Persuasive Speech

Your persuasive speech is really a speech to actuate, not merely to persuade someone to believe as you do on a topic relating to health and wellness. That is, your goal should be to get the audience to make a behavioral change once they have heard your speech and actually do something to improve their own health and wellness and/or the health and wellness of others.

Students who wish to do so may present the speech outside of class as a service learning project, which is explained under the "Service Learning" link on the Web page.  Assuming all criteria for the service learning assignment are met, the student's persuasive speech grade will be increased by five points.

The criteria for evaluation for this speech will still focus on organization, supporting material, and delivery. Your approach to the speech’s organization—a clearly defined beginning, middle, and ending for the speech—should be modified to achieve the persuasive goal of this presentation.


The introduction should gain the audience’s attention in a novel way and then serve to orient the audience to at least the problem you will later develop. Speakers may also at this stage mention the solution that you will propose. The body of the speech should be characterized by a limited number of main points, which will allow speakers to show that a significant problem exists in the status quo, that a practical solution can solve the problem, and that the solution will also result in a few additional benefits beyond solving the problem. The conclusion should remind the audience of the seriousness of the problem and show them, specifically, what they should do to put the solution into effect. Speakers should note that the introduction, body, and conclusion as described above should be crafted into Monroe’s Motivated Sequence design (pages 413-417 in the textbook) for speeches to actuate: Introduction (Attention Step), Body (Need Step, Satisfaction Step, and Visualization Step), and Conclusion (Action Step).  Follow the same guidelines appropriate to your last speech (informative) to construct a preparation outline of this presentation.  Your outline and attached bibliography are to be turned in just before you deliver the speech.

Supporting Material

Speakers should consult at least five sources* outside their own experience and provide oral footnotes during the speech for at least three separate sources of documentation, as we have discussed in class and as you have noted on your informative speech critiques. Use of visual aids is optional.


The speech should be delivered extemporaneously, and the presentation should be characterized by frequent and varied eye contact with all of the audience.

Time Limit

Speakers should plan for a 6-8 minute speech

*Sources consulted during your research should be included with your preparation outline by way of an attached bibliography.  Note that at least one cited source must be a relevant article from The New York Times.