Good Persuasive Speeches

Good persuasive speeches rely on a couple of key elements. On this page I'll take a look at just how to deliver a presentation that will sway your listeners' point of view.

Be Sincere and Honor Your Audience

Your ability to deliver good persuasive speeches with sincerity and conviction will, in part, determine how persuaded your audience will be. After all, if YOU don't believe what you are talking about, why should your audience?

When preparing a persuasive speech, first choose an ethical speech goal. This is one that truly embodies your belief and honors the choice of your audience.

You may consider it humorous to try to persuade the audience that they should cheat on their schoolwork, for example, but making an effective case for it would be difficult because it is an unethical goal.

Similarly, presenting a speech in which you pass a negative judgment on those who do not embrace your beliefs is unethical because it does not honor audience choice.

Be Clear and Provide Relevant Reasons

A second element of preparing good persuasive speeches is to be clear about your purpose and to provide reasons for your audience to agree with you or take the action you suggest. The reasons you provide must be relevant to the purpose and meaningful to your audience.

For example, imagine you are giving a speech persuading the audience to include fruit as a regular part of their diet. Telling the audience that they should eat fruit because it grows on trees is not effective because it is not relevant to the purpose of the speech. Telling the audience that they should eat fruit because ants do is also ineffective because it is not meaningful to the audience.

Stressing the health benefits of eating fruit (improved fitness, better weight management) or the cosmetic benefits (shiny hair, clearer skin) WOULD resonate with your audience. In fact one of these benefits may resonate more than the other, depending on who is listening to you, which is why it's very important to KNOW your audience.

You Need to Understand Your Audience if you Want to Persuade Them

Determining what is meaningful to your audience is an important aspect of preparing good persuasive speeches. You can use an audience analysis to learn about your audience.

Determine your audience's age, gender, cultural background, educational level, level of interest in your topic and, for a persuasive speech, their current position regarding the topic about which you are attempting to persuade them.

Here's an example of how this helps you in terms of providing reasons that are meaningful to your audience.

If you were giving a speech about good dental hygiene to preschoolers, saying that brushing their teeth every day will make their parents happy would be a reason that is relevant to them.

This reason would not be particularly meaningful and effective for college students. For college students, suggesting that good dental hygiene makes them attractive to the opposite sex would, perhaps, be more meaningful!

Knowing your audience's current position on your topic helps you construct good persuasive speeches.

If you feel your audience already shares your point of view...

Then the purpose of your speech can be to simply motivate them to take a particular action by

  • reinforcing the area of agreement
  • building enthusiasm for what the results of their participation would create
  • providing a very direct call to action

Good persuasive

If your audience is undecided about your point of view...

Then it is important to develop the informational aspect of your persuasive speech, giving your audience plenty of background and solid, evidence-based reasons to agree with you.

If you are speaking to an audience that is hostile to your point of view...

Your primary approach is not to directly attack your audience's current beliefs, but rather, to develop some common ground that can be a starting point for further conversation.

To summarize...

Delivering good persuasive speeches involves:

  • selecting an ethical speech goal
  • providing reasons that are relevant to your purpose and meaningful to your audience
  • choosing an approach based on your audience's current position

6 Sample Persuasive Speeches to Inspire You

Getting Civil
Benefits of Having School Uniforms
Gender Selection
Energy Medicine
Luck is Not a Matter of Chance
Persuasive Speech Example

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More tips...

A Guide to Persuasive Speech Writing
Another Example Outline
3 Tips for Writing a Speech That Gets Results

Brainstorming techniques...

Coming up With Ideas
More Ways to Find the Perfect Topic

Topics to try...

Ideal for Teens

Example persuasive speeches for inspiration...

Gender Selection
Energy Medicine
The Role of Marriage in Society
Fun Speech about Luck
Second-Hand Smoke
Using a Cell Phone Whilst Driving
School Uniform Policies
Become an Activist

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