How Can A Speaker Persuade An Audience?

It turns out that it may not be as hard you think that it is
It turns out that it may not be as hard you think that it is
Image Credit: Sean MacEntee

So why are you willing to go to the effort of giving a speech? If you are like most of us, you have a goal in mind. What you want to do is to use the, importance of public speaking to influence your audience to either change the way that they think or to take an action. If you can do this, then you will have become a powerful speaker. We may all think that having the ability to influence an audience is hard to do; however, it may turn out that doing this is easier than any of us may know.

How To Create A Persuasive Speech

If you want to go about creating a speech that you can use to persuade your audience, then you are going to have to know what the basics of a persuasive speech are. The good news is that they may be simpler than you think. If you start to practice them now, you can quickly make them second nature when you are creating your next speech. Finding the right strategies and making them habits is the first step to being an effective public speaker. What follows are four strategies for you to use when structuring a good persuasive speech.

How To Structure A Persuasive Speech

If you find that you have limited time in which to build a basic persuasive speech, consider a very simple structure: problem, cause and solution. You first step should be to isolate the problem. If you are to persuade an audience, then demonstrate that a verifiable problem exists. We need to understand that if your listeners don’t recognize the problem, they won’t find your arguments for a solution very important. You first step needs to be to isolate the problem and limit its scope. You will want to set boundaries.

Second, you need to emphasize the problem’s urgency. Realize that at any given moment there are millions of problems in the world. Why should yours be important enough for the audience to act on it? Use examples and statistical evidence to show the recent escalation of this problem. Your last step should be to show why your problem is significant to your audience. Realize that it’s not enough to prove that a problem exists. Your real challenge is to show your listeners that it affects them in some way. Make sure that you know who is in your audience and why they should care.

You will want to identify the cause. Your next step should be to identify the problem’s causes. Audiences often have a psychological need to affix blame, and whether a cause is human, environmental or circumstantial, it must be clearly identified, logically connected to the problem, argued with sensitivity and delivered with passion. You need to limit the causes you address and logically connect them to your problem.

Realize that this rhetorical “connective tissue” is important. If your audience doesn’t buy the connection between problem and cause, they are less likely to act. Next, argue the causes with sensitivity. Your chances are high that at least some of the people in your audience, through negligence or action, are a small part of the cause you describe. Communicating this will never be an easy task, but it is easier when you find common ground. Most people share the same basic goals: to help others, live comfortably, love, protect their families, adhere to a certain moral code and succeed at their jobs. If you can find this common ground and communicate the ways in which you can collectively reach those goals.

Finally, you need to keep the causes compelling. While it is easy to exude energy when describing the horrors of a problem or the actionable ways in which your audience can confront them, if we’re not careful many speakers let the “causes” portion of a speech slip into a dry rhythm. Don’t let that happen to you. Make sure that you personalize the causes.

The last thing that you are going to want to do when you are structuring a good persuasive speech is to formulate a workable solution. Once you have taken the time to clearly present the problem, and persuaded your audience of its causes, you now must formulate a solution that is actionable, personal and immediate. First, you need to make your solutions actionable. There are a lot of problems — volcanoes, hurricanes, toe fungus – but you can’t solve all of them. You need to select topics that your audience can meaningfully address, and then get creative. Find solutions that will allow your audience to act with a fairly reasonable chance of success. Second, make your solutions personal. Anyone can write to a local government representative, but few people are willing to do so. For your proposed solutions to work, audience members must feel as if they are helping “hands on” and that their actions will have a direct and lasting effect. Third, give your solutions real immediacy. Get your audience to act as soon as possible!

What All Of This Means For You

More often than not, the reason that we are giving a speech is because we want to share the benefits of public speaking and convince our audience to do something. In order to make this happen, we need to be able to craft a persuasive speech. This means that we need to take the time to understand what it is going to take in order to get our audience to start to believe the same things that we do. The good news is that creating a persuasive speech is something that we can do, we just need to understand how to go about doing it.

In creating a persuasive speech, we can use a simple structure that consists of three parts: problem, cause and solution. We need to start off by isolating the problem. Next, we need to emphasize the problem’s urgency. We have to make sure that our audience sees a connection between the problem and the cause. As speakers we need to argue the causes with sensitivity. We have to find ways to keep our causes compelling. Finally, we will want to formulate a workable solution for our audience.

If we can create a persuasive speech, then we have a chance of getting our audience to believe in our cause. When we do this, we can motive them to take action to make changes happen. This is a very powerful force. Our ability to motivate an audience starts with our ability to create a persuasive speech. Use the techniques that we’ve discussed in your next speech and discover just how powerful a speech can be!

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: How can you tell if your persuasive speech has been effective?

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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

When we give a speech, we do it for a purpose. Perhaps we are sharing information or perhaps we are trying use the importance of public speaking to motivate an audience to take action. It’s those cases in which we are trying to get our audience to take action that we need to be able to deliver a persuasive speech. These kinds of speeches can connect with our audience, make them believe the same things that we do, and then take action. Now the big question is just exactly how can a speaker go about creating a persuasive speech?