Argumentative Speech Topics

Using a choice of argumentative speech topics, the speaker seeks to persuade an audience.  The method of speaking argumentatively either convinces the listeners that your ideas are valid, or that they have more validity than somebody else's opinions.

Typically, a speaker presents an argument by a primary choice of an ethos, pathos or logos style of speaking.

There are many different ways of using speech to persuade an individual or group to feel as YOU do. Whenever a speaker is skilled at doing this, they can control a room and guide it in any direction that they want it to go.

I Am an Expert

Persuading your audience through the use of ethos is a way of convincing them of your argument because you have validity on a personal level in their eyes.

The word ethos is Greek for the character of a being. Regarding speech-making ethos refers to the credibility of the person making the speech. Being trustworthy and reliable is something you MUST project if you're going to use this style of speech effectively. Once you establish yourself as someone that is credible in your listeners' eyes, it will be easy to persuade them to feel as you do.

An example statement using ethos

"As a mother of five healthy eaters, I can assure you that introducing vegetables to babies as early as possible avoids fussy feeding."

In other words, "I have raised five children so have the personal experience that qualifies me to make this statement."

Emotional Appeal

Pathos, or emotional persuasion, is merely a way of appealing to somebody's emotions to convince them of your argument. Ideally, you will make your audience identify with you and 'feel your pain.' Pathos works well with argumentative speech topics because it is easy to appeal to somebody's emotions throughout this type of presentation. The efficiency of pathos as a method is particularly true if you are discussing a subject about which emotions tend to run high.

An example statement using pathos

"Imagine your children facing a future without you - then take this opportunity TODAY to give up smoking and create a healthier you!"

The passage above appeals directly to your listeners' love for their families and could be used to persuade them to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

Applying Logic

Applying logos in a speech uses logic to support statements and thereby persuade your audience. Several options exist for application of logos. One of the most effective is to develop a coherent speech that moves logically through your argument, emphasizes reasoning (including statistics and data if appropriate).  Then, the argumentative speech topic culminates in a powerful conclusion.

An example statement using logos

"The student council questioned every student using the dining hall, and not one expressed the wish for a 'fast food' option at lunchtime."

Logically, then, there is no need to serve fast food as there will be no demand for it.

Books to help you move logically through an argument while speaking: 

[Full disclosure: Best Speech Topics is a compensated affiliate of Amazon.]

One of the essential parts of effectively delivering a presentation based on argumentative speech topics is the identification of your particular audience. You need to gauge how your listeners are likely to already feel about the subject, then tailor your arguments appropriately.

You should also keep in mind the audience's familiarity with your subject matter.

If the subject matter is something the listeners may not have much knowledge, then use the initial part of your speech to give more background briefly. The background information will help you develop a rapport with your listeners.

Ensure Your Argumentative Speech Topics Use Ethos, Pathos, and Logos

Establish authority on a question early in a speech or appeal to your audience's emotions or logic. You will then find it easier to develop a convincing argument and persuade your listeners to agree with you!

Here are some excellent argumentative speech topics to choose from if you've been asked to prepare an opinion speech on a controversial matter.

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