Simple Steps to Create a Persuasive Speech

Tips for Educators Updated August 6, 2015

When creating a lesson plan to teach persuasive speech, it is important to model what a persuasive speech sounds like by providing students with specific examples.

There are countless easily accessible speeches online to help students visualize their task. One example is the TeacherTube video of Angelina Jolie discussing global action for children. Or the audio clip of Martin Luther King, Jr. delivering his historic “I Have a Dream” speech. Once students are allowed to see and hear a persuasive speech in action, they’ll be more prepared for the written portion of the assignment.

Topic ownership

Everyone wants something and is willing to try and convince someone else to provide it. That is how most environments in the modern adult world work. Students of all ages and abilities need to learn how to craft a persuasive speech to be successful later in life.

Students use persuasion in life, often without realizing it. Young children may want their parents to take them out for ice cream. Middle school children may want to have a sleepover with friends. High school students may want to persuade their parents to buy them a car when they get their driver’s license.

If students are allowed to choose their own topic, they will feel more ownership in the assignment.

Preparing and writing the first draft

Students need to create a logical argument giving details about why they should get what they want. Some persuasive strategy definitions include:

  • Claim: The main point of your argument.
  • Big Names: The experts referred to during a speech.
  • Logos: The logic or rationale of your argument.
  • Pathos: The emotional aspect to your argument.
  • Ethos: The trustworthiness of your claims.
  • Kairos: The urgency of your argument.
  • Research: The graphs, tables and illustrations that support your argument.

After outlining all areas of the argument, students can begin to write the first rough draft of their speech. To begin, the introduction should include the main topic and the argument.

Next, the body of the paper should include correct sequencing of examples as well as a counter argument. It’s very important to include a counter argument in your speech.

Finally, the conclusion of your speech should make a strong statement and give a call-to-action to the audience.

When writing a persuasive speech, students should make sure their facts are accurate and their voice is expressed. If students are having trouble creating the essay, using a graphic organizer is sometimes helpful. There are many interactive organizers that can assist students, including the persuasion map.

Peer editing

Once students have written a rough draft of the persuasive speech, it is important to peer edit. Teachers should put students in groups of three to four and allow them to read each other’s essays. They can give feedback about whether the speech is convincing and ways it can be improved.

Often, when students work together, they more effectively point out mistakes in their peer’s argument while also providing words of encouragement about their strengths. You want to make sure when creating the groups that there are varying ability levels grouped together.

Next, students can revise their speech. Classmates may have pointed out areas that needed improvement or clarification. Students often need a different perspective to make sure the argument they are making is clear and reasonable.

Speaking and presenting

Finally, students should be allowed to present their persuasive speeches. Although getting up in front of the class is the best way to present orally, shy students could also be allowed to create a PowerPoint presentation that integrates the audio feature so they can practice reading their speech for the presentation.

Teachers and students can complete grading rubrics for the student presentations. Students need to learn how to evaluate other students and provide appropriate feedback. Using a grading rubric is the best way to make sure the assessment if fair and accurate.

Creating persuasive speeches is a valuable skill for students to learn at any age. Whether they are trying to relay an idea to their parents, their peers, or their government, it’s important to know how to create logical arguments and provide accurate, reliable support. The more students practice writing and presenting persuasive speeches, the more confident they will be when a real-life situation presents itself.


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