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Prof. Joseph - COMM109 - Spring 2024

ChangeThe Task > Persuasive Speech - A persuasive speech is one in which the speaker tries to change, reinforce, or establish the audience’s attitudes, beliefs, values, or behavior.  Supporting material is used to substantiate the speaker’s claim.  The topic you choose should be one about which you feel strongly.  If you sound uninterested or uncommitted to your topic, you are less likely to change someone’s opinion. (1 possible topic)

Persuasive Speeches

The purpose of a persuasive speech is to provoke or elicit change in the audience. Generally, persuasive speeches will address an issue or idea with controversy or differing opinions. On any issue there will be a range of perspectives. It is important to speak about the differing reasons underlying the range of opinions even as you endeavor to convince your audience of the point of view you assert.

A persuasive speech may be organized in various ways. Consider providing background to the current standing on the issue: the status quo. What's working about the issue? What's problematic and could do with changing? What changes do you support and for what reason? Evidence supporting each of these aspects will be the fruits of your research.

Research Template for Issues

Identify the aspects of the large concept (idea) that are RELEVANT to your search right now. Use these RELEVANT aspects to give you search terms (keywords) and to help you stay on track throughout your search process.

Research template or model for controversial issues

Remember that for your assignment you want to learn about this topic but you have limits.

  • There is a due date that limits the time you can spend gathering, understanding, and absorbing information about the topic.
  • There are space considerations including how many pages you have in which to express yourself, your ideas and the results of your research.
  • Other assignment requirements may include how many and what types of sources you must use.

For all these reasons, it is important to identify the relevant aspects of the larger topic that most interest you, that you will emphasize in your work.

A graphic representing the range of perspectives on an issue.

Remember that on any given issue there will be a range of perspectives. Rather than classifying them as pro or con, good or bad, understand that even when individuals or entities are in total agreement on a topic, they may do so for different reasons. Drill down to the reasons underlying someone's point of view. That's the gold! 

Remember that when identifying and selecting evidence for a paper, speech, or presentation, including ideas across the spectrum is a plus. Recognizing alternative or opposing ideas allows for meaningful comparisons.

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