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Persuasive speech ideas

50 good persuasive speech topics

Persuasive speech ideas are everywhere - billions of them! The trick to choosing the best topic begins with recognizing it, lifting it clear of all the other possibilities to see its potential.

Use my persuasive speech topic list as a prompt to flick your own creativity into action. Hopefully you'll find that one special suggestion that stands out from the rest, demanding that you consider it carefully!

A few words of warning before you begin

If you're here because you need an idea for a speech to be given as part of your speech class, please be aware that some topics are overdone.

They're tired. Even if the issues they raise are unresolved let them lie down and sleep.

Smoking is not good for you graphic

Please don't risk boring your audience with yet another earnest speech on "smoking is bad for you",  " the need to wear seat belts while driving" or "lifting/lowering the drinking/voting age" . That speech may not do what you want it to.

Unless you are sincerely passionate, and have a genuinely fresh and interesting angle to bring, leave those subjects to snooze in peace.

Remember - local and topical is GOOD

Before settling on a topic from my list check what's going on right under your nose.

Great persuasive speech ideas can pop out of your local community newspaper, the radio, TV, or your FaceBook page. These will really interest your audience. 

After all it's where you all live and the issues in your community have an impact on everyone's well being.

The 'Wellywood' saga

I just did a quick flick through the copy of the local community news I picked up at my supermarket.

There were articles on a huge sign Wellington airport is considering placing on a hill alongside the runway. It will read "Wellywood".

Image -The hill above Miramar Wharf, Wellington, NZ with a sign saying Wellywood.

Airport authorities say it supports our thriving film industry, celebrating and building on the success of "The Lord of the Rings".

Those against it argue it's cheap copy-catting of the famous Hollywood sign and that the thousands of overseas visitors per day who see it will snort with derisive laughter.

There's two potential persuasive speech ideas: for and against the sign.

Another piece was on the mixed success of a newly introduced recycling scheme.

Yet another was on depression along side the story of a young man who suffered from it. What angles could be taken on either of those?

How to use this list

Note down 3 possibilities as you go through the list of speech topics below bearing in mind:

  • your audience (their interests, values, hopes)
  • your interest in the topic
    In order to persuade convincingly and confidently you need to genuinely believe your persuasive speech idea is good.
  • the time you have to research it thoroughly
  • your desired outcome
    (What do you want your audience to do as a result of hearing you speak?)
  • your credibility
    How qualified are you to speak on the topic you've chosen?
    Do you have personal experience on your side?
    How long have you been interested in it?
    Have you done your research? Found reliable resources?

50 persuasive speech ideas

Image- street art- two girls writing on wall - please no more war. Love.Graffiti is a justifiable form of social protest
  1. Lying is always wrong.
  2. Truth is never debatable.
  3. Modern media is to blame for lowering moral standards/ reading levels/ escalating violence. (Select one!)
  4. Online games can be good for you.
  5. Disabilities of any sort are an opportunity for personal growth.
  6. Internet chat rooms are evil.
  7. FaceBook (or any other form of social media) is replacing the need for face to face communication.
  8. Cyberbullying controls
  9. There is never an excuse or reason good enough to declare war.
  10. Money is not the root of all evil.
  11. Power does not necessarily corrupt.
  12. Healthcare is the responsibility of the individual, not the state.
  13. Homelessness is the result of choice.
  14. Winning at all costs is not right.
  15. Becoming a parent should be an earned privilege.
  16. Gay marriage is OK.
  17. Being 'green' is a fashionable fad.
  18. Religion has no place in government.
  19. Clothes choices reflect who you are.
  20. Global warming is real.
  21. Being a good person is learned.
  22. What is 'right' and 'wrong' changes from generation to generation.
  23. Having chores/a pet/ an after-school job teaches responsibility.
  24. Food engineering is the way of the future.
  25. 'Normal' depends on your environment.
  26. Culture is essential, just like fresh air and food.
  27. Equality is a myth.
  28. What we eat, we become.
  29. What we think, we are.
  30. Cell phone use in public places
  31. Plastic surgery should be only for those who really need it.
  32. Higher education is over-rated.
  33. Monitoring media of any sort should be banned.
  34. Women should stay in the home to look after their families properly.
  35. The idea of peace on earth is naive.
  36. Freedom of speech is a fallacy.
  37. Nationalism creates enemies.
  38. Cultural difference should be celebrated.
  39. Designer children - is this good for future generations?
  40. All education should be free.
  41. Conformity cripples creativity.
  42. Cloning is justifiable.
  43. Poverty begins in the mind.
  44. Divorce damages children.
  45. Juvenile crime is a cry for help not punishment.
  46. Gangs are the result of family breakdown.
  47. Children from single parent families are disadvantaged.
  48. Boys/girls need father figures to grow into mature adults.
  49. Being PC (politically correct) encourages masking our real feelings.
  50. Graffiti is art.

Getting from topic to speech

For help turning your persuasive speech ideas into a fully fledged speech check these pages:

  • Persuasive Speech Outline
    Find out more about structuring an effective persuasive speech using Monroe's Motivated Sequence, the classic 5 step pattern used by all professional persuaders: politicians, the advertising industry, PR experts...
    There's a downloadable blank persuasive speech outline template for you to use too.
  • And here's a persuasive speech example illustrating Monroes Motivated Sequence mentioned above. Be warned. The topic is controversial: suicide and the impact it has on close family and friends.
Alan H Monroe

Image per courtesy Purdue University