How to Write a Persuasive Speech That Actually Works

Person giving a persuasive speech


Are you a high school student looking to make an impact with your next presentation or public speaking endeavor? Writing a persuasive speech can be intimidating, but with the proper guidance, you can write a persuasive speech that will leave a lasting impression. In this blog, we’ll provide insight into how to write a persuasive speech and how you can utilize it to your advantage.

What is a persuasive speech?

A persuasive speech is a type of discourse in which the speaker attempts to convince the audience to share their opinion or take a specific course of action. This kind of speech relies on making an emotional connection with the audience and providing evidence through facts, figures, stories, and examples to support the speaker’s argument. Similar to a persuasive essay, the primary objective of a persuasive speech is to alter the audience’s point of view, attitude, or behavior on a particular topic.

What are the components of a persuasive speech?

A successful persuasive speech requires the application of Ethos, Pathos, and Logos. These three components are necessary to write a compelling speech that resonates with the intended audience.


Establishing ethos is essential for effective persuasion, enabling the speaker to build credibility with their audience. This involves demonstrating their qualifications, knowledge, and experience related to the topic and engaging with the audience respectfully.


Pathos is a persuasive technique that utilizes emotionally charged language, stories, and anecdotes to create an emotional connection with the audience.


Logos is a form of persuasion that utilizes facts, data, analogies, statistics, and expert opinions to convince an audience logically and rationally.

How to structure a persuasive speech

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Developing an effective persuasive speech is essential to successfully conveying a message and persuading the listeners to take the desired action. To ensure success, here are some steps to consider when structuring a persuasive speech:


A practical introduction is essential to captivating an audience and setting the stage for your speech. Provide the necessary background information and present a concise thesis statement outlining your message.

Main body

Next, the main body of the speech is the core section for presenting the arguments and relevant evidence. Each point should clearly illustrate its idea, substantiate it with evidence, counter any opposing views, and conclude with a recapitulation of the primary issues.

Emotional appeals

To effectively communicate with the audience and make a persuading argument, it is essential to incorporate emotional appeals when you write a persuasive speech. These appeals can be in the form of personal experiences or stories that serve as an example of the point being made.


Establishing credibility is essential for successful persuasive speeches as it allows the audience to trust and accept the speaker’s propositions. To demonstrate their credibility, speakers must provide evidence from reliable sources and prove they comprehensively understand the topic.


The rebuttal component of any argument should consider and respond to potential objections. It is essential to provide counterarguments and rebut them using robust evidence and persuasive reasoning to support the speaker’s stance as the optimal choice.

Concluding arguments

Finally, end the speech by summarizing the main points and restating the thesis statement. It should urge the audience to take a specific action or think about the possible outcomes of inaction. The conclusion should make a lasting impression on listeners, inspiring them to act from the speaker’s point of view.

Tips for crafting a powerful, persuasive speech

Vector image of a man at a podium
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To ensure that your speech is impactful and persuasive, here are some critical tips on how to write a persuasive speech:

Clearly define your objective

Knowing the tangible results you desire to achieve with your speech is essential. Having a specific goal in mind will help you organize your talk and concentrate on relevant points.

Use storytelling techniques

As humans, we are naturally drawn to stories and narratives, which can be an effective means of persuasion. Incorporating anecdotes and stories into your argument will help make the topic more tangible.

Know your audience

Crafting a persuasive speech is made easier with an understanding of the audience. Knowing their interests, values, and attitudes towards the topic will allow for a tailored message that avoids making incorrect assumptions or using strategies that are not effective.

Practice and refine your delivery

To ensure your speech is delivered confidently and with perfect timing, practice it multiple times. Consider how you present yourself and the effects of your voice modulation and body language. Furthermore, ask for feedback from others and make changes accordingly to guarantee that your speech is clear and compelling!

Examples of successful persuasive speeches

There have been numerous successful persuasive speeches throughout history that have left a lasting impact on audiences. Two prominent instances are:

a. Barack Obama “Yes We Can” victory speech

Barack Obama’s “Yes We Can” address is widely lauded as an exemplary persuasive speech. He leveraged clear elements to create a strong connection with his audience.

Through the use of powerful metaphors such as “a light of hope,” Obama was able to stir up strong emotions in his listeners, emphasizing the importance of taking immediate action as well as the potential for a brighter future.

To make his points more impactful, he incorporated rhetorical devices like repetition, alliteration, and parallelism, a notable example being the frequent use of the phrase “Yes, we can.”

Obama’s speech was highly effective due to its ability to resonate emotionally with the audience, evoking feelings of hope and motivation for change. He could also draw on his own personal experiences to create a sense of credibility.

b. Oprah Winfrey 2018 Golden Globes Awards speech

Oprah Winfrey’s 2018 Golden Globes Awards speech was a powerful example of effective rhetoric. She used persuasive elements to connect with the audience and tap into a broader movement for social change.

By referencing the #MeToo movement and calling for unity, she crafted an emotionally-charged speech that evoked feelings of empathy, anger, and frustration.

Her use of strong imagery and metaphors emphasized the pain and suffering of women who have experienced abuse. Moreover, her position as a woman of significant influence and experience added to the impact of her speech.

She could further convey her message by delivering it at the right time and place.

What to do after delivering a persuasive speech

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After delivering a persuasive speech, the speaker needs to capitalize on the momentum. Stay at the event or after class to answer questions and thank the audience for listening.

Additionally, speakers should consider publishing a video or transcript of the event online, such as on their website or social media channels, to ensure maximum reach and engagement.

The big picture

Learning how to write and deliver a persuasive speech can be a great asset at any stage of your life. Whether you are a high school student trying to get a good grade or a professional trying to sway an audience, the principles of persuasive speaking are essential.

With our comprehensive guide, you are ready to move forward and deliver your persuasive words to the world.

If you want to improve your skills, Lessonpal tutors can help you! Our experienced tutors can provide cost-effective support to help you develop your public speaking.

Frequently asked questions

What makes a good topic for a persuasive speech?

Choose a relevant, timely, and meaningful topic for the audience. It is also beneficial to pick a subject that the speaker is interested in and knowledgeable about.

How long should the speech last?

The duration of persuasive speeches can differ depending on the audience, occasion, and content. That being said, they usually last between 5-15 minutes.

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