Persuasive Speech Outline

Persuasive Speech Outline

Assignment 3.1
Persuasive Speech Outline
Due Week 6: 80 points

1) Select either Topic A or Topic B for your persuasive speech.

Topic A: Should Children Under the Age of 10 Own Cell Phones?
Deliver a speech on question of value.

Topic B: Should Self-Driving Cars Be Legal?
Deliver a speech on question of policy.

2) Create an outline or speaking notes in Microsoft Word.

o Download the Microsoft Word template in the ÐAssignment 3.1Ó section located in Week 6 of your course.

o Develop a specific purpose, central idea, and several main points so you’ll stay within the 4-minute time limit.

o You must use at least two quality resources.

3) Submit the completed Microsoft Word template in Blackboard (this is separate from your speech/self-review).

4) For this assignment, you will not compose an essay or speech. You are only required to submit an outline.

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Persuasive Speech Outline


A persuasive speech outline is a cohesive way to break up your information and organize it.

An outline, generally, is a list used to present the main points of a topic. It is usually used as the summary or the rough draft.

A lot of times, students think that they have to seat down and write the entire speechpersuasive speech outline out.

That is a very bad way of writing a speech.
Whether you need to make a presentation at your place of work or you need to deliver a speech for your class, a solid persuasive speech outline is the starting point for greater success.
Despite your abilities, the key to a successful persuasive speech is having the ability to prepare a strong message and delivering it in an excellent order.


1. Focus

An outline will help you to focus your attention.
It will be your guide on what you need to write, and a roadmap from the start, through the middle, to the end.
In fact, a persuasive speech outline will help you to prepare your speech more effectively and more quickly.

2. Flow

It is far easier to review the flow of your speech over a single page or two. An outline will help in effectively sequencing your speech and ensure that you cover all the major points.

3. Balance

Reviewing your outline will help you determine whether you’ve placed sufficient emphasis in every section. You may find out in the outline that you need to move things round to get the right balance, or perhaps you need to remove some of the content.

4. Grouping Ideas

An outline will help you group ideas into main points and, most importantly, see their significance connection.

5. Helps in showing the logical ordering or hierarchical relationship of information


Generally, a persuasive speech outline is made up of four main sections:
• The Introduction
• Body
• Conclusion
• Source Citation


The introduction is further broken down into:
• The attention getter
• The thesis
• The Ethos
• Value step
• Ethos

The Attention Getter

Just like the name implies, the attention getter is meant for getting the audience’s attention.
It needs to be creative and short.
It should be about 30-45 seconds long.
The attention getter should not take much time to avoid digressing.
The attention getter must give your audience a good idea of your topic.
Some materials you can use to get your audience’s attention include:
• Quotes
• Anecdotes
• Videos
• A Scenario
• Jokes
• Statistics
• Rhetorical questions
• Pop Culture references
• Props
• Involving the audience
The attention getter is very important because it sets the tone for the speech.
It is the first sentence of your speech as well as your first opportunity to make an impression on your audience.

If you create one that is very boring, the audience will feel that, and will not even be interested with your speech.

Also, be cautious if you decide to use jokes. This is because some of the jokes may appear offensive to part of your audience.
It is, therefore, important that you start off strong and ensure that you keep your audience from unnecessary guesses.
Always feel free to be creative in catching your audience’s attention.

Interesting Quotes for Attention getter

¬ “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.” – Warren Buffet
¬ “You don’t need to be a genius or a visionary or even a college graduate t be successful. You just need a framework and a dream.” – Michael Dell
¬ “Many of the failures are the people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” – Thomas Edison
¬ “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein
¬ “Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napoleon Hill
¬ “A business that makes nothing but money is poor business.” – Henry Ford

Rhetorical Questions: Attention Getters

Benefits of Rhetorical Questions

¬ Rhetorical questions will engage your audience
¬ Could influence and persuade your audience
¬ Good for introducing your topic or ideas
¬ They are good for making your audience think about a specific topic.

Examples of Rhetorical Questions

¬ Setting goals is easy, but achieving them isn’t. How are you sabotaging yourself?
¬ Given how hard you work – both at the office and at home – don’t you deserve a day at the spa?
¬ Does anyone understand the correlation between stage fright and speech delivery?
¬ 20 of our sons and daughters have died of gang-related crimes. How many will it take before we act?
¬ What do you know about some of the renown public speakers in the world?

Anecdotes as Attention Getters

An anecdote is a short story.

Benefits of an Anecdote

• It brings the audience into your world
• It allows you to connect with your audience in a human way

Warnings about Anecdotes

• Your anecdote must be related to the topic of your speech
• Ensure that it pushes your audience to one side, that is, it has some angle to it.
• Keep it short.

A Good example of an Anecdote

Topic: Should students be forced to wear the school uniform?
My older brother got jumped by gang members the other day when walking home from the bus stop.
He was hospitalized for a week due to injuries. The reason for being jumped was because he was wearing a red shirt as part of his school uniform in an area that is controlled by a gang that wears blue.
My brother knew this but school officials didn’t.
If my brother had been granted a simple freedom to choose his clothes, it would save him a lot of pain and suffering.

From the anecdote above, we see a story that is connected to the topic; the story moves the audience to the position that students don’t have to wear uniforms.

A Scenario

A scenario describes a scene and it is similar to an anecdote except the fact that a scenario is more hypothetical.

Benefits of a Scenario

• A scenario can make your position look really good. You can make the situation appear whichever way that you want.
• You can also make the other position look bad.


¬ Choose only one scenario. Keep it focussed and to the point.
¬ Don’t write too much

A Good Example of a Scenario

Example 1
Imagine a world where everyone wore only grey. A world where there were no colours on anyone’s body, and people would severely be punished if they didn’t comply. Is this a world that we want to work to create?
Example 2
Imagine a world where students could express themselves freely. If they wanted to wear a harmless pin or hat expressing a political statement, they would be allowed to exercise their constitutional rights. Does this sound like a dream to you?

When you implement verbosity and engage your audience, they will feel valued.
Your attention getter, mostly, should have content that affects the emotive side of your audience. Through affecting your audience’s emotive side, you will earn their trust and improve the feasibility of your speech.

The Thesis

The thesis is the main idea of your speech. It is mostly the topic of your speech.


“The character [Ethos] of the speaker is a cause of persuasion when the speech is so uttered as to make him worthy of belief. His character [Ethos] is the most potent of all the means of persuasion. “– Aristotle

In other words, Ethos tries to answer the question:
Why would someone listen to you?

How to Add Ethos

1. Establish a personal/professional/academic connection with the topic that you choose.
¬ Majoring in nutrition, I know the importance of a well-balanced diet. I clean up the beaches every Saturday morning and have seen the devastation that litter can cause.
¬ Having a family full of medical professionals, I can tell you how important it is to pay attention to your heart rate.
2. Discuss your research
¬ Having intensively researched all options for fuel efficient cars, I can tell you which ones are the best.

The Value Step

The value step is also considered as a reason to listen.
The audience is always at the centre of the decisions that you make.
You have to ask yourself what the audience will gain from the speech.

For Example:
Let’s say you are doing a speech on ‘The Titanic.
Many people will not be interested with the Titanic because it happened very many years ago.
You, therefore, need to ask yourself:
“Why should they listen?”
The answer to the above question will lead you to the value step.
We could say that they should listen to appreciate the importance of history.
Value Step: The sinking of the Titanic was one of the largest non-war related disasters in history, and it is important to be knowledgeable about the past.
Another example of value step:
Value Step: The film, Titanic, was one of the most popular film of the late 90’s, but many fans of the film may not realize that it left out a lot of important information.

The Preview

After the value step, it is important that you state your position by previewing the main points of your speech.
For example:
Uniforms should not be required because they limit students’ freedom, they cost for much money, and it is inconsiderate to force certain people to wear certain things.
The order that you preview your points should be the order that they develop.


The body is the main section of your speech.
The body gives out information.
To make your speech appealing, it would be wise if you relay a simple explanation of your topic for the sake of the members of the audience who may not be familiar with your topic.
However, do not spend lots of time with this, simply give a definition of your topic so that everyone knows exactly what you are talking about.
After the definition or explanation about your topic, you must use two out of the following four approaches:
¬ Deductive Approach
¬ Inductive Approach
¬ Carrot-Stick
¬ Primacy/Recency

The Deductive Approach

The deductive approach entails going from a general idea to a specific idea.

For example:
a. All men are mortal
b. Einstein was a man – Therefore
c. Einstein was mortal
In the above example, if we all agree with the first general idea, and the second still general idea, then we must also agree with the last statement, which in the case of your persuasive speech is your opinion on a topic.

The Inductive Approach

It is the reverse of the deductive approach.
The inductive approach entails going from a specific idea to a general one with the use of the laws of probability.
For example:
Over the last 15 years, the prices of oil have increased by 2% each year, therefore, it is logical to induce that diamonds will continue to increase in value. The final statement should be your stand on the topic.

Carrot – Stick Approach

This approach entails giving both sides of an argument, then showing that the side that you believe in outweighs the other and should therefore be adopted.
In the case of a speech, while using the carrot – stick approach, you will be required to list both the pros and the cons on the topic.
It is important that you cautiously list your pros and cons in a way that your argument is not destroyed during the questions and answers session.

Primacy / Recency Approach

Primacy entails starting the body of your speech with your strongest point and ending with your weakest point,
It is also referred to as the anti-climatic approach.
Recency is the reverse.
With recency, you will start the body of your speech with the weakest argument and build to the strongest point hence creating a climatic approach.

Elements to include in the Body

I. Statistics

It is good if you include some figures and facts in your speech to back up your stand.

II. DE anchoring Beliefs

De anchoring entails appealing to other people’s emotions to make them change their opinions. For example, you can appeal to their sense of fear.
You could change their beliefs on:
¬ The fear of loss of freedom
¬ The fear of the loss of basic needs
¬ The fear of the unknown such as death.

III. Testimony or Personal Testimony

Testimonies are direct quotes from an authority.
On the other hand, a personal testimony entails telling your audience about something that particularly happened to you and made you hold the opinion that you currently have.
For example:
I feel that everyone should possess a gun. My elder brother was shot while strolling on the streets, and if he had a gun, he could have defended himself.


The conclusion is a wrap up. It is a brief restatement, and not retelling the whole persuasive speech.
Among the best ways if writing the conclusion of a persuasive speech is tying the conclusion into the introduction. For a persuasive speech, your goal is not only to be remembered but to also inspire people to take some action.
The best way to do that is to issue a call-to-action.
A call-to-action means that you specifically tell your audience what actions you expect them to take related to your speech.
Another way to inspire action with the conclusion entails appealing to their emotions.
If you create a desired emotion and then leave your audience with that emotion, they will take the emotion with them.
For example, if you leave your audience feeling guilty for not conserving the environment by recycling and painting a bleak picture of the state of the Earth that their grandchildren will be living in, then your audience will recall that picture and emotion the next time that they choose not to recycle.
The most important aspect of a conclusion is in leaving a strong final impression.
Other Significant Aspects of a Conclusion
1. It is important that you ensure that the transition from the body of your speech to the conclusion is smooth. This can be done through the utilisation of concluding statements. Examples of concluding statements include: “I leave you with”, “in conclusion”, “finally today”, and so forth.
2. It is important that you summarize your speech in the conclusion. The more your audience hears the main points, the more they are likely to remember them. By previewing, discussing, and summarizing the main points, your audience will have heard the main points at least thrice in your speech.

An Example of a Persuasive Speech Conclusion

Outrageous cases of animal abuse are just a portion of what you’ve heard today.
I hope that you can see from the speech today how essential it is for the thousands and thousands of animals who are suffering endlessly, that an action be taken.
Boiling alive. Humane?
I don’t think so.
Being killed, stomped, and thrown against the wall repeatedly until they are dead. Humane?
I don’t think so.
It is essential that we take an action to enforce animal slaughter rules, rights, and regulations.
Something has to be done for this billion-dollar industry will continue to go on and on without recourse.
Please let’s make a difference.


Title:______________, by____________________

Exact purpose: To convince the audience that. . . (complete this statement)

(Although it is the first part of your outline, DO NOT begin your speech delivery by stating your exact purpose. The first thing you say should be your attention grabber.)


A. Attention Grabber: (Statement to wake the audience up/ make sure they are listening!)
B. Thesis: (Tell listeners what action you want them to take—OR—how you want them to think.)
C. Qualification: (Tell listeners your personal experience with your topic, making you qualified to affect their opinions about it.)


A. Reason 1: (Tell one reason why listeners should act or think the way your thesis suggests.)

i. Example 1—Support for reason given above.
ii. Example 2—Support for reason given above.
iii. Example 3—Support for reason given above.

TRANSITION SENTENCE: (Smoothly connect Reason 1 with Reason 2)

B. Reason 2: (Give listeners a second reason why they should act or think as you want them to.)

i. Example 1—Support for reason given above.
ii. Example 2—Support for reason given above.
iii. Example 3—Support for reason given above.

TRANSITION SENTENCE: (Smoothly connect Reason 2 with Reason 3.)

C. Reason 3: (This should be your STRONGEST argument. Tell listeners the most important reason why they should act or think the way you want them to.)

i. Example 1—Support for reason given above.
ii. Example 2—Support for reason given above.
iii. Example 3—Support for reason given above.

SIGNAL THE WRAP UP! (Move smoothly from Reason 3 to the conclusion of your speech.


A. Summary: (Briefly remind listeners why they should agree with your position.)

B. Memorable Ending/Audience Challenge: (End with a powerful closing thought or recommended course of action.)

C. Thank Audience for Listening!

Learn the appropriate writing conventions for your persuasive speech

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