A persuasive speech urges the audience to do something specific. I can be to change their mind about something, to vote for (or against) something, to join or support something, or even to buy something. If you are trying to influence the audience to think, feel or do something, you are giving a persuasive speech.
How do you persuade?
There are several ways you can appeal to your audience and persuade them to take the action you desire.
- Emotionally — you appeal to their emotions on the topic and get them to take action based on how they feel
- Intellectually — you provide a logical argument based in facts and figures
- Through credibility and trust — you use your credibility and authority to get the audience to do something because they trust you as a person or expert … sort of like, “if so-and-so thinks this, it must be true!”
- Through their need to belong — you use “mass appeal” to get the audience to do something because “every body else is doing it”
I listed the above in order of their power to persuade. People are more likely to take action based on how they feel than how they think. This is why most political speeches are filled with emotional rhetoric.
That said, it helps to have your emotional appeal backed up by actual facts. If you want your persuasive speech to be effective, you never one to rely solely on any one of the above ways to persuade. You want to have a healthy, balanced mix.
Being a recognized expert on a topic only helps you persuade people to your point of view. This is why nutrition experts are better able to motivate an audience to change their diet than someone with no background in that topic at all.
And finally, if you can add what I like to call “the Lemming factor” to the mix … make the audience feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves by taking the action you suggest, you’ll be more likely to seal the deal.
Of course, how you blend these various tactics depends on your audience. Some audiences will be more swayed by logic than emotions, others are more inclined to be lemmings. Know your audience … and use your persuasive powers with respect, integrity and with good intent.
Resources for developing your persuasive speech
- Persuasive Speech Outline
- Sample Persuasive Speech Outline
- Persuasive Speech Tips
Did you miss these?
Here are the previous posts in this “Type of Speeches” series:
- The Keynote Address
- The Training Session
- The Motivational Speech
- The Entertaining Speech
- The Demonstration
- The Information Dump
- The Inspirational Speech
- The Q & A
The next post in this series is The Impromptu Speech.