Get Others to Take Action: Why and How to Write a Persuasive Speech
Has someone ever persuaded you to do something?
Maybe a commercial on TV convinced you that you had to have this certain type of shampoo. Perhaps a guidance counselor talked you into pursuing a certain degree path in college.
Or maybe you heard a speech that persuaded you to shift your viewpoint on an important subject.
We all have had moments where we’ve been persuaded to do something. But what would it look like if you flipped the script?
Imagine yourself in front of an audience. They’re hanging on your every word as you speak confidently and passionately about a key topic.
And by the time your speech is over, the majority of the audience has been persuaded to adopt your point of view.
Persuasive speaking is powerful. It gives you a way to achieve greater personal power and faster success — but only if you know how to do it correctly.
If you’ve ever wondered how to write persuasive speeches that will actually make people come over to your point of view, this blog post will walk you through the steps needed to create and deliver a powerful persuasive speech.
The Power of Persuasive Speaking
Persuasive speaking has a variety of applications. Persuasive speech is used in the workplace to help you accomplish a goal or prove your point.
It’s used in your personal life with family or your kids — you might make a persuasive speech before dinner if you’re trying to convince your partner to go to the restaurant you’re craving.
And it’s used in relationships to help you see eye-to-eye with another person.
Chances are, you’re probably already doing a lot of persuasive speaking in your everyday life, even if you don’t realize it. And honing your persuasive speaking skills can go a long way in helping you be successful.
If you can persuade and influence people, you will be able to achieve greater personal power. You’ll become more successful, at a faster rate. And you will be an important person in your community.
How to Write A Persuasive Speech in Seven Steps
Sometimes, persuasive speaking is used in your everyday life and the natural interactions you have throughout the day.
Other times, you may need to give a more formal persuasive speech. In these cases, you might feel at a loss when it comes to how to write a persuasive speech.
As you begin working on your persuasive speech outline and the speech itself, think about what you want to persuade others to do and why you want them to do this. This is the best place to start. Don’t try to cram your “why” in later — your speech should naturally grow out of your end goal.
You can also work on your presentation skills, helping you come across more confidently. Practice using visual aids to help get your message across.
Remember to speak slowly and to keep a glass of water nearby in case your throat dries up. You should also tailor your presentation to your target audience, being personable and relatable to keep them engaged.
Finally, using an outline as you craft your talk is a great way to stay organized. If you’re going to persuade someone to do something, you need to sound like you know what you’re talking about. Writing your speech based on an outline will help you follow a logical sequence of thoughts and arrive at an impactful conclusion.
After you graft your persuasive speech outline, follow these other persuasive speech tips to start getting your audience to see your side!
#1. Identify the Motivation
The key to becoming a master of persuasion? Motivation.
If you want to persuade someone to do something, or even to simply believe what you’re saying, you need to find out what would motivate them to take that action or adopt that belief. Every human action is motivated by something.
Your job is to find out what motivates other people and then to provide that motivation.
People have two major motivations: the desire for gain, and the fear of loss. The desire for gain motivates people to want more of the things they value in life.
They want more money, more success, more health, more influence, more respect, more love, and more happiness. The fear of loss is often even stronger than the desire for gain as people are afraid of change, risk, and uncertainty.
You can take these underlying motivations and define them more specifically for your target audience. For example, maybe you’re trying to convince someone to sign up for your diet program.
To accomplish this goal, you need to think about their motivations. Why does your target audience want to go on a diet? Do they want to feel healthier, lose weight, or build muscle?
If you’re speaking to an audience of moms, talk about how your diet would give them more energy to play with their active kids. For an audience of athletes, you might focus on the results they’ll see on the field or on the court by following your diet.
If your goal is to write a successful persuasive speech, make sure you know your target audience well enough to identify their motivations. Then use those motivations as much as possible in your speech, thinking about what your audience wants and telling them how you can help them get it.
#2. Establish Credibility
If you want to persuade somebody to do something, you need to convince them that you know what you’re talking about and that you won’t lead them astray.
Demonstrate to your audience that you have their best interests at heart — and show them your knowledge and evidence to prove your point.
One way to establish credibility is to explain your education, your experience, or anything else that proves why you’re qualified to hold your viewpoint. Talk about your personal experience or any relevant research you’ve done.
You should also work on establishing common ground with your audience. Show them that you can identify and relate with them. At the end of the day, you and your audience want the same thing.
Finally, speaking with confidence is another way to help you seem more authoritative. People will automatically perceive you as successful and knowledgeable if you speak about your topic with confidence.
Sharing these things will help establish your authority. And that will help you persuade others to think or do what you want them to do.
#3. Explain Your Stance
Make your stance extremely clear from the beginning of your speech.
Whether you work it into your thesis statement or the opening paragraphs, when you’re trying to convince people to believe in what you believe, you need to be strong in your stance.
And this also means you need to believe in yourself first.
If you’re struggling to feel self-confident, focus on changing your mindset. Believing in yourself starts with thinking positively and vocalizing positive statements to yourself to build your self-esteem.
Each morning in the mirror, look at yourself and confidently say, “I believe in myself.” Over time, this will help you feel more and more confident in yourself and in the stance you’re going to present on stage.
People can sense when a speaker is being fake or doesn’t seem authentic. If you want your audience members to believe in you, let your genuine passion come through.
#4. Address Objections
One of the biggest things to know and prepare for when writing a persuasive speech is that there will always be objections or reasons why your audience members don’t believe you. If people are skeptical of what you’re trying to share, don’t dance around their potential questions your entire speech— the best approach is to go ahead and address these issues.
Get ahead of the game and preempt those objections by addressing them before they ever come up. Don’t give your audience a chance to start wondering.
State the most common objections you hear and address them head-on, explaining why they’re untrue or irrelevant. This frees up your audience to focus on the remainder of your speech.
#5. Understand the Other Side
When it comes to any persuasive conversation, there will always be more than one side to address. Don’t dismiss, ignore, or speak poorly of something that would be your counter-argument. Instead of being combative, embrace the opposition. This will ensure you don’t accidentally hurt your audience’s emotions, will make them feel heard, and will help them feel better about trusting and believing in you. Then craft creative points in your favor.
Begin by addressing any opposing viewpoints. Don’t bash the other side — be respectful, simply stating the facts of what others believe. Next, use words such as “although” or “however” to transition into your counterargument, showing listeners why your side is more correct. In practice, this might sound like:
“Many people think getting a master’s degree is essential to achieve success in this field. However, I have successfully scaled my business although I only have a bachelor’s degree.”
Being empathetic instead of combative will go a long way in winning your audience over to your side.
#6. Connect With the Audience
When you give a speech, it’s essential to get your audience’s attention from the get-go and connect with them however you can. A persuasive speech is no different.
Use examples and stories your audience would understand. If you’re a manager speaking to an audience of other managers, share stories from the workplace that only a manager would truly “get.”
Storytelling is a tried-and-true way to make sure people are listening. Using personal stories your audience can relate to will keep them more engaged. They’ll be able to see their own lives and stories in the points you’re trying to make.
Other ways to connect with your audience might include using visual aids; making a joke, if appropriate; or mentioning something about the setting around you.
#7. Speak With Confidence
If you’re new to public speaking, you may not feel as if you know how to speak with confidence. But believing in yourself and your points is absolutely essential to help you persuade your audience over the hump.
If you aren’t feeling very confident, it’s okay to fake it until you make it. Speak more confidently by visualizing your speech before getting in front of your audience. Walk through your speech in your head, and imagine your audience giving you a round of applause.
Some people aren’t sure where to look once they get on stage. For a larger crowd, look over the crowd’s eye line. If your audience is smaller, you can make direct eye contact with people. Use positive body language and dress appropriately to boost your confidence.
Finally, the best way to speak with confidence is to practice. Give your speech in the mirror, ask a friend to listen, or video yourself speaking so you can watch it back. Over time, you will become more confident and be better able to persuade an audience.
Write an Effective Persuasive Speech
The idea of getting up in front of an audience and winning them over to your point of view may seem stressful. But by following these seven steps, you’ll be able to write and deliver a speech that will successfully persuade your audience to do whatever you want them to do.
And after you’ve done it once, you’ll be able to create and give a strong persuasive speech again and again and again.
Looking for more ways to become a better public speaker? Use my list of 44 ways to improve your public speaking skills to help.
You’ll find nine techniques to help overcome your fear of public speaking; tips to create a speech that will captivate and inspire your audience; and information on how you can transform your public speaking into a profitable career.
Click here to download my Ultimate List of Public Speaking Tips and get started today!
About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.