Definition

A persuasive speech is a speech aimed at influencing values, ideas, beliefs and attitudes of the audience. Pragmatically, a persuasive speech is used to convince people to come a different idea, attitude and belief, react to something, consider doing things they were previously unwilling to do.

Characteristics

There are three types of persuasive speeches:

1) a persuasive speech on a factual matter,
2) a persuasive speech on an axiological matter (a matter of value)
3) a persuasive speech on a matter of policy.

A speaker should realize that the message he/she carries to the audience is modified due to additional factors such as ethos, logos and pathos. Ethos is a complex of a speaker’s personal characteristics: educational level, hidden values, articulation peculiarities, and presentation skills. Logos is an appeal to the intellect and rationality of listeners. The notion of pathos incorporates emotional loading of a persuasive speech and the appeal to basic values of the audience. A persuasive speaker should be well aware that there are types kinds of proofs: artistic proofs and inartistic ones. A speaker specially elaborates artistic proofs, whereas inartistic ones cannot be fully predicted and controlled (these are weather, location, etc.)

Structure/outline

The structure of a persuasive speech is grounded on three fundamentals: identifying the need, providing a plan of solution, proving the practicality of the solution. When a speaker strives to persuade his/her listeners not to do something, the structure of the speech should be oriented on establishing the impracticality of performing the actions.

Accordingly, a model outline of a persuasive speech is based on a so-called Monroe’s motivational sequence. Monroe’s motivational sequence is a five-stage scheme of proving the necessity of some changes, actions, etc. The scheme comprises:

a) Attracting attention of the audience to some problem that needs solution (with the help of a startling opening, visual aids, statistics, etc.);

b) Proving the need for improvements and changes of a situation: different kinds of testimonies should be provided to demonstrate inefficiency of existing methods of solving the problem. The audience should be ready to absorb the new one as revolutionary, promising, positive.

c) Giving ‘satisfaction’ to the need: displaying a new workable solution to the problem and making sure the audience has understood your explanations. Bright details often facilitate learning of the new information.

d) Making the visualization of practical benefits, which a new solution brings. The visualization can be realized with the help visual aids, language imagery, and emotional presentation.

e) Motivating the audience to act according to your plan. In the final part of the motivational speech, it is expedient that the speaker recalls the initial problem and systematizes the benefits of his/her innovative solution.

A speaker can choose one of two essential patterns of giving proofs:

– A point-by-point pattern when a convincing argument follows every problematic statement;
– A specific point pattern when a statement is supported with an array of following arguments.

Topics/basic concepts

Typical of a persuasive speech is an opposition of concepts because a speaker should convince the audience to choose a relatively better complex of ideas, patterns, and actions.

Requirements

Critical for a persuasive speech are aspects such as

1) audibility of the presentation;
2) credibility of a speaker;
3) emotionality of a delivery.

General requirements of logical structuring and skillful representation apply as well.