6 Tips for Writing a Persuasive speech | Impress Your Audience Today

6 Tips for Writing a Persuasive speech | Impress Your Audience Today

By far the best way to write speeches is to read the great ones, from Pericles’ eulogy on Dr. King’s Mountaintop Speech to Faulkner’s Nobel Prize Speech. But if you’re looking for some quick advice, consider the following the next time you’re asked to give a speech:

1. Write while you speak.

There is no first law for writing speeches, but if there were, it would probably be this: a speech should be given, not read. This simple (and obvious) fact has important (and less obvious) implications. Use short words. Write short sentences. Avoid awkward constructions that can trip up a speaker.

Tip: Read the speech out loud as you write. If you do this long enough, you’ll hear the words as you type them.

2. Tell a story.

I once wrote speeches for a governor whose aide told me speechwriting was all about mixing languages. This approach is a recipe for not writing good speeches or sound bites. Every time we sat down for the first time to discuss a speech, President Obama would ask us: What is the story we are trying to tell? Like any good story, a speech has its own narrative arc. For the president, it’s usually a slow warm-up, a substantial middle, and an inspiring finish. It’s his style. Tell your story as feels natural to you.

Tip: A good story can be much more powerful than the most compelling data and statistics.

persuasive speech
persuasive speech


3. The structure is important.

Finding the proper structure for a speech (the order of the points to be presented) is often more difficult to find than the words themselves. The order of these points is important because a clear and logical argument is more persuasive. There’s a reason some of America’s greatest speechwriters, from Lincoln to JFK’s speechwriter Ted Sorensen to President Obama himself, went to law school, a profession that values the ability to reason logically.
Tip: Lists (like this one) are a way to structure a speech.

4. Be brief.

Woodrow Wilson reportedly once responded to a request to speak: “If you want me to speak for five minutes, I need a month to prepare. If you want me to talk for 20 minutes, it’ll take me two weeks. But if you want me to talk for an hour, I’ll be there in a heartbeat. As Wilson knew, it is more difficult to be concise than detailed. But the best way to make a point is to be succinct, as Churchill did when he announced in a speech during the war: “The news from France is very bad. The next time you think you can’t afford to shorten that paragraph you love. Remember, the Gettysburg Address, perhaps the greatest speech in American history, is under 300 words.

Tip: Challenge yourself to cross out as many words as possible in each sentence without losing the meaning of the line.

5. Be authentic.

If you’ve ever given a speech, you’ve probably been told, “Just speak from your heart.” Writing tips isn’t very helpful, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Once while writing President Obama’s speech for the 2008 Democratic Convention, we got stuck on a certain section of the speech. The president advised us: to think about the moment we are in, think about what the country is going through and write something that feels real. It was a helpful reminder to stop focusing on polls and audio snippets and just say something you believe in as simply as possible.

Tip: Sharing a personal story can help you find your voice and connect with your audience.

6. Don’t just talk, say something.

When Michelangelo was commissioned to paint the Sistine Chapel, he thought it would be a thankless task. He would have preferred to spend his time sculpting rather than painting. But he took the opportunity to paint perhaps the most revered mural in history. So the next time you’re asked to speak, don’t just write a speech, write a great one. The greatness of a speech lies as much in its values as in anything else. Nobody remembers the speeches of the segregationists, although there were certainly eloquent preachers spreading hate in Jim Crow times. No one remembers Hitler’s speeches, though few would question his oratorical skills. Of course, like the segregationists, Hitler lost. But also because hope will always be more convincing than hate. It is no accident that the most famous and popular speech in history, the Sermon on the Mount, is an articulation of the highest ideals of humanity.

Tip: Before you sit down to write, get inspired by reading great speeches from books like William Safire’s Lend Me Your Ears.

Note: So, you’re going to give a persuasive speech. Even if you know the topic well and have leading ideas in mind, it can be tough to know where to start and how to convince your audience of your ideas. Then again, a great persuasive speech doesn’t have to be tough or intimidating when you have the right tools and enough practice behind you. This guide will help you construct a persuasive speech

2 thoughts on “6 Tips for Writing a Persuasive speech | Impress Your Audience Today

  1. Pingback:6 Tips for Writing a Persuasive speech (On Any Topic)
  2. Pingback:Tips for writing a Persuasive speech - Dr Cric

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