A Persuasive Speech & Outline

This example of a persuasive speech and its outline about Benjamin Franklin's discovery (or non-discovery as the case may be) of electricity should give you an idea of how to structure your speech,

It's a whole lot easier to sit down and write on a topic if you have it properly formatted before you begin.

Without a proper outline it's easy to lose track of the points you want to make in the order you want to make them.

This speech is light-hearted - almost jokey in places - so be sure to adopt a tone that's relevant to YOUR subject. Nevertheless, it gives you an idea of how to organize your thoughts.

Putting in the work of writing a persuasive speech outline allows you to write your presentation much more quickly and efficiently. It's actually much easier to write an outline than a full-blown speech, so give it a try!

A Persuasive Speech - Ben Franklin's Discovery of Electricity

Beginning of a Persuasive Speech & Outline


  1. In history we are told amazing stories about amazing things and amazing people.
  2. Like hurricane Katrina, 9/11, Pearl Harbor , and the big bang theory.
  3. Have you ever wondered if there's more to these events than we are told, or if they're even true?
  4. Today I am going to persuade and prove to you all that Ben Franklin is a big fat phony!
  5. I will prove three things about Bennie:
  1. How hard it is to attract a lightning bolt,
  2. The method he used could not work, and
  3. Ben Franklin did not discover electricity.

So now that I've told you the three things I will prove, let's start with the first one.


I. How hard is it to attract lightning.

A. You have to have something that attracts lightning.

  1. Some type of metal would work fine.
  2. Pointing something sharp and pointy up at the sky.

B. You have to be at the right spot at the right time.

  1. You have to be at a spot that is surrounded by lightning and it has to be high.
  2. You have to be outside when it is raining and there is lightning outside.

Now we know the conditions that have to be in effect, which leads me to my next point.

II. Ben's method couldn't work.

A. A kite back in those days couldn't fly in the rain.

  1. Kites back in the day were made pretty weak
  2. Kites were made out of thin paper and wooden sticks, so they couldn't fly in the rain.

B. A key and a plain glass jar couldn't hold lightning.

  1. A regular metal key is not strong enough to stop lightning in its tracks to go in a jar.
  2. A jar could not hold lightning and start glowing in a way that electricity does.

So now that you know that, I'll move on to my next point of proof.

III. Ben Franklin did not discover electricity.

A. He would have died if his kite had caught lightning.

  1. The lightning would have gone down the string and shocked him to death
  2. I know he didn't know about plastic and being grounded.

B. There is no evidence that he did it.

  1. There is no piece of the kite in the museum
  2. No key or pieces of the jar were saved.


  1. Ben Franklin may have done a lot of things, but he did not discover electricity.
  2. I have proven that it is hard to attract lightning, that Bennie's method couldn't work, and - last but not least - that Bennie did not discover electricity.
  3. I know what you're thinking... if he didn't discover electricity, then who did? But I'm not here to discuss that part, so who cares!
  4. So if you believe that he discovered electricity then I guess you also believe in the tooth fairy or Santa Claus.

End of a Persuasive Speech Outline

So, this speech about Benjamin Franklin is silly and only intended to show the structure of a persuasive speech outline. Creating this type outline for a persuasive speech has always helped me write on my chosen topic more quickly. Take the time to create an outline, and you'll find that your speech flows more smoothly, particularly when you get up to present it to an audience!

Would you like to read a sample speech created from the outline above? Here's the first draft below:

Sample of a Persuasive Speech

As we all know, history is filled with stories of notable events and amazing people. These stories have captivated and fascinated us for centuries, from Hurricane Katrina to the 9/11 attacks and from Pearl Harbor to the Big Bang Theory. But have you ever stopped to wonder if there might be more to these stories than we've been told or if they're even true? Today, I'm here to persuade you that one of these iconic figures, Benjamin Franklin, is a phony concerning one long-standing exaggeration - the discovery of electricity with a kite.

I'm going to prove three things to you today: first, how difficult it is to attract a lightning bolt; second, the method that Franklin used couldn't possibly have worked; and third, that Franklin did not discover electricity. So with that preview, let's get started with the first point.

How hard is it to attract lightning? First, you need something that will attract lightning. To attract lightning, you need something that will act as a conductor. This could be a metal object or something pointed and sharp that you point towards the sky.

Second, you must be in the right place at the right time. To attract lightning, you must be in an area prone to lightning strikes. You also need to be at a high elevation, and you need to be outside in the rain when lightning is present.

If Ben did attract lightning and found the right place at the right time, Franklin's method couldn't work. A kite wouldn't be able to fly in the rain. Kites back in Franklin's day were weak and flimsy. They were made of thin paper and wooden sticks so they couldn't withstand the rain and wind.

Had the kit flown in the wind and rain, a key and a glass jar wouldn't be able to hold lightning. A regular metal key wouldn't be strong enough to stop a lightning bolt in its tracks and redirect it into a jar. And even if it could, the jar wouldn't be able to hold the lightning and cause it to glow as electricity does.

And finally, Franklin did not discover electricity as evident in his long life and the inadequate evidence of the event itself.

Ben would have been killed if his kite had caught lightning. If Franklin's kite had caught a lightning bolt, the electricity would have traveled down the string and shocked him to death. And let's remember that Franklin didn't know about plastic or grounding techniques so he wouldn't have been protected from the electricity in any way. 

There is no evidence that Franklin discovered electricity other than mythology. There is no evidence that Franklin's kite caught lightning or that he conducted any experiments with electricity. There is no piece of the kite on display in a museum, and there are no keys or pieces of the jar that were supposedly used in the experiment.

So, in conclusion, Benjamin Franklin may have been a great man and accomplished many things, but he did not discover electricity. I've proven to you that it's challenging to attract lightning, that Franklin's method couldn't possibly have worked, and that there is no evidence to support the claim that he discovered electricity. The story of Ben Franklin discovering electricity with a key on a kite is one notable event by a unique historical figure that you should question.

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A genuinely persuasive speech has logos, ethos, and pathos as explained by this video:

A Persuasive Speech Rubric

How good is the persuasive speech about Ben Franklin's discovery of electricity? Honestly, The sample does not do well on two elements of the persuasive speech rubric below. First, the speech is a fun example that does not include a strong emotional appeal. Second, the sample does not develop strong and credible evidence but instead relies on circumstantial evidence and logic, which are less valuable than physical evidence, eyewitness testimony, or expert opinions.

  1. A clear, specific, and actionable message: The purpose of a persuasive speech is to convince the audience to take a specific action or adopt a particular point of view. The speech's message should be clear and focused, with a specific goal.
  2. Strong and credible evidence: A persuasive speech should be supported by strong and credible evidence, such as statistics, examples, expert testimony, or personal experiences. This helps build a solid argument foundation and makes it more convincing.
  3. A logical and well-organized structure: A persuasive speech should be structured in a way that logically builds on the main points and leads the audience to the desired conclusion. This may include an introduction, a body with several main points, and a conclusion.
  4. A strong, confident delivery: How the speech is delivered can significantly impact its effectiveness. The speaker should be confident and passionate about their message and use effective speaking techniques such as vocal variety, eye contact, and gestures to engage the audience.
  5. An emotional appeal: A persuasive speech should appeal to the audience's emotions and reason. By evoking emotions such as empathy, fear, or hope, the speaker can help to persuade the audience on a deeper level.
  6. A call to action: A persuasive speech should conclude with a clear call to action, inviting the audience to take action or adopt the desired point of view. This should be a specific and actionable step that the audience can take and should be presented in a way that motivates them to take it.

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