The Language of Literature: Persuasive Speech

Pages: 16 (807 words) Published: December 22, 2014

Speaking out to persuade others . . .
From Reading to Writing Martin Luther King, Jr.’s
powerful “I Have a Dream” speech helped convince
Congress to pass landmark civil rights legislation. It
also continues to influence people of all ages to
believe in and work to achieve their personal dreams.


Speaking out to persuade others . . .
Persuasive speeches such as Dr. King’s can move
listeners to tears and inspire them to move mountains.
Politicians, advertisers, and businesspeople—and
those students who want more input into school policy,
later curfews, or a bigger allowance—all use
persuasive speeches to help them reach their goals.

Basics in a Box

Persuasive Speech

A successful persuasive speech should
• open with a clear statement of the
issue and your opinion

• show clear reasoning

• be geared to the audience you’re trying
to persuade

• include strategies such as frequent
summaries to help listeners remember
your message

• provide facts, examples, statistics, and
reasons to support your opinion

• end with a strong restatement of your
opinion or a call to action

• answer opposing views

A successful presenter should
• convey enthusiasm and confidence
• stand with good, but relaxed, posture
and make eye contact with the

• include gestures and body language
to enhance the presentation
• incorporate visual aids effectively

Writing and Delivering Your Persuasive
1 Planning and Drafting
To find topic ideas for your speech:
 Make a list of things you feel strongly

 Brainstorm with friends about issues

that you often debate.
After you find a topic that you’d like to
develop into a speech, follow these steps.

Steps for Planning and Drafting Your Speech

1. Clarify your position. How do you feel
about the issue and why?
2. Find support for your position. What
research will you have to do to back up your
case? Where can you find that information?
Which evidence will help you make your point
most effectively?
3. Identify your audience. What do your
listeners already know about the issue? What
is their stand on it?

Steps for Planning and Drafting Your Speech

4. Consider how to grab your listeners’
attention. What startling statistics, amusing
anecdotes, or intriguing questions can you use to
hook your audience at the beginning?
5. Decide how to present your arguments? How
can you organize your arguments so they have
the greatest impact? Do you want to begin with
the argument your audience will probably agree
with and move to more controversial points?
Would starting with the strongest argument—or
ending with it—work better?

Writing and Delivering Your
Persuasive Speech

Planning and Drafting
Think about how you will present your
speech. What verbal and nonverbal
techniques will work best to capture and
maintain your audience’s interest and

Writing and Delivering Your Persuasive
2 Practicing and Delivering
 The best way to practice your speech is

to present it aloud—again and again.
 Try speaking in front of a mirror so you

can evaluate and improve your posture,
gestures, eye contact, and use of visual
 You might tape-record a practice

session so you can critique your voice
quality and effectiveness.

Steps for Delivering Your Speech

1. Use your voice effectively. Speak loudly
enough to be heard, but vary your pitch and
2. Maintain eye contact. Look directly at a
member of the audience while you speak,
moving your eyes from person to person.

Steps for Delivering Your Speech

3. Incorporate gestures and facial expressions.
Let your emotions show in your face—particularly
in your eyes and mouth.
4. Use visual aids. Organize your information into
charts, graphs, or drawings that will reinforce
your message. Make sure your materials...
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