The Persuasive Speech

WRITTEN September 23, 2020 Author: Rich Atkins

Most people resist change.

The problem is that some of them (they may be employees we lead) need to change to make themselves more efficient and improve the business. So the dilemma is to get them to see that they need to change. Giving a persuasive speech can help with that.

The goal of a persuasive speech or presentation is to influence and change the actions and/or opinions of others. In other words, we want the audience to do something they’re not doing now or need to do more of. We want them to change for their own benefit, or to improve the work organization.

Influencers can get other people to change because of their relationship-building abilities. They have certain qualities. They are trusted, consistent, assertive, flexible, personable, and good listeners. These leadership personality traits and social graces that build relationships attract people to emulate. 

How do we persuade people to change or act differently?

How can we get people to do what they don’t want to do? The simple answer is that they need to see that what they currently do or have doesn’t work (well) and that if they do something different (better), they will benefit by taking the action.

This can be accomplished in three steps:

  1. Get the audience to see for themselves that what they currently have (“as is”) is “bad,” “broken,” or “negative.”
  2. Present a solution that will improve the situation; make them better in some way (increase efficiency, profitability, morale, etc.).
  3. Call the audience to action using an Action-Benefit Statement

Some examples of the persuasive speech include: a sermon, a homily, a political campaign speech, a sales presentation, coaching another person or a group, a lawyer’s statements to a jury or judge, and even asking for a favor.

A successful persuasive communication puts the audience in a mental state of conflict. It attempts to show how the receiver’s ideas are in conflict with each other or with his/her behavior (“I’m thinking/saying one thing and doing something else”). The truth is always the strongest argument.

The content for a persuasive speech is formed from opinion based on fact. Provide evidence that supports your viewpoint. Evidence can come from many sources, including: personal experience, interview, survey results, articles, books, audio/video media, and other visuals (charts, graphs, pictures).

Your first job as a speaker is to convince your audience that whatever topic you are talking about is important to them. Once you have them, simply use your talking points and convince them that what you are saying is the solution and if they follow your plan, they will make things better.

This information is from the Improving Communications Public Speaking & Presentation Skills training classes curriculum. If you’re looking for ways to improve your overall communication skills, register for one of our upcoming public classes in NYC.
Image by Roché Oosthuizen from Pixabay 

Other Resources for Persuasive Speech:

How to Write Persuasive Leadership Speeches

Leadership Is All About Emotional Persuasion

List of Persuasive Speech Topics for Students

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