Point Counterpoint: Speeches That Persuade
Question: What's a great way to stop an argument?
Answer: Drop a hard fact on it.
As you learned in “Why Not See It My Way?: Persuasion and Argumentation,” persuasive essays appeal to reason, ethics, and/or emotion. Persuasive speeches are no different. Like their cousin the persuasive essay, persuasive speeches rely on accurate logic and facts (as well as emotion) to move their listeners to action or belief. Here's how to do it.
When you write a speech, use punctuation not only to indicate the usual sentence breaks, but also to allow you to pause for emphasis when necessary.
As Easy as One, Two, Three
There are three basic types of persuasive speeches:
Don't forget that your speech is being written to be heard, not read, so write for the ear, not the eye. Speech is straightforward and conversational, so it calls for short, familiar words; action verbs; personal pronouns; contractions; and subject-verb-object sentence order. You can even use incomplete sentences if they convey your meaning well.
As you decide which type of persuasive speech best suits your audience and purpose, ask yourself these questions:
Vote Early and Often
Election addresses, for example, are speeches of policy. As a result, they always try to prove that something should or should not be done. The password is should.
Savvy candidates follow these three caveats:
Nearly all candidates attempt to create dissatisfaction with existing conditions to convince the audience that these conditions need to be changed—and they're the ones to do it. Candidates craft speeches that point out flaws and failure. Follow these steps when you write and deliver a campaign speech:
But people don't make decisions based on logic alone. Emotional appeals make the audience want to do what you ask. When combined with direct requests, emotional appeals make surprisingly strong election campaigns.
Model Persuasive Speech
As a first baseman for the New York Yankees, Lou Gehrig played in 2,130 consecutive games from 1925 to 1939, setting a major league record. On July 4, 1939, he stood before 60,000 fans at Yankee Stadium and confirmed what everyone seemed to know, that the “Pride of the Yankees” had been diagnosed with a deadly disease. Less than two years later, on June 2, 1941, he died in Riverdale, New York. Here is his famous farewell speech.
When it comes to writing models, study the best. For a great persuasive speech, try Abraham Lincoln's “House Divided” address (1858). Lincoln delivered this speech when he was nominated for the Senate. It was probably Lincoln's most radical statement about the implications of the slavery issue, as he predicted that “this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free.”
Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Well © 2000 by Laurie Rozakis, Ph.D.. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.