, but the issue doesn’t affect them personally. 0 means neutral, no opinion, or feeling too uninformed to decide. – 1 means mildly opposed to the proposition but willing to listen to those with whom they disagree. – 2 means disagreement to the point of dismissing the idea pretty quickly. – 3 means strong opposition to the point that the concept of climate change itself isn’t even listened to or acknowledged as a valid subject.

Since everyone in the audience is somewhere on this line or continuum, you can accept the fact that any movement toward +3 or to the right is a win. Trying to change an audience from -3 (strong disagreement) to +3 (strong agreement) in a single speech would be quite impossible. When you understand this, you can make strategic choices about the content of your speech.

In this example, if you knew that most of the audience was at -2 or -3, your speech could focus on opening their minds to the possibility of climate change and provide the science behind human causes. On the other hand, if you knew your audience was at +1 or +2, you could focus on urging them to take bold steps, like giving up their gasoline-powered vehicles.

A proposition is assumed to be in some way controversial, or a “stretch” for the audience. Some people in the audience will disagree with your proposition or at least have no opinion; they are not “on your side.”

There will be those in the audience who disagree with your proposition but who are willing to listen. Some members of the audience may already agree with you, although they don’t know why. Both groups could be called the  target audience . At the same time, another cluster of your audience may be extremely opposed to your position to the degree that they probably will not give you a fair hearing. They probably can’t be persuaded. Focus on your target audience, they are the one you can persuade.

Why is Persuasion Hard?

Persuasion is hard mainly because we have a bias against change. We go out of our way to protect our beliefs, attitudes, and values. We selectively expose ourselves to messages that we already agree with, rather than those that confront or challenge us. We find it uncomfortable to be confronted with conflicting information or viewpoints.

Additionally, during a persuasive speech the audience members are holding a mental dialogue with the speaker or at least the speaker’s content. The processes that the human mind goes through while it listens to a persuasive message is like a silent conversation. In their minds, audience members are producing doubts or reservations about your proposal. If we could listen in on one of these conversations, it might go something like this:

Speaker: Switching to a plant-based diet is the best action you can take to support a reduction in the CO-2 emissions harming the climate. Audience Member Mind: Yeah, I hear what you’re saying, but eating like that won’t give me enough protein.

The audience member has a doubt or reservation about the speaker’s proposal. We can call these doubts “yeah, buts” because the audience members are thinking, “Yeah, but what about—?”  It’s a skill of good persuasion speechwriting to anticipate reservations.

Solutions to the Difficulty of Persuasion

With these reasons for the resistance audience members have to persuasion, what is a speaker to do? Here are some strategies.

First, choose a feasible goal for the persuasive action you want the audience to take. Going back to our continuum, trying to move an audience from -3 to +2 or +3 is too big a move. Having reasonable persuasive goals is the first way to meet resistance. Even moving someone from -3 to -2 is progress, and over time these small shifts can eventually result in a significant amount of persuasion.

Secondly, as speakers we must address reservations. While speechwriters aren’t mind-readers, we can easily imagine reservations about our proposition and build a response to those reservations into the speech. Using the example above, a speaker might say:

Switching to a plant-based diet is the best action you can take to support a reduction in the CO-2 emissions harming the climate. I urge all of you to consider this important dietary change. Perhaps you are thinking that a plant-based diet won’t provide enough protein. That is a common concern. Nutritionists at the website Forks Over Knives explain how the staples of a PB diet—whole grains, legumes, and nuts—provide ample protein.

Here, the speaker acknowledges a valid reservation and then offers a rebuttal. This is called a two-tailed argument. The speaker articulates a possible argument against their proposition and then refutes it.

The third strategy is to keep in mind that since you are asking the audience to change something, they must view the benefits of the change as worth the stress of the change. In effect, audiences want to know: “What’s in it for me?” (WIIFM). As a speaker, you should give thought to that question and in your speech address the benefit, advantage, or improvement that the audience will gain by taking the action you propose.

Structure of a Persuasive Speech

A persuasive speech shares with an informational speech the same four elements for a strongly structured speech: introduction, body, conclusion, and connectors. Like informative speeches, preparation requires thoughtful attention to the given circumstances of the speech occasion, as well as audience analysis in terms of demographic and psychographic features. That said, there are some elements unique to a persuasive speech.

General and Specific Purpose General Purpose: To Persuade Specific Purpose: To motivate my audience of campus administrators to provide LGBTQ+ safe spaces on campus.

This looks familiar up to this point. The general purpose is one of the three broad speech goals (to instruct, to persuade, to inspire or entertain). The specific purpose statement follows a clear T.W.A.C. pattern:

T o +  W ord: To convince A udience: campus administrators C ontent: LGBTQ+ safe spaces

What is unique to persuasive speeches is what comes next, the proposition.

Propositions

Informational speeches require a thesis. This is the central idea of the speech; its “takeaway.” Persuasive speeches equally require a strong focus on the main idea, but we call this something else: a  proposition . A proposition is a statement that expresses a judgement or opinion about which you want audience in agreement. Remember that propositions must be something that can be argued. To say, “The earth is round” isn’t a proposition. “The earth is flat” is a proposition.

  • Converting to solar energy saves homeowners money.
  • A vegan diet is the most ethical way to eat.
  • Universities should provide on-line learning options for all classes.
  • The Constitution’s Second Amendment does not include possession of automatic weapons for private use.

Like a thesis statement for an informative speech, a proposition statement is best when it not only clearly states the judgment or opinion for which you seek audience agreement, but also provides a succinct preview of the reasons for that judgement.

Universities should provide LGBTQ+ safe spaces on campus to promote visibility, build community, and protect well-being for LGBTQ+ students and their allies.

Types of Propositions

If you take a closer look at the propositions above, you’ll notice that they suggest several types of persuasion. In fact, there are several broad categories of propositions, determined by their primary goal. These are: a) propositions of fact, b) propositions of value, c) propositions of policy, and d) propositions of definition.

Proposition of Fact

Speeches with this type of proposition attempt to establish the truth of a statement. The core of the proposition isn’t whether something is morally right or wrong, only that a statement is supported by evidence or not. These propositions are not facts such as “the chemical symbol for water is H20.” Rather, propositions of fact are statements over which people disagree and there is evidence on both sides. Some examples of propositions of fact are:

  • Experiments using animals are essential to the development of many life-saving medical procedures.
  • Climate change has been caused by human activity.

Notice that in none of these are any values—good or bad—mentioned. The point of these propositions is to prove with evidence the truth of a statement.

Proposition of Value

Propositions of fact have the primary purpose of arguing that something exists in a particular way. Propositions of value, on the other hand, have as their primary purpose to argue that one thing is better than another. When the proposition has a word such as “good,” “bad,” “best,” “worst,” “just,” “unjust,” “ethical,” “unethical,” “moral,” “immoral,” “beneficial,” “harmful,” “advantageous,” or “disadvantageous,” then it’s a proposition of value. Some examples include:

  • Hybrid cars are the best form of automobile transportation available today.
  • Mascots that involve Native American names, characters, and symbols are unjust.

Propositions of value require a first step: defining the “value” word. If you are trying to convince your audience that something is “unjust,” you will have to make clear what you mean by that term. For different people, “best” might mean “safest,” “least expensive,” “most environmentally responsible,” “stylish,” “powerful,” or “prestigious.” Obviously, in the case of the first proposition above, it means “environmentally responsible.” It’s the first job of the speaker, after introducing the speech and stating the proposition, to explain what “best form of automobile transportation” means. Then the proposition would be defended with separate arguments.

Proposition of Policy

These propositions are easy to identify because they almost always have the word “should” in them. These propositions call for a change in policy or practice (including those in a government, community, or school), or they can call for the audience to adopt a certain behavior.

  • The federal government should act to ensure clean water standards for all citizens.
  • Universities should eliminate attendance requirements.
  • States should lower taxes on food.

The proposition determines the approach to the speech, especially the organization. The exact phrasing of the proposition should be carefully done to be reasonable, positive, and appropriate for the context and audience.

Propositions of Definition

Propositions of definitions argue that a word, phrase, or concept has a particular meaning. Lawyers, legislators, and scholars often write briefs, present persuasive speeches, or compose articles to define terms that are vital to defendants, citizens, or disciplines. Some examples might be:

  • The Second Amendment to the Constitution does not include possession of automatic weapons for private use.
  • Alcoholism should be considered a disease because…
  • Thomas Jefferson’s definition of inalienable rights did not include a right to privacy.

In each of these examples, the proposition is that the definition of these things needs to be changed or viewed differently, but the audience isn’t asked to change an attitude or action.

These are not strict categories. A proposition of value most likely contains elements of facts and definitions, for example. However, identifying the primary category for a persuasive speech focuses the speaker on the ultimate purpose of the speech.

Pro-Arguments

Once you know your proposition, the next step is to make your case for your judgement or opinion through clear and distinct points. These are the main points of the body of your persuasive speech. We call these the “pro” or “for” arguments. You should present at least three distinct arguments in favor of your proposition. Expanding on the example above,

General Purpose: To Persuade Specific Purpose:  To motivate my audience of campus administrators to provide LGBTQ+ safe spaces on campus. Proposition: Universities should provide LGBTQ+ safe spaces on campus in order to promote visibility, build community, and protect well-being for LGBTQ+ students and their allies.

Three pro-arguments for the proposition are:

Pro-Argument #1: Creating a safe space makes LGBTQ+ community more visible and central to campus life, instead of marginalized. Pro-Argument #2: Safe spaces create a place where LGBTQ+ and their allies learn to build networks, friendship, and support circles. Pro-Argument #3: With a safe and centralized space bringing together this community, instances of bias or harassment can be brought to counselors, making for a safer community.

Two-Tailed Arguments

There is one more crucial element following pro-arguments. These are unique to persuasive speeches. As discussed above, it’s essential to anticipate and address audience reservations about your propositions. These are the two-tailed arguments that articulate the reservation and then address it or refute it. In the example we’re using, such a statement might look like this:

“Perhaps you are thinking that an LGBTQ+ safe space isn’t necessary on campus because there are already places on campus that provide this function. I understand that concern. However, a space that is officially provided by the University provides access to resources with trained personnel. The national organization CampusPride provides training to university facilitators for exactly this reason.”

There are some techniques for rebuttal or refutation that work better than others. You would not want to say, “If you are one of the people who believe this about my proposition, you are wrong.” It’s better to say that their reservations are “misconceptions,” “myths,” or “mistaken ideas” that are commonly held about the proposition.

Building Upon Your Persuasive Speech’s Arguments

Once you have constructed the key arguments, it’s time to be sure the main points are well supported with evidence.

First, your evidence should be from sources that the audience will find credible. If you can find the same essential information from two sources but know that the audience will find the information more credible from one source than another, use and cite the information from the more credible one. For example, if you find the same statistical data on Wikipedia and the US Department of Labor’s website, cite the US Department of Labor. Audiences also accept information from sources they consider unbiased or indifferent. Gallup polls, for example, have been considered reliable sources of survey data because unlike some organizations, Gallup does not have a cause (political or otherwise) it’s supporting.

Secondly, your evidence should be new to the audience. New evidence is more attention-getting, and you will appear more credible if you tell the audience something new (as long as you cite it well) than if you use the “same old, same old” evidence they have heard before.

Third, in order to be effective and ethical, your supporting evidence should be relevant and not used out of context, manipulated, or edited to change its meaning.

After choosing the evidence and apportioning it to the correct parts of the speech, you will want to consider the use of metaphors, quotations, rhetorical devices, and narratives that will enhance the language and “listenability” of your speech. Narratives are especially good for introduction and conclusions, to get attention and to leave the audience with something dramatic. You might refer to the narrative in the introduction again in the conclusion to give the speech a sense of finality.

Lastly, you will want to decide if you should use any type of presentation aid for the speech. The decision to use visuals such as PowerPoint slides or a video clip in a persuasive speech should take into consideration the effect of the visuals on the audience and the time allotted for the speech. The charts, graphs, or photographs you use should be focused and credibly done.

Organization of a Persuasive Speech

You can see that the overall structure of a persuasive speech follows a common model: introduction, body (arguments and support), two-tailed arguments, and conclusion. Study the example at the end of this chapter to see this structure in action.

In speechwriting, you can think of a speech structure like the building of a house and organization like the arrangement of the rooms within it. As with other speeches, persuasive speeches can be organized topically, chronologically, or spatially. However, persuasive speeches often follow a problem-solution or problem-cause-solution pattern.

Organization for a proposition of fact

If your proposition is one of fact or definition, it will be best to use a topical organization for the body of your speech. That means that you will have two to four discrete, separate topics in support of the proposition.

Proposition: Converting to solar energy saves homeowners money.

  • (Pro-Argument 1) Solar energy can be economical to install.
  • (Pro-Argument 2) The government awards grants for solar.
  • (Pro-Argument 3) Solar energy reduces power bills.
  • (Pro-Argument 4) Solar energy requires less money for maintenance.

Organization for a proposition of value

A persuasive speech that incorporates a proposition of value will have a slightly different structure. A proposition of value must first define the “value” word for clarity and provide a basis for the other arguments of the speech. Then the pro-arguments for the proposition based on the definition.

Proposition: Hybrid cars are the best form of automotive transportation available today.

  • (Definition of value) Automotive transportation that is best meets three standards: dependable, economical, and environmentally responsible.
  • (Pro-Argument 1) Studies show that hybrid cars are durable and dependable.
  • (Pro-Argument 2) Hybrid cars are fuel-efficient.
  • (Pro-Argument 3) Hybrid cars are environmentally responsible.

Organization for a propositions of policy

The most common type of outline organizations for speeches with propositions of policy is problem-solution or problem-cause-solution. Typically, we don’t feel any motivation to change unless we are convinced that some harm, problem, need, or deficiency exists, and even more, that it affects us personally. Therefore, the organization of a speech about policy needs to first explain the problem and its cause, followed by the solution in the form of 3-5 pro-arguments.

Proposition: Universities should provide on-line learning options for all classes.

  • (Problem) Regular attendance in a physical classroom is no longer possible for all students.
  • (Cause) Changes brought about by the COVID pandemic have made guaranteed classroom attendance difficult.
  • (Pro-Argument 1) Providing on-line learning options protects the health of students.
  • (Pro-Argument 2) On-line learning serves students who cannot come to campus.
  • (Pro-Argument 3) Access to on-line learning allows students to maintain employment while still going to school.

To complete this outline, along with introduction and conclusion, your pro-arguments should be supported with fact, quotations, and statistics.

Your persuasive speech in class, as well as in real life, is an opportunity to share a passion or cause that you believe will matter to society and help the audience live a better life. Even if you are initially uncomfortable with the idea of persuasion, we use it all the time in diverse ways. Choose your topic based on your commitment and experience, look for quality evidence, craft your proposition so that it will be clear and audience appropriate, and put the finishing touches on it with an eye toward enhancing your logos , ethos , and pathos .

Media Attributions

  • Persuasion Scale © Mechele Leon is licensed under a CC BY-NC-SA (Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike) license

Public Speaking as Performance Copyright © 2023 by Mechele Leon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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112 Persuasive Speech Topics That Are Actually Engaging

What’s covered:, how to pick an awesome persuasive speech topic, 112 engaging persuasive speech topics, tips for preparing your persuasive speech.

Writing a stellar persuasive speech requires a carefully crafted argument that will resonate with your audience to sway them to your side. This feat can be challenging to accomplish, but an engaging, thought-provoking speech topic is an excellent place to start.

When it comes time to select a topic for your persuasive speech, you may feel overwhelmed by all the options to choose from—or your brain may be drawing a completely blank slate. If you’re having trouble thinking of the perfect topic, don’t worry. We’re here to help!

In this post, we’re sharing how to choose the perfect persuasive speech topic and tips to prepare for your speech. Plus, you’ll find 112 persuasive speech topics that you can take directly from us or use as creative inspiration for your own ideas!

Choose Something You’re Passionate About

It’s much easier to write, research, and deliver a speech about a cause you care about. Even if it’s challenging to find a topic that completely sparks your interest, try to choose a topic that aligns with your passions.

However, keep in mind that not everyone has the same interests as you. Try to choose a general topic to grab the attention of the majority of your audience, but one that’s specific enough to keep them engaged.

For example, suppose you’re giving a persuasive speech about book censorship. In that case, it’s probably too niche to talk about why “To Kill a Mockingbird” shouldn’t be censored (even if it’s your favorite book), and it’s too broad to talk about media censorship in general.

Steer Clear of Cliches

Have you already heard a persuasive speech topic presented dozens of times? If so, it’s probably not an excellent choice for your speech—even if it’s an issue you’re incredibly passionate about.

Although polarizing topics like abortion and climate control are important to discuss, they aren’t great persuasive speech topics. Most people have already formed an opinion on these topics, which will either cause them to tune out or have a negative impression of your speech.

Instead, choose topics that are fresh, unique, and new. If your audience has never heard your idea presented before, they will be more open to your argument and engaged in your speech.

Have a Clear Side of Opposition

For a persuasive speech to be engaging, there must be a clear side of opposition. To help determine the arguability of your topic, ask yourself: “If I presented my viewpoint on this topic to a group of peers, would someone disagree with me?” If the answer is yes, then you’ve chosen a great topic!

Now that we’ve laid the groundwork for what it takes to choose a great persuasive speech topic, here are over one hundred options for you to choose from.

  • Should high school athletes get tested for steroids?
  • Should schools be required to have physical education courses?
  • Should sports grades in school depend on things like athletic ability?
  • What sport should be added to or removed from the Olympics?
  • Should college athletes be able to make money off of their merchandise?
  • Should sports teams be able to recruit young athletes without a college degree?
  • Should we consider video gamers as professional athletes?
  • Is cheerleading considered a sport?
  • Should parents allow their kids to play contact sports?
  • Should professional female athletes be paid the same as professional male athletes?
  • Should college be free at the undergraduate level?
  • Is the traditional college experience obsolete?
  • Should you choose a major based on your interests or your potential salary?
  • Should high school students have to meet a required number of service hours before graduating?
  • Should teachers earn more or less based on how their students perform on standardized tests?
  • Are private high schools more effective than public high schools?
  • Should there be a minimum number of attendance days required to graduate?
  • Are GPAs harmful or helpful?
  • Should schools be required to teach about standardized testing?
  • Should Greek Life be banned in the United States?
  • Should schools offer science classes explicitly about mental health?
  • Should students be able to bring their cell phones to school?
  • Should all public restrooms be all-gender?
  • Should undocumented immigrants have the same employment and education opportunities as citizens?
  • Should everyone be paid a living wage regardless of their employment status?
  • Should supremacist groups be able to hold public events?
  • Should guns be allowed in public places?
  • Should the national drinking age be lowered?
  • Should prisoners be allowed to vote?
  • Should the government raise or lower the retirement age?
  • Should the government be able to control the population?
  • Is the death penalty ethical?

Environment

  • Should stores charge customers for plastic bags?
  • Should breeding animals (dogs, cats, etc.) be illegal?
  • Is it okay to have exotic animals as pets?
  • Should people be fined for not recycling?
  • Should compost bins become mandatory for restaurants?
  • Should electric vehicles have their own transportation infrastructure?
  • Would heavier fining policies reduce corporations’ emissions?
  • Should hunting be encouraged or illegal?
  • Should reusable diapers replace disposable diapers?

Science & Technology

  • Is paper media more reliable than digital news sources?
  • Should automated/self-driving cars be legalized?
  • Should schools be required to provide laptops to all students?
  • Should software companies be able to have pre-downloaded programs and applications on devices?
  • Should drones be allowed in military warfare?
  • Should scientists invest more or less money into cancer research?
  • Should cloning be illegal?
  • Should societies colonize other planets?
  • Should there be legal oversight over the development of technology?

Social Media

  • Should there be an age limit on social media?
  • Should cyberbullying have the same repercussions as in-person bullying?
  • Are online relationships as valuable as in-person relationships?
  • Does “cancel culture” have a positive or negative impact on societies?
  • Are social media platforms reliable information or news sources?
  • Should social media be censored?
  • Does social media create an unrealistic standard of beauty?
  • Is regular social media usage damaging to real-life interactions?
  • Is social media distorting democracy?
  • How many branches of government should there be?
  • Who is the best/worst president of all time?
  • How long should judges serve in the U.S. Supreme Court?
  • Should a more significant portion of the U.S. budget be contributed towards education?
  • Should the government invest in rapid transcontinental transportation infrastructure?
  • Should airport screening be more or less stringent?
  • Should the electoral college be dismantled?
  • Should the U.S. have open borders?
  • Should the government spend more or less money on space exploration?
  • Should students sing Christmas carols, say the pledge of allegiance, or perform other tangentially religious activities?
  • Should nuns and priests become genderless roles?
  • Should schools and other public buildings have prayer rooms?
  • Should animal sacrifice be legal if it occurs in a religious context?
  • Should countries be allowed to impose a national religion on their citizens?
  • Should the church be separated from the state?
  • Does freedom of religion positively or negatively affect societies?

Parenting & Family

  • Is it better to have children at a younger or older age?
  • Is it better for children to go to daycare or stay home with their parents?
  • Does birth order affect personality?
  • Should parents or the school system teach their kids about sex?
  • Are family traditions important?
  • Should parents smoke or drink around young children?
  • Should “spanking” children be illegal?
  • Should parents use swear words in front of their children?
  • Should parents allow their children to play violent video games?

Entertainment

  • Should all actors be paid the same regardless of gender or ethnicity?
  • Should all award shows be based on popular vote?
  • Who should be responsible for paying taxes on prize money, the game show staff or the contestants?
  • Should movies and television shows have ethnicity and gender quotas?
  • Should newspapers and magazines move to a completely online format?
  • Should streaming services like Netflix and Hulu be free for students?
  • Is the movie rating system still effective?
  • Should celebrities have more privacy rights?

Arts & Humanities

  • Are libraries becoming obsolete?
  • Should all schools have mandatory art or music courses in their curriculum?
  • Should offensive language be censored from classic literary works?
  • Is it ethical for museums to keep indigenous artifacts?
  • Should digital designs be considered an art form? 
  • Should abstract art be considered an art form?
  • Is music therapy effective?
  • Should tattoos be regarded as “professional dress” for work?
  • Should schools place greater emphasis on the arts programs?
  • Should euthanasia be allowed in hospitals and other clinical settings?
  • Should the government support and implement universal healthcare?
  • Would obesity rates lower if the government intervened to make healthy foods more affordable?
  • Should teenagers be given access to birth control pills without parental consent?
  • Should food allergies be considered a disease?
  • Should health insurance cover homeopathic medicine?
  • Is using painkillers healthy?
  • Should genetically modified foods be banned?
  • Should there be a tax on unhealthy foods?
  • Should tobacco products be banned from the country?
  • Should the birth control pill be free for everyone?

If you need more help brainstorming topics, especially those that are personalized to your interests, you can  use CollegeVine’s free AI tutor, Ivy . Ivy can help you come up with original persuasive speech ideas, and she can also help with the rest of your homework, from math to languages.

Do Your Research

A great persuasive speech is supported with plenty of well-researched facts and evidence. So before you begin the writing process, research both sides of the topic you’re presenting in-depth to gain a well-rounded perspective of the topic.

Understand Your Audience

It’s critical to understand your audience to deliver a great persuasive speech. After all, you are trying to convince them that your viewpoint is correct. Before writing your speech, consider the facts and information that your audience may already know, and think about the beliefs and concerns they may have about your topic. Then, address these concerns in your speech, and be mindful to include fresh, new information.

Have Someone Read Your Speech

Once you have finished writing your speech, have someone read it to check for areas of strength and improvement. You can use CollegeVine’s free essay review tool to get feedback on your speech from a peer!

Practice Makes Perfect

After completing your final draft, the key to success is to practice. Present your speech out loud in front of a mirror, your family, friends, and basically, anyone who will listen. Not only will the feedback of others help you to make your speech better, but you’ll become more confident in your presentation skills and may even be able to commit your speech to memory.

Hopefully, these ideas have inspired you to write a powerful, unique persuasive speech. With the perfect topic, plenty of practice, and a boost of self-confidence, we know you’ll impress your audience with a remarkable speech!

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Are you struggling to find good persuasive speech topics? It can be hard to find a topic that interests both you and your audience, but in this guide we've done the hard work and created a list of 105 great persuasive speech ideas. They're organized into ten categories and cover a variety of topics, so you're sure to find one that interests you.

In addition to our list, we also go over which factors make good persuasive speech topics and three tips you should follow when researching and writing your persuasive speech.

What Makes a Good Persuasive Speech Topic?

What makes certain persuasive speech topics better than others? There are numerous reasons, but in this section we discuss three of the most important factors of great topics for a persuasive speech.

It's Something You Know About or Are Interested in Learning About

The most important factor in choosing and creating a great persuasive speech is picking a topic you care about and are interested in. You'll need to do a lot of research on this topic, and if it's something you like learning about, that'll make the process much easier and more enjoyable. It'll also help you sound passionate and informed when you talk, both important factors in giving an excellent persuasive speech.

It's a Topic People Care About

In fourth grade, after being told I could give a persuasive speech on any topic I wanted to , I chose to discuss why the Saguaro cactus should be the United State's national plant. Even though I gave an impassioned talk and drew a life-size Saguaro cactus on butcher paper to hang behind me, I doubt anyone enjoyed the speech much.

I'd recently returned from a family vacation to Arizona where I'd seen Saguaro cacti for the first time and decided they were the coolest thing ever. However, most people don't care that much about Saguaro cacti, and most people don't care what our national plant is or if we even have one (for the record, the US has a national flower, and it's the rose).

Spare yourself the smattering of bored applause my nine-old self got at the end of my speech and choose something you think people will be interested in hearing about. This also ties into knowing your audience, which we discuss more in the final section.

It Isn't Overdone

When I was in high school, nearly every persuasive speech my classmates and I were assigned was the exact same topic: should the drinking age be lowered to 18? I got this prompt in English class, on standardized tests, in speech and debate class, etc. I've written and presented about it so often I could probably still rattle off all the main points of my old speeches word-for-word.

You can imagine that everyone's eyes glazed over whenever classmates gave their speeches on this topic. We'd heard about it so many times that, even if it was a topic we cared about, speeches on it just didn't interest us anymore.

The are many potential topics for a persuasive speech. Be wary of choosing one that's cliche or overdone. Even if you give a great speech, it'll be harder to keep your audience interested if they feel like they already know what you're going to say.

An exception to this rule is that if you feel you have a new viewpoint or facts about the topic that currently aren't common knowledge. Including them can make an overdone topic interesting. If you do this, be sure to make it clear early on in your speech that you have unique info or opinions on the topic so your audience knows to expect something new.

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105 Topics for a Persuasive Speech

Here's our list of 105 great persuasive speech ideas. We made sure to choose topics that aren't overdone, yet that many people will have an interest in, and we also made a point of choosing topics with multiple viewpoints rather than simplistic topics that have a more obvious right answer (i.e. Is bullying bad?). The topics are organized into ten categories.

Arts/Culture

  • Should art and music therapy be covered by health insurance?
  • Should all students be required to learn an instrument in school?
  • Should all national museums be free to citizens?
  • Should graffiti be considered art?
  • Should offensive language be removed from works of classic literature?
  • Are paper books better than e-books?
  • Should all interns be paid for their work?
  • Should employees receive bonuses for walking or biking to work?
  • Will Brexit hurt or help the UK's economy?
  • Should all people over the age of 65 be able to ride the bus for free?
  • Should the federal minimum wage be increased?
  • Should tipping in restaurants be mandatory?
  • Should Black Friday sales be allowed to start on Thanksgiving?
  • Should students who bully others be expelled?
  • Should all schools require students wear uniforms?
  • Should boys and girls be taught in separate classrooms?
  • Should students be allowed to listen to music during study hall?
  • Should all elementary schools be required to teach a foreign language?
  • Should schools include meditation or relaxation breaks during the day?
  • Should grades in gym class affect students' GPAs?
  • Should teachers get a bonus when their students score well on standardized tests?
  • Should children of undocumented immigrants be allowed to attend public schools?
  • Should students get paid for getting a certain GPA?
  • Should students be allowed to have their cell phones with them during school?
  • Should high school students be allowed to leave school during lunch breaks?
  • Should Greek life at colleges be abolished?
  • Should high school students be required to volunteer a certain number of hours before they can graduate?
  • Should schools still teach cursive handwriting?
  • What are the best ways for schools to stop bullying?
  • Should prostitution be legalized?
  • Should people with more than one DUI lose their driver's license?
  • Should people be required to shovel snow from the sidewalks in front of their house?
  • Should minors be able to drink alcohol in their home if they have their parent's consent?
  • Should guns be allowed on college campuses?
  • Should flag burning as a form of protest be illegal?
  • Should welfare recipients be required to pass a drug test?
  • Should white supremacist groups be allowed to hold rallies in public places?
  • Should assault weapons be illegal?
  • Should the death penalty be abolished?
  • Should beauty pageants for children be banned?
  • Is it OK to refuse to serve same-sex couples based on religious beliefs?
  • Should transgender people be allowed to serve in the military?
  • Is it better to live together before marriage or to wait?
  • Should affirmative action be allowed?
  • Should prisoners be allowed to vote?
  • Should Columbus Day be replaced with Indigenous Peoples' Day?

Government/Politics

  • Should the government spend more money on developing high-speed rail lines and less on building new roads?
  • Should the government be allowed to censor internet content deemed inappropriate?
  • Should Puerto Rico become the 51st state?
  • Should Scotland declare independence from the United Kingdom?
  • Whose face should be on the next new currency printed by the US?
  • Should people convicted of drug possession be sent to recovery programs instead of jail?
  • Should voting be made compulsory?
  • Who was the best American president?
  • Should the military budget be reduced?
  • Should the President be allowed to serve more than two terms?
  • Should a border fence be built between the United States and Mexico?
  • Should countries pay ransom to terrorist groups in order to free hostages?
  • Should minors be able to purchase birth control without their parent's consent?
  • Should hiding or lying about your HIV status with someone you're sleeping with be illegal?
  • Should governments tax soda and other sugary drinks and use the revenue for public health?
  • Should high schools provide free condoms to students?
  • Should the US switch to single-payer health care?
  • Should healthy people be required to regularly donate blood?
  • Should assisted suicide be legal?
  • Should religious organizations be required to pay taxes?
  • Should priests be allowed to get married?
  • Should the religious slaughter of animals be banned?
  • Should the Church of Scientology be exempt from paying taxes?
  • Should women be allowed to be priests?
  • Should countries be allowed to only accept refugees with certain religious beliefs?
  • Should public prayer be allowed in schools?

Science/Environment

  • Should human cloning be allowed?
  • Should people be allowed to own exotic animals like tigers and monkeys?
  • Should "animal selfies" in tourist locations with well-known animal species (like koalas and tigers) be allowed?
  • Should genetically modified foods be sold in grocery stores?
  • Should people be allowed to own pit bulls?
  • Should parents be allowed to choose the sex of their unborn children?
  • Should vaccinations be required for students to attend public school?
  • What is the best type of renewable energy?
  • Should plastic bags be banned in grocery stores?
  • Should the United States rejoin the Paris Agreement?
  • Should puppy mills be banned?
  • Should fracking be legal?
  • Should animal testing be illegal?
  • Should offshore drilling be allowed in protected marine areas?
  • Should the US government increase NASA's budget?
  • Should Pluto still be considered a planet?
  • Should college athletes be paid for being on a sports team?
  • Should all athletes be required to pass regular drug tests?
  • Should professional female athletes be paid the same as male athletes in the same sport?
  • Are there any cases when athletes should be allowed to use steroids?
  • Should college sports teams receive less funding?
  • Should boxing be illegal?
  • Should schools be required to teach all students how to swim?
  • Should cheerleading be considered a sport?
  • Should parents let their children play tackle football?
  • Will robots reduce or increase human employment opportunities?
  • What age should children be allowed to have a cell phone?
  • Should libraries be replaced with unlimited access to e-books?
  • Overall, has technology helped connect people or isolate them?
  • Should self-driving cars be legal?
  • Should all new buildings be energy efficient?
  • Is Net Neutrality a good thing or a bad thing?
  • Do violent video games encourage players to become violent in real life?

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3 Bonus Tips for Crafting Your Persuasive Speech

Of course, giving a great persuasive speech requires more than just choosing a good topic. Follow the three tips below to create an outstanding speech that'll interest and impress your audience.

Do Your Research

For a persuasive speech, there's nothing worse than getting an audience question that shows you misunderstood the issue or left an important piece out. It makes your entire speech look weak and unconvincing.

Before you start writing a single word of your speech, be sure to do lots of research on all sides of the topic. Look at different sources and points of view to be sure you're getting the full picture, and if you know any experts on the topic, be sure to ask their opinion too.

Consider All the Angles

Persuasive speech topics are rarely black and white, which means there will be multiple sides and viewpoints on the topic. For example, for the topic "Should people be allowed to own pit bulls?" there are two obvious viewpoints: everyone should be allowed to own a pit bull if they want to, and no one should be allowed to own a pit bull. But there are other options you should also consider: people should only own a pit bull if they pass a dog training class, people should be able to own pit bulls, but only if it's the only dog they own, people should be able to own pi tbulls but only if they live a certain distance from schools, people should be able to own pit bulls only if the dog passes an obedience class, etc.

Thinking about all these angles and including them in your speech will make you seem well-informed on the topic, and it'll increase the quality of your speech by looking at difference nuances of the issue.

Know Your Audience

Whenever you give a speech, it's important to consider your audience, and this is especially true for persuasive speeches when you're trying to convince people to believe a certain viewpoint. When writing your speech, think about what your audience likely already knows about the topic, what they probably need explained, and what aspects of the topic they care about most. Also consider what the audience will be most concerned about for a certain topic, and be sure to address those concerns.

For example, if you're giving a speech to a Catholic organization on why you think priests should be allowed to marry, you don't need to go over the history of Catholicism or its core beliefs (which they probably already know), but you should mention any research or prominent opinions that support your view (which they likely don't know about). They may be concerned that priests who marry won't be as committed to God or their congregations, so be sure to address those concerns and why they shouldn't worry about them as much as they may think. Discussing your topic with people (ideally those with viewpoints similar to those of your future audience) before you give your speech is a good way to get a better understanding of how your audience thinks.

More Resources for Writing Persuasive Speeches

If you need more guidance or just want to check out some examples of great persuasive writing, consider checking out the following books:

  • Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches in History by William Safire—This collection of great speeches throughout history will help you decide how to style your own argument.
  • The Essentials of Persuasive Public Speaking by Sims Wyeth—For quick direct tips on public speaking, try this all-purpose guide.
  • Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World's Top Minds by Carmine Gallo—This popular book breaks down what makes TED talks work and how you can employ those skills in your own presentations.
  • We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Make Good Art by Neil Gaiman—These two recent speeches by contemporary writers offer stellar examples of how to craft a compelling (and engaging) argument.

Conclusion: Persuasive Speech Ideas

Good persuasive speech topics can be difficult to think of, but in this guide we've compiled a list of 105 interesting persuasive speech topics for you to look through.

The best persuasive speech ideas will be on a topic you're interested in, aren't overdone, and will be about something your audience cares about.

After you've chosen your topic, keep these three tips in mind when writing your persuasive speech:

  • Do your research
  • Consider all the angles
  • Know your audience

What's Next?

Now that you have persuasive speech topics, it's time to hone your persuasive speech techniques. Find out what ethos, pathos, logos, and kairos are and how to use them here .

Looking to take your persuasive technique from speech to sheets (of paper)? Get our three key tips on how to write an argumentative essay , or learn by reading through our thorough breakdown of how to build an essay, step by step .

Want a great GPA? Check out our step-by-step guide to getting good grades in high school so you can have a stellar transcript.

Interested in learning about other great extracurricular opportunities? Learn more about job shadowing , community service , and volunteer abroad programs.

Still trying to figure out your courses? Check out our expert guide on which classes you should take in high school.

Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points?   We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download them for free now:

These recommendations are based solely on our knowledge and experience. If you purchase an item through one of our links, PrepScholar may receive a commission.

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Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.

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3 Basic Types of Persuasive Speeches

Persuasive speech is a type of speech where the speaker tries to convince the audience of his point of view. 

For most people, writing and delivering a persuasive speech can seem difficult. However, with the help of examples and some good tips, you can write an effective speech. 

In this blog, you can find some amazing examples that you can use to follow and take inspiration. You can easily download and read these examples whenever you need help with writing your persuasive speech. 

So, let’s read on!

Arrow Down

  • 1. Good Persuasive Speech Examples
  • 2. How to Start a Persuasive Speech Examples
  • 3. How to Write a Persuasive Speech - Examples
  • 4. Persuasive Speech Outline Examples
  • 5. Persuasive Speech Examples for High School Students
  • 6. Persuasive Speech Examples for College Students
  • 7. Short Persuasive Speech Examples for Students
  • 8. Funny Persuasive Speech Examples
  • 9. Motivational Persuasive Speech Examples
  • 10. Good Persuasive Speech Topics

Good Persuasive Speech Examples

Picking an interesting and engaging topic for your persuasive speech is crucial. With the help of some good persuasive speech examples, you can easily get through the persuasive speech writing process.

Here are some good persuasive speech examples that will help you get inspired. Get help from these examples and save yourself time.

Famous Persuasive Speech Examples

Policy Persuasive Speech Examples

How to Start a Persuasive Speech Examples

After hours of writing and practicing, here comes a time for delivering the speech. As soon as you start your speech, you notice that people are talking to each other, checking their phones, changing seats, and doing everything but paying attention to you.

Why is that?

That might be because of your boring and mundane start to the speech. The beginning of your speech decides how long the audience will tune into your speech. If you don’t get them interested in your speech right from the start, there are few chances that they will pay attention to your message.

Here is an example speech that demonstrates how to begin your speech effectively:

How to Start a Speech Example

Apart from the technique used in this example, here are five effective ways to kick-start your speech:

  • Start With a Famous Quote

Opening with a famous and relevant quote helps you make a good impression on the audience’s mind. It helps you set the tone for the rest of your speech.

For example: “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” – Patrick Henry

  • Ask a Rhetorical Question

Asking a rhetorical question at the beginning of your speech arouses the audience's curiosity. It is an effective way of engaging and understanding your audience.

For example: “Do you want to be a failure for the rest of your life?”

  • Make a Shocking Statement

You can start with a shocking statement by keeping the audience guessing what you are about to say next. A shocking or interesting statement gets people immediately involved and listening to your every word.

For example: "Imagine a world where the air we breathe is more expensive than the food we eat."

  • Create a ‘what If’ Scenario

Asking a ‘what if’ question makes the audience follow your thought process. They immediately start thinking about what could be the answer to your ‘what if’ scenario.

For example: “What if we don’t wake up tomorrow? How different are we today?”

  • Use a Surprising Statistic

A surprising statistic that resonates with your audience helps you get your message across right away. Real, shocking statistics have the potential to trigger the audience’s emotional appeal.

For example: "Did you know that 7.5 million plastic bottles are discarded every hour in the United States?"

By following any of these tips, you can easily grab the audience’s attention every time.

How to Write a Persuasive Speech - Examples

Persuasive speech writing is an interesting task if you are familiar with the steps. This speech example demonstrates how to write a speech step by step. Use this example to write a successful persuasive speech that is both interesting and appealing to the audience.

How to Write a Persuasive Speech Example

Persuasive Speech Outline Examples

The standard  persuasive speech outline consists of an introduction, body, and conclusion. Making a well-structured outline for your speech is the best way to ensure success. 

Here is an outline example to help you structure your speech. 

Persuasive Speech Outline Template PDF

Persuasive Speech Examples for High School Students

Speech writing and speech competition are common activities in schools. It helps students learn and enhance their public speaking skills and critical thinking. 

Here are some persuasive speech examples for high school-level students.

Persuasive Speech Example for High School

Persuasive Speech Example for Highschool Students

Persuasive Speech Examples for College Students

If you are a college student looking for an example to help with your persuasive speech, look no further. Check out these examples below. 

Persuasive Speech Examples College

Persuasive Speech Examples About Social Media

Short Persuasive Speech Examples for Students

In most cases, the speaker has limited time to deliver their speech. The following short persuasive examples show speeches that are written with specific time limits in mind. These will help you understand how long your speech should be for an allotted time. 

3 Minute Persuasive Speech Example PDF

2 Minute Persuasive Speech Example

Short Persuasive Speech Examples About Life (PDF)

5 Minute Persuasive Speech Example

Funny Persuasive Speech Examples

Persuasive speeches often deal with serious topics. However, they can be for fun and entertainment as well! Here is an example of a funny, persuasive speech.

Funny Persuasive Speech Example

Motivational Persuasive Speech Examples

A motivational speech is a  type of persuasive speech  where the speaker intended to motivate the audience.

Below are some motivational persuasive speech examples. 

Motivational Speech Example

Call to Action Persuasive Speech

Finally, here’s a persuasive speech example from real life. You can watch this persuasive TED talk that aims to convince the audience to quit social media:

Good Persuasive Speech Topics

Now that you’ve checked out some examples, you are ready to start writing your own persuasive speech. But what should you write about? Here are some amazing persuasive speech ideas for you. 

  • The shift to sustainable transportation is long overdue.
  • Adopting a plant-based diet is the best way to ensure personal and environmental well-being.
  • Promoting financial literacy education is the key to economic empowerment.
  • Raising the minimum wage is a necessity for livable incomes.
  • Opt-out organ donation can save more lives.
  • Food deserts must be confronted to ensure equal access to healthy nutrition.
  • Individual responsibility plays a crucial role in fighting climate change.
  • Social media's negative impact on mental health is widespread.
  • Stricter gun control measures are vital for balancing Second Amendment rights with public safety.
  • Shifting to sustainable energy sources is an urgent matter.

Need more ideas? Check out 250+ persuasive speech topics to find the best topic for your speech.

To Conclude,

With the help of these examples, you can deliver a captivating address to persuade the audience listening to your speech. 

However, remember that only having a great topic and structured outline is not enough. You should establish an emotional connection, maintain proper body language, and support your arguments with facts to make a successful speech.

Moreover, if you need help from experts, we’ve got you covered. Our essay writing service is experienced in providing perfect speeches within your deadline.

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persuasive speech

Persuasive Speech

Persuasive Speech Examples

Last updated on: Apr 26, 2024

15+ Persuasive Speech Examples to Engage and Persuade

By: Caleb S.

19 min read

Reviewed By: Barbara P.

Published on: Jun 12, 2023

Persuasive speech examples

Struggling to convince others in speeches? Weak arguments not getting the desired results?

Mastering persuasive speech can be quite challenging.

Imagine having the ability to captivate your audience, leaving a lasting impression with every word. The good news is that mastering the power of persuasion is within your reach.

In this blog, we will explore persuasive speech examples that inspire action and conviction. Learn from real-life speech examples and discover effective techniques to enhance your convincing skills.

Let’s dive into persuasive speech examples and examine why these examples always work to persuade the audience. 

So without further ado, let’s begin! 

Persuasive speech examples

On this Page

What Do We Mean By A Persuasive Speech?

When we talk about a persuasive speech , we refer to a form of communication that seeks to influence the audience's beliefs or actions. 

It is a powerful tool used by speakers to present compelling arguments, backed by evidence and persuasive techniques. The goal is to convince listeners to embrace a specific viewpoint or take a particular course of action.

How Can Reading Persuasive Speech Examples Help You? 

Reading persuasive speech examples can provide numerous benefits in enhancing your persuasive skills and overall communication abilities. Here's how:

  • Provide learning opportunities: Learn successful techniques, argument structure, and evidence usage.
  • Inspire creativity: Spark ideas for unique and impactful persuasive speeches.
  • Understand audience engagement: Learn to capture attention, evoke emotions, and address counterarguments effectively.
  • Build confidence: Witness real-world persuasive success, boosting your own confidence.
  • Sharpen critical thinking: Evaluate arguments and develop a discerning mindset.

Persuasive Speech Outline - Free Template 

Creating an effective persuasive speech requires a well-structured outline that connects the main points seamlessly. 

Here is a persuasive speech outline that can guide you in delivering a compelling and influential presentation:

Persuasive Speech Examples Outline

Short Persuasive Speech Examples for Middle School

Read the following example to get inspired! 

Persuasive Speech For Middle School Students

Persuasive Speech Examples for College

Find inspiration in the provided example!

5-Minute Persuasive Speech Examples

Let the example inspire your innovative ideas!

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3-Minute Persuasive Speech Examples

Dive into the example and let your imagination soar!

Funny Persuasive Speech Examples

Tap into your creativity with the given example!

Funny Persuasive Speech

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Value Persuasive Speech Examples

Let the example inspire you to create something amazing!

Persuasive Speech Examples on Value

Policy Persuasive Speech Examples

Get inspired by reading the example!

Persuasive Speech Examples on Policy

Persuasive Speech Examples About Life 

Read this example to learn more about giving persuasive speeches on this topic! 

Persuasive speech about life

Persuasive Speech Topic Examples 

Need to come up with a good persuasive speech topic that will captivate your audience and inspire meaningful discussions? Here are some thought-provoking persuasive speech ideas to help you out.

  • The importance of recycling: Encouraging sustainable habits to protect the environment.
  • Promoting mental health awareness: Breaking the stigma and fostering a supportive society.
  • The benefits of volunteering: Making a difference in your community and beyond.
  • Exploring renewable energy sources: Urging for a shift towards a sustainable energy future.
  • Addressing food waste: Taking action to reduce waste and alleviate hunger.
  • The impact of social media: Navigating the digital world responsibly and promoting online safety.
  • Legalizing medicinal marijuana: Exploring the potential benefits for patients in need.
  • Promoting gender equality: Advocating for equal opportunities and dismantling gender stereotypes.
  • Implementing stricter gun control laws: Enhancing public safety and preventing gun violence.
  • The importance of financial literacy: Equipping individuals with essential skills for economic success.

Head over to our topics blog and find over 200+ interesting persuasive speech topics to get inspired!

Wrapping it Up ,

Crafting a persuasive speech that captures your audience's attention and compels them to take action is no easy task. However, by implementing the tips mentioned in this blog, you can significantly enhance the impact of your persuasive speech. 

Remember, if you find yourself in need of support with your persuasive speech, consider reaching out to MyPerfectPaper.net. 

MyPerfectPaper.net is the answer to the ' help me with my paper ' requests. We are trusted by thousands of students around the world with their essays and other writing requests.

Contact us anytime and explore our range of writing services. Whether you need assistance with speech writing or any other task, our writers are ready to provide you with custom content.

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Easy persuasive speech topics: examples

309 good persuasive topics + resources for writing persuasive speeches

By:  Susan Dugdale  

Let's be right up front about this.

'Easy' and 'persuasive' are seldom paired when it comes to speech topics! Therefore, examples of easy persuasive speech topics are a bit of a rarity, and finding them can be tricky.

However, all is not completely lost. They can, and do, come together, but only if you work at it.  Let me show you how. 

What's on this page

309 potentially easy persuasive speech topics.

  • the myth of 'easy' and an 'easy speech'
  • what makes a successful persuasive speech
  • how a persuasive speech topic can become easy
  • additional persuasive speech resources

persuasive examples in speech

The myth of 'easy' and an 'easy' speech

That word 'easy' is so very tempting. It seductively implies something you can fling together, without a lot of effort, at short notice. 

Image: a tiger-budgie. Text: Easy and persuasive are seldom paired when it comes to speech topics. That makes easy persuasive speech topics a bit of a rarity. Just like this tiger-budgie.

An 'easy' persuasive speech is not going to take a lot of work to plan, research, to write, or to practice. Everything needed to prepare it will be done without hassle, because it's, 'easy'. The entire process will flow smoothly from start to finish without fuss.

When you present the speech, the audience will be spell-bound, riveted by your outstanding choice of subject and its treatment. In short, they will be amazed. Gob smacked * , and 100% persuaded!

* astounded, overwhelmed.

Return to Top

What a successful persuasive speech usually takes

To give a successful persuasive speech means being able to use a compelling mix of reasoning and emotional appeal to convince whoever you are talking to that your point of view is right or at least, worth considering. Generally doing that well takes thought and effort.

You need to have chosen a subject your audience will be genuinely interested in and to use just the right combination of logical reasoning and emotional appeal to engage and hold them from the first words you say till your last. That in turn means thinking your speech through carefully, step by step, and then doing whatever is needed to make it work.

Those things include:

  • deciding on a specific speech purpose, (what you want people to do as a result of listening to your speech)
  • research to pull facts together to ground your speech, to give you a solid platform to build your speech on
  • understanding your audience so you know how best to shape your material to address their concerns
  • sorting out any additional resources you may want to use (e.g. images, graphs, handouts ...)
  • practice, and then more practice. 

You, see? Easy and persuasive don't seem to have a lot in common.

However, there is a way through.

How a persuasive speech topic becomes easy

You'll be glad to know there are exceptions. 

A persuasive topic becomes 'easy' if:

  • it fits with the criteria you've been given, 
  • you already know a lot about it, 
  • there's a readily accessible, and credible body of knowledge covering it, 
  • you're passionate about it, and
  • you genuinely want to do what is required to do it well.

Difficulties miraculously melt away when you are totally engrossed! 

Below are 309 good persuasive topics chosen for their broad appeal, and because they are subjects people generally feel strongly about.

  • 69 topics based on education
  • 135 based on aspects of health : mental health , the psychology of motivation , autism , natural medicine , the dangers of alternative medicine , current medical issues

21 food themed persuasive speech topics

  • 53 topics based on ethics, morals and values
  • 20 economy themed topics  

Read them through, making a note of any that jump out and that you think you may be able to use. These will be the ones you'll find much 'easier' than the others because you're already interested! 

69 persuasive speech topics on education

Put a group of people together who share concerns about the direction society seems to be headed and it won't be long before the hot topic under discussion is education!

Nelson Mandela quote: Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

  • that there is no such thing as the best form of education 
  • that some types of education are a waste of time and resources
  • that all education should be free
  • that education should be paid for by those who want or use it
  • that schools should provide experienced specialist support teachers to meet the needs of all their pupils 
  • that no child should be denied an education on the grounds of gender, race, poverty or the legal status of their parents
  • that online learning can never replace real-time and place class room learning
  • that competition with other students is a necessary part of education
  • that different learning styles need to be to be taken into account by teachers
  • that a student who drops out of school has been failed by the school system
  • that the problems created by illiteracy are bigger than we think
  • that society benefits from promoting gender equality and women's empowerment through education
  • that it is vital to teach media literacy to combat fake news and misinformation
  • that scholarships for those who need them should be increased
  • that a college education is not the right choice for everyone
  • that private schools support elitism
  • that the advantages of project-based learning far outweigh the disadvantages
  • that having a bilingual education is an advantage in a globalized world
  • that a good education is the passport to a better life
  • that a school uniform helps make everyone equal
  • that schools need to systematically teach critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • that teachers should be held responsible for the performance of their students
  • that the students of a teacher who is enthusiastic about their topic will always achieve better grades
  • that textbooks, and other school supplies, should be provided free of charge to those who need them
  • that there needs to a comprehensive education program on consent and sexual assault prevention in schools
  • that life skills, (how to cook, how to budget and manage money effectively, how to shop economically, how to garden...) should be taught in schools
  • that making some school subjects compulsory should be abolished
  • that coding and computer science should be taught from an early age
  • that taking a gap year should be encouraged
  • that an arts education fosters creativity and critical thinking 
  • that alternative forms of education should be encouraged, and supported
  • that teachers should be thoroughly background checked
  • that teachers should have to pass a regular 'fitness to teach' test
  • that the school leaving age should be raised
  • that students should not be forced to take classes they do not want to
  • that there are significant advantages for using technology in the classroom
  • that school violence is a mirror of the society we live in
  • that students who take part in protests are actively learning about their rights and responsibilities
  • that grades do not reflect intelligence
  • that truancy is powerful comment on the relevancy of schools 
  • that homework, for homework's sake, should be banned
  • that residential segregation has a direct impact on the quality of education students receive
  • that prestigious schools maintain their prestige through only admitting students who are likely to succeed
  • that schools should focus on the core subjects: reading, writing and arithmetic
  • that parents should be far more involved in their children's education
  • that a person who is homeschooled is not disadvantaged 
  • that far too much importance is placed on IQ tests
  • that corporal punishment should never be used
  • that meditation and other forms of mindfulness should be taught in schools
  • that single sex schools are better for girls
  • that intelligence is more than quick accurate recall and clever problem solving
  • that a holistic education is best
  • that an education should be a right, not a privilege
  • that it is important to teach students about empathy and emotional intelligence  
  • that no girl should ever be barred from school because she is pregnant
  • that there is no 'right, one way' to educate a child
  • that bullying, in any form, by anyone, should be addressed immediately and appropriately
  • that students need to be taught how to handle social media responsibly
  • that the arts are equally as valuable as the sciences
  • that an old-fashioned school curriculum teaches respect and values
  • that it is advantageous to learn at least one other language, in addition to your mother tongue
  • that the foundation of all education is laid down in the home
  • that civics and ethics should be core subjects
  • that extracurricular activities are an essential part of a well-rounded education
  • that cheating on a test or in an examination is understandable
  • that community service should be an essential part of education
  • that financial education is essential and should be taught to all students in all schools
  • that guns should never be taken to school
  • that getting top marks in an examination is not the only way to prove a person’s intelligence

dividing line dark green

 135 persuasive speech topics about health

Health, according to the World Health Organization , is "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity."  It's a huge topic! And that is an understatement! 

46 mental health persuasive speech topics

Knowing your own darkness is the best method of dealing with the darkness in others. - Carl Jung

  • that mental health should be taken more seriously by general health practitioners
  • that mental health should be discussed in schools
  • that mental health and physical health are interdependent
  • that early intervention is important to prevent long-term mental health problems
  • that good mental health begins with a good diet
  • that being 'mad' does not mean a person is 'bad'
  • that a person can learn to become more mentally resilient
  • that to be vulnerable is to be strong
  • that laughter heals
  • that how the media portrays mental health issues influences public perception for better and for worse
  • that mental health issues are passed down from generation to generation
  • that mental health issues can unnecessarily limit what people choose to do with their lives
  • that poverty and homelessness underpin many mental health issues
  • that we need mental health screenings and regular check-ups to monitor our overall well-being
  • that prolonged lack of sleep can cause mental health concerns
  • that religious practices and beliefs can contribute to mental health problems
  • that anxiety and depression need to be more widely understood
  • that sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me is a lie.
  • that vacations are essential for good mental health
  • that learning to live with mental health is very different from suffering from it
  • that acknowledging our own struggles with mental health makes it easier to understand other people's
  • that teachers need training to recognize symptoms of possible mental health issues in their students
  • that there is a direct link between physical exercise and mental health
  • that substance abuse can mask mental health issues
  • that green environments promote good mental health
  • that bullying can have serious consequences
  • that the real reason a bully bullies is never the person who is being bullied by them
  • that the impact of chronic pain on mental health needs to be more widely understood
  • that negative self-worth beliefs are reflected in mental health problems
  • that treatment for mental health issues should be fully integrated with any other health service providers 
  • that loneliness and isolation are often factors in mental health concerns
  • that cultural difference can underpin mental health issues
  • that being mentally unwell is not a sign of weakness
  • that shaming a person for needing treatment for mental illness is both cruel and ignorant behavior
  • that regular doom-scrolling significantly impacts on a person's mental health
  • that overlooking symptoms of mental health problems is dangerous
  • the pressure to 'fit in', to conform and to become someone else's idea of who you should be is unhealthy
  • that seeking help for mental health concerns is a positive proactive thing to do
  • that taking responsibility for our own mental wellbeing is vital
  • that to be a little bit crazy is a good thing
  • that understanding the cyclical link between addictive behaviors and mental health issues is critical to providing solutions
  • that how we talk to ourselves, about ourselves, influences our state of mind
  • that self-care and self-compassion are important for maintaining good mental health
  • that the adverse impact of traumatic events on mental health is often ignored or underestimated
  • that strategies for recovery from trauma and ongoing resilience should be taught in schools
  • that peer support groups and community networks are an important part of a person's recovery because they  provide a sense of belonging and support 

For 50 more mental health persuasive speech topics

24 persuasive ideas: the psychology of motivation

Motivation

Why do people behave the way they do?

What makes one person deliriously happy when they're in front of a large group of people telling them what to do and another person, utterly miserable?

Why do some people absolutely have to have the latest widget-wodget? And why do others not think about widget-wodgets at all?

The answers are found in motivation.

Motivation is the driving force behind our behavior. It provides the explanation for what we do. 

  • that personal success is motivating
  • that envy is a powerful motivator
  • that 'Fear of Missing Out' (FOMO) motivates/influences people to do things regardless of whether they really want to or not
  • that seeing success in significant others gives people the motivation to make positive changes
  • that finding out what motivates a person at a fundamental level is key to persuading them to follow a certain course of action
  • that social media is responsible for motivating people to strive for the unattainable
  • that carefully selected strategies for motivating students lead them to excel in their studies.
  • that fear of failure motivates many people
  • that the desire to be better than others, and to be seen to be better, is a powerful motivator for many people
  • that money makes the world go round: the need and desire for money motivates how we behave
  • that desire for public recognition and acknowledgment is a powerful motivating force 
  • that the possibility and promise of becoming famous and powerful can motivate all sorts of extreme behavior
  • that knowing what you do is helpful, useful, and kind is motivating
  • that mindfulness practices increase personal motivation
  • that the desire to understand a particular process or to solve a specific problem is the motivation behind most innovative developments and inventions
  • that setting inspiring yet realistic goals motivate a person to strive to reach them
  • that fear of consequences motivates people to continue to do what they would rather not
  • that curiosity motivates exploration and experimentation
  • that being motivated by the acquisition of material rewards, wealth and possessions, will ultimately not be enough
  • that fear and anxiety motivate aggression
  • that serving your community the best way you can is motivating
  • that positive self-talk increases and sustains motivation
  • that people are happiest and most creative when they motivated by what they are passionate about
  • that being genuinely and sincerely proud of oneself is motivation to keep ourselves on track
  • that we need to understand and nurture what motivates us to become the best of ourselves

For more information:  Motivation and What Really Drives Human Behavior (positivepsychology.com)

10 persuasive speech topics about autism

Image: jigsaw puzzle with a piece missing. Text: Persuasive speech topics on Autism

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of mild to severe conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. A recent (2020) study revealed that 1 in 36 children (2.7%) in USA have been diagnosed with the disorder. And that number is increasing. 

  • that promoting autism awareness matters and makes a difference
  • that early intervention and treatment is important 
  • that education for students with autism should be inclusive and supportive
  • that the myths and stereotypes about autism need challenging 
  • that inclusive hiring practices and workplace accommodations are beneficial for everyone: employers and employees.
  • that families affected by autism need accessible resources, services, and support systems.
  • that technology plays an important role in enhancing communication for nonverbal individuals with autism.
  • that ongoing research, and funding, is required to improve understanding and treatment options.
  •  that there needs to be a holistic approach to autism care.
  • that individuals on autism spectrum have value and strengths just like any other person.

19 persuasive speech topics on natural medicine

The term 'natural medicine' is one of several used interchangeably to describe any medical product or practice that is not standard (conventional) medical care.

Other synonyms are:

  • alternative medicine or therapies,
  • holistic medicine which implies taking into account the 'whole' person rather than focusing on and treating isolated symptoms,
  • herbal (plant based) remedies and,
  • complementary medicine: a treatment regime that includes elements of conventional and alternative medical care.

'Natural medicine' polarizes people. There are those who are vehemently against any form of it and who will not consider any treatment other than what is current standard medical practice. Then there are those who resolutely choose alternative options. Either way, it's a fascinating field!    

Image: chamomile daisy plants. Text: Chamomile tea has been used for centuries to aid relaxation.

  • that traditional herbal remedies effectively treat common ailments
  • that acupuncture is beneficial for pain management
  • that practicing meditation and mindfulness improves mental health
  • that chiropractic treatments effectively relieve back and neck pain
  • that yoga supports physical and mental wellness
  • that naturopathy should be used as a complementary approach to conventional medicine.
  • that homeopathy is effective in treating chronic illnesses.
  • that aromatherapy can relieve stress and enhance relaxation.
  • that traditional Chinese medicine should be incorporated into modern healthcare.
  • that good nutrition prevents disease
  • that massage therapy promotes physical and mental well-being.
  • that energy healing treatments like Reiki and acupuncture work well
  • that CBD (cannabidiol) oil helps people effectively manage pain and anxiety.
  • that the advantages of integrative medicine: combining conventional and alternative approaches should not be underestimated
  • that herbal supplements support good immune system health.
  • that holistic Ayurvedic medicine and practices are proven and promote wellness.
  • that the common myths about alternative health care and its potential harms are overstated
  • that acupuncture is an effective fertility treatment 
  • that hypnotherapy is an effective treatment for public speaking fear, smoking cessation, weight loss, and more...

14 persuasive speech topics on the possible dangers of using alternative medicine

Image: mortar and pestle with herbs. Text: 14 persuasive speech topics on the possible dangers of using alternative medicine

  • that there are hidden risks in using unregulated alternative health care practices
  • that there are potential dangers in relying solely on alternative health care for serious medical conditions
  • that there are risks in self-diagnosis and self-treatment with alternative health care
  • that misinformation is a problem in alternative health care practices
  • that there are potential adverse effects with unproven alternative health care treatments
  • that there are hidden financial risks with alternative health care therapies
  • that evidence-based medicine is more reliable than alternative health care approaches
  • that we need to protect vulnerable people from the dangers of untested alternative health care remedies
  • that unqualified practitioners in alternative health care fields can cause harm
  • that relying on unverified testimonials and anecdotal evidence in alternative health care is dangerous
  • that there are risks of negative interactions with conventional medications while using alternative health care treatments
  • that unregulated supplements and herbal remedies in alternative health care could be dangerous
  • that alternative health care therapies for incurable diseases promote false hopes 
  • that informed consent and transparency in alternative health care practices is important

22 current medical issues speech topics

Image: doctor giving a patient a vaccine. Text: 22 current medical issues speech topics. Example: that vaccine hesitancy must be addressed and countered.

  • that vaccine hesitancy must be addressed and countered 
  • that stigmas around mental health must be challenged
  • that good accessible mental health care should be available for all
  • that cosmetic and reconstructive surgery should only be for those who genuinely need it
  • that comprehensive specialized mental health programs and support systems need to in schools 
  • that the lessons for the opioid crisis must be learned
  • that inequal access to medical services needs addressing
  • that the balance between patient autonomy and a physician's responsibility needs careful monitoring
  • that strategies for promoting healthy aging and elderly care are essential with an aging population
  • that organ donation needs to be actively encouraged to overcome the shortage of organs available for transplantation
  • that the ethical implications of genetic testing need careful consideration
  • that healthy active lifestyles must be promoted to combat childhood obesity and the obesity epidemic
  • that the increasing role of technology in healthcare presents as many innovations as it does challenges
  • that pharmaceutical drugs need to be accessible and affordably priced
  • that the impact of social media on body image need to be countered by actively promoting positive self-perception
  • that developing countries need support to improve health care infrastructure and access 
  • that precision medicine or personalized healthcare has better patient outcomes
  • that we should encourage conversations about end-of-life care before the need for it arises
  • that the legal and ethical concerns about euthanasia and assisted suicide can be humanely and respectfully resolved
  • that the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in medicine presents great opportunities as well as challenges
  • that improving obstetric care would lower maternal mortality rates
  • that for the good of the health of the mother, abortion on demand should be legal
  • that all tobacco products should be banned
  • that the use of medical marijuana by patients in hospitals needs careful consideration from a legal standpoint

The subject of food: its cultivation, preparation, scarcity or abundance, generates passionate debate regardless of who we are, or where we are on the planet.

Have fun with these!

Image: root vegetables growing in garden Text: 21 food-themed persuasive speech topics. Example: that a plant-based diet is healthier.

  • that poor nutritional health in first world countries is the result of poor food choices
  • that the use of unsustainably produced palm oil in food and other products should be banned
  • that the benefits of eating locally sourced food outweigh the disadvantages
  • that we must reduce food waste to lessen its environmental impact
  • that eating fast food long-term is dangerous
  • that a plant-based diet is healthier
  • that the negative effects of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in our food system outstrip their shorter term benefits
  • that organic farming has positive effects on health and the environment
  • that nutrition education in schools helps combat childhood obesity
  • that a sugar tax would help control the consumption of foods with high sugar content
  • that factory farming is unethical
  • that we need to adopt humane animal welfare practices
  • that advertising and marketing of unhealthy food choices makes them attractive
  • that food safety and strictly enforced regulations are necessary for public health
  • that food waste should be against the law
  • that food deserts (areas that have limited access to affordable and nutritious food) have an enormous impact on the health of communities 
  • that there are workable, sustainable, affordable strategies to combat the effects of food deserts and food insecurity
  • that the food we eat effects our mental as well as our physical health
  • that producing food sustainably helps combat climate change 
  • that there are significant health risks associated  artificial food additives and preservatives
  • that genetically modified foods must be labeled for consumer awareness

53 topics: ethics, morals and values

The words 'ethics', 'morals' and 'values' are frequently interchanged as if they mean the same thing. However, although there is considerable overlap between them, they don't.

Diagram showing the overlap of values, morals and ethics.

Values  are the core beliefs on which we center and base our lives. They are the values we have decided are important and can be personal as well as shared. Examples are honesty, service, cooperation, family, heritage, freedom of expression, independence, privacy, loyalty, integrity, or success. 

Morals  are based on our values. They elicit feeling or emotional responses in us. For instance, we feel good when we behave in accordance with our values, and bad when we don't. Like values, our moral codes can be either personal or shared.

For example: if one of our core values is the importance of family, then we will feel guilty and uncomfortable if we don't honor it. We make a moral judgment about our own behavior. 

Ethics : These let us know what is right and wrong. For instance, many professions have a code of ethics to regulate the behavior of their members. Examples are medical practitioners, lawyers, and teachers. They are rules based on a shared moral code as are the laws governing how we function as a society. 

Because life and people's experience of it, is not static, values, morals and ethics can change over time. And although there are some behaviors that have generally always been unlawful, (murder, fraud, infanticide...), what was acceptable and normal once, does not guarantee its rightness now.

For a fuller explanation please see this excellent article:  What's the Difference Between Ethics, Morals and Values?

28 topics based on morals and ethics

  • that there are major ethical implications of the role of artificial intelligence in our daily lives
  • that the unmonitored use of facial recognition technology is a violation of individual rights
  • that corporations have a moral responsibility to address climate change
  • that war is never right ethically or morally
  • that the ethics of genetic engineering and its impact on society need careful monitoring
  • that it is important to fully consider the ethics in the development and use of emerging technologies like blockchain and cryptocurrency need
  • that the ethical challenges of data privacy and protection in the digital age must be met for the safety and security of society
  • that the ethical implications of using animals for scientific research requires regular reviewing
  • that the ethical and moral implications of our current abortion laws need thorough and careful investigation
  • that the ethics of capital punishment need scrutinizing. Is it ever morally justifiable?
  • that the ethical implications and long-term impact of gene editing and designer babies need careful consideration
  • that it is no longer either ethical or moral to differentiate salaries or workplace benefits on the basis of gender
  • that the moral obligations of healthcare professionals in end-of-life decisions need to be fully considered 
  • that whistleblowing is an ethical way of ensuring corporate accountability
  • that the use of drones and autonomous weapons demands a thorough review of the ethical considerations involved
  • that an individual has the right to choose their own death. The moral dilemma of euthanasia, if there is one, is their own to solve. 
  • that the ethical implications of the long-term impacts of genetic testing and personalized medicine need to be thoroughly investigated
  • that social media platforms have ethical responsibilities in combating the spread of online harassment and misinformation
  • that the moral issues surrounding the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sports need to examined calmly and carefully
  • that the ethics of factory farming and its impact on animal welfare need to be thoroughly and regularly reviewed
  • that the ethical and moral implication of discriminatory adoption laws should be investigated
  • that the ethics and impact of online advertising should be independently monitored
  • that the ethical considerations in the allocation of healthcare resources should always play a major role in decision making
  • that the moral implications of genetic cloning and its potential consequences will force our governing bodies to legislate against it
  • that the ethics of global wealth distribution and poverty alleviation will always be in question while inequality exists
  • that the ethical challenges of conducting research on human subjects is entirely justifiable
  • that internet censorship is both sensible and ethical
  • that it is ethical and morally responsible that children should have their use of social media and the internet monitored.

25 persuasive speech topic ideas on values

Image: Father Christmas. Text: 309 persuasive speech topics. Example: that we must never tell lies to children, except about Father Christmas...

  • that we must never tell lies to children except about Father Christmas, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Rabbit
  • that honesty in personal and professional relationships is best at all times
  • that embracing diversity is essential for a harmonious society
  • that team sports build good character traits
  • that empathy, (compassion and understanding), has the power to change lives
  • that education is fundamental for personal growth and the progress of society
  • that privacy and the protection of personal information matters more than ever
  • that everybody is entitled to privacy, including children and teenagers
  • that taking personal responsibility and promoting sustainability for our planet's environment is vital for our and its survival
  • that actively advocating for gender, racial and social justice promotes equality
  • that life was better before the influence of online social media took over
  • that everyone should spend several months per year working for the betterment of others in a non-profit social service organization
  • that regular acts of kindness and goodwill make a positive impact no matter how small
  • that becoming self-aware increases our emotional intelligence, which in turn, improves our relationships with others
  • that the lives of all living creatures should be valued and protected
  • that we need to celebrate, tolerate and accept differences in beliefs, cultures and lifestyles
  • that expressing oneself freely is more important than getting the grammar, punctuation and spelling right
  • that integrity, honoring moral principles, in personal and professional settings, builds trust and respect
  • that cooperation, volunteering and civic engagement builds strong healthy communities
  • that everybody should learn to cook and clean for themselves
  • that we need to value, understand and learn from our history
  • that genuinely and sincerely acknowledging and apologizing for hurtful, damaging behavior promotes healing and encourages transformation
  • that it is better to earn your own living rather than to be financially provided for by someone else
  • that money is not a meaningful measure of success

20 persuasive speech topics about the economy

Diagram of the interrelationship of economics

What is an 'economy'? What does the word mean?  I hear and read it frequently and its often in different contexts. 

For example, at my local grocery store there's a large sign telling me that buying 10 cakes of soap at a never to be repeated discounted rate of 33% off per cake is good economy.

On the news I hear that our economy is challenging. There have been significant rises in the price of food over the past six months and mortgage rates are set to increase.

That's two different uses. The first is implying that buying in bulk will save me money. The second suggests it refers to the ebb and flow of monetary exchange for goods and services in society. 

I sought a definition for clarity and found this:

"An economy is a complex system of interrelated production, consumption, and exchange activities that ultimately determines how resources are allocated among all the participants. The production, consumption, and distribution of goods and services combine to fulfill the needs of those living and operating within the economy.

An economy may represent a nation, a region, a single industry, or even a family."

For more information:  Economy: What It Is, Types of Economies, Economic Indicators (investopedia.com)

This definition covers the dynamic interconnecting web of exchanges for goods and services underpinning our daily lives, and that is the focus of the topics below.  

  • that promoting entrepreneurship for economic growth has benefits
  • that investing in renewable energy for a sustainable economy is important
  • that there are both advantages and disadvantages of globalization on national economies
  • that the impact of automation on employment requires carefully thought through strategies for economic adaptation.
  • that multinational corporations need stricter regulations 
  • that increasing the minimum wage to improve income equality benefits everyone
  • that the advantages of a universal basic income for economic stability outweigh its disadvantages
  • that government should play an active role in fostering innovation and technological advancements
  • that financial literacy education benefits both individuals and the economy
  • that promoting fair trade practices benefits developing economies
  • that income inequality impacts on social stability and economic growth
  • that free trade agreements have significant advantages
  • that investing in infrastructure for economic development is important
  • that implementing sustainable economic policies has benefits for long-term growth
  • that government has a role in reducing poverty and income disparities
  • that immigration and inclusive immigration policies have a positive impact on the economy
  • that the advantages of austerity measures during economic crises outweigh the disadvantages
  • that promoting small businesses is important for local economic development
  • that investing in education and skills training benefits economic competitiveness
  • that technology transforms traditional industries and creates new economic opportunities

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More persuasive speech resources

Persuasive speech topics.

Image: one lonely piece of chocolate cake on a plate. Text: Fun persuasive speech topics - Having you cake and eating it too is fair.

  • 105 fun persuasive speech topics : ideal for light-hearted, informal speeches
  • 100 non-boring persuasive speech ideas   - a 'tired' topic is not for you. Choose something fresh and original.
  • 50 good persuasive speech topics with treatment examples to show you how the same topic is treated differently for different audiences.
  • 310 persuasive speech topics for college : mental health, society, family & friends, animals, education
  • 108 feminist persuasive speech topics : the top current women's rights & feminist issues

For assistance with planning and writing

  • Writing a persuasive speech - a 7 step action plan that includes how to choose a topic, analyze your audience, set a good speech purpose, decide on a structural pattern (with examples) and, more.
  • A persuasive speech outline example using the 5 step structural pattern: Monroe's Motivated Sequence. (With a free printable outline)
  • A persuasive speech example using Monroe's Motivated Sequence

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40 Strong Persuasive Writing Examples (Essays, Speeches, Ads, and More)

Learn from the experts.

The American Crisis historical article, as an instance of persuasive essay examples

The more we read, the better writers we become. Teaching students to write strong persuasive essays should always start with reading some top-notch models. This round-up of persuasive writing examples includes famous speeches, influential ad campaigns, contemporary reviews of famous books, and more. Use them to inspire your students to write their own essays. (Need persuasive essay topics? Check out our list of interesting persuasive essay ideas here! )

  • Persuasive Essays
  • Persuasive Speeches
  • Advertising Campaigns

Persuasive Essay Writing Examples

First paragraph of Thomas Paine's The American Crisis

From the earliest days of print, authors have used persuasive essays to try to sway others to their own point of view. Check out these top persuasive essay writing examples.

Professions for Women by Virginia Woolf

Sample lines: “Outwardly, what is simpler than to write books? Outwardly, what obstacles are there for a woman rather than for a man? Inwardly, I think, the case is very different; she has still many ghosts to fight, many prejudices to overcome. Indeed it will be a long time still, I think, before a woman can sit down to write a book without finding a phantom to be slain, a rock to be dashed against. And if this is so in literature, the freest of all professions for women, how is it in the new professions which you are now for the first time entering?”

The Crisis by Thomas Paine

Sample lines: “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.”

Politics and the English Language by George Orwell

Sample lines: “As I have tried to show, modern writing at its worst does not consist in picking out words for the sake of their meaning and inventing images in order to make the meaning clearer. It consists in gumming together long strips of words which have already been set in order by someone else, and making the results presentable by sheer humbug.”

Letter From a Birmingham Jail by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Sample lines: “We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was ‘well timed’ in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word ‘Wait!’ It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This ‘Wait’ has almost always meant ‘Never.’ We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that ‘justice too long delayed is justice denied.'”

Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau

Sample lines: “Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it. It is only expressing to men feebly your desire that it should prevail. A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority. There is but little virtue in the action of masses of men.”

Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Roger Ebert

Sample lines: “‘Kindness’ covers all of my political beliefs. No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime.”

The Way to Wealth by Benjamin Franklin

Sample lines: “Methinks I hear some of you say, must a man afford himself no leisure? I will tell thee, my friend, what Poor Richard says, employ thy time well if thou meanest to gain leisure; and, since thou art not sure of a minute, throw not away an hour. Leisure is time for doing something useful; this leisure the diligent man will obtain, but the lazy man never; so that, as Poor Richard says, a life of leisure and a life of laziness are two things.”

The Crack-Up by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Sample lines: “Of course all life is a process of breaking down, but the blows that do the dramatic side of the work—the big sudden blows that come, or seem to come, from outside—the ones you remember and blame things on and, in moments of weakness, tell your friends about, don’t show their effect all at once.”

Open Letter to the Kansas School Board by Bobby Henderson

Sample lines: “I am writing you with much concern after having read of your hearing to decide whether the alternative theory of Intelligent Design should be taught along with the theory of Evolution. … Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. … We feel strongly that the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing towards evolutionary processes is nothing but a coincidence, put in place by Him. It is for this reason that I’m writing you today, to formally request that this alternative theory be taught in your schools, along with the other two theories.”

Open Letter to the United Nations by Niels Bohr

Sample lines: “Humanity will, therefore, be confronted with dangers of unprecedented character unless, in due time, measures can be taken to forestall a disastrous competition in such formidable armaments and to establish an international control of the manufacture and use of the powerful materials.”

Persuasive Speech Writing Examples

Many persuasive speeches are political in nature, often addressing subjects like human rights. Here are some of history’s most well-known persuasive writing examples in the form of speeches.

I Have a Dream by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Sample lines: “And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

Woodrow Wilson’s War Message to Congress, 1917

Sample lines: “There are, it may be, many months of fiery trial and sacrifice ahead of us. It is a fearful thing to lead this great peaceful people into war, into the most terrible and disastrous of all wars, civilization itself seeming to be in the balance. But the right is more precious than peace, and we shall fight for the things which we have always carried nearest our hearts—for democracy, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own governments, for the rights and liberties of small nations, for a universal dominion of right by such a concert of free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all nations and make the world itself at last free.”

Chief Seattle’s 1854 Oration

Sample lines: “I here and now make this condition that we will not be denied the privilege without molestation of visiting at any time the tombs of our ancestors, friends, and children. Every part of this soil is sacred in the estimation of my people. Every hillside, every valley, every plain and grove, has been hallowed by some sad or happy event in days long vanished. Even the rocks, which seem to be dumb and dead as they swelter in the sun along the silent shore, thrill with memories of stirring events connected with the lives of my people, and the very dust upon which you now stand responds more lovingly to their footsteps than yours, because it is rich with the blood of our ancestors, and our bare feet are conscious of the sympathetic touch.”

Women’s Rights Are Human Rights, Hillary Rodham Clinton

Sample lines: “What we are learning around the world is that if women are healthy and educated, their families will flourish. If women are free from violence, their families will flourish. If women have a chance to work and earn as full and equal partners in society, their families will flourish. And when families flourish, communities and nations do as well. … If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights once and for all.”

I Am Prepared to Die, Nelson Mandela

Sample lines: “Above all, My Lord, we want equal political rights, because without them our disabilities will be permanent. I know this sounds revolutionary to the whites in this country, because the majority of voters will be Africans. This makes the white man fear democracy. But this fear cannot be allowed to stand in the way of the only solution which will guarantee racial harmony and freedom for all. It is not true that the enfranchisement of all will result in racial domination. Political division, based on color, is entirely artificial and, when it disappears, so will the domination of one color group by another. … This then is what the ANC is fighting. Our struggle is a truly national one. It is a struggle of the African people, inspired by our own suffering and our own experience. It is a struggle for the right to live.”

The Struggle for Human Rights by Eleanor Roosevelt

Sample lines: “It is my belief, and I am sure it is also yours, that the struggle for democracy and freedom is a critical struggle, for their preservation is essential to the great objective of the United Nations to maintain international peace and security. Among free men the end cannot justify the means. We know the patterns of totalitarianism—the single political party, the control of schools, press, radio, the arts, the sciences, and the church to support autocratic authority; these are the age-old patterns against which men have struggled for 3,000 years. These are the signs of reaction, retreat, and retrogression. The United Nations must hold fast to the heritage of freedom won by the struggle of its people; it must help us to pass it on to generations to come.”

Freedom From Fear by Aung San Suu Kyi

Sample lines: “Saints, it has been said, are the sinners who go on trying. So free men are the oppressed who go on trying and who in the process make themselves fit to bear the responsibilities and to uphold the disciplines which will maintain a free society. Among the basic freedoms to which men aspire that their lives might be full and uncramped, freedom from fear stands out as both a means and an end. A people who would build a nation in which strong, democratic institutions are firmly established as a guarantee against state-induced power must first learn to liberate their own minds from apathy and fear.”

Harvey Milk’s “The Hope” Speech

Sample lines: “Some people are satisfied. And some people are not. You see there is a major difference—and it remains a vital difference—between a friend and a gay person, a friend in office and a gay person in office. Gay people have been slandered nationwide. We’ve been tarred and we’ve been brushed with the picture of pornography. In Dade County, we were accused of child molestation. It is not enough anymore just to have friends represent us, no matter how good that friend may be.”

The Union and the Strike, Cesar Chavez

Sample lines: “We are showing our unity in our strike. Our strike is stopping the work in the fields; our strike is stopping ships that would carry grapes; our strike is stopping the trucks that would carry the grapes. Our strike will stop every way the grower makes money until we have a union contract that guarantees us a fair share of the money he makes from our work! We are a union and we are strong and we are striking to force the growers to respect our strength!”

Nobel Lecture by Malala Yousafzai

Sample lines: “The world can no longer accept that basic education is enough. Why do leaders accept that for children in developing countries, only basic literacy is sufficient, when their own children do homework in algebra, mathematics, science, and physics? Leaders must seize this opportunity to guarantee a free, quality, primary and secondary education for every child. Some will say this is impractical, or too expensive, or too hard. Or maybe even impossible. But it is time the world thinks bigger.”   

Persuasive Writing Examples in Advertising Campaigns

Ads are prime persuasive writing examples. You can flip open any magazine or watch TV for an hour or two to see sample after sample of persuasive language. Here are some of the most popular ad campaigns of all time, with links to articles explaining why they were so successful.

Nike: Just Do It

Nike

The iconic swoosh with the simple tagline has persuaded millions to buy their kicks from Nike and Nike alone. Teamed with pro sports-star endorsements, this campaign is one for the ages. Blinkist offers an opinion on what made it work.

Dove: Real Beauty

Beauty brand Dove changed the game by choosing “real” women to tell their stories instead of models. They used relatable images and language to make connections, and inspired other brands to try the same concept. Learn why Global Brands considers this one a true success story.

Wendy’s: Where’s the Beef?

Today’s kids are too young to remember the cranky old woman demanding to know where the beef was on her fast-food hamburger. But in the 1980s, it was a catchphrase that sold millions of Wendy’s burgers. Learn from Better Marketing how this ad campaign even found its way into the 1984 presidential debate.

De Beers: A Diamond Is Forever

Diamond engagement ring on black velvet. Text reads "How do you make two months' salary last forever? The Diamond Engagement Ring."

A diamond engagement ring has become a standard these days, but the tradition isn’t as old as you might think. In fact, it was De Beers jewelry company’s 1948 campaign that created the modern engagement ring trend. The Drum has the whole story of this sparkling campaign.

Volkswagen: Think Small

Americans have always loved big cars. So in the 1960s, when Volkswagen wanted to introduce their small cars to a bigger market, they had a problem. The clever “Think Small” campaign gave buyers clever reasons to consider these models, like “If you run out of gas, it’s easy to push.” Learn how advertisers interested American buyers in little cars at Visual Rhetoric.

American Express: Don’t Leave Home Without It

AmEx was once better known for traveler’s checks than credit cards, and the original slogan was “Don’t leave home without them.” A simple word change convinced travelers that American Express was the credit card they needed when they headed out on adventures. Discover more about this persuasive campaign from Medium.

Skittles: Taste the Rainbow

Bag of Skittles candy against a blue background. Text reads

These candy ads are weird and intriguing and probably not for everyone. But they definitely get you thinking, and that often leads to buying. Learn more about why these wacky ads are successful from The Drum.

Maybelline: Maybe She’s Born With It

Smart wordplay made this ad campaign slogan an instant hit. The ads teased, “Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline.” (So many literary devices all in one phrase!) Fashionista has more on this beauty campaign.

Coca-Cola: Share a Coke

Seeing their own name on a bottle made teens more likely to want to buy a Coke. What can that teach us about persuasive writing in general? It’s an interesting question to consider. Learn more about the “Share a Coke” campaign from Digital Vidya.

Always: #LikeaGirl

Always ad showing a young girl holding a softball. Text reads

Talk about the power of words! This Always campaign turned the derogatory phrase “like a girl” on its head, and the world embraced it. Storytelling is an important part of persuasive writing, and these ads really do it well. Medium has more on this stereotype-bashing campaign.   

Editorial Persuasive Writing Examples

Original newspaper editorial

Newspaper editors or publishers use editorials to share their personal opinions. Noted politicians, experts, or pundits may also offer their opinions on behalf of the editors or publishers. Here are a couple of older well-known editorials, along with a selection from current newspapers.

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus (1897)

Sample lines: “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias.”

What’s the Matter With Kansas? (1896)

Sample lines: “Oh, this IS a state to be proud of! We are a people who can hold up our heads! What we need is not more money, but less capital, fewer white shirts and brains, fewer men with business judgment, and more of those fellows who boast that they are ‘just ordinary clodhoppers, but they know more in a minute about finance than John Sherman,’ we need more men … who hate prosperity, and who think, because a man believes in national honor, he is a tool of Wall Street.”

America Can Have Democracy or Political Violence. Not Both. (The New York Times)

Sample lines: “The nation is not powerless to stop a slide toward deadly chaos. If institutions and individuals do more to make it unacceptable in American public life, organized violence in the service of political objectives can still be pushed to the fringes. When a faction of one of the country’s two main political parties embraces extremism, that makes thwarting it both more difficult and more necessary. A well-functioning democracy demands it.”

The Booster Isn’t Perfect, But Still Can Help Against COVID (The Washington Post)

Sample lines: “The booster shots are still free, readily available and work better than the previous boosters even as the virus evolves. Much still needs to be done to build better vaccines that protect longer and against more variants, including those that might emerge in the future. But it is worth grabbing the booster that exists today, the jab being a small price for any measure that can help keep COVID at bay.”

If We Want Wildlife To Thrive in L.A., We Have To Share Our Neighborhoods With Them (Los Angeles Times)

Sample lines: “If there are no corridors for wildlife movement and if excessive excavation of dirt to build bigger, taller houses erodes the slope of a hillside, then we are slowly destroying wildlife habitat. For those people fretting about what this will do to their property values—isn’t open space, trees, and wildlife an amenity in these communities?”   

Persuasive Review Writing Examples

Image of first published New York Times Book Review

Book or movie reviews are more great persuasive writing examples. Look for those written by professionals for the strongest arguments and writing styles. Here are reviews of some popular books and movies by well-known critics to use as samples.

The Great Gatsby (The Chicago Tribune, 1925)

Sample lines: “What ails it, fundamentally, is the plain fact that it is simply a story—that Fitzgerald seems to be far more interested in maintaining its suspense than in getting under the skins of its people. It is not that they are false: It is that they are taken too much for granted. Only Gatsby himself genuinely lives and breathes. The rest are mere marionettes—often astonishingly lifelike, but nevertheless not quite alive.”

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (The Washington Post, 1999)

Sample lines: “Obviously, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone should make any modern 11-year-old a very happy reader. The novel moves quickly, packs in everything from a boa constrictor that winks to a melancholy Zen-spouting centaur to an owl postal system, and ends with a scary surprise. Yet it is, essentially, a light-hearted thriller, interrupted by occasional seriousness (the implications of Harry’s miserable childhood, a moral about the power of love).”

Twilight (The Telegraph, 2009)

Sample lines: “No secret, of course, at whom this book is aimed, and no doubt, either, that it has hit its mark. The four Twilight novels are not so much enjoyed, as devoured, by legions of young female fans worldwide. That’s not to say boys can’t enjoy these books; it’s just that the pages of heart-searching dialogue between Edward and Bella may prove too long on chat and too short on action for the average male reader.”

To Kill a Mockingbird (Time, 1960)

Sample lines: “Author Lee, 34, an Alabaman, has written her first novel with all of the tactile brilliance and none of the preciosity generally supposed to be standard swamp-warfare issue for Southern writers. The novel is an account of an awakening to good and evil, and a faint catechistic flavor may have been inevitable. But it is faint indeed; novelist Lee’s prose has an edge that cuts through cant, and she teaches the reader an astonishing number of useful truths about little girls and about Southern life.”

The Diary of Anne Frank (The New York Times, 1952)

Sample lines: “And this quality brings it home to any family in the world today. Just as the Franks lived in momentary fear of the Gestapo’s knock on their hidden door, so every family today lives in fear of the knock of war. Anne’s diary is a great affirmative answer to the life-question of today, for she shows how ordinary people, within this ordeal, consistently hold to the greater human values.”   

What are your favorite persuasive writing examples to use with students? Come share your ideas in the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook .

Plus, the big list of essay topics for high school (120+ ideas) ..

Find strong persuasive writing examples to use for inspiration, including essays, speeches, advertisements, reviews, and more.

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7 Best Short Persuasive Speech Examples to Drive Change

Leah Nguyen • 08 April, 2024 • 8 min read

Are you looking for persuasive speches? Persuasion is power, and within a mere three minutes, you can move mountains – or at least change some minds.

But with brevity comes pressure to pack a maximum punch.

So how do you deliver impact concisely and command attention from the get-go? Let us show you some short persuasive speech examples that convince the audience in less than the time to microwave a pizza.

Table of Contents

1-minute short persuasive speech examples, 3-minute short persuasive speech examples, 5-minute short persuasive speech examples, bottom line, frequently asked questions.

Short persuasive speech examples

Tips for Audience Engagement

  • A Persuasive Speech Outline
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Start in seconds.

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The 1-minute persuasive speeches are similar to a 30-second elevator pitch which constrain what you can do due to their limited time. Here are some examples that stick to a single, compelling call to action for a 1-minute window.

Short persuasive speech examples

#1. Title: Go Meatless on Mondays

Good afternoon everyone. I’m asking you to join me in adopting a simple change that can positively impact both our health and the planet – going meatless one day a week. On Mondays, commit to leaving meat off your plate and choosing vegetarian options instead. Research shows cutting back on red meat just a bit provides significant benefits. You’ll reduce your risk of chronic diseases while lessening your environmental footprint. Meatless Mondays are easy to incorporate into any lifestyle. So starting next week, I hope you’ll help raise awareness around sustainable eating by participating. Every small choice matters – will you make this one with me?

#2. Title: Volunteer at the Library

Hello, my name is X and I’m here today to tell you about an exciting opportunity to give back to the community. Our public library is seeking more volunteers to assist patrons and help keep its services running strong. As little as two hours per month of your time would be hugely appreciated. Tasks can include shelving books, reading to children, and assisting seniors with technology. Volunteering is a great way to build skills while feeling fulfilled through serving others. Please consider signing up at the front desk. Our library brings people together – help keep it open for all by offering your time and talents. Thank you for listening!

#3. “Invest in Your Career with Continued Education”

Friends, to stay competitive in today’s world we must commit to lifelong learning. A degree alone won’t cut it anymore. That’s why I’m encouraging you all to consider pursuing additional certifications or classes part-time. It’s a great way to boost your skills and open new doors. Just a few hours a week can make a big difference. Companies also love seeing employees who take the initiative to grow. So let’s support each other along the way. Who wants to further their career together starting this fall?

These persuasive speech examples clearly state the position and main information within 3 minutes. You can have a tad bit more freedom to express your points compared to the 1-minute speeches.

Short persuasive speech examples

#1. “Spring Clean Your Social Media”

Hey everyone, social media can be fun but it also eats up a lot of our time if we’re not careful. I know from experience – I was constantly scrolling instead of doing things I enjoy. But I had an epiphany last week – it’s time for a digital detox! So I did some spring cleaning and unfollowed accounts that didn’t spark joy. Now my feed is full of inspiring folks instead of distractions. I feel less pulled to mindlessly browse and more present. Who’s with me in lightening your online load so you can spend more high-quality time in real life? It takes just a few minutes to unsubscribe and you won’t miss the stuff that doesn’t serve you.

#2. “Visit Your Local Farmers Market”

Guys, have you been to the downtown farmers market on Saturdays? It’s one of my favourite ways to spend the morning. The fresh veggies and local goods are amazing, and you get to chat with friendly farmers growing their own stuff. I always walk away with breakfast and lunch sorted for days. Even better, shopping directly from farmers means more money goes back into our community. It’s a fun outing too – I see lots of neighbours there every weekend. So this Saturday, let’s go check it out. Who wants to join me on a trip to support locals? I promise you’ll leave full and happy.

#3. “Reduce Food Waste through Composting”

How can we help the planet while saving money? By composting our food scraps, that’s how. Did you know food rotting in landfills is a major source of methane gas? But if we compost it naturally, those scraps turn into nutrient-rich soil instead. It’s easy to get started with a backyard bin too. Just 30 minutes a week breaks down apple cores, banana peels, coffee grounds – you name it. I promise your garden or community garden will thank you. Who wants to do their part and compost with me from now on?

Covering your information in a few minutes is possible if you have a well-established persuasive speech outline .

Let’s look at this 5-minute example on life:

Short persuasive speech examples

We’ve all heard the saying “You only live once”. But how many of us truly understand this motto and appreciate each day to its maximum? I’m here to persuade you that carpe diem should be our mantra. Life is too precious to take for granted.

Too often we get caught up in daily routines and trivial worries, neglecting to fully experience each moment. We scroll mindlessly through phones instead of engaging with real people and surroundings. Or we work excessive hours without dedicating quality time to relationships and hobbies that feed our souls. What’s the point of any of this if not to genuinely live and find joy each day?

The truth is, we really don’t know how much time we have. An unforeseen accident or illness could end even the healthiest life in an instant. Yet we trudge through life on autopilot instead of embracing opportunities as they arise. Why not commit to living consciously in the present rather than the hypothetical future? We must make a habit of saying yes to new adventures, meaningful connections, and simple pleasures that spark life within us.

To wrap it up, let this be the era where we stop waiting to truly live. Each sunrise is a gift, so let’s open our eyes to experience this wonderful ride called life to its absolute fullest. You never know when it might end, so make each moment count from today forward.

👩‍💻 How to Make a 5 Minute Presentation with 30 Topic Ideas in 2024

We hope these exemplary short speech examples have inspired and equipped you to craft impactful persuasive openers of your own.

Remember, in just a minute or two, you have the potential to spark real change. So keep messages concise yet vivid, paint compelling pictures through well-chosen words, and above all, leave audiences eager to hear more.

Which is an example of a persuasive speech?

Persuasive speeches present a clear position and utilise arguments, facts and reasoning to convince an audience to accept that particular viewpoint. For example, a speech which is written to convince voters to approve local funding for park upgrades and maintenance.

How do you write a 5-minute persuasive speech?

Choose a specific topic that you are passionate and knowledgeable about. Write an attention-grabbing introduction and develop 2 to 3 main arguments or points to support your thesis/position. Time your practice runs and cut content to fit within 5 minutes, accounting for natural speech pacing

Leah Nguyen

Leah Nguyen

Words that convert, stories that stick. I turn complex ideas into engaging narratives - helping audiences learn, remember, and take action.

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17.3 Organizing Persuasive Speeches

Learning objectives.

  • Understand three common organizational patterns for persuasive speeches.
  • Explain the steps utilized in Monroe’s motivated sequence.
  • Explain the parts of a problem-cause-solution speech.
  • Explain the process utilized in a comparative advantage persuasive speech.

A classroom of attentive listeners

Steven Lilley – Engaged – CC BY-SA 2.0.

Previously in this text we discussed general guidelines for organizing speeches. In this section, we are going to look at three organizational patterns ideally suited for persuasive speeches: Monroe’s motivated sequence, problem-cause-solution, and comparative advantages.

Monroe’s Motivated Sequence

One of the most commonly cited and discussed organizational patterns for persuasive speeches is Alan H. Monroe’s motivated sequence. The purpose of Monroe’s motivated sequence is to help speakers “sequence supporting materials and motivational appeals to form a useful organizational pattern for speeches as a whole” (German et al., 2010).

While Monroe’s motivated sequence is commonly discussed in most public speaking textbooks, we do want to provide one minor caution. Thus far, almost no research has been conducted that has demonstrated that Monroe’s motivated sequence is any more persuasive than other structural patterns. In the only study conducted experimentally examining Monroe’s motivated sequence, the researchers did not find the method more persuasive, but did note that audience members found the pattern more organized than other methods (Micciche, Pryor, & Butler, 2000). We wanted to add this sidenote because we don’t want you to think that Monroe’s motivated sequence is a kind of magic persuasive bullet; the research simply doesn’t support this notion. At the same time, research does support that organized messages are perceived as more persuasive as a whole, so using Monroe’s motivated sequence to think through one’s persuasive argument could still be very beneficial.

Table 17.1 “Monroe’s Motivated Sequence” lists the basic steps of Monroe’s motivated sequence and the subsequent reaction a speaker desires from his or her audience.

Table 17.1 Monroe’s Motivated Sequence

The first step in Monroe’s motivated sequence is the attention step , in which a speaker attempts to get the audience’s attention. To gain an audience’s attention, we recommend that you think through three specific parts of the attention step. First, you need to have a strong attention-getting device. As previously discussed in Chapter 9 “Introductions Matter: How to Begin a Speech Effectively” , a strong attention getter at the beginning of your speech is very important. Second, you need to make sure you introduce your topic clearly. If your audience doesn’t know what your topic is quickly, they are more likely to stop listening. Lastly, you need to explain to your audience why they should care about your topic.

In the need step of Monroe’s motivated sequence, the speaker establishes that there is a specific need or problem. In Monroe’s conceptualization of need, he talks about four specific parts of the need: statement, illustration, ramification, and pointing. First, a speaker needs to give a clear and concise statement of the problem. This part of a speech should be crystal clear for an audience. Second, the speaker needs to provide one or more examples to illustrate the need. The illustration is an attempt to make the problem concrete for the audience. Next, a speaker needs to provide some kind of evidence (e.g., statistics, examples, testimony) that shows the ramifications or consequences of the problem. Lastly, a speaker needs to point to the audience and show exactly how the problem relates to them personally.

Satisfaction

In the third step of Monroe’s motivated sequence, the satisfaction step , the speaker sets out to satisfy the need or solve the problem. Within this step, Monroe (1935) proposed a five-step plan for satisfying a need:

  • Explanation
  • Theoretical demonstration
  • Reference to practical experience
  • Meeting objections

First, you need to clearly state the attitude, value, belief, or action you want your audience to accept. The purpose of this statement is to clearly tell your audience what your ultimate goal is.

Second, you want to make sure that you clearly explain to your audience why they should accept the attitude, value, belief, or action you proposed. Just telling your audience they should do something isn’t strong enough to actually get them to change. Instead, you really need to provide a solid argument for why they should accept your proposed solution.

Third, you need to show how the solution you have proposed meets the need or problem. Monroe calls this link between your solution and the need a theoretical demonstration because you cannot prove that your solution will work. Instead, you theorize based on research and good judgment that your solution will meet the need or solve the problem.

Fourth, to help with this theoretical demonstration, you need to reference practical experience, which should include examples demonstrating that your proposal has worked elsewhere. Research, statistics, and expert testimony are all great ways of referencing practical experience.

Lastly, Monroe recommends that a speaker respond to possible objections. As a persuasive speaker, one of your jobs is to think through your speech and see what counterarguments could be made against your speech and then rebut those arguments within your speech. When you offer rebuttals for arguments against your speech, it shows your audience that you’ve done your homework and educated yourself about multiple sides of the issue.

Visualization

The next step of Monroe’s motivated sequence is the visualization step , in which you ask the audience to visualize a future where the need has been met or the problem solved. In essence, the visualization stage is where a speaker can show the audience why accepting a specific attitude, value, belief, or behavior can positively affect the future. When helping people to picture the future, the more concrete your visualization is, the easier it will be for your audience to see the possible future and be persuaded by it. You also need to make sure that you clearly show how accepting your solution will directly benefit your audience.

According to Monroe, visualization can be conducted in one of three ways: positive, negative, or contrast (Monroe, 1935). The positive method of visualization is where a speaker shows how adopting a proposal leads to a better future (e.g., recycle, and we’ll have a cleaner and safer planet). Conversely, the negative method of visualization is where a speaker shows how not adopting the proposal will lead to a worse future (e.g., don’t recycle, and our world will become polluted and uninhabitable). Monroe also acknowledged that visualization can include a combination of both positive and negative visualization. In essence, you show your audience both possible outcomes and have them decide which one they would rather have.

The final step in Monroe’s motivated sequence is the action step , in which a speaker asks an audience to approve the speaker’s proposal. For understanding purposes, we break action into two distinct parts: audience action and approval. Audience action refers to direct physical behaviors a speaker wants from an audience (e.g., flossing their teeth twice a day, signing a petition, wearing seat belts). Approval, on the other hand, involves an audience’s consent or agreement with a speaker’s proposed attitude, value, or belief.

When preparing an action step, it is important to make sure that the action, whether audience action or approval, is realistic for your audience. Asking your peers in a college classroom to donate one thousand dollars to charity isn’t realistic. Asking your peers to donate one dollar is considerably more realistic. In a persuasive speech based on Monroe’s motivated sequence, the action step will end with the speech’s concluding device. As discussed elsewhere in this text, you need to make sure that you conclude in a vivid way so that the speech ends on a high point and the audience has a sense of energy as well as a sense of closure.

Now that we’ve walked through Monroe’s motivated sequence, let’s look at how you could use Monroe’s motivated sequence to outline a persuasive speech:

Specific Purpose: To persuade my classroom peers that the United States should have stronger laws governing the use of for-profit medical experiments.

Main Points:

  • Attention: Want to make nine thousand dollars for just three weeks of work lying around and not doing much? Then be a human guinea pig. Admittedly, you’ll have to have a tube down your throat most of those three weeks, but you’ll earn three thousand dollars a week.
  • Need: Every day many uneducated and lower socioeconomic-status citizens are preyed on by medical and pharmaceutical companies for use in for-profit medical and drug experiments. Do you want one of your family members to fall prey to this evil scheme?
  • Satisfaction: The United States should have stronger laws governing the use of for-profit medical experiments to ensure that uneducated and lower-socioeconomic-status citizens are protected.
  • Visualization: If we enact tougher experiment oversight, we can ensure that medical and pharmaceutical research is conducted in a way that adheres to basic values of American decency. If we do not enact tougher experiment oversight, we could find ourselves in a world where the lines between research subject, guinea pig, and patient become increasingly blurred.
  • Action: In order to prevent the atrocities associated with for-profit medical and pharmaceutical experiments, please sign this petition asking the US Department of Health and Human Services to pass stricter regulations on this preying industry that is out of control.

This example shows how you can take a basic speech topic and use Monroe’s motivated sequence to clearly and easily outline your speech efficiently and effectively.

Table 17.2 “Monroe’s Motivated Sequence Checklist” also contains a simple checklist to help you make sure you hit all the important components of Monroe’s motivated sequence.

Table 17.2 Monroe’s Motivated Sequence Checklist

Problem-Cause-Solution

Another format for organizing a persuasive speech is the problem-cause-solution format. In this specific format, you discuss what a problem is, what you believe is causing the problem, and then what the solution should be to correct the problem.

Specific Purpose: To persuade my classroom peers that our campus should adopt a zero-tolerance policy for hate speech.

  • Demonstrate that there is distrust among different groups on campus that has led to unnecessary confrontations and violence.
  • Show that the confrontations and violence are a result of hate speech that occurred prior to the events.
  • Explain how instituting a campus-wide zero-tolerance policy against hate speech could stop the unnecessary confrontations and violence.

In this speech, you want to persuade people to support a new campus-wide policy calling for zero-tolerance of hate speech. Once you have shown the problem, you then explain to your audience that the cause of the unnecessary confrontations and violence is prior incidents of hate speech. Lastly, you argue that a campus-wide zero-tolerance policy could help prevent future unnecessary confrontations and violence. Again, this method of organizing a speech is as simple as its name: problem-cause-solution.

Comparative Advantages

The final method for organizing a persuasive speech is called the comparative advantages speech format. The goal of this speech is to compare items side-by-side and show why one of them is more advantageous than the other. For example, let’s say that you’re giving a speech on which e-book reader is better: Amazon.com’s Kindle or Barnes and Nobles’ Nook. Here’s how you could organize this speech:

Specific Purpose: To persuade my audience that the Nook is more advantageous than the Kindle.

  • The Nook allows owners to trade and loan books to other owners or people who have downloaded the Nook software, while the Kindle does not.
  • The Nook has a color-touch screen, while the Kindle’s screen is black and grey and noninteractive.
  • The Nook’s memory can be expanded through microSD, while the Kindle’s memory cannot be upgraded.

As you can see from this speech’s organization, the simple goal of this speech is to show why one thing has more positives than something else. Obviously, when you are demonstrating comparative advantages, the items you are comparing need to be functional equivalents—or, as the saying goes, you cannot compare apples to oranges.

Key Takeaways

  • There are three common patterns that persuaders can utilize to help organize their speeches effectively: Monroe’s motivated sequence, problem-cause-solution, and comparative advantage. Each of these patterns can effectively help a speaker think through his or her thoughts and organize them in a manner that will be more likely to persuade an audience.
  • Alan H. Monroe’s (1935) motivated sequence is a commonly used speech format that is used by many people to effectively organize persuasive messages. The pattern consists of five basic stages: attention, need, satisfaction, visualization, and action. In the first stage, a speaker gets an audience’s attention. In the second stage, the speaker shows an audience that a need exists. In the third stage, the speaker shows how his or her persuasive proposal could satisfy the need. The fourth stage shows how the future could be if the persuasive proposal is or is not adopted. Lastly, the speaker urges the audience to take some kind of action to help enact the speaker’s persuasive proposal.
  • The problem-cause-solution proposal is a three-pronged speech pattern. The speaker starts by explaining the problem the speaker sees. The speaker then explains what he or she sees as the underlying causes of the problem. Lastly, the speaker proposes a solution to the problem that corrects the underlying causes.
  • The comparative advantages speech format is utilized when a speaker is comparing two or more things or ideas and shows why one of the things or ideas has more advantages than the other(s).
  • Create a speech using Monroe’s motivated sequence to persuade people to recycle.
  • Create a speech using the problem-cause-solution method for a problem you see on your college or university campus.
  • Create a comparative advantages speech comparing two brands of toothpaste.

German, K. M., Gronbeck, B. E., Ehninger, D., & Monroe, A. H. (2010). Principles of public speaking (17th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon, p. 236.

Micciche, T., Pryor, B., & Butler, J. (2000). A test of Monroe’s motivated sequence for its effects on ratings of message organization and attitude change. Psychological Reports, 86 , 1135–1138.

Monroe, A. H. (1935). Principles and types of speech . Chicago, IL: Scott Foresman.

Stand up, Speak out Copyright © 2016 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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100 Persuasive Speech Topics for Students

  • Homework Tips
  • Learning Styles & Skills
  • Study Methods
  • Time Management
  • Private School
  • College Admissions
  • College Life
  • Graduate School
  • Business School
  • Distance Learning
  • M.Ed., Education Administration, University of Georgia
  • B.A., History, Armstrong State University

If you are planning a persuasive speech, you should think about a topic that can engage your audience. For this reason, you may want to consider a few topics before settling on the one that allows you to be more descriptive and entertaining.

Another important factor when picking a persuasive speech topic is to choose one that can provoke your audience. If you stir up a little emotion in your audience members, you'll keep their attention.

The list below is provided to help you brainstorm. Choose a topic from this list, or use it to generate an idea of your own. It could even be an idea that opposes the proposed example. For instance, instead of arguing American workers should be guaranteed a three-day weekend by law, you could argue why this shouldn't be the case.

How to Pick a Good Persuasive Speech Topic

Persuasive speeches are generally meant to convince an audience to agree with an idea you present. The topics can range from political to scientific or societal, and professional to personal—or even fun. They can be almost anything.

Just remember, a persuasive speech is different than a persuasive essay because you are presenting to an audience. So as you decide on a topic, think about your audience and decide on a subject matter that will be appropriate, compelling, and engaging to discuss. Perhaps it's a timely issue attracting a lot of news coverage, or maybe you want to be motivational and encourage a healthy activity. Whatever it is, structure your argument with a hook to capture attention , a clear definition of the topic or issue, and finally, your proposed solution or opinion.

100 Examples of Persuasive Speech Topics

  • Studying martial arts is good for mind and health.
  • Competitive sports can teach us about life.
  • Reality shows are exploiting people.
  • Community service should be a graduation requirement for all high school students.
  • The characteristics that make a person a hero.
  • It's important to grow things in a garden.
  • Violent video games are dangerous.
  • Lyrics in a song can impact our lives.
  • Traveling and studying abroad are positive experiences.
  • Journal writing is therapeutic.
  • You should spend time with your grandparents.
  • A laptop is better than a tablet.
  • Religion and science can go hand in hand.
  • School uniforms are good.
  • All-female colleges and all-male colleges are bad.
  • Multiple-choice tests are better than essay tests .
  • We should not spend money on space exploration.
  • Open-book tests are as effective as closed-book tests.
  • Security cameras keep us safer.
  • Parents should have access to students' grades.
  • Small classes are better than big classes.
  • You need to start saving for retirement now.
  • Credit cards are harmful to college students.
  • We should have a royal family.
  • We should protect endangered animals.
  • Texting while driving is dangerous.
  • You can write a novel.
  • Recycling should be required in the U.S.
  • State colleges are better than private colleges.
  • Private colleges are better than state colleges.
  • We should do away with penny coins.
  • Fast food containers hurt the environment.
  • Plastic straws are harmful to the environment.
  • You can eat and enjoy healthy snacks.
  • You can become a millionaire.
  • Dogs are better pets than cats.
  • You should own a bird.
  • It's unethical to keep birds in cages.
  • Liberal arts degrees prepare graduates to be better workers than other degrees.
  • Hunting animals should be banned.
  • Football is a dangerous sport.
  • School days should start later.
  • Night school is better than day school.
  • Technical training is better than a college degree.
  • Immigration laws should be more lenient.
  • Students should be able to choose their schools.
  • Everyone should learn to play a musical instrument.
  • Grass lawns should be prohibited.
  • Sharks should be protected.
  • We should do away with cars and go back to horse and carriage for transportation.
  • We should use more wind power.
  • We should pay more taxes.
  • We should do away with taxes.
  • Teachers should be tested like students.
  • We should not interfere in the affairs of other countries.
  • Every student should join a club.
  • Homeschooling is better than traditional schooling.
  • People should stay married for life.
  • Smoking in public should be illegal.
  • College students should live on campus .
  • Parents should let students fail.
  • Giving to charity is good.
  • Education makes us happier people.
  • T​he ​ death penalty should be outlawed.
  • Bigfoot is real.
  • We should increase train travel to save the environment.
  • We should read more classic books.
  • Fame is bad for young children.
  • Athletes should stay loyal to teams.
  • We should reform our prisons.
  • Juvenile offenders should not go to boot camps.
  • Abraham Lincoln was the best president.
  • Abraham Lincoln gets too much credit.
  • Students should be allowed to have cell phones in elementary, middle, and high school.
  • College student-athletes should be paid for playing.
  • Elderly citizens on fixed income should receive free public transportation.
  • Colleges and universities should be free to attend.
  • All American citizens should complete one year of community service.
  • Students should be required to take Spanish language classes.
  • Every student should be required to learn at least one foreign language .
  • Marijuana should be legal for recreational use nationwide.
  • Commercial testing of products on animals should no longer be allowed.
  • High school students should be required to participate in at least one team sport.
  • The minimum drinking age in the U.S. should be 25.
  • Replacing fossil fuels with cheaper alternative energy options should be mandated.
  • Churches need to contribute their share of taxes.
  • The Cuba embargo should be maintained by the U.S.
  • America should replace income taxes with a nationwide flat tax.
  • Once they reach the age of 18, all U.S. citizens should be automatically registered to vote .
  • Doctor-assisted suicide should be legal.
  • Spammers—people who bombard the internet with unsolicited email—should be banned from sending junk mail.
  • Every automobile driver should be required to take a new driver's test every three years.
  • Electroshock treatment is not a humane form of therapy.
  • Global warming is not real.
  • Single-parent adoption should be encouraged and promoted.
  • Gun companies should be held accountable for gun crimes.
  • Human cloning is not moral.
  • Religion does not belong in public education.
  • Juveniles should not be tried as adults.
  • American workers should be guaranteed a three-day weekend by law.
  • 100 Persuasive Essay Topics
  • 40 Writing Topics for Argumentative and Persuasive Essays
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  • How to Write and Structure a Persuasive Speech
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  • 501 Topic Suggestions for Writing Essays and Speeches
  • 5 Tips on How to Write a Speech Essay
  • 50 Topics for Impromptu Student Speeches
  • Deliberative Rhetoric

persuasive examples in speech

8 Types of Speeches to Captivate Any Audience

  • The Speaker Lab
  • May 8, 2024

Table of Contents

Words have power. In a speech, words can shift mountains, sway opinions, and light the fire for change. For anyone stepping up to the mic, knowing what kind of speech to deliver makes all the difference in winning over listeners. From informative talks to persuasive pitches, each type of speech serves a unique purpose and requires a specific approach. In this post, we’ll explore the 8 essential types of speeches you need to know to become a master communicator:

  • Informative speeches
  • Persuasive speeches
  • Demonstration speeches
  • Entertaining speeches
  • Special occasion speeches
  • Impromptu speeches
  • Debate speeches
  • Acceptance speeches

Let’s get started!

Types of Speeches to Master for Success

Every single day people across the world stand up in front of some kind of audience and speak. While the core purpose of any speech is to deliver a message to an audience, the type of message and manner in which it’s delivered helps us distinguish a given speech from others. As a result, we can categorize speeches based on four main concepts: entertaining, informing, demonstrating and persuading. Let’s take a look at each.

Informative Speech

In an informative speech, the presenter will share information about a particular person, place, object, process, concept, or issue by defining, describing, or explaining. The primary purpose of informative presentations is to share one’s knowledge of a subject with an audience. Reasons for making an informative speech vary widely.

For example, you might be asked to report to a group of managers how your latest project is coming along. Similarly, a local community group might wish to hear about your volunteer activities in New Orleans during spring break, or your classmates may want you to share your expertise on Mediterranean cooking.

Persuasive Speech

A persuasive speech proposes to change a person’s beliefs or actions on a particular issue. The presenter takes a side and gives his/her opinion with factual evidence to support their viewpoint. The topics tend to be debatable and the speech itself should have a convincing tone.

Demonstrative Speech

As the name suggests, a demonstrative speech is the type of speech you want to give to demonstrate how something works or how to do a certain thing. A demonstrative speech utilizes the use of visual aids and/or physical demonstration along with the information provided. Some might argue that demonstrative speeches are a subclass of informative speeches, but they’re different enough to be considered two distinct types. Think of it as the difference between explaining the history and tradition of gumbo as opposed to actually teaching a crowd how to make gumbo.

Entertaining Speech

The core purpose of an entertaining speech is to amuse the audience, and obviously, entertain them. They’re usually less formal in nature to help communicate emotions rather than to simply deliver facts. Some examples include speeches given by maids of honor or best men at weddings, acceptance speeches at the Oscars, or even the one given by a school’s principal before or after a talent show.

Special Occasion Speech

Beyond the four main types of public speeches we mentioned, there are a few other different types of speeches worth exploring, namely, special occasion speeches. Often shorter than other types of speeches, special occasion speeches focus on the occasion at hand, whether it’s a wedding , funeral , awards ceremony , or other special event. The goal is to connect with the audience on an emotional level and deliver a heartfelt message that resonates with the occasion. Personal stories, anecdotes, and expressions of gratitude are common elements in special occasion speeches.

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How to Deliver an Engaging Informative Speech

In an informative speech, the presenter will share information about a particular person, place, object, process, concept, or issue by defining, describing, or explaining. An informative speech’s purpose is to simplify complex theories into simpler, easier-to-digest and less ambiguous ideas. In other words, the goal of this type of speech is to convey information accurately.

Choose a Specific Topic

The first step in delivering an engaging informative speech is to choose a specific topic. Trying to cover too much ground in a single speech can be overwhelming for both the speaker and the audience. By narrowing your focus to a specific aspect of a larger topic, you can provide more in-depth information and keep your audience engaged. For example, instead of trying to explain the entire history of the internet, you could focus on the development of social media platforms.

Simplify Complex Concepts

One of the main goals of an informative speech is to simplify complex theories and concepts into more easily understandable ideas. This requires breaking down information into smaller, more digestible chunks. Use analogies, examples, and visual aids to help illustrate your points and make the information more relatable to your audience. Remember, your goal is to provide a general understanding of the topic, not to overwhelm your listeners with technical jargon or minute details.

Engage Your Audience

Keeping your audience engaged is crucial for the success of your informative speech. One way to do this is by using storytelling techniques to make the information more interesting and memorable. You can also ask rhetorical questions, encourage audience participation, and use humor when appropriate. By making your speech interactive and dynamic, you’ll be more likely to hold your audience’s attention and effectively communicate your message.

Use Visual Aids

Visual aids can be a powerful tool in an informative speech. They help to reinforce your message, clarify complex ideas, and make your presentation more engaging. Some effective visual aids include charts, graphs, images, videos, and physical objects. Just be sure not to rely too heavily on visuals at the expense of your content.

Practice and Refine

As with any type of public speaking, practice is essential for delivering a successful informative speech. Rehearse your presentation multiple times, paying attention to your pacing, tone, and body language. Consider practicing in front of a mirror, recording yourself, or presenting to a small group of friends or colleagues for feedback. Use their input to refine your speech and make improvements before the big day.

Mastering the Art of Persuasive Speaking

Speeches can be delivered to serve various purposes. A persuasive speech proposes to change a person’s beliefs or actions on a particular issue. Accordingly, the presenter takes a side and gives his/her opinion, supporting their argument with factual evidence.

Know Your Audience

The first step in crafting a persuasive speech is to know your audience. Understanding their beliefs, values, and concerns will help you tailor your message to resonate with them. In particular, consider factors such as age, gender, cultural background, and education level when analyzing your audience. This information will guide you in choosing the most effective arguments and examples to support your position.

Use Persuasive Language

The language you use in your persuasive speech can have a significant impact on how your audience receives your message. Use powerful, emotive words that evoke a strong response from your listeners.

Rhetorical devices such as repetition, metaphors, and rhetorical questions can also be effective in persuading your audience. However, be careful not to overuse techniques like pathos , as they can come across as manipulative or insincere if employed too frequently.

Provide Strong Evidence

To convince your audience to adopt your point of view, you need to provide strong evidence to support your claims. Use facts, statistics, expert opinions, and real-life examples to bolster your arguments. In addition, be sure to cite credible sources and present the information in a clear, logical manner. Finally, anticipate potential counterarguments and address them proactively to strengthen your position.

Inspire Positive Change

The goal of this type of speech is not only to change minds but also to inspire positive action. Conclude your persuasive speech with a clear call-to-action, urging your audience to take specific steps towards implementing the change you advocate for. In addition, paint a vivid picture of the benefits that will result from adopting your position, and make it easy for your listeners to understand how they can contribute to the cause.

Address Counterarguments

No matter how compelling your arguments may be, there will always be those who disagree with your position. To deliver a truly persuasive speech, you must anticipate and address potential counterarguments. That means acknowledging the validity of opposing viewpoints and then providing evidence to refute them. By demonstrating that you have considered alternative perspectives, you’ll come across as more credible and trustworthy to your audience.

Demonstrative Speeches: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you’ve ever watched a cooking show or a DIY tutorial, you’ve seen a demonstrative speech in action. This type of speech is all about teaching your audience how to do something, step by step. The key to a successful demonstrative speech is to be organized and concise. You need to break down the process into clear, easy-to-follow steps that your audience can grasp and replicate themselves.

Choose a Relevant Topic

When selecting a topic for your demonstrative speech, choose something that’s relevant and useful to your audience. It can be about anything that requires a demonstration, such as cooking a recipe, performing a science experiment, using a software program, or even tying a tie.

Consider your audience’s interests and needs. What skills or knowledge would benefit them the most? Choosing a topic that resonates with your listeners will keep them engaged and motivated to learn.

Plan Your Demonstration

Once you have your topic, it’s time to plan your demonstration from start to finish. Break down the process into logical, sequential steps. Consider the supplies or equipment you’ll need and any potential challenges or safety concerns. Creating an outline can help you stay organized and ensure you don’t miss any crucial steps. Remember, your goal is to make the process as clear and straightforward as possible for your audience.

Prepare Your Materials

Gather all the necessary materials, props, or visual aids you’ll need for your demonstration. Visual aids like props, slides, or even live demonstrations are incredibly helpful in illustrating your points. They can help your audience better understand and remember the steps you’re teaching them. During your speech, make sure everything is in working order and easily accessible.

A great demonstrative speech is not only informative but also engaging. You need to ignite a sense of enthusiasm and curiosity in your audience. Encourage them to ask questions and participate in the demonstration if possible.

In addition, use clear, concise language and maintain eye contact with your listeners. Inject some personality and humor into your delivery to keep things interesting and relatable.

Allow Time for Questions

After your demonstration, allow time for your audience to ask questions or seek clarification. This interaction can help reinforce their understanding and show that you’re invested in their learning.

At the end of your presentation, encourage your listeners to try out the skill or technique themselves. Finally, provide any additional resources or tips that can help them succeed. Remember, your ultimate goal is to empower your audience with new knowledge and abilities.

The Power of Entertaining Speeches

Sometimes, the best way to captivate an audience is simply to entertain them. An entertaining speech can range from a humorous anecdote at a conference to a moving story at a fundraiser. If you want to nail this type of speech, you need to engage your listeners and leave them with a memorable message.

As with any speech, understanding your audience is crucial for an entertaining speech. What kind of humor or stories will they appreciate? What tone and style will resonate with them? Consider factors like age, background, and the event itself. A joke that lands well at a casual gathering might not be appropriate for a formal business meeting.

Use Humor Effectively

Humor is a powerful tool in entertaining speeches, but it must be used skillfully. A well-crafted joke can break the ice, lighten the mood, and make your message more memorable. However, humor can also backfire if it’s offensive, inappropriate, or poorly delivered. Make sure your jokes are tasteful, relevant, and well-rehearsed. If you’re not confident in your comedic abilities, it’s better to err on the side of caution.

Share Personal Anecdotes

Personal stories and anecdotes can be incredibly effective in entertaining speeches. They help humanize you as a speaker as well as create a connection with your audience. As such, choose stories that are relevant to your message and that highlight your unique experiences or perspectives. Use descriptive language and engaging delivery to draw your listeners into the narrative.

An entertaining speech is all about engagement. You want your audience to be actively involved and invested in your message. In order to achieve this, use techniques like rhetorical questions, audience participation, or even props to keep your listeners engaged. Additionally, make eye contact, vary your tone and pace, and use gestures to emphasize key points.

End on a High Note

The conclusion of your entertaining speech is just as important as the beginning. You want to leave your audience with a positive, memorable impression. To accomplish this, consider ending with a call to action, a thought-provoking question, or a powerful quote. Tie your conclusion back to your main message and leave your listeners with something to ponder or act upon.

Captivating Your Audience with Special Occasion Speeches

Not all speeches are about imparting knowledge or persuading opinions. Sometimes, a speech’s primary purpose is to entertain, inspire, or commemorate a special event. This type of speech is known as a special occasion speech. Whether it’s a wedding toast, a eulogy, or an acceptance speech, special occasion speeches require a unique approach. Here are some tips for crafting a memorable and impactful special occasion speech.

Understand the Occasion

Every special occasion has its own unique tone, purpose, and expectations. A wedding toast, for example, is typically light-hearted and celebratory, while a eulogy is more somber and reflective. Before you start writing your speech, make sure you understand the nature of the occasion and the role your speech will play. This context will guide your content, tone, and delivery.

Special occasion speeches are often delivered to a specific group of people who share a connection to the event or honoree. As such, it’s crucial to tailor your speech to resonate with this particular audience. Consider their relationship to the occasion, their background, and their expectations. What stories, anecdotes, or insights will they appreciate and relate to?

Use Appropriate Humor

Humor can be a powerful tool in special occasion speeches, especially in celebratory situations like weddings or retirements. A well-placed joke or funny story can help break the ice, engage the audience, and create a warm, positive atmosphere. However, it’s important to use humor appropriately and tastefully. Avoid jokes that might be offensive, insensitive, or ill-suited to the occasion. When in doubt, err on the side of caution.

Share Personal Stories

Special occasion speeches often revolve around honoring or commemorating a person, relationship, or milestone. By sharing personal stories or anecdotes, you can help bring your speech to life and create an emotional connection with your audience. Choose stories that highlight the qualities or experiences you want to celebrate. In addition, use vivid details and descriptive language to help your audience visualize and engage with your memories.

Express Gratitude

Many special occasion speeches, such as wedding toasts or acceptance speeches, involve expressing gratitude to those who have supported or contributed to the occasion. Accordingly, take time to acknowledge and thank the people who have made the event possible or played a significant role in your life. Be specific in your praise and sincere in your appreciation.

Impromptu Speaking: Tips for Thinking on Your Feet

Imagine you’re at a meeting and your boss suddenly calls on you to share your thoughts on the project. Or maybe you’re at a networking event and someone asks you to introduce yourself to the group. These scenarios can be nerve-wracking, especially if you’re not prepared. That’s where impromptu speaking comes in.

Impromptu speeches are delivered without prior preparation or planning. You’re given a topic or question on the spot and must quickly organize your thoughts to deliver a coherent speech. It’s an essential skill that tests your ability to think on your feet and communicate effectively in spontaneous situations.

Stay Calm and Focused

When faced with an impromptu speech, the first thing to do is stay calm. Take a deep breath and focus on the task at hand. Remember, the audience wants you to succeed, so don’t let nerves get the best of you.

Use a Simple Structure

To quickly organize your thoughts, use a simple structure like the P-R-E-P method: Point, Reason, Example, Point. Start with your main point, give a reason to support it, provide an example, and then reiterate your point. This structure will help you stay on track and deliver a clear message.

Draw from Personal Experiences

When you’re put on the spot, it’s easier to draw from personal experiences than to try to come up with something completely new. Share a relevant story or anecdote that supports your point. This will help you communicate emotions and connect with your audience.

Even though you’re speaking off the cuff, don’t forget to engage your audience. Make eye contact, use gestures, and vary your tone of voice. These techniques will help you capture and maintain your audience’s attention.

Practice Regularly

Like any skill, impromptu speaking improves with practice. Seek out opportunities to speak on the spot, whether it’s at work, in social situations, or even just with friends and family. The more you do it, the more comfortable and confident you’ll become.

Debate Speeches: Crafting Compelling Arguments

Debate speeches are a common type of speech, especially in school competitions. They involve presenting arguments and evidence to support a particular viewpoint on a topic. Whether you’re a high school or college student, mastering the art of debate can be a valuable skill.

Research Your Topic

The first step in crafting a compelling debate speech is to thoroughly research your topic. Gather facts, statistics, and expert opinions to support your argument. Make sure to use reputable sources and fact-check your information.

Develop Your Argument

Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to develop your argument. Choose your strongest points and organize them in a logical manner. Use persuasive language and rhetorical devices to make your case more compelling.

Anticipate Counterarguments

In a debate, you must be prepared to defend your position against counterarguments. Anticipate what your opponent might say and have rebuttals ready. This requires critical thinking and the ability to think on your feet.

The language you use in your debate speech can make a big difference. Use strong, active verbs and vivid imagery to paint a picture in your audience’s mind. Rhetorical questions, repetition, and tricolons (a series of three parallel elements) can also be effective persuasive devices.

Deliver with Confidence

Finally, deliver your debate speech with confidence. Speak clearly, maintain eye contact, and use gestures to emphasize your points. Remember, your delivery is just as important as the content of your speech.

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Delivering Powerful Acceptance Speeches

Whether you’re accepting an award at work or being honored at a community event, an acceptance speech is your chance to express gratitude and share your story. Here are some tips for delivering a powerful acceptance speech.

First, express gratitude. Thank the organization presenting the award, as well as any individuals who have supported you along the way. Be specific in your thanks and show genuine appreciation.

Share a Personal Story

An acceptance speech is a great opportunity to share a personal story that relates to the award or honor you’re receiving. This could be a story of overcoming obstacles, learning an important lesson, or achieving a goal. Your story will help the audience connect with you on a personal level.

Inspire Your Audience

Use your acceptance speech to inspire your audience. Share the lessons you’ve learned or the wisdom you’ve gained. Additionally, encourage others to pursue their dreams and never give up. Your words have the power to motivate and uplift those listening.

Keep It Concise

While it’s important to express gratitude and share your story, it’s also important to keep your acceptance speech concise. Aim for a speech that’s no more than 3-5 minutes long. Be mindful of the time and the event schedule.

Practice and Prepare

Finally, practice and prepare for your acceptance speech. Write out your key points and practice delivering your speech out loud. This will help you feel more confident and prepared when the big moment arrives.

When it comes to rocking public speaking, getting a grip on the different types of speeches is the first step. Then you know whether to share info, sway opinions, show how it’s done, or just give your audience a good time. As a result, you can really make your speeches hit home and stick with your audience.

Remember, no matter what type of speech you’re giving, the key to success lies in understanding your purpose, knowing your audience, and adapting your message accordingly. With practice and persistence, you’ll soon be able to captivate any crowd, no matter the occasion.

So go forth, speak with confidence, and let your voice be heard. The world is waiting for your message!

  • Last Updated: May 7, 2024

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10 Tips for a Persuasive Presentation

Powerful presentation is persuasion. here's how to elevate your impact..

Posted May 11, 2024 | Reviewed by Ray Parker

  • Presentations aim to effect change. It's essential to be clear about what change you want to see.
  • Powerful presenters embrace and extend empathy to seek first to understand their audience.
  • Substance and style both matter to create an audience-informed communication experience.
  • Persuasive presentations are relevant, reasoned, real, and resonant.

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How many of us realize that giving a presentation or making a speech is all about persuasion , influence, and emotional intelligence ? Impactful presenters understand the power of empathy to understand and engage their audience, the efficiency and kindness of having a clear objective and message, and the importance of substance and style—all as a way to connect in a way that engages and inspires.

Much has been written on the power and behavioral science of persuasion, not least by expert Robert Cialdini. His bestselling book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion explains seven research-based universal principles of influence .

From my experience as a leadership coach working with thousands of people worldwide, I have compiled a list of ten essentials to elevate our presentation.

1. Maintain an "other" focus. What do you know about your audience and how can you find out more? Ask yourself what kind of a speaker will appeal to your audience, what arguments are likely to resonate with them, and what feelings you want to inspire so the audience will positively respond to your ask. If your audience is predominantly data-driven, you may want to use more evidence-based arguments. If the audience is mixed, a combination of data, authority, and storytelling may be more appropriate. Extend Daniel Goleman’s three types of empathy to gather intelligence , understand your audience, and tailor your intervention to connect more profoundly.

2. Determine a specific objective: Presentations aim to effect change in some way. What change do you want to see in your audience? Every presentation aims to change the audience in some way. For instance, gaining their approval for a certain investment, soliciting their buy-in for a change, or creating a sense of enthusiasm for an idea or initiative. The purpose of a presentation is to bring about change so make sure you are clear on what kind of change you want to bring about.

3. Design a grabber: Our attention spans have shrunk as we have more and more competing demands on our attention . If you want to get someone’s attention you need to grab it at the outset and try and hold on. You can do this in a number of different ways. Throw out a question that demands a response from the audience. Give a surprising fact or statistic, or quote from a well-known figure. Tell a story or an anecdote. A good grabber captures the attention of everyone there, and makes them focus on what you have to say.

4. Crystalize your message and construct your arguments : Your message is the heart of your speech. Craft a brief phrase that clearly defines your proposal in 10-12 words. For example, “This post is about crafting presentations that inspire and engage others to elevate their presentations.” Make it memorable by choosing inspiring words, symbols, catchy expressions, something that will remain in the audience's mind. As Brené Brown says: “Clear is kind,” and a clear message provides a path to develop your ideas.

When you have a clear and concise message, it helps you formulate your arguments. Think of developing your arguments using the rule of three —three compelling arguments to convince but not overwhelm your audience.

5. Prepare a call to action: Remember, we want to change our audience in some way, so we need to make our ask in a clear and concrete manner.

Consider your call to action in terms of what you want your audience to think/feel/do:

  • Think—“I want you to think about how you can improve your presentations.”
  • Feel—“I want you to feel enthusiastic and motivated so that you can elevate your power to persuade.”
  • Do—“I want you to try out some of these tips and tools for yourself.”

6. Craft a memorable closing: Close the speech in an elegant and memorable way. We need people to remember what we've told them, so prepare it well. This is not the time to improvise. Try to connect your closing to your opening grabber, which makes the presentation more memorable. Good preparation means preparing everything to the very end—finish well.

persuasive examples in speech

7. Plan your delivery: A dynamic speaker draws listeners in by using vocal variety (tone, intonation, speed, volume, pace, pauses, silence) and body language (posture, gestures, expression, and movement) to highlight important points and hold the audience’s attention. Be intentional: How will you use your voice and your body to emphasize a thought or idea? Think about it: If you increased the time you spent on style or delivery by 20 percent, what would it mean for the impact you make?

8. Think about how you will engage your audience : You want the audience to feel considered throughout. Include pauses so they can process what’s being said; connect with individuals throughout the room and make deliberate eye contact while speaking, especially when delivering key points. Read and respond to the audience by changing how you deliver as you go based on the audience’s nonverbal communication .

9. Rehearse and Practice: Practice is one of the most crucial elements of presenting—and probably the most neglected one. If this is new to you start by reading your presentation in front of a mirror to get comfortable speaking your presentation. Next, video yourself and watch out for nervous or distracting habits to eliminate them and identify any areas where you can improve your delivery. If you are feeling brave, practice in front of an audience and ask for feedback.

10. Prepare your success rituals and mantra: Public speaking and/or stage fright can feel debilitating for some. Have your calm-down ritual prepared and ready to go before you start your presentation. This might be a certain gesture, a power pose, breathwork, or a mantra. Try this tip: Identify three adjectives to describe how you would like to show up during this presentation. This sets an intention and helps focus our cognitive and emotional resources on success.

Powerful presenters embrace and extend empathy to seek first to understand their audience. They use this intelligence to carefully make choices about substance and style to create an audience-informed communication experience that feels relevant, reasoned, real, and resonant and creates a pathway for change.

Palena R. Neale Ph.D, PCC

Palena Neale, Ph.D. , is a women’s leadership coach, lecturer, and founder of unabridged, a boutique leadership development practice.

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Unlocking the Power of Persuasion: Ethos, Pathos, and Logos

This essay about the foundational principles of persuasion—ethos, pathos, and logos—details how these rhetorical strategies, established by Aristotle, function in influencing audiences. It discusses how ethos builds speaker credibility, pathos connects emotionally, and logos appeals through logic. Examples are provided from various fields, including advertising and influential speeches, illustrating the effective combination of these elements in practical scenarios to enhance communication and persuasive power.

How it works

Persuasion is an ancient art, refined through the centuries as a pivotal tool in the spheres of politics, education, and advertisement. At the core of this art lie three fundamental principles—ethos, pathos, and logos—introduced by Aristotle over 2,300 years ago. These rhetorical strategies offer a powerful framework through which we can understand and wield the art of persuasion more effectively in everyday interactions.

Ethos refers to the credibility or ethical appeal of the speaker. It encompasses the speaker’s character as the audience perceives it.

When we trust those who speak to us, their messages resonate more profoundly and their arguments become more convincing. Establishing ethos involves demonstrating competence, virtue, and goodwill. For example, a doctor discussing health issues naturally embodies ethos through their professional qualifications and experiences. Similarly, a teacher’s ethos is established through both their mastery of the subject and their dedication to students’ growth.

Pathos , on the other hand, appeals to the audience’s emotions. It aims to evoke feelings that prompt action. This emotional connection can be harnessed through storytelling, vivid imagery, or passionate delivery. It is often seen in advertising, where marketers create poignant narratives around their products to enhance desirability. For instance, charities use pathos effectively by showing heart-wrenching images of people in need to stimulate empathy and encourage donations. However, overuse or manipulation of emotional appeal can lead to skepticism and a loss of credibility.

Logos is the logical appeal based on reasoning. This aspect involves presenting clear, logical arguments that include facts, statistics, and undeniable data. Logical reasoning requires constructing a coherent argument that leads the audience to a rational conclusion. In academic or professional settings, logos is paramount as decisions need to be backed by solid evidence and clear thought processes. For instance, a business proposal that outlines potential returns on investment through detailed forecasts and market analysis utilizes logos to persuade stakeholders.

The most effective persuasive efforts typically combine these elements. A speaker might begin with an introduction that establishes their credibility (ethos), then appeal to the audience’s values and emotions (pathos), and conclude with compelling data and logical arguments (logos). This holistic approach can be seen in influential speeches like Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” where King established his ethos by aligning with moral and religious principles, invoked pathos through his passionate and poetic delivery, and used logos by referencing the American Constitution and the Emancipation Proclamation.

Understanding and mastering the use of ethos, pathos, and logos allows individuals to communicate more effectively and persuasively. In everyday life, being aware of these elements can help one discern the strategies behind the messages we receive from politicians, advertisers, or even friends and family, making us more informed and discerning listeners. Moreover, in crafting our messages, leveraging these pillars of rhetoric can enhance the impact of our communication, ensuring we convey our ideas in a manner that truly engages and moves our audience.

In conclusion, the power of persuasion lies in a balanced approach to building credibility, connecting emotionally, and reasoning logically. By enriching our understanding of ethos, pathos, and logos, we unlock the potential to influence, motivate, and persuade, paving the way for more meaningful and effective communication.

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PapersOwl.com. (2024). Unlocking the Power of Persuasion: Ethos, Pathos, and Logos . [Online]. Available at: https://papersowl.com/examples/unlocking-the-power-of-persuasion-ethos-pathos-and-logos/ [Accessed: 13-May-2024]

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Two Harms of Hate Speech and the Limits of Counter-Speech

April 16, 2024 | by Sam Jackson

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For more than a decade, we’ve been debating how to respond to hate speech – broadly  understood as “offensive discourse targeting a group or an individual based on inherent characteristics (such as race, religion or gender).” 1 The status quo in the United States holds that governments may not restrict speech outside of narrow exceptions (for things like threats, defamation, and obscenity), 2 and hate speech in general doesn’t fit into those exceptions, though some examples of hate speech might, like if the hate speech is likely to incite “ imminent lawless action ”. Non-governmental actors engaged in content moderation, such as social media platforms, are generally understood to be legally permitted to restrict speech according to their own rules, though whether and how companies exercise this legal right is a matter of ongoing debate.  

A protestor is pinned against a vehicle by Russian security personnel

One response to hate speech is the “ marketplace of ideas ” model, which  argues that the most  effective way to defeat loathsome ideas is to challenge them with other ideas, because good ideas will defeat bad ones on a level playing field. 3 Additionally, according to this approach, restrictions aren’t effective, are too blunt, and will be weaponized by those in power against legitimate critics. And it’s certainly true that  authoritarian  regimes have weaponized terms like terrorism to outlaw dissent, while risk-averse platforms  remove  content from activists that documents hate crimes, violence against civilians, and other violations of human rights. This framework of competition has long been a dominant metaphor to understanding approaches to the regulation of speech in the United States, although  experts have increasingly  pushed  back against it in recent years. 

Persuasive hate speech  

This marketplace approach is rooted in understanding hate speech primarily as persuasive communication of ideas that downplays the immediate harms of that speech. And indeed, some hate speech is persuasive, aiming to change minds. For example, some “academics” peddle pseudo-scientific research arguing that racial minorities are intellectually inferior or pose threats to White people. 4 Part of the purpose of this kind of work is to persuade non-believers of the truth of their hate speech.  

For counter-speech to defeat hate speech in this framework, we need to think of hate speech as something with a “truth value” (i.e., statements that can be said to be true or untrue) that can be contested. In this understanding, counter-speech can become a kind of competitor in the marketplace: calling out hate speech as unacceptable states our values and, at least indirectly, attempts to convince others that our values are good. 

Expressive hate speech  

However, some hate speech is less concerned with “truth value” and more concerned with making targets feel unsafe or unwelcome. 5 When someone uses a racial slur, they are not (primarily) saying anything of substance other than “I believe you belong to this racial group, and I do not like people who belong to this racial group.” 6 While there is persuasive potential in this kind of hate speech (for example, convincing bystanders that the target is part of a harmful minoritized group, or that it is permissible to use racial slurs), that persuasion is secondary to the immediate goal of harming the target.  

Illustration of two people having an argument

At the same time, even the most persuasive of hate speech also has expressive outcomes. When prominent public voices argue, for example, about whether trans folks should be permitted to use bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity, trans folks justifiably hear expressions of the idea that trans people aren’t normal and deserve to have their autonomy disproportionately restricted by the government. 

Just as targets can hear expressive hate within persuasive hate speech, they can hear expressive solidarity within persuasive counter-speech: when an ally argues that legislating bathroom access for trans folks is unjust, trans folks could also hear expressions of affinity and belonging. 

Countering Hate Speech  

As we think about hate speech interventions, we must consider the different types of harms that come with different forms of hate speech. If an instance of hate speech seems more persuasive than expressive in function, counter-speech that argues against the truth propositions in that hate speech might be a reasonable response. For example, in response to assertions that Latinx immigrants are violent criminals, scholars can collect and publish data to  investigate  crime  rates among immigrants versus non-immigrants, using our best relevant evidence to contradict the truth value of the incorrect assertion about immigrant crime. 

Two people examine text on a large computer

However, research on fact-checking and debunking warns about backlash to information correction. For example, when people see negations of false statements (such as “Mexican immigrants are  not  rapists”), they tend to remember the false statement without remembering its negation; e.g., in this example, people would remember “Mexican immigrants are rapists,” forgetting the “ not ” part of that statement. This happens through a few possible  mechanisms , including a tendency to believe that familiar information is true regardless of its truth. That is, the more we hear something, the more we believe it is true, even if we heard about it in the context of refuting the piece of information and including a tendency to forget negation (i.e., forgetting the “ not ” in the above example). 7 As  observers have pointed out in the context of recent fabricated controversies related to DEI efforts, saying that “’malfunctioning doors have nothing to do with DEI’ is still a sentence with both ‘malfunctioning doors’ and ‘DEI’ in it.” A better alternative, according to this perspective, is to change the terms of the discussion to shine a light on the hateful ideas driving the fabricated controversies: don’t say that the racist is wrong, spend your time pointing out the racist’s racism. But this is still engaging in the marketplace of ideas, in a certain sense: rather than a straight competition between two versions of the same “product” (i.e., idea), this is like pointing out the unsanitary conditions in the competitor’s factory.  

Regardless of what we think of the metaphor of the “marketplace of ideas,” we must be clear about what harms we want to reduce and how those harms manifest. Counter-speech against expressive hate speech can only be effective if it undoes the immediate harms of hateful expression, taking someone who was made to feel unsafe and unwelcome and demonstrating that they have support and community. This is the Paxlovid of dealing with hate speech: just as the antiviral medications in Paxlovid reduce the chances that someone will have severe complications from COVID-19 once they’ve already been infected, persuasive counter-speech can perhaps reduce some of the harms that have already been caused by hate speech. But as we know from COVID, prevention efforts (like mask wearing) are more efficient and effective than treatment. 

This distinction between expressive and persuasive hate speech can hopefully lead us to better understand the different types of harm associated with hate speech. 8 Deep knowledge of problems is critical to designing interventions that can address those problems. But unpacking complexity doesn’t necessarily directly lead to better interventions. Though distinguishing expressive hate speech from persuasive may make sense conceptually and might be analytically useful when examining individual cases, I’m not sure that we can distinguish these forms at scale. Identifying expressive hate speech, especially outside of the clearest examples, is challenging for a number of reasons, not least of which is that it’s difficult to know what effects an instance of hate speech will have on those who are the target of the attack until after they have experienced those effects (at which point it’s too late for prevention and we have to think about reducing negative effects after the fact). Instead, this distinction can help us better understand the shortcomings of the marketplace of ideas approach to thinking about harmful speech. 

There are more fundamental hurdles to leveraging the expressive-persuasive distinction for content moderation purposes, though. Most importantly, most instances of hate speech likely contain some degree of both expressive content and persuasive content; there are probably relatively few instances that are pure expression or pure persuasion. 9 The primary utility of deploying this distinction in cases of mixed persuasion and expression is in recognizing that any intervention is likely to only address some of the harms associated with a particular example of hate speech. 

1 As with so many concepts related to extremism, there is considerable debate about the definition of hate speech among experts. Further complicating this, some (but far from all) nation states have laws criminalizing hate speech that also attempt to define the term but within the specific legal and sociopolitical contexts of the nation in question. For an approachable overview, see Caitlin Ring Carlson’s Hate Speech .  

2 Unless, it seems, the government action is led by Republicans alleging anti-conservative bias in content moderation practices based on only anecdotal evidence. The Supreme Court heard challenges to state laws along these lines from Texas and Florida in February 2024. https://www.texastribune.org/2024/02/26/texas-social-media-law-supreme-court/ .  

3 Maitra and McGowan summarize some other objections to certain flavors of the “marketplace of ideas” framework, including the idea that such counter-speech expectations often fall on those who are targeted by hate speech even though these folks tend to suffer from discrimination that can limit their ability to talk about issues related to hate speech. 

4 One prominent example is Kevin MacDonald, an evolutionary psychologist who has openly advocated white supremacy for years and retired as a full professor from the faculty of California State University – Long Beach in 2014. https://daily49er.com/news/2014/04/14/controversial-psychology-professor-to-retire-in-the-fall/ https://www.irehr.org/2016/08/30/who-is-kevin-macdonald/ .  

5 The idea that speech itself can directly harm has been the subject of scholarly attention for decades. For example, Richard Delgado wrote about what would later be called “assaultive speech” in 1982. See https://scholarship.law.ua.edu/fac_articles/360/ .   

6 “I do not like people who belong to this racial group” is perhaps the mildest of negative sentiments implied by the use of a racial slur. In reality, the negative sentiment is likely to be more severe, along the lines “I believe people who belong to this racial group are inherently inferior to other people” or “I believe people who belong to this racial group do not deserve basic human dignity.” 

7 The tendency to forget negation leads to a very nuts-and-bolts semantic suggestion: counter-speech should use positive antonyms (e.g., “trans women are women”) rather than negating the original words of the speech being countered (e.g., “trans women are not men”). See https://search.issuelab.org/resource/misinformation-and-fact-checking-research-findings-from-social-science.html , pp. 14-15. 

8 Expressive hate speech might refer to the same types of harmful speech as the term “assaultive speech,” a question I intend to take up in future work. 

9 Pure persuasion might be more common than pure expression: propaganda containing hate speech could be understood as pure persuasion, especially if the intended audience of that propaganda is a member of the speaker’s in-group rather than a member of their out-group. 

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For American Jews, Biden’s Speech on Antisemitism Offers Recognition and Healing

While his message resonated with many Jewish leaders, the president’s remarks drew criticism from Republicans and supporters of Palestinians on the left.

President Biden, left, stands next to Speaker Mike Johnson, right, as they look forward with four large candles in the foreground.

By Jennifer Medina and Nicholas Nehamas

President Biden, standing in front of six candles symbolizing the six million Jews killed during the Holocaust, delivered on Tuesday the strongest condemnation of antisemitism by any sitting American president.

For Jews monitoring a spike in hate crimes and instances of antisemitic rhetoric amid pro-Palestinian protests on college campuses, Mr. Biden’s speech at a Holocaust remembrance ceremony at the Capitol was both fiercely necessary and fiercely appreciated. The Anti-Defamation League, which has been tracking antisemitic incidents since the 1970s, says the number of such episodes has reached all-time highs in four of the last five years .

“In an unprecedented moment of rising antisemitism, he gave a speech that no modern president has needed to,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, the chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League. “There has not been a moment like this since before the founding of the state of Israel. We have said it will never get worse, but then it has.”

Still, if the president thought he might change minds with his emotional and deeply personal speech — recalling his father’s discussions about the Holocaust at the dinner table and taking his grandchildren to former concentration camps — there were few signs he had caused many to reconsider their views. Instead, initial reactions fell along ideological lines.

Republicans dismissed his comments as meek, while supporters of Palestinians on the left attacked him for conflating criticism of Israel with antisemitism.

Warren David, the co-founder of the Arab America Foundation, an advocacy group, said it was disappointing that Mr. Biden has not spoken more forcefully against anti-Arab racism and the death toll in Gaza.

“I wish that he would also give a speech and talk about the lives of Palestinians that have been lost, and the pain and the agony that we as Palestinians and Arab Americans feel,” said Mr. David, who added that he condemns antisemitism. “Biden has to give more attention in his discourse to Palestinians and Arab Americans.”

The president spoke seven months to the day after the terrorist attack on Israel by Hamas on Oct. 7. About 1,200 people were killed along Israel’s border with Gaza and more than 200 were taken hostage in the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust.

Echoes of the Holocaust have loomed in the background of the debate over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Activists have relied on slogans evoking the Holocaust both to defend and to attack Israel. While supporters of Israel chant and post on social media the phrase “Never again is now,” critics of Israel frequently invoke the idea that “never again means never again for anyone.”

On Wednesday, several leaders of three public school districts will be questioned by members of a House committee that has already questioned four college presidents about campus antisemitism, leading to the resignations of two of them .

For months, Mr. Biden and other Democrats have faced unrelenting protests against steadfast support of Israel. But the speech Tuesday and his remarks last week about the campus protests signaled that the president appears more concerned with shoring up support among moderates than with rallying the left flank of his party.

Representative Hakeem Jeffries, the House minority leader, who spoke before Mr. Biden on Tuesday, won applause when he decried racism, sexism and Islamophobia, along with other forms of hate. Mr. Biden kept his focus more squarely on antisemitism and offered an “ironclad” commitment to Israel, its security and its existence as an independent state “even when we disagree.”

“To the Jewish community, I want you to know: I see your fear, your hurt, your pain,” Mr. Biden said. “Let me reassure you, as your president, you’re not alone, you belong, you always have and you always will.”

Representative Jared Moskowitz, a Florida Democrat who is Jewish and has relatives who escaped or were killed in the Holocaust, called Mr. Biden’s speech a desperately needed moment of “moral clarity.”

“When we turn on the TV and we see all these people on college campuses protesting, there are people who are old enough to remember that happened at universities in Germany,” Mr. Moskowitz said. “It wasn’t uneducated people in the streets. It was the intelligentsia part of German society as well that got involved.”

He added that “parents of Jewish kids are scared” because “they see this rise going on, and it reminds them of the stories their grandparents told them.”

Just days before Mr. Biden’s speech, Sharon Kleinbaum, the rabbi of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in Midtown Manhattan, received a bomb threat targeting her synagogue, which caters to L.G.B.T.Q. Jews.

“He is walking a very fine line very well by referring to Jews and others, but this was Holocaust Remembrance Day, and we are feeling vulnerable in America,” she said. “While I do not think that all criticism of Israel is antisemitic, there are places where antisemitism is flourishing. It has been messy.”

Diana Fersko, a rabbi in New York City and the author of a book on antisemitism, said she heard the president’s remarks as a kind of pastoral salve.

“There was an effort to hold the Jewish people emotionally — so many of us are so deeply traumatized that it was comforting to hear those words of reassurance,” she said. “We don’t feel our pain has been seen and heard among people who we once considered friends, so the recognition of both then and now was deeply validating and empowering.”

Republicans have used the campus protests as a political cudgel against Mr. Biden and the Democratic Party. Donald J. Trump has called the demonstrators “ raging lunatics ” and praised police officers for arresting them. Last month, Speaker Mike Johnson held a news conference at Columbia University, where he suggested Mr. Biden should send in the National Guard to quell protests. Mr. Johnson also spoke at the event on Tuesday, comparing the protests to what happened in Nazi Germany.

Matt Brooks, the chief executive of the Republican Jewish Coalition, accused the president of not doing enough to support the efforts to defeat Hamas.

“This is a sad example of President Biden saying one thing publicly and privately working behind the scenes to do something radically different,” he said, speaking by phone as he traveled in Israel. “It’s quintessential Joe Biden: He is trying to tell everyone what they want to hear but the reality of what they’re doing is very different.”

Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of J-Street, a left-leaning lobbying organization that supports Israel but has been deeply critical of its current government, called the speech “very welcome” and praised the president for addressing antisemitism broadly.

“The fight over a millenia-old hatred should not be a partisan issue, but it has become a political football and it’s a shame,” he said.

David Myers, a professor of Jewish history at the University of California, Los Angeles and the director of the Initiative to Study Hate, said the president soberly acknowledged the “extraordinarily surreal dark place we inhabit after Oct. 7, with all the profound political and moral complications.”

But, Mr. Myers said, the president could have said more about the universal message of the lessons of the Holocaust, including the treatment of civilians. “It would have been a brave and important statement to make clear that support for Palestinian freedom and justice need not be by definition antisemitic,” he said. And he added that Mr. Biden also missed an opportunity to explain that the current spike in antisemitism in the United States first emerged from the far right during Mr. Trump’s ascent.

Shane Goldmacher contributed reporting.

Jennifer Medina is a Los Angeles-based political reporter for The Times, focused on political attitudes and demographic change. More about Jennifer Medina

Nicholas Nehamas is a Times political reporter covering the re-election campaign of President Biden. More about Nicholas Nehamas

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