The Persuasive Speech (100 pts)
Purpose: In a persuasive speech, the speaker attempts to reinforce, modify,
or change audience members’ beliefs, attitudes, opinions, values, and behaviors.
Informative and persuasive speeches differ in a key way. Informative speakers
fulfill the role of expert on a topic and seek to facilitate audience understanding
about it. In contrast, persuasive speakers take on the role of promoter or
proponent, advocating a particular view on a topic they want the audience to
adopt. As a persuasive speaker, you’ll become an expert on your topic, but
you’ll go beyond your expertise to argue for a specific viewpoint you want the
audience to accept. (Time Frame: 6-8 min.)
Preparation: Persuasive speeches address three types of questions: fact, value,
and policy. While each of these types of speeches has the general purpose of persuading an
audience, they differ in the kind of outcome the speaker seeks. The type of persuasive speech you
give influences how you develop your specific purpose and thesis, select main points, and organize
your ideas.
Questions of Fact: In speeches addressing questions of fact, the speaker tries to persuade an
audience that something did or did not occur, or that one event caused another. This type of speech
typically addresses three issues: what is observed or known, how the observations were made, and
whether new observations have changed what people once thought of as fact. For this speech, your
focus is on reinforcing or changing how people think, but not how they behave.
Questions of Value: These speeches ask for a subjective evaluation of something’s worth,
significance, quality, or condition. It addresses individual opinions and cultural beliefs rather than
proving something true or false. Like speeches on questions of fact, speeches on questions of value
focus on persuading the audience to believe a certain way, but they don’t ask the audience to take
action or change their behavior.
Questions of Policy: This type of speech asks the audience to personally take (or not take) a
particular course of action or support (or not support) a particular position. Speakers might request
immediate involvement, general support for a social or political movement of some kind,
disapproval of an idea, or a change in behavior.
I will evaluate this informative speech based on your topic selection, evidence of careful
preparation/practice, organization, use of research, verbal and non-verbal communication skills,
your use of presentation media, and on your ability to receive and adapt to feedback.
Delivery: Before your speech, practice the relaxation and preparation techniques we learned about
in class. During your speech, monitor your pace, pitch, volume, etc., try to eliminate vocalized
pauses, and control your body movements.
Good luck!
Thesis Examples
Questions of Fact
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Historical evidence shows that worldwide oil production has peaked and can no longer
increase.
Although there are theories about the causes of autism, the true cause is still unknown.
Banning smoking in restaurants and bars increases business in those establishments.
Questions of Value
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Public art is good for everyone because it rejuvenates commercial areas, gives residents a
better quality of life, encourages tourism, and energizes local artist communities.
School reform movements in the United States and other countries show that school
vouchers are the best way to solve current problems in K-12 schools.
Skin-lightening products are unethical because they can cause physical and psychological
harm to users and imply that light skin is better than dark skin.
Questions of Policy
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We must have better security to prevent illegal immigrants from crossing the U.S.—
Canada border.
Year-round K-12 education should be instituted nationwide because of its educational,
social, and economic benefits.
Junk food should be banned in school because it contributes to obesity, poor nutrition, and
immune system problems.
One Topic / Three Thesis Statements:
Topic: U.S. Prison System
Question of fact: U.S. prisons cost more to build, maintain, and staff than they did 25 years ago.
Question of value: Our prison system is failing because of overcrowding, violence, and increased
recidivism rates.
Question of policy: U.S. prisons must be reformed because they’re unsafe for both the public and
prisoners.
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The Icebreaker Speech (20 pts) - Mrs-Morris