Let's stop that and move on.
What you'll find here are the 7 steps needed to begin AND finish writing a persuasive speech. Move through the list sequentially to get the most from it.
Writing a Persuasive Speech Checklist
1. Speech Topic Selection
If you've already got a speech topic move on to Setting a Goal. For those who don't read on.
A major part of the perceived difficulty around writing a persuasive speech is choosing a topic.
If you're preparing the speech as part of a class exercise or for a public speaking club like Toastmasters you have seemingly unlimited choice. And that can be bewildering! The possibilities are vast. How do you narrow them down?
The answer is to choose something that you genuinely care about, fits the occasion AND that you know your audience will be interested in.
Click these links to explore speech topic suggestions:
The goal of writing a persuasive speech is to change or move the audience toward accepting your position on the topic and an essential part of that is knowing exactly what it is you want to achieve.
There are degrees of change. Do you want a little or a lot?
What you decide is called your most wanted response or MWR.
A realistic MWR is reached through analysis of your audience in relation to your topic.
Example: My broad speech topic area is obesity in children.
I am speaking to mothers whose children all attend the same kindergarten. There is concern amongst the staff over the number of children who are over weight for their age. The children mostly come from homes where: both parents work, food is bought pre-prepared for a variety of reasons including time saving, convenience and lack of knowledge of any other way.
'Treat' food (sweets, cake etc.) is also used to pacify and/or to reinforce good behavior. Fussy or picky eating is allowed principally because the effort and time required to change patterns already established is difficult to find. The problem is compounded by lack of exercise.
In setting the goal (MWR) for the speech I need to decide what approach will achieve the best results.
Do I want to influence the mothers to open their minds to the idea that allowing a child to establish habitual unhealthy eating patterns is detrimental to their children's growth and development?
Or do I want them to stop using treat and pre-prepared foods immediately and only offer home cooked healthy options instead?
The first approach is softly-softly. The second is direct or hard hitting.
3. Audience Analysis
Who is your audience?
In relation to your chosen topic area are they:
Aside from their anticipated baseline attitude, (hostile, neutral, motivated), toward your speech topic what else do you know about them?
Find out their:
The more you can find out, the more you can tailor writing a persuasive speech (including tone and language choice), and your MWR to fit.
For instance, going back to the obesity in children example above, we could decide that the hard-hitting approach would generate too many obstacles to overcome. Therefore we will be writing a persuasive speech with a non-threatening MWR that has mothers accepting a pamphlet on children's healthy snack choices to take home.
4. Keep it Local
Where possible draw your examples from local material. The reason is that we are more likely to care or respond when we actively know who or what is involved firsthand. We identify, and the more we identify the more invested we are in finding a solution. The situation becomes real to us.
5. Evidence and Empathy
Writing a good persuasive speech means finding credible evidence to support its argument. Seek out reputable, reliable, quotable sources to back the points you make. Without them your speech will fail its purpose.
Persuasion is a synthesis of emotional as well as intellectual appeal. Emotional content will be dismissed unless it is properly backed. Conversely purely intellectual content will be dismissed if it lacks empathy or feeling. You need both - in equal measure.
In writing a persuasive speech address the opposition's arguments, or obstacles in the path of adopting your course of action, fairly and respectfully. Find the elements you share. Openly acknowledge and be clear about them. This builds credibility and trust and as a result your points of departure are more likely to be listened to.
7. Writing a Persuasive Speech