Persuading an audience to take action involves more than a speaker sharing what he knows about a topic. Rhetoric speeches are intended to get listeners to accept a particular point of view, and then motivate them into action. The challenge in writing this kind of speech is in delivering a message that will win others over in sharing the same principles as the speaker. You must use words in such a way as to convince listeners that the speaker’s opinion is reliable. The art of giving a persuasive speech is as much about using language effectively as it is about communicating a convincing argument.
Present the speaker as being honest and someone whom others can trust. Appeal to the listeners’ emotions by considering how they might feel about the issue at hand.
Engage the audience by capturing their attention. Use examples or anecdotes to which the listeners can relate. Start off the speech by providing the background information necessary for the audience to understand the problem. While the objective is to get listeners to identify with the cause, they have to be able to connect to that cause. Offer information that increases awareness about how the audience can benefit from the speaker’s proposal.
Be enthusiastic about the topic; yet consider the values and beliefs of the listeners. Ask yourself whether you can realistically expect the audience to agree with the point of view being presented. Appeal to people’s emotions to get them to react. Use action verbs to make the message more exciting.
Suggest practical options for dealing with the issues about which the audience cares. Clarify any recommendations by corroborating them with applicable statistics, facts and data from scientific studies, in addition to quoting the opinions of experts. However, do not bore the audience with too many facts that they are not likely to remember
Offer some compromises for correcting the situation. It is not always enough to find an acceptable solution. Choose words that convey the message that the speaker is open to negotiating some sort of middle ground. Appeal to the audience’s logic as well as their hearts. Tell listeners why the proposal is important, and describe how they can benefit from the outcome. Focus on conveying a positive attitude in the words you use.
Conclude by summarizing the central ideas presented in the speech. Remind the audience of the main issue by repeating key points. Restate a practical plan of action for addressing the problem. Finally, connect the topic to how it relates to the lives of those in the audience. People usually associate more easily with examples that reflect their own everyday experiences; leave listeners with something they will remember.
Amber Keefer has more than 25 years of experience working in the fields of human services and health care administration. Writing professionally since 1997, she has written articles covering business and finance, health, fitness, parenting and senior living issues for both print and online publications. Keefer holds a B.A. from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. in health care management from Baker College.