6 Steps for Writing a Persuasive Speech

, Staff Writer
Updated May 19, 2021
persuasive speech by businesswoman
    persuasive speech by businesswoman
    Hill Street Studios / DigitalVision / Getty Images

Writing a persuasive speech doesn’t have to be difficult, as long as you select your topic wisely and properly prepare. If you’re ready to learn how to write a persuasive speech, follow these key steps and you’ll be on your way.

Step 1: Select a Topic and Angle

Come up with a controversial topic, one that will spawn heated debates regardless of your position. This could be just about anything, from abortion to human trafficking or even animal rights. Assuming you are able to select your topic, choose one that you are passionate about.

To ensure your topic isn’t too broad, select a particular angle you will focus on. Research the topic thoroughly, focusing on background, key facts and arguments for and against your angle.


Step 2: Define Your Persuasive Goal

Once you have chosen a topic, the next step is to decide exactly what your goal is with regards to persuading the audience.

  • Are you trying to persuade them in favor of a certain position on an issue?
  • Are you hoping they’ll change a behavior or an opinion as a result of listening to your speech?
  • Do you want them to make a decision to purchase something or donate money to a cause?

Knowing what your goal is will help you make wise decisions about how to approach writing and presenting your speech. Explore persuasive writing examples to see different goals in action.

Step 3: Analyze the Audience

Understanding the perspective of your audience is critical any time you are writing a speech. This is especially true with a persuasive speech, because not only are you seeking to get them to listen to you, but you’re also hoping they’ll take a particular action after listening to your presentation.

  • Consider who is in the audience (age, sex, other demographic characteristics, and why they are there).
  • Consider how audience members are likely to perceive the topic you are speaking on so you can better relate to them on the subject.
  • Grasp the obstacles audience members face or have with regards to the topic so you can build appropriate persuasive arguments to eradicate the obstacles.

Step 4: Build an Effective Persuasive Argument

Once you have a clear goal, are knowledgeable about the topic and have insights regarding your audience, you’ll be ready to build an effective persuasive argument to deliver in the form of a speech. Follow the best practices for writing a memorable speech.

Persuasive Techniques

Start by deciding what persuasive techniques are most likely to help you accomplish your goal.


Step 5: Outline Your Speech

Once you know which persuasive strategies are most likely to be effective, your next step will be to create a keyword outline to organize your main points and structure your persuasive speech for maximum impact.

  • Start strong, letting your audience know what your topic is, why it matters and what you hope to convince them to do as a result of your presentation.
  • List your main points, thoroughly covering each, being sure to build the argument for your position and overcome opposing perspectives.
  • Conclude by appealing to audience members to act in a way that will indicate that you have successfully persuaded them.

Since motivation is a big part of persuasion, the steps for writing a motivational speech can be very helpful as you organize your speech.


Step 6: Deliver a Winning Speech

Of course, what you say is important, but how you say it is also critical. This includes your overall presentation style and visual aids.

  • Select appropriate visual aids to share with your audience, such as charts, graphs, photos, or illustrations that will help engage and persuade your audience.
  • Practice until you can deliver your speech confidently. Maintain eye contact, project your voice and avoid ums, uhs and other forms of vocal interference.
  • Let your passion about your subject shine through, as your enthusiasm may be just what it takes to motivate audience members to see things your way.

Follow these tips for giving a great speech and you’ll be on your way to delivering a powerful persuasive speech that’s sure to have winning results.


Build on Your Persuasive Speaking Skills

Whether you’re delivering a persuasive speech for a class assignment, a work-related presentation or a social issue that you strongly support, following these steps can help you prepare. Now that you’re familiar with the steps for writing a persuasive speech, further build on your persuasive abilities by coming up with an elevator pitch about yourself. In essence, an elevator pitch is really just a 30 to 60 second persuasive speech that can help you introduce yourself quickly and effectively when you have an opportunity to build new connections.