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 speech video examples

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.

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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 speech video examples

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 speech video examples

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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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 .

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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 105 interesting persuasive speech topics for any project.

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General Education

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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.

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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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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

7 Best Short Persuasive Speech Examples to Drive Change

Leah Nguyen • 04 Oct 2023 • 6 min read

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
  • How Do You Express Yourself?

Alternative Text

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.

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

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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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An Example of a Persuasive Speech Outline to Win Over Your Audience in 2023

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Persuasive Video Strategies that Prompt Action

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Persuasive video can be a highly effective and engaging form of content. But all too often, it’s … well, not .

Videos must be engaging before they can be persuasive.

Just as with getting someone to read an entire piece of persuasive writing , the idea is to get someone to start watching, and keep watching until the end, or at least to the point where you prompt the viewer to take a desired action.

Let’s take a look at the things to keep in mind to make your video content — whether live-action or presentation-style — worth watching until the end.

Audio techniques and structure still apply … but differently

As you might have guessed, the four copywriting techniques that are great for audio content — stories and anecdotes, metaphors and analogies, mirroring, and mind eye’s projection — are all applicable to video.

In fact, they become even more powerful with the addition of select visuals.

And the structure we discussed in last week’s post — attention, empathy, solution, action — is also useful for short-form persuasive video (generally five minutes or less).

Longer-form video is tougher to pull off from an engagement standpoint, so you may want to consider borrowing a three-act structure used in movies (or infomercials).

The differences between audio and video are important

When you follow webinar guidelines , you’re aware that audio is a portable content format that allows for greater mobility and requires less of an attention investment.

Your podcast or audio presentation can be listened to in the car, at the gym, walking the dog, or while multitasking at a desk.

Video requires a greater attention investment due to the need to watch and listen. You’re restricting the options of the viewer significantly more than with audio, so you need to keep things tight and moving along.

In other words, your pre-writing becomes more important with video than with audio. The question becomes whether or not you script out every word.

To script or not to script?

With audio, a detailed outline is preferable to a script in my opinion. With video, I write out every word due to the need to say more in less time.

It’s really tough for most people to “wing” an effective short video, because it often becomes less effective and less short the more you improvise.

With presentation-style videos, you’re off camera. This allows you to use your script directly and still present with a conversational tone of voice. You don’t want to sound like you’re reading if at all possible.

One tip for achieving a conversational video presentation style is to record small sections of your script at a time, rather than trying to plow through the entire thing in one take.

You can do this with recording software like Audacity by creating separate audio tracks out of smaller sections of the script, and then blending each part into a single audio track that you then marry to your visual elements.

If you’re turning the camera on yourself instead of doing a presentation-style video, you’re in a different boat. You’re either going to have to learn your lines, or get really good at using some kind of teleprompter.

The good news, however, is that there’s no need to nail it all in one single take. In fact, as we’ll see below, it’s much smarter to string together a series of persuasive video clips than one stream of unedited footage.

Delivering your message payload

To keep your message focused and highly effective, keep your goal for the piece in mind at all times.

What point are you trying to make? What action are you trying to prompt?

With that goal firmly in mind, make sure that every single word of your script supports that goal — or cut it.

This can be slightly difficult, because leaving out key information will hurt your effectiveness. You need a method for determining what’s essential to achieving the goal, and how best to say it.

Think of it this way:

Imagine you’re at a cocktail party and you’re the center of attention. You’re telling a joke or humorous anecdote and you want to nail it.

It doesn’t always go that way in real life, right? But scripted video is a chance to present the story perfectly … as long as you work out every detail beforehand.

So when telling a joke, the punch line is the payload. Delivering it is the entire point of the exercise. But the way you set it up makes the difference between getting uproarious laughter, tepid giggles, or blank stares.

Now, simply substitute your goal for the punch line when crafting your video message. Writing your script with this mindset can be highly effective, and a whole lot more fun.

Show … don’t tell

So we know we’ve got to present our video message in a tight and fairly quick manner.

While this requires actual scriptwriting, the addition of visual elements takes a load off of our reliance on words, especially when it comes to educational content (which is what a good sales message really is).

This is due to what psychologists call the picture superiority effect . That’s a fancy way of saying that concepts are much more likely to be remembered if they are presented as pictures rather than words.

The trick is to identify the key concept in every sentence of your script, and pair it with a relevant and engaging visual element.

This accomplishes two things:

  • You take advantage of the picture superiority effect to make your spoken content more engaging and memorable
  • You’re changing the onscreen visual element approximately every three to six seconds, which keeps the viewer’s mind from drifting off. (Television editors figured this out long ago.)

Notice I said to use “visual elements,” not “bullet points.”

Beyond being lame, bullet-point presentations fail to effectively harness the power of picture superiority and result in the same drivel that has been boring people to tears since PowerPoint was invented.

The occasional use of reinforcing on-screen text is fine, and can even be a desirable part of the mix. But even then, just say no to bullet points.

When to become a talking head

Turning the camera on yourself and addressing the audience is less effective as an educational presentation, but it has other uses.

People love to see what you look like, so video can be an easy way to get closer to your audience.

Plus, your facial expressions, mannerisms, and body language can communicate a lot about you that goes well beyond your message. (I’ll leave it up to you to decide if that’s a good thing.)

And, like it or not, if you’re an attractive person, providing video of yourself on a regular basis will be very powerful.

Psychological studies have shown time and again that we rate good-looking people as more intelligent, more competent, and even more trustworthy than relatively unattractive people.

It’s not logical, but neither are we when it comes down to it.

Remember the importance of editing and changing visual perspective often, even with talking-head videos. Three-to-six-second edits are too quick for a talking-heading video, unless it’s really short.

Make sure you switch things up on a regular basis using transitions and/or new camera angles to avoid losing the viewer’s attention — and to keep your video persuasive.

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Brian Clark

Brian Clark is the founder of Copyblogger, the midlife personal growth newsletter Further, Unemployable, an educational community that provides smart strategies for freelancers and solopreneurs , and Creative Affiliate, affiliate marketing advice for creators .

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Reader Interactions

Reader comments (56).

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April 9, 2009 at 10:57 am

Hi Brian, I think if your primary talent is writing, you should use writing online to get your message across. If you have voice or acting talent, you should consider podcasts or videocasts. In other words, why stretch yourself into an area in which you aren’t an expert? What’s the benefit?

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April 9, 2009 at 11:07 am

I have been working on a lot of video and trying to figure things out, which means I have been consuming hours and hours of video. My favorites all seem to have in common the presenters enthusiasm and personality rather than the content as such, which shows how important packaging is. If you get great content combined with good presentation you have it made.

Sad about what you said about attractive presenters though … means I have to hide myself in future 😉

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April 9, 2009 at 11:19 am

Maria, the benefit would be if your target audience prefers video and you’re delivering text. Most people don’t (and won’t) read. The blogosphere is not representative of the general population at this point, but it’s changing quickly as blogs go more mainstream.

Chris, I think you’re pretty cute. Ummm… well, you know what I mean. 🙂

April 9, 2009 at 11:24 am

Aww thanks Brian, you are a bit of a hottie yourself 😉 – Bromance blossoms, heh

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April 9, 2009 at 11:44 am

Excellent post, Brian…

This really does a nice job of nailing down the importance of preparation, something I’m admittedly a big proponent of.

It seems like a fair amount of people are shunning off quality concerns these days due to laziness masked as raw transparency. As such, it’s great to see someone with as much of a ‘voice’ as yourself pushing the value of well thought-out writing for video production.

Finally, a reputable perspective to counter the @garyvee approach. Well done. 😉

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April 9, 2009 at 11:47 am

I’ve made some video tutorials (and am planning to make more soon), and they’ve all gotten a lot of positive feedback! Many topics have been covered extensively with articles all over the internet, but have very few videos.

Screencasting is an excellent way to make video content (especially educational video) if you don’t have a camera. I use the free CamStudio and then throw it into a video editor.

April 9, 2009 at 11:50 am

Dan, the Gary Vee approach works for Gary because of who he is. Most people couldn’t pull that off in a million years, and yet, because of Gary’s influence, people will likely try and embarrass themselves.

People are always seeing a rule in the exception. Strange aspect of human nature.

April 9, 2009 at 11:54 am

That’s true about Gary V *but* taken too far in the other way (like I have been prone to do) we lead ourselves to analysis paralysis – if perfection is the minimum we accept we will never achieve anything.

We have to accept nothing we do will ever be 100% and strive to make incremental improvements and learn from our mistakes. Don’t let preparation be your excuse for not pulling the trigger.

An imperfect video put into action will make more profit than a perfect video we don’t make 🙂

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April 9, 2009 at 11:56 am

Being a “physically challenged” individual (read as totoally blind) I wish to comment on video for those of us who have no clue as to what many of you are doing. If you refer to graphic items in a video presentation without explaining what you’re referring to, you’ve lost us. If you don’t take the time to describe non-audio items, then we have no or little idea of what you’re talking about. Please acknowledge that everyone is NOT like you — some of us need more care and understanding.

April 9, 2009 at 12:00 pm

Brian: Exactly.

Also, the availability of inexpensive cameras coupled with the instant gratification / efficiency of the wing it approach seem to be further fueling this ‘F* it’ movement.

Anyway, it’s nice to see others like yourself promoting the relevance of quality and focus.

Great topic. Perhaps if we keep hammering at it, others will eventually see the light. 😉

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April 9, 2009 at 12:02 pm

Great article. As always! I’m about to start working on a video campaign at my company and although someone else will be producing it for us, this article will be a great help to make sure that we’re on the right track to creating a successful, engaging video. Thanks!

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April 9, 2009 at 12:13 pm

Thanks for the detail Brian, worth reading a few times to take it all in. Just like last time… where is the video presentation on video presentations?

April 9, 2009 at 1:07 pm

Thanks for the explanation Brian, makes perfect sense. I had a bad experience with online video that scares me away from it—even though it was professionally shot. Too much leg showing + too much $$$ to edit the video = me horrified. 🙂

April 9, 2009 at 1:32 pm

Ryland, in line with my answer to Maria, the people who read Copyblogger are generally readers. I will have some examples for you soon though (which may have been the reason I did the series in the first place… sneaky me 🙂 ).

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April 9, 2009 at 1:41 pm

What a timely post!

I’ve been working on a video project for the recent launch of our blog but ran into several barriers that have now been shattered by your wisdom.

Simply put, video is powerful!

Your post echos eloquently what you teach within the Teaching Sells course. It all comes down to the learning style of the reader/viewer. In other words, it’s essential to cater to the different learning styles by providing content in various formats (text, audio, video, etc…) to drive home your point.

Personally, I’d lean more toward a presentational style format instead of the “talking head”. Primarily because I find myself in the same boat as Chris Garrett’s self-proclaimed classification of unattractiveness. I don’t think too many people would stick around to finish watching our video if it was just my talking head! 🙂

Plus, I think you can put more value into a presentationally-styled video since one would be utilizing both screen real estate as well as voice over.

All in all, an outstanding post that I’ve clipped into Evernote for future reference.

Thanks again, Brian!

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April 9, 2009 at 2:18 pm

I can safely say that talking into a camera has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And reading from a teleprompter is far more difficult than I though it would be.

But, with some practice I’ve improved a lot but still have a long way to go.

One tip I can offer that really helped me… I now use a 22″ monitor right behind my camera for my teleprompter. I used to use a smaller screen and it made it much harder as I had to really “concentrate” on the words. Now, since I use a larger screen the words really pop out and it’s much easier.

April 9, 2009 at 2:26 pm

I totally agree about people getting hung up on achieving perfection, and I know all too well the creative hesitation that you’re speaking of.

All that I’m suggesting is that people looking to leverage video actually ‘try’ to present well, and make an effort to craft their content with their audience in mind. There’s alot of chatter these days about video quality being somewhat irrelevant, and I’d like to get beyond that.

In short, quality matters, but pursuing perfection is a slippery slope that totally must be kept in-check. So, instead of throwing the idea of quality out completely, I’m rather proposing that we emphasize the idea of maximizing good results while minimizing wasted effort.

Great discussion!

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April 9, 2009 at 3:49 pm

I think you hit it on the head; Know your readers and deliver the message.

I have a tendency to be a little to stiff and formal so the following what makes good copy (anecdotes, stories etc.) is good advise for me.

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April 9, 2009 at 4:28 pm

It’s getting harder and harder to uniquely position a blog in the blogging/marketing niche and it seems like every topic has been covered and re-covered.

But I think video offers a great opportunity for bloggers who are trying standing out – if done well.

Maybe the Landing Page Makeover series could be expanded to look at Landing Page Videos? Most internet marketers like Frank Kern use video now and even live video on launch day.

But the number one detraction of video will always be that you usually can’t watch at work – and let’s face it – this is when most regular folks are on the computer.

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April 9, 2009 at 4:37 pm

I enjoyed this and will surely improve my future videos by taking all of this into account.

Only tips I might add myself is know you will get better with time as you make more and more vids, remember to have fun and do make it something worth watching, and do mix it up as you create more and more video’s don’t make each and every one the exact same style and format. Of course there are gray areas in each of these tips … smiles.

Lastly as another blind computer user but one with limited site do think of your viewers, those vids with just music and words on a screen limits who knows what is being said. But also on the other hand you are able to both have visuals for those who can see and audio for those who don’t overlapping thus reaching more when done right.

~Expect Miracles

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April 9, 2009 at 7:50 pm

Brian,Great information.I wish I had it before I started posting my videos.I’ve done both screencasts and live video now.I can relate to “conversational video presentation”you mentioned! Winging it is NOT a good way to present educational videos,I figured I knew my topic well enough that I did not need to script it.I was completely wrong.

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April 9, 2009 at 8:19 pm

Those talking head video’s with Flip cameras are horrible, no matter what internet video gurus may tell you.

You really need to be a Master Communicator to pull those off. Master. Communicator. Extraordinaire.

Presentation-style video’s or what some call slideshow videos seem to lend themselves to being created by “chunking’ the content, which works well for those with short timeframes for creating content or for repurposing text based content you already worked hard to create.

If you have 30 seconds of audio, that you can bundle with a visual element, you can blend 6-10 of those together for a 3 to 5 minute video, which can then become part of your blog, your membership site or your multimedia ecourse.

Here’s a tip for you: Count the number of words you speak in 1, 3 and 5 minute chunks. Then look thru your previously created content for text blocks that fit those quantities and timeframes and turn them into audios and/or slideshow style videos.

That will get you moving quickly and easily and inertia creates confidence, which creates excitement, which creates …, well, you get the idea.

Good post Brian. This series will help people.

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April 9, 2009 at 9:47 pm

Coppyblogger family,

This post applies primarily to people trying to market through online video campaigns.

As a curious onlooker to video persuasion marketing, I feel it has its high points – as many of them have been addressed here today. However, for me, I feel the negatives leave the positives in the dust and may have been breezed over in this article (because this wasn’t the article’s focus) making it seem easier then it actually is. But before you crucify me for my humble opinion, I’m going to spare all the side details and tell you the BIGGEST reason i’m against videos in online marketing campaigns (primarily the intrusive ones attached to websites)…

Brian hit the nail on the head when he said “online video MUST be engaging before it can be persuasive.” But this in itself is no easy task. Simply stated – To persuade YOU MUST keep the viewer’s attention by keeping them actively engaged with what you are saying. But unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Here’s why –

In a world full of background noise, children screaming, co-workers gossiping, tv’s playing, and spouses talking (you get my point with all this) you must determine what you focus on. EVERYDAY you have SEVERAL things competing for your attention at any given moment! And it is often impossible to commit 100% of your attention and focus to any one thing. However, let me take this a step further and explain how this translates to online video marketing…

If someone is looking at your video and they get distracted for a brief moment, it can hurt your sale – especially if it happened during a critical point in your sales presentation. Yea, you are right if you are thinking if they miss it, they can rewind it and see it again. But it isn’t always that easy – let me explain…

How many times have you fell asleep (or been distracted) while reading a book, realize you missed something, and reread it? I know i’m guilty. But the key point here is you “REALIZED” you missed something because the story just wasn’t flowing. Right? If you are distracted while watching a marketing video online (that you are not 110% serious about buying already – this is key), you probably don’t realize you missed anything – so you won’t rewind it. And this is a problem, but I’m not just going to give you problems, I’m here to provide solutions –

Just as all the great copywriters like Brian have advocated time and time again, strong headlines are KEY if you want to get readers to take a moment to read what you have to say. For online video marketing campaigns, YOU MUST prime the viewer for what they are about to see and what they will get out of it. How? You must PROPERLY introduce the video in a way that demands the viewers attention!

Please don’t have it set up so it starts playing as soon as someone visits your site. That is the most annoying thing! Plus there is a possibility they may already have music or something playing on their computer – which would make your video “invasive” and nothing could make them leave your website quicker.

But if you give a proper introduction that builds interest and desire – there is a definite possibility they will not only welcome your message, but they will take time away from the daily destractors to SEE what you have to say…

And that’s all i’m saying. Geez, if this was a simple explanation from me, I’d hate to see one where I actually explain myself…

Cheers –

April 9, 2009 at 10:08 pm

AJ, I agree. “Free” content is no longer a lock. You’ve got to sell the “free” just to get people to invest attention (which means free doesn’t quite mean what it used to).

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April 10, 2009 at 12:40 am

I think video is a great way to boost credibility. There are so many pretenders in the blogosphere who hide behind anonymity. If people can watch you in action, they can relate to you much better – even if you’re not as beautiful as Brian …[swoon]

Today I chanced upon John Gallagher, a blogger and Net entrepreneur who uses simple videos in a brilliant way: http://www.learningherbs.com/ His homely videos create a great community feeling – which he’s put to good use in building a thriving membership site.

I’m currently taking some lessons from a top documentary film maker. It’s great fun and I’m learning necessary skills, like how to plan and create a dynamic video, as well as how to cut.

Maybe you’re all naturally perfect at this stuff – but I’m having to move way out of my comfort zone in order to make videos. Oh well, inhabiting one’s comfort zone is boring 🙂

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April 10, 2009 at 5:58 am

I’m a huge proponent of videos and use videos to explain my blog topics, my services and every once in a while to rant on a topic. The response has been great! I use the “talking head” approach and hadn’t given too much thought to using them for more of an educational tool. I’ll have to start experimenting with that.

April 10, 2009 at 8:08 am

@AJ- I’m certainly not going to crucify you for an honest opinion, especially when that opinion is a great testimonial for online video 😉

Your paragraph that begins, “In a world full of background noise…” is EXACTLY why video is so effective, because people have a limited capacity for information, BUT they have an unlimited capacity for entertainment that’s filled with emotion and experiences.

Brian has proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that “E3S” will make you, …ummm, glad to be a blogger.

Oh yeah, E3S = Entertainment, Experiences, Emotion & Stories.

Make sure, AJ, that you don’t let your opinion overrule facts, truths, statistics, case studies, etc.

You aren’t your market…and if you are, you won’t sell enough to make it worth your while 😉

Remember, and you’ve read it here before, many times, there are 3 main ways to reach your market: text, audio and video. If you don’t use one of those, just because you personally don’t like it, your campaigns will suffer and you’ll never build enough credible data to enable making the best decisions about how to adapt, adjust and administer your marketing.

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April 10, 2009 at 8:15 am

Great post!

We started doing a weekly “Video Blog” about six weeks ago. It’s more news style, less educational, but our readers seem to like it. We tweak our approach and delivery a little bit every time. It’s definitely not where we want it to be yet, but we’re getting there.

If you want, you can see some examples here: http://www.freedombeginshere.org/blog/

Thanks again!

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April 10, 2009 at 12:47 pm

I think the raw nature of a video is cool. I feel that in todays world and in the future generation the “polished” look is not as important as some media experts think.

I think it depends on what you’re shooting video for but in regards to the internet, the raw quality, without editing and with mistakes along the video are what make the person in front of the camera HUMAN. Being human is more important to todays viewer than ever before and THAT is what attracts the audience. Not that mainstream media doesn’t achieve connecting to humanity, I’m just pointing out that unpolished media is just as credible in reaching people.

There is a growing hunger for something real and sincere and genuine. That is one of the beautiful things about video on the internet, it allows for people to be people. So what if you make a mistake? Who cares? Let’s stop putting pressure on ourselves to be perfect because in reality, we aren’t.

I think “polished” and “unpolished” both serve a significant purpose in our society today. One is not better than the other but both serve a specific purpose. It is a matter of how Content Creators leverage their own specific purpose according to what they want to achieve with their media. Both have a place in today’s world. Both are necessary and both have a format for communication.

Both are extremely powerful ways to relate and connect with your audience. It’s about knowing your audience and deciding how best you can provide value for them and you can only do that if you know yourself as well.

I’ve personally worked in professional media in movies and television and also work with online content. My advice is to know yourself, know your audience and know your goals. The rest will fall into place.

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April 10, 2009 at 1:39 pm

I really appreciate the fact you spurred on a lot of dialogue with your blog. Being a newbie blogger (taking the 31 day challenge to improve my blog) I wish to learn from the successful ones out there. Thanks.

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April 12, 2009 at 6:45 pm

This is great, Brian. I’ve a client who’s been toying with the idea of video for years. I’m sending him this link right now. Many thanks! P. 🙂

April 14, 2009 at 8:56 pm

I just saw an example of how NOT to do a video: Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Strategy video “Some of your questions answered…”

There was important information in the video and it was not supported by an audio or text version – bad news for those who couldn’t download the video.

This was a day before Jeff’s launch. I, like many others, wanted to get some more info about the product, pricing, plans etc.

But the first section was a taken up by Jeff going for a walk and talking about how he loves taking his dog for a walk, how beautiful the view is, how he loves taking time out in nature during a launch…and on and on. All of this had zilch to do with matter at hand.

The filming was amateurish. And Jeff wore a crumpled work-in-the-garden shirt under an op-shop jacket – great for taking the dog for a walk, but not for launching an expensive product. I think cool is good, but careless is stupid.

This video taught me 5 things:

#1 Stick to the point at hand #2 Make every word count #3 Link your background to your topic #4 Learn how to produce a video #5 Choose your clothes carefully

April 14, 2009 at 9:48 pm

Hi Mary. I think that Jeff is either buddies with…or copying Frank Kern. Frank does his videos EXACTLY as you described in your comment. The only difference: it’s at the beach instead of the mountains.

I know it sounds crazy, but they claim to be wildly successful with this approach. [shrugging shoulders]

April 14, 2009 at 10:27 pm

Hi Deidre! Yes, I agree Jeff is copying Frank Kern. But Frank does it so much better! I’m not a great fan of Frank’s, but I’m impressed by his video skills. His videos are well shot and entertaining.

I don’t know if you saw Frank’s video about desire? It started with Frank ambling along the beach – blond hair blowing in the wind. Then he showed his collection of surfboards. It was all linked to the theme ‘desire’. Frank explained that if you raise people’s desire, they want to buy not just one, but seven surfboards.

Good point. Memorable video.

Frank’s videos have inspired me to – no, not to buy his stuff – they’ve inspired me to learn how to film and produce videos!

April 15, 2009 at 3:26 am

Great point, Mary! Jeff clearly missed the reason behind Frank walking along the beach and sharing his surfboard collection. Jeff missed the boat thinking that Frank was just “rambling on” not seeing or realizing that those actions had an express purpose.

Thanks, Mary!!

April 15, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Yes, Deidre – but I bought Product Launch Formula all the same just a few minutes ago, dud video or not. Why? Because I absolutely loved the way Brian launched Teaching Sells and I trust his judgment when he recommends Product Launch Formula. ( Brian’s giving away Partnering Profits as a bonus when people click on Product Launch Formula from this site – that’s pretty awesome!)

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April 16, 2009 at 12:33 am

Video is indeed a great way to reach out to more readers or subscribers. But I think Infographics is also great too.

Infographics on my own definition are graphics that contain information. We see this a lot on billboards or newspapers and magazines. At times, it looks like a collage, only thing is, it is assembled properly in an aim to not only attract and get attention, but to inform as well. This is yet another way to creativity. But then again, who says that videos must compose of real moving people? Why not have it edited? Put a little of you speaking to your subscribers and then catchy clips that helps you expound more what you are saying.

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April 18, 2009 at 11:12 pm

It’s heartening (as a video producer) to read a copywriter’s explanation about how online video can be effective if used well. We often get enquiries from SME’s about producing web videos, and they ask whether we can produce a website video for a couple of hundred dollars – well … no we can’t usually. But if you look around online, there are some great information resources available about improving your production quality. @Dan Dashnaw, I notice you have some great tutorials on your blog too. If you’re planning on using video on a regular basis as part of your web strategy, why not invest some time in learning more about how to do it yourself? My local adult education college offers a video production techniques course run one night per week over eight weeks for about $300. If this isn’t an option because you’re time poor, then play to your own strengths by writing the script or outline yourself, and make an investment in hiring a professional to do the technical stuff – they won’t need nearly as much time if you’ve already planned it well. Also – have a look at some real examples of how some people have used online video really well. Some of my favourites are Common Craft’s explanations in Plain English ( http://www.commoncraft.com/show ) which use a stop motion technique.

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April 21, 2009 at 3:26 pm

If you need to be in several places at once talk to your video production resource about setting up a web-based streaming video presentation. Today’s “webinar” software and professional video equipment makes it relatively easy to get right in front of your sales staff, your best customers and your distributors via their computer monitors. You’ll save a bundle on airfare and lost time traveling from one location to the next. Even more bang for the buck – if this is a presentation that you’ll want to share down the road, have it recorded for replay on the Internet and for distribution via CD and/or DVD.

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April 25, 2009 at 7:22 pm

Great advice. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve “watched” videos that tell and don’t show, or where the audio and visual elements are redundant, and I end up just reading something else with that in the background.

One thing I think people should consider more, and which you do address here, is that editing happens both before and after you shoot the video. You have to figure out what to say beforehand, but you also have a second chance to tweak your message and medium afterward.

Because of the three different levels of work you’re putting into it (prep, shooting, editing), you should have something that’s working on three different levels to get your message across: through the story and ideas, the visuals and presentation, and the editing/juxtapositions. It may sound like a lot, but it all works in your favor.

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May 11, 2009 at 5:58 am

People love the interaction that videos provide for them. Let’s face it, people are lazy and things that are fun and interactive are more popular than just bog standard text and images. Text on a site is by far the most effective way of informing users but it is getting people to read this. Video give people the relevant information but in lazy way that makes for fantastic results.

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June 10, 2009 at 7:56 pm

How about that! This is allot to take in. You did awesome job Brian. Our audience is getting more and more visual not readable fortunately. But it sure helps to reach commercial goal. Thanks.

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September 25, 2009 at 3:08 pm

Thanks for the explanation Brian, makes perfect sense. I had a bad experience with online video that scares me away from it—even though it was professionally shot. Too much leg showing + too much $$$ to edit the video = me horrified

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persuasive speech video examples

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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