How To Become A Persuasive Speaker

Speakers have the ability to change their audience's minds
Speakers have the ability to change their audience’s minds
Image Credit: Gerry Popplestone

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?

Persuasion Requires Logic

When you are in the process of creating a speech that you want to use to persuade an audience with, you need to keep in mind the three key components of a speech like this. These components are: logic, emotional appeal and credibility. This means that you are going to have to start this kind of speech off by speaking with logic. As a speaker, you need to realize that persuasion occurs through our arguments when we show the truth or apparent truth from whatever is persuasive in each case. The good news is that you can use logic in your speech in at least two ways: clear, linear reasoning and fact-based thinking.

First, your logical argumentation must be a product of clear, fair reasoning. While that reasoning can take on many different forms, it is often most effective to lay out a number of independent pieces of the problem and then attempt to link those pieces to their respective causes and solutions. You can think of this as a series of four to five parallel chains holding your speech together. The reason that you do this is because if one of the chains breaks or is unpersuasive to a given listener, the other three may hold and inspire action.

When you are building the chains you must link each through the entire speech: problem to cause, cause to solution, and solution back to the problem. Second, your persuasion should rely only on fact-based thinking. You can mix individual stories with statistics and incorporate hard, verifiable facts. One of the best ways to go about ensuring that your thinking and your speech are fact-based is to cite known credible sources. Utilizing sources can buffer your fact base and improve your credibility with your audience. Do your research for your speech, and the effort will shine through when you deliver it.

Always Make Sure To Speak To The Heart

Just having logic in your speech is not enough to persuade an audience. You need to complement the logic in your speech with an emotional appeal. If done in a fair and effective manner, an emotional appeal is often the difference between a compelling speech and a forgettable one. It is the emotional appeal of your speech that prepares listeners to accept your message and compels them to act. You need to understand that emotion and logic work in tandem. You should start most of your speeches with a funny or serious story and follow with logic and fact. You can repeat this structure throughout your speech. Long stretches of emotional material tend to both drain and desensitize listeners. Likewise, if you provide endless chains of logic then you may bore or exhaust them. Weaving the two together creates balance and allows you to touch listeners’ hearts and engage their minds.

You should tell stories and take the time during your speech to make some of your statements and parables enjoyable to listen to. In coordinating these appeals, however, you need to refrain from manipulation of your audience or attempts to obscure rather than complement logic. Never try to blind your listeners with emotion – rather use it to open their eyes. Finally, remember that emotion is two-way street: just as you can inspire empathy for a problem or victim, at the same time you can also evoke anger toward the cause of that problem. There may be room for both, but be responsible. If someone or something deserves your audience’s outrage, there is nothing wrong with pointing that out, but do not arouse negativity where none is useful.

Always Connect With Your Audience

I think that we all realize that when we are standing on a stage, there is a distance between us and our audience. A challenge that we all face is overcoming the separation between ourselves and audience. That’s why it is important to view persuasion not as talking to your audience but as talking with them or as one of them. Until you truly make your audience a part of your speech, you’ll fail to connect on the deepest level.

Despite all the complications that comes with it, there is a structure to persuasion. There are specific ways to enhance the structure with logic, emotion and credibility. And there is a mode of thought that can help you to put the audience first and reframe the very way in which you view persuasion and influence. Train yourself in the basics to build a foundation of what will add confidence and effectiveness to your new persuasive speech.

What All Of This Means For You

One of the most powerful types of speeches that we can give is a persuasive speech. This type of speech is designed to allow us to make use of the benefits of public speaking to change the way that our audience views their world. We have to be able to connect with them, share our view of the world, get them to see things the way that we do, and then agree to take action based on this new view of the world. Giving a persuasive speech is not an easy thing to do. We need to understand how to go about building a persuasive speech that will work for us.

When we are creating a persuasive speech, we need to start with logic. We can use our logic to link different parts of our speech together. When creating a speech, you need to make sure to use credible sources. Every persuasive speech must contain an emotional appeal. One way to do this is by telling stories as a part of your speech. The most important thing that we need to keep in mind is that our persuasive speech is only going to be effective if we are able to find a way to connect with our audience. We can do this if we take the time to correctly structure our speech.

The ability to connect with an audience and cause them to want to take action based on what you have told them is powerful. As speakers we need to understand how we can go about doing this. Once you have mastered the art of creating and delivering an effective persuasive speech, you can motivate your audience to take the action that you want them to.

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

Question For You: How can you test the logic in your next persuasive speech before you give it?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Communicator Blog is updated.
P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Communicator Newsletter are now available. Subscribe now: Click Here!
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