Given the importance of being competent when making public presentations, you are required to make a persuasive speech as your signature assignment for this class. Your goal is to persuade the audience for or against a question of policy, fact, or value. The persuasive speech may deal with almost any subject of interest to you as long as the treatment of the topic does not denigrate others or violate standards of ethical acceptability. Audience analysis is crucial when preparing and presenting any type of speech. It is important to select a topic that is useful or interesting and to tailor it to your fellow students.

Persuasive Speech Requirements

Overall Persuasiveness and Speech Content:

  • Creative, colorful, powerful language
  • Clarity of ideas with appropriate language and grammar choices
  • Strong use of pathos (emotional appeals)
  • Strong use of logos (well-crafted arguments with clear reasoning)
  • Solid evidence provided for all claims
  • A well-established sense of credibility and good will (ethos)
  • Overall persuasiveness

Delivery Style and Speaking Notes
The speech should be delivered extemporaneously (well-prepared but not completely memorized). Refer to chapter 13 in The Art of Public Speaking for a discussion on speaking extemporaneously. It is up to you if you would like to use speaking notes. Below are two options:

  • Speaking outline option: Students may use a one-page (8½ x 11) one-sided brief speaking outline to help when delivering their speech. See chapter 11 in The Art of Public Speaking for discussion and guidelines on “the speaking outline.”
  • Note card option: Students may use actual speaking notes in the form of index cards (5 x 7 are recommended). No more than two index cards with notes on one side may be used while speaking.
  • If speaking notes are used, submit them as a document or picture to the assignment dropbox.

Delivery: You may extemporaneously glance at your notes or speaking outline, but do not read. Remember the following tips:

Tips to Remember When Presenting Your Speeches

  • Prepare what you are going to say in advance.
  • Do not read your speech. Use cards or a speaking outline as prompts for what you will say.
  • Make eye contact.
  • Avoid distracting mannerisms, verbal and nonverbal.
  • Be aware if you are tapping your foot, saying “um” or other filler words too often, or exhibiting other distractions.
  • Vary your vocal rate, tone, and pitch, and use appropriate pauses.
  • Demonstrate enthusiasm and energy.
  • Practice your speech beforehand with a friend or family member as the audience. This will help you work out any problems.
  • Practice your speech with your visual aids. Have a backup plan should your visual aids fail you at the last minute.
  • Keep within your time limits.
  • Relax and have fun!

Time: 6 to 8 minutes

  • Your speech should be between 6 and 8 minutes long.
  • Practice your speech to ensure it meets the time guidelines.

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