Persuasive speech characteristics and examples

Persuasive speech

A persuasive speech is defined as a statement of reasoning that has the main purpose to influence the actions or thoughts of others. This is based on persuasion: that is, the art of articulating rhetorical arguments in such a way as to convince and influence a listener. Persuasive speech characteristics examples

In this sense, persuasion has been defined as a symbolic process. Through this process, communicators try to convince other people to change their attitudes or behavior with respect to a certain topic in a scenario where there are at least two options to choose from.

Persuasion is said to be a symbolic process due to the type of tools it employs. Among the most used tools, the use of language stands out with its different rich and cultural meanings. Other tools used include non-verbal symbols such as flags, stars, crosses, or trademark logos.

In persuasive speech there are two elements, the persuader (or team of persuaders) and the persuaded (to whom the persuasive strategy is directed). For this discourse to have its effect, there must be the ability of the persuader to recognize that the persuaded has a state of mind susceptible to change.

Another of the necessary conditions for a persuasive speech to exist is the exclusive use of the symbolic tools defined in the previous paragraph.

The use of threat, blackmail or any form of coercion or physical means, distorts it and transforms it into a different type of discourse.

Characteristics of persuasive speech

Direct and precise language from the start

A persuasive speech engages the audience from the start. Thus, the subject must be presented from the beginning in a direct and precise way. To achieve this end, the speaker relies, among others, on an appropriate bodily attitude. Persuasive speech characteristics examples

Credibility in the exhibition

Success in persuasive speech depends on how favorably the audience evaluates the credibility or competence of the speaker.

A speaker must have experience and knowledge to convince his audience of the validity and relevance of his arguments. Credibility comes from the way the speaker deals with potential objections from the audience.

Logical presentation

Structure is important for managing the flow of information in a persuasive speech. Since, in a sense, this type of speech is intended to manipulate, it must be structured in a way that complies with the thinking scheme of the majority of the audience.

Balanced rhythm

A good speaker recognizes that the length of the speech is as important as the content. These should be calculated to spend approximately the same time at each main point.

This approach gives your speech a steady, measured pace that is important for maintaining credibility with an audience.

Incentive conclusions

In a persuasive speech, the conclusions should appear in the mind of the audience as the speaker develops his themes.

Generally, the final paragraphs are the last chance to persuade listeners. That is why in this part the main points are usually briefly reviewed once more.

Forms of persuasive speech

Two types of persuasive speech are known: dispositional and actuational. In the first, it seeks to influence the audience’s disposition towards a common theme.

On the other hand, the intention of the actuacional is to achieve a determined behavior before the concepts emitted by the speaker.


Martin Luther King Speech (August 28, 1963)

“I am pleased to join you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration of freedom in our nation‘s history. Five years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

This momentous decree came as a great beacon of hope for millions of black slaves who had been burned in the flames of withering injustice. A happy day came to end the long night of his captivity.

But a hundred years later, the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the black is sadly paralyzed by the handcuffs of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the middle of a vast ocean of material prosperity.

One hundred years later, the Negro continues to languish in the corners of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land. And so we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition. Persuasive speech characteristics examples

In a sense, we have come to our nation‘s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they signed a promissory note to which every American would be the heir… ”.

Jesse Williams, BET Award Acceptance Speech (June 27, 2016)

Now, this award, this is not for me. This is for the real organizers across the country. The activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students who realize that a system built to divide, impoverish, and destroy us cannot be sustained if we stand tall.

All good? It’s a kind of basic math. The more we learn about who we are and how we got here, the more we will mobilize.

Now, this is also particularly true for black women in particular who have spent their lives dedicated to feeding everyone before themselves. We can and will do better for you.

Now what we’ve been doing is looking at the data and we know that the police somehow manage to de-escalate, disarm and not kill white people every day. So what will happen? We will have the same rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure its role.

Yesterday would have been young Tamir Rice‘s 14th birthday. So I don’t want to know any more about how far we’ve come when public servants paid for by us can shoot a 12-year-old playing alone in a park in broad daylight, kill him on television, and then go home to Make a sandwich…”.

Ghandi (January 12, 1948)

“One fasts for health under the laws that govern health, one fasts as a penance for wrongdoing and feels like one. In these fasts, the fasting person does not need to believe in Ahimsa.

There is, however, a fast that a devotee of nonviolence is sometimes compelled to undertake to protest against some wrong done by society, and this he does when, as a devotee of Ahimsa, he has no other choice. Such an occasion has come my way.

When on September 9, I returned to Delhi from Calcutta, I had to go to Western Punjab. But that was not to be. Gay Delhi looked like a city of the dead. When I got off the train, I saw sadness on every face I saw. Even the Sardar, to whom humor and the joy that humor offers is never deserted, this time was no exception.

The cause of this he did not know. He was on the platform to greet me. He wasted no time in bringing me the sad news of the riots that took place in the Union Metropolis. Right away I saw that I had to be in Delhi and ‘do or die’… ”. Persuasive speech characteristics examples

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