The key to delivering a successful speech lies in preparation and practice. Having hundreds of eyes focused on you, faces gawking at you and every one of your spoken words being analyzed by hundreds of minds can be unnerving. Delivering a persuasive speech successfully to a hostile crowd and winning them over can be baptism by fire and sooner or later every individual who aspires to become a leader, must go through it.
It's tough to win over every single person in your audience, as it's difficult to overcome their personal biases. Still, if you can win over more than half of them and help them see your point clearly, that's a job well done. Let me guide you through the elements of writing a persuasive speech.
About Persuasive Speeches
A speech is a vocal expression of your thoughts in front of a sizable audience and as such it needs to be coherent, interesting enough to grasp their attention and short enough to not test their patience for too long! A persuasive speech is an argument presented by the orator to convince the audience about a point of view. It is a watertight logical argument aimed at advocating a point of view.
The speech needs to be logically sound, informative and highly convincing. Writing a persuasive speech is an art and like any art form, requires quite a bit of practice to master even the basics. In the following lines, I outline the course of action to write an effective persuasive speech.
How to Write a Persuasive Speech?
Having been where you are right now (several times), I think that I could share a thing or two about writing speeches. So here are some of the prime points you must remember, when writing persuasive speeches.
Choose a Topic Close to Your Heart
If you have a choice, choose a persuasive speech topic which you feel very deeply about. That way, the persuasive power in you won't have to be coerced out, but it will express itself naturally. Go for a topic which rouses you to speak up. Then decide on the point which is going to be the conclusive remark of your speech.
Be specific about what point you want to drive through the whole speech to save yourself from writing a speech which beats around the bush. Once you are decided on the prime thought you want to drive across, you can begin the process of writing the speech. Imagine this thought to be a castle in the air, under which you have to put a strong logical foundation through your speech, so that your audience can scale it to understand your point of view.
Research & Brainstorm
Research is the soul of a persuasive speech. Read what all you need to read to know the core subject of speech. If you need facts and figures, dig for them through research. Get somebody who is as excited about the topic, as you are, to brainstorm with you. Make the library you home and clear out all the basic ideas that you need to understand to present the main topic clearly. Pen down your thoughts and points which emerge from the research and discussion. Jot down as many facts and points you can to support your argument.
Persuade Yourself First
To be persuasive in a speech, you yourself need to be convinced about the soundness of your ultimate thought or inference. To be convinced, you need to be skeptical before and jot down as many points against your arguments as you can. Then decimate every one of those points, which go against your argument. If you can overcome your own doubts, you will certainly sound more convincing.
Begin Writing & Create an Intricate Logical Argument
When you think you have enough firepower in the form of sound logic facts and a rock solid rationale to back them up, begin writing your speech. Firstly introduce the subject to the audience and talk about why you feel deeply about it. Follow this up with your argument supporting your point of view.
Attack Counter Arguments & Address Loopholes
Once you are done with the 'for' arguments, bring up every counter argument that goes against the thought and eliminate them, one by one. Any loop holes that you think others may point out, must be addressed here.
When you are done with that, you can move towards the conclusion and summarize your entire argument to reach your final point. Let humor and sparkling wit be sprinkled throughout to keep the audience interested throughout the speech. Thank the audience for being patient listeners and take a bow!
Practice, Practice, Practice
The key to excellent delivery of speech is practice and confidence which emerges naturally through it. Practice the entire speech in front of a mirror and read it till you can say it all, even when woken from sleep! Deliver a practice speech in front of your close confidantes and ask for suggestions. Make changes if you think they are needed. However, once you are decided on a final draft, don't change it. Stick to the speech after that and practice day and night.
Be Prepared & Deliver With Confidence
With peak preparation, confidence won't need to be summoned, it will be there naturally. The first few sentences might make you queasy, but once you are into the flow and the audience is responding, you will surely enjoy putting up the show!
When you are yourself persuaded about the strength and logical soundness of your argument, there is no reason, why an audience won't believe you. Lead them through your argument in such a way, that the ultimate point which you have been trying to drive home is but obvious!
Research, write and practice delivering the speech, sprinkle it with humor if there is room for some, keep the delivery well paced and deliver it with gusto to win over your audience. I hope I have been 'persuasive' enough in my article to make you believe that delivering a persuasive speech successfully is possible for anybody who is willing to work hard. I wish you all the best for your speech. Let it be such, that later people describe it as, 'He came, he spoke, he conquered....'!