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Tips that Will Help You Write a Compelling Persuasive Speech

Date published: | Lisa Barlow

Two student girl sitting and discussing some persuasive speech.

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Students, business professionals, and others can all benefit from knowing and using the principles of persuasive speech. The art of persuasion can be used in all the fields where you need others to agree with you. So let’s find out the basics of persuasive speaking.

To start with, it is essential to determine what the persuasive speaking is. It is a specific kind of speech where the speaker attempts to convince the audience to take his/her opinion. Perfectly, a persuasive speech has to make the audience change their point of view on the issue, or at least become more accepting of their standpoint.

In your everyday life, you might give an informal persuasive speech when trying to persuade friends to agree to the movie you would like to watch. If you are assigned to pitch a new product idea to stakeholders at work, you are directly being asked to come up with such a speech.

What Should a Persuasive Speech Include

Before diving deep into writing, let’s quickly look at the structure of a persuasive speech:

  • Opening. Start strong to catch the attention of your audience and explain your agenda.
  • Key arguments. Present your main points along with the facts.
  • Counterpoints. Talk about the common objections.
  • Closure. Restate your major message and suggest further action.

It is not the one and only structure you must use, but rather a base that can be used when writing a draft.

Below, you will find some extra tips for each section.

How to Start

A compelling speech requires a strong opening. Eventually, how can you convince anyone if they are not excited to listen to you in the first place? That is it, you cannot, and this is exactly the reason why you have to dedicate enough time to creating and refining your speech opening.

Consider beginning with a surprising statistic or a curious personal story. After it, you have to persuade the audience that they should listen to you. One of the ways to do this is by explaining what you have in common. Also, in the opening, you might share your credentials.

Follow your intro statement with a quick explanation of your goal. State the purpose of your speech in a couple of sentences, and explain what you want your audience to believe or do.

Eventually, proceed to the main part of the speech with a statement that allows the audience to know what is coming.

Here are some techniques that you can use to present your ideas convincingly.

The 5 Persuasive Techniques

Now, you have to present your arguments and counter any arguments that could conflict with your point. There are five great techniques to do that:

  • Repetition
  • Social proof
  • Comparisons
  • Agitate and solve
  • Storytelling

Let’s take a closer look at all of them.

Repetition

There is a reason why advertisements repeat the same thing several times. According to research, we are more likely to believe something if we hear it numerous times. Besides, repetition helps people to remember key points that you want them to keep in mind. Therefore, repeat your key points at the beginning and end of the speech.

Social proof

We are affected by the actions and beliefs of other people, even if we do not admit it. This must be used during your entire speech. For example, you can share testimonials from people who share your standpoint or leverage the voice of customer data, expressing the same concerns as you do.

Important! When you line up a social proof for your speech, check whether this information comes from a peer group that your audience relates to.

Comparisons

The idea of using comparisons consists in presenting a contrast of the idea that you support with the one that you do not. After it, you have to prove that yours is the best choice. For example, you might compare the features of two products to convince your audience that they need option A, not B. Using this technique provides speech with more credibility because it appears that you are giving the opposing position a fair shake, even when you are just showcasing it to score points against it.

Agitate and solve

When you use this technique, you first make the audience vary and somewhat dissatisfied with a certain issue. After it, you present your idea as a solution. The point here is to hit a nerve and get the audience to relate. After it, when presenting a solution, it is that much more convincing to them. Besides, it makes the entire scenario more emotionally compelling to them.

Storytelling

Storytelling is one of the most effective approaches. And not without reason. Stories help build an emotional connection. Imagine listening to a speech where the speaker lists a variety of statistics about the harmful effects of plastics on marine life. After it, imagine listening to the true story of a marine biologist who discovers a turtle that has been badly injured by plastic trash. It is one hundred percent that the second example will cast a much more significant impact on the audience.

How to Close the Speech

The way you close your speech depends on your goal.

If you want your audience to act specifically, then show them how they can do it, and make it as obviously as possible. For example: “When you pay your trash bill the next time, you will be asked if you want our city to start a recycling program. If you care about water quality and marine life, please say yes.”

If you want your audience to change their standpoint, try something like this: “Both facts and experience show that we cannot afford to send plastic to the landfill anymore. Please consider this the next time you go shopping.”

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