Persuasive Speech Examples

Persuasive Speech

A persuasive speech is given for the purpose of persuading the audience to feel a certain way, to take a certain action, or to support a specific view or cause. Notice that the purpose of a persuasive speech is similar to the purpose for writing an argumentative or persuasive essay. The organizational structure and type of information in a persuasive speech would be similar to that in an persuasive essay.

To write a persuasive speech, you choose a topic about which people disagree or can have differing opinions. Your persuasive argument will be made stronger if you can demonstrate that you are passionate about the topic and have a strong opinion one way or the other. Then, you outline and draft your persuasive speech by taking a position on the topic and outlining your support for your position. It is often helpful to also discuss why the "other side" is incorrect in their beliefs about the topic. Make sure you catch your audience's attention and that you summarize key points and "take-aways" as you go.

Examples of Persuasive Speech:

1. A teenager attempting to convince her parents that she needs to be able to stay out until 11pm instead of 10pm.

2. A student council president trying to convince school administrators to allow the students to have a dance after the final football game of the season.

3. A lawyer giving a closing argument in court, arguing about whether the defendant is innocent or guilty of the crime.

Examples of Persuasive Speeches in Literature or Popular Culture:

Excerpt from Mark Antony's speech in Julius Caesar:

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answer'd it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest–
For Brutus is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honourable men–

Martin Luther King, Jr.'s I Have a Dream speech is one of the most famous persuasive speeches of all time. Excerpt:

Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to
rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of
racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial
injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a
reality for all of God's children.

Winston Churchill also gave a famous persuasive speech during World War II
as Britain faced invasion from Nazi Germany:

Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have
fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of
Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in
France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing
confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island,
whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the
landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in
the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment
believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our
Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry
on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power
and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

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