Persuasive Speech


You might consider this assignment to be the major individual speech of the semester. You will be speaking for longer than you have before and there will be high expectations placed on both your content and structure.

Using the topic from your informative speech as a starting point, identify a problem that is relevant to the audience, consider what is causing the problem, and offer a clear and rational solution. your speech should use either Problem-Cause-Solution, Monroe's Motivated Sequence, or Comparative advantages. A sample of those three outline formats can be found here. For example, if your last speech was about windmills, your persuasive speech might explore the problem of an over reliance on coal to create power caused by a lack of space to create wind farms. Your solution could then be to provide permanent tax breaks to farmers willing to place windmills on their land. 

As you select your topic, keep three things in mind.

  1. Your topic still needs to be appropriate for the audience - While you may have enough expertise to argue the finer points of an obscure law or policy, it’s likely your audience isn’t quite so enlightened on the topic.
  2. Avoid hot-button issues - If it’s a topic where you can’t understand why anyone would hold a view opposing your own, you should probably stay far away. There are times when discussing these issues is important, but for this context, try to keep it more mild so we can focus on developing our skills as speakers.
  3. Limit your speech to addressing one problem with one solution - Part of this assignment is to focus on scope. You need to recognize how much you can cover in the time allotted while still giving your audience something they will remember when you are done speaking, 7 minutes later. 

With your topic in hand, write a speech using the same techniques and expectations as the Informative Speech. This speech should be 6-8 minutes in length, cite at least five appropriate sources, integrate an appropriate presentation aid, and demonstrate effective rhetorical strategies.

In addition to selecting an appropriate topic and scope, you will also need to support your content with at least 4 appropriately cited sources and an effective presentational aid (DO NOT read PowerPoint slides to the audience). The final speech you present to the audience will be 5-6 minutes in length and be accompanied by a professionally written formal outline.


  • Delivery (30pts.)
    • Eye Contact
    • Conversational Tone
    • Confidence/Movement
  • Structure (20pts.)
    • Elements
    • Clarity
  • Content (20pts.)
    • Evidence
    • Thesis and Main Point Connection
    • Depth of Support
  • Sources (20pts.)
    • Oral Citations
    • Relevance
  • Presentational Aids (30pts.)
    • Construction
    • Integration
    • Relevance
  • Rhetoric (15pts)
    • Persuasive Structure
    • Source Quality
    • Logic
  • Expectations (10pts.)
    • Time
    • Audience Connection
  • Outline (15pts.)
    • Grammar and Spelling
    • Formatting
    • Citations

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Review Concepts

Persuasive Structures

Rhetorical Appeals

Finding and Considering Sources