Toastmaster Speech Manual Number
Persuade with Power
To Present a talk that persuade the audience to accept your proposal
* To achieve this
persuasive effect by appealing to the audience's self interest,
building a logical
foundation for agreement, and arousing emotional commitment to your
* TIME: Five to
history speech has been a major form of social influence and control, as people
have rallied around those
The ability to persuade - to get other people to understand, accept, and act
upon your ideas - is vital when you communicate with and lead others at home and
at work. Developing your persuasive skills is one of the best investments in
time and effort you can make.
Pervasion of Persuasive Messages
Today we are bombarded by persuasive messages. Advertisements
try to persuade us to buy a particular brand of soft drink, coffee, or antacid.
Salespeople try to persuade us to buy an automobile, a personal computer, or a cellular
telephone. We are also persuaders ourselves, trying to convince our spouses to
vacation in the Bahamas, a sales clerk to refund out money, our boss that we
deserve a salary increase, or our children to clean their rooms.
In the second project, you
spoke on a subject about which you have strong beliefs. Now you will focus on
making your audience accept your beliefs. To accomplish this, you must appeal to
people's self-interests, carefully analyze your audience, present evidence that
supports your proposal, and generate emotional commitment to your views.
There are three major
components of any persuasive communication: the persuader, the purpose of your
message, and the audience.
Impression count, and this is especially true in persuasive
speaking. While the content of your message is important, of equal weight is the
audience's opinion of you. Your listeners must like, trust, and
respect you before they will adopt your ideas. They should
view you as someone they can identify with - someone whose
needs and interests are similar to theirs. They base their
opinion of you on your:
You must be qualified to discuss the subject
and offer evidence to support your position. You
must know the subject and be able to present plenty
of evidence to support your ideas.
Your reputation is based on your past performances,
accomplishments, publicity, and honors. Make
sure the audience is familiar with your qualifications
through your introduction, advance publicity,
or your speech itself.
You communicate your ideas with conviction and
believe that what you are proposing will truly benefit
the audience. Audiences are naturally suspicious
of anyone who is trying to their interest in mind
and are not seeking their support for selfish reasons.
If you appear nervous, timid, or bored, the audience
will be less likely to accept your ideas. Speak with
confidence, firmness, and self-assurance, and establish
direct eye contact with listeners.
The Purpose of Your Message
What is your goal as a speaker? Is it not get the audience to
act? Change their attitudes or beliefs? Inspire them or arouse
their enthusiasm or emotions? Once you know your purpose,
you must construct your speech so that you appeal to listeners
self-interests. People don't buy a product because a salesperson
wants them to. They buy it because it's useful, desirable,
and beneficial to them. To be persuasive, you must convince
them that your interests coincide with theirs.
Before you prepare your speech, you will need to analyze your
prospective audience carefully. The way you present your persuasive
message will depend on whom your listeners are and what
attitudes they hold toward your subject. What are their
occupations, interest, and educational backgrounds? How much
information do they already have on the subject? Do they
care about the issue you will discuss? Are they favorable toward
your viewpoint? Undecided? Opposed?
Your Persuasive Approach
Once you've decided your speech objective, you can determine
which persuasive approach you will use. No two persuasive
situation are alike. However, you'll find these general guidelines helpful in
If the audience
agrees with your viewpoint, your goal will be
to reinforce and strengthen this agreement. In many
instances, you need not present both sides of an issue
when you've sure the audience agrees with your viewpoint.
However, if your listeners have been exposed to
a differing view, acknowledge the opposing argument
and present evidence supporting your own.
If the audience
is neutral or apathetic, your main goal is to
convince your listeners that the issue directly affects and
is important to them. If you're confronting a problem,
show how it relates to them and their lives. After
establishing its relevance, present the possible solutions.
Explain the impact of each solution, and demonstrate
why yours is the best alternative.
If the audience
opposes your view, don't expect to achieve
major attitudinal changes. Instead simply strive to
have your listeners recognize the merits of your position
and reconsider their own views. Begin by establishing
common ground, leading your listeners back to
basic principles and indisputable facts on which you
and they agree. As you proceed, promote your own
beliefs, but don't let listeners equate your argument with
an attack on them. Present your message fairly, and be
considerate of others' feelings.
Organizing and Presenting your
Once you've selected your topic and your basic approach, structure
your message so it achieve the result you seek. The motivated sequence,
developed by Professor Alan H. Monroe is a five-step speech structure that
follows people's normal thought patterns, motivating an audience
to respond to the speaker's purpose. This sequence can be
adapted to almost any topic and persuasive approach you
Your opening should seize your audience's attention,
direct that attention toward your topic, and make
the audience want to listen to what follow. An excellent
example is the physician who began a speech by
saying, physician who began a speech by saying, "Three
out of five people in this room will did of heart disease."
In this step, you state the existing need or problem,
explaining why it's important to listeners. Depending
on your topic and approach, you may include
facts, examples, and illustrations that describe the
need and build a solid, logical foundation for the solution
you will present.
Here you present your solution to the need or
problem. After stating your proposal and explaining
it clearly, show how it meets the need. Support
your position with evidence and, if necessary, overcome
objections or opposing solutions.
In this step, you draw a picture of future conditions,
intensifying audience commitment to your position.
Show how things will be once your proposal is adopted
or what might happen if the audience rejects your
Your final step is to turn the agreement and commitment
you've gained into positive or attitude by your
Here's brief example that
illustrates Monroe's motivated sequence:
rapidly escalating property taxes are supporting a spending spree by
taxes must be lowered and government spending
brought under control."
X will reduce property taxes and limit government spending in
proposition fails, our taxes will continue to escalate, and many
people will lose their homes."
on Proposition X."
Your Emotional Appeal
Up to this point, we have focused on the rational part of your
persuasive speech. Don't forget the emotional component - few
people are persuaded by logic alone. Throughout your speech,
work to build strong audience feeling toward your cause.
To be successful in completing this project, you must use all of
the skills you've learned. Speak with directness and conviction.
Organize your message carefully. Use body language and vocal
variety to strengthen your message, and pay attention to the
words you use. Avoid using notes, because they will detract
from the audience's feeling that you've mastered your topic.
Your evaluator will expect you to demonstrate your own commitment
to the point of view you advocate. You will also be expected
to appeal to your audience's self-interest, show that you
have carefully analyzed your audience, build a logical appeal,
and motivate strong emotional feeling among