Persuasive Speech Tips

Wednesday, November 12, 2003
Finish speeches ~
Zaman, Syed
Persuasion Speech Introduction
Persuasive Speech Tips
Gain attention and interest. Try a quote? Try humor? Shock or startle?
("Before this speech is finish, 5 recent students will have lost jobs in the
new depression.") Try a direct question? ("What sort of internet addict are
you?") Stress a key word or symbol? (Get dialog going on the symbolic
meaning of the logo?)
Try humor, depending on the overall purpose of the presentation. Old
editions of Readers Digest are great sources since the material is clean
and people will probably have forgotten the jokes.
Establish your credibility early
Demonstrate audience analysis and understanding. Make relevant, direct
contact with audience - why does it matter?
Preview main points? (arguments can be made that solutions shouldn't
emerge until at least half way through your speech in order to avoid
having your position pre-judged)
Create cognitive dissonance. Your audience must feel involved in the
problem before they'll be moved to accept a solution
Make effective transitions between ideas
Demonstrate enthusiasm and/or passion
Provoke thought through questions
Construct a logical case with evidence in support of what you're trying to
Avoid verbal fillers/disfluency
Close with a memorable summary, perhaps request a specific act or action from
the audience . Be declarative, maybe firm and demanding in your close.
The Secrets of Ending Well
A truly effective speaker knows when to end-and how to end. A persuasive
ending has two key elements, a call to action and a reason to act. As the talk
draws to an end, be clear in telling your audience what they need to feel, think, or
do. And make certain that you link this call to action to a solid reason to act, a
reason that matters to them, not necessarily to you.
Grand Finales
The Secrets of Ending Well
First Lady Muriel Humphrey once told her husband, “Hubert, a speech doesn't
have to be eternal to be immortal.” This is good advice. A truly effective speaker
knows when to end—and how to end.
The Two Key Elements of an Effective Close
A persuasive ending has two key elements, a call to action and a reason to act.
At the end of a persuasive talk, you need to request the funding, get agreement
on the plan, close the sale, push the new initiative, or request the donation.
Because the call to action represents the main purpose of your presentation,
make it concrete. Be clear in telling your audience what they need to feel, think,
or do. And make certain that you link this call to action to a solid reason to act, a
reason that matters to them, not necessarily to you.
Calls to action that begin with “I want you to…” are probably way off base.
People don’t care what speakers want. They care about what’s in it for them.
Convince people to act based on their own interests and needs.
So if you’re asking for money for your new initiative, don’t tell them how much
you need the money. Tell them how much they need the initiative. Tell them how
it will help the company. Leave a few bread crumbs that will help them find the
way to how it will help their individual careers. During the body of your
presentation, you will have already allayed their fears and addressed any
obstacles. You will have also pointed out the benefits of your plan. But at the
end, bring it all home by tying together the benefits in a neat little package with
the action. Make it clear how they will benefit from helping your initiative, and tell
them exactly how to help.
Here are some simple calls to action linked to benefits that can serve as
Approve this new program to increase revenue by 20%.
To increase revenue 20%, approve this new program.
This new infrastructure will not only meet our needs of today, but will lay the
foundation of our growth for the coming decade. We must fund this project today.
If we vote today to support this program, Bithanisulum will be the first new
product in its class, first to market, and first in sales for at least three years.
However, if we wait any longer, we will miss our milestones, not be first to
market, and never reach our goals. Vote now to support this program.
Your check for $1000 will feed four children for four months. As you sit down to
this dinner, take comfort in the fact that you are not the only one who will not go
hungry. Sign your check now.
Killing this project today is the only way for us to avoid following our former
competitors out of this market and out of business.
Here are some excerpts from formal speeches that contain solid examples
of calls to action (in italics) linked to reasons to take the action:
Dwight Morrow once said, “The world is divided into people who do things and
people who get the credit. Try, if you can, to belong to the first class. There's far
less competition.” Well, here's your opportunity to be first class—to take action
and make a difference. Donate at least $50 today to breast cancer research.
That small amount of money will help us help millions of women.
Benjamin Disraeli, a former and famous prime minister of England, once said,
"The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it
comes." Here is your opportunity: sign on as a partner in our marketing venture.
You do not need to deliver a dramatic conclusion to every talk, but you are more
likely to get what you want when you close effectively. Aim to have a strong call
to action linked to a clear benefit to your listeners. Look carefully at the two
examples above. In the first example, the benefit is to “be first class,” “to make a
difference.” In the second example, the benefit is “success.”
Avoid wishy-washy endings or stale phrases that weaken your close. “I hope that
you will,” “I urge you to,” “I want you to,” all put the focus on you and remove
action from the reason to act. Phrases like “I believe,” “hopefully,” “maybe you’ll
consider” also cloud your close by adding uncertainty. If you want a more gentle
call to action, consider something along the lines of “The data suggest that
Option A will have the best results.”
Finally, make sure you stop talking. Don’t fall into the trap of the false conclusion.
If you say “In conclusion,” and then keep talking and talking, you can watch
people lose attention. Close succinctly. You'll chip away at your overall
effectiveness with each extra sentence you utter. As George Eliot once
remarked, “Blessed is the man who, having nothing [more] to say, refrains from
giving us wordy evidence of the fact.”
Logos – see page 341 Jaffe Public Speaking
Pg. 326 in text book
the logical arrangement of evidence. Providing good reasons is important.
Providing evidence and reasoning are a strong part of the persuasive
Use evidence that is specific rather than general
Go beyond what your audience already knows – in the age of info overload
you need to add something – capture your audience attention
Use credible sources
1. provide enough information about your source that your audience can
assess its credibility ie. Dates, credentials
2. select sources your audience will see as trustworthy and fair
Ethos (p. 323) is the speaker’s credibility Sometimes we believe something
simply because we trust the person telling us. You want to look like you know
what you're talking about.
Is the person credible
1. dress – appearance
2. source credibility –
3. character
4. reputation
5. evidence
6. powerful language
7. inclusive language
Pathos (p. 332)the emotional appeals made by a speaker. Sometimes we do
things because of a "gut feeling" or an appeal to our emotions, whether those of
compassion or fear. Advertisers make great headway tweaking our concerns
about what others might think about us.
Messages – if you care about your family you will purchase ---Grim reaper ads do they affect you?
Drunk driver ads do they affect you?
2. FEAR – code orange
Monroe’s Motivated Sequence page 197 in text book see
Sound Reasoning – one of the most important aspects of entering the public
dialogue is sound reasoning. Sound reasoning ensures that your issues and
perspectives are developed and discussed fairly and ethically. It ensures that
your claims make sense to you and to your audience.
Monroe’s Motivated Sequence
ATTENTION STEP (introduction)
NEED STEP (the problem) [BODY]
ACTION STEP (what do you want the audience to do)
I. ATTENTION STEP (introduction)
1. Attention Getter - Attention-getters grab the audience, arousing curiosity about
what the speaker is going to say. To help avoid the effects of psychological
reactance, the preview statement can be omitted.
2. Orient Audience Toward Topic
3. Credibility Statement
2. NEED STEP (the problem) [BODY]
You must establish a clear, urgent, and unfulfilled need in the mind of the
audience. This is a critical step in the sequence. No solutions should be
proposed during this stage.
1. Statement of Need - Offer a clear statement of what the problem entails.
2. Illustration of Need - Present one or more stories to give listeners an initial
idea of the problem's seriousness and scope. You have two options here. First,
you may want to provide your audience with an extended narrative. Second, you
may want to provide the listeners with several shorter examples, which represent
the same underlying argument that you are making in this portion of the
3. Ramification - Clarify your statement of need and justify the concern using
statistical support and/or testimony, etc. Speakers can utilize the qualitative or
quantitative approach to demonstrating harm.
4. Pointing - Indicate why this particular audience should be concerned.
Example: "We all as college students”, "We as Massachusetts residents" etc.
3. SATISFACTION STEP (the solution) [BODY]
Present the solution to the needs or problems described in step two. During this
stage, speakers must also identify and eliminate possible objections to the
1. Statement of Solution - Statement of the attitude, belief, or action that you wish
the audience to adopt (this should only be one sentence). This statement should
resolve the problem you mention in the Statement of Need step.
2. Explanation - Explain your solution to the audience
3. Theoretical Demonstration - Demonstrate to your audience how your solution
logically meets the problem pointed out in the need step
4. Workability -If appropriate, present examples showing that this solution has
worked effectively in the past or that this solution has been advocated by experts
in the field.
5. Meeting Objections -Answer possible objectives that might be raised
IV. VISUALIZATION STEP (what the world will look like with or without your
Intensify audience members' desire for the solution by getting them to visualize
what their lives will be like once they've adopted it. Use vivid images and verbal
illustrations to support the benefits of the proposed solution.
1. Positive Method- Describe favorable conditions that will occur if the audience
accepts your solution.
2. Negative Method- Describe the adverse conditions that will prevail or intensify
in the future if the audience does not adopt the belief you advocate or carry out
the solution that you propose.
3. Contrast Method- Forecast the negative possibilities and then the positive
attributes that can be expected if the audience members implement your
5. ACTION STEP (what do you want the audience to do) [CONCLUSION]
In the final step, the speaker must turn the audience's agreement and
commitment into positive action. Tell audience members what they need.
to do to obtain the described solution and its benefits.
Urge the audience to take the specific action outlined in the satisfaction step.
Language is much more than what we hear – these two clips both only a couple
of minutes will show what is being said without knowing the actual words – does
the body language suit the rhetoric?
Speaking to Convince
The purpose of convincing speech is to advance a proposition of policy or
evaluation or to propose a new solution to a problem. You should ask the
audience to change attitudes or beliefs on an issue of importance to you.
Video and handout sheets for Report 2