Delivering A Killer Persuasive Speech

How can you grab an audience and swing them around to your point of view?

You need to prepare a killer persuasive speech!

But a persuasive speech can be tough to pull off effectively. Here are some public speaking tips to help you win over hearts and move minds.

Speak On Topics You Know Well

Your speech will be more effective if you have a natural passion and opinion on your subject. What insight do you have to offer? Why should people listen to you?

You don't have to have a huge insight. It can be something small but with depth that others have not realised yet.

Know Where They Stand

If the audience already supports your view you just need to reinforce their opinion. If they don’t care at all, they may not know anything about it. Let’s say you are advocating the closing of a power plant that you feel is polluting the ocean--you may need to educate them on the topic first before you do anything else.

What if they are completely against you? Or even hostile?

Take time to show you are a credible speaker on the topic. Don’t try to convince everyone 100% in one day. Strive for incremental change. But be authentic.

Think about how a grocery store sells new products by handing out samples. Similarly, you can give suggestions to the audience on how they can take small steps on the way to bigger changes.

Sell the Benefits

Picture the letters WIIFM printed on the foreheads of the audience members.

It stands for "What’s in it for me?"

Appeal to their self-interest. Tell them the problem and your solution. Show them what they are losing by not taking action—explain in detail the opportunities and potential losses. Use examples and evidence. Spell out exactly how the audience can benefit from implementing the changes you want them to make.

Be Dynamic

This is not just an informational speech--inject feelings into your words. Use vocal variety and expressive gestures to hit your major points with conviction. Use stories from your own life. Take the audience on a journey. Paint pictures and let them feel what you are feeling.

Let's say you are telling the audience they should stop eating meat.

Perhaps you open the speech with a dramatic story on how cattle are injected with steroids.

Describe in detail what steroids do to the cattle and how that harms humans. Then show the audience easy steps they can take to modify their behavior.

A persuasive speech presents unique challenges—people are set in their ways and it can be difficult to try to change their opinion.

By combining diligent preparation, proper technique and emotional delivery you’ll be able to move the audience closer to your position.