Effective Public Speaking
Effective Public Speaking

Effective Public Speaking

Lead Author(s): George Griffin and Contributors

Student Price: Contact us to learn more

Top Hat Intro Course - Designed to teach the skills and build the confidence your students need to become effective public speakers.

What is a Top Hat Textbook?

Top Hat has reimagined the textbook – one that is designed to improve student readership through interactivity, is updated by a community of collaborating professors with the newest information, and accessed online from anywhere, at anytime.

  • Top Hat Textbooks are built full of embedded videos, interactive timelines, charts, graphs, and video lessons from the authors themselves
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Key features in this textbook

Effective Public Speaking gives students the confidence and competence in preparing and presenting speeches with real student videos, a comprehensive glossary, up to five in-class activities per chapter, and a full chapter on controlling speech anxiety.
Using Bongo for Top Hat, students can practice their oral communication skills and get feedback from instructors or their peers.
Built-in assessment questions embedded throughout chapters so students can read a little, do a little, and test themselves to see what they know!

Comparison of Public Speaking Textbooks

Consider adding Top Hat’s Effective Public Speaking textbook to your upcoming course. We’ve put together a textbook comparison to make it easy for you in your upcoming evaluation.

Top Hat

George Griffin, Effective Public Speaking, Only one edition needed


Stephen Lucas, The Art of Public Speaking, 12th Edition


Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking: An Audience-Centered Approach, 9th Edition


Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking Handbook, 5th Edition


Average price of textbook across most common format

Up to 40-60% more affordable

Lifetime access on any device


Hardcover print text only


Hardcover print text only


Hardcover print text only

Always up-to-date content, constantly revised by community of professors

Content meets standard for Introduction to Anatomy & Physiology course, and is updated with the latest content

In-Book Interactivity

Includes embedded multi-media files and integrated software to enhance visual presentation of concepts directly in textbook

Only available with supplementary resources at additional cost

Only available with supplementary resources at additional cost

Only available with supplementary resources at additional cost


Ability to revise, adjust and adapt content to meet needs of course and instructor

All-in-one Platform

Access to additional questions, test banks, and slides available within one platform


Average price of textbook across most common format

Top Hat

George Griffin, Effective Public Speaking, Only one edition needed

Up to 40-60% more affordable

Lifetime access on any device


Stephen Lucas, The Art of Public Speaking, 12th Edition


Hardcover print text only


Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking: An Audience-Centered Approach, 9th Edition


Hardcover print text only


Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking Handbook, 5th Edition


Hardcover print text only

Always up-to-date content, constantly revised by community of professors

Constantly revised and updated by a community of professors with the latest content

Top Hat

George Griffin, Effective Public Speaking, Only one edition needed


Stephen Lucas, The Art of Public Speaking, 12th Edition


Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking: An Audience-Centered Approach, 9th Edition


Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking Handbook, 5th Edition

In-book Interactivity

Includes embedded multi-media files and integrated software to enhance visual presentation of concepts directly in textbook

Top Hat

George Griffin, Effective Public Speaking, Only one edition needed


Stephen Lucas, The Art of Public Speaking, 12th Edition


Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking: An Audience-Centered Approach, 9th Edition


Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking Handbook, 5th Edition


Ability to revise, adjust and adapt content to meet needs of course and instructor

Top Hat

George Griffin, Effective Public Speaking, Only one edition needed


Stephen Lucas, The Art of Public Speaking, 12th Edition


Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking: An Audience-Centered Approach, 9th Edition


Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking Handbook, 5th Edition

All-in-one Platform

Access to additional questions, test banks, and slides available within one platform

Top Hat

George Griffin, Effective Public Speaking, Only one edition needed


Stephen Lucas, The Art of Public Speaking, 12th Edition


Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking: An Audience-Centered Approach, 9th Edition


Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking Handbook, 5th Edition

About this textbook

Lead Authors

George Griffin, Professor of SpeechKeiser University

George Griffin earned his degrees at the University of West Florida and Auburn University. He has been teaching college, business seminars and workshops for over 30 years, while still doing public speaking engagements for non-profit organizations. Currently, he is serving as the Professor of Speech at Keiser University, Orlando, and as Adjunct Professor at Stetson University. George is also the author of “STAGE FRIGHT! A Student-Friendly Guide to Managing the Jitters.”

Contributing Authors

Wade CorneliusNew Mexico State University

Kathryn DederichsUniversity of St. Thomas

Morgan GintherInstructional Designer at Texas A & M

Luke GreenSt. Cloud Technical and Community College

María Elena BermúdezGeorgia State University

Daryle NaganoEl Camino College

Wendy YarberryFlorida State College at Jacksonville

Allen DavisIndiana University

Jasmine RobertsOhio State University

Krista MacDonaldDoña Ana Community College

Explore this textbook

Read the fully unlocked textbook below, and if you’re interested in learning more, get in touch to see how you can use this textbook in your course today.

Chapter 10: Writing Persuasive Speeches

Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower (who was a general at the time) announced the D-Day Landings at Normandy in one of WWII's most famous speeches. "Great battles lie ahead. I call upon all who love freedom to stand with us. Keep your faith staunch - our arms are resolute - together we shall achieve victory.” [1]
“To be persuasive we must be believable;
to be believable we must be credible;
to be credible we must be truthful.”

― Edward R. Murrow

Table of Contents

Learning Objectives

After completing this chapter you will:

  • Gain an understanding of what persuasive speaking is and is not.
  • Become more aware of how persuasive messages are received and processed by an audience.
  • Be able to distinguish between claims of fact, value, and policy, and understand the purpose of each.
  • Be able to choose an effective organizational structure for a persuasive speech.


The role that persuasion plays within our lives is immense. Arguably the two most obvious types of persuasion within our lives revolve around advertising and politics. Unfortunately, this has caused a relatively negative and inaccurate view of what persuasion can and should be.

Advertisements are everywhere; each promising some unique aspect that sets one product apart from the competition or is able to provide you, the consumer, something that can't be achieved with anything else.

“Buy this burrito, look at how delicious it looks, it's super tasty and stuff, look at that attractive person who is on the arm of the person who just bought that burrito, it can all be yours for only 99 cents!”

The sad thing is we may go buy the burrito, only to become woefully disappointed (as we have been time and time again) when we unwrap the burrito to find it looks nothing like the advertisement, it tastes like cardboard (yet, we're somehow surprised), and eagerly await our dream partner who never shows up. Speaking of people that don’t always show up: politicians. ​

Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich [2]​

In the realm of politics similar promises are made on the campaign trail, but those promises often don’t come to fruition after the candidate has been elected to office. During campaign season we are moved in many ways to give our stamp of approval to the politician who earns our vote. Yet, the constant letdowns we feel on the receiving end of persuasive messages have the potential for us to associate persuasion with deception, bamboozlement, coercion, dupery, or flat out being tricked or lied to. Unfortunately, this is an extremely inaccurate understanding of what persuasion is or how it should be used. This chapter aims to share what true persuasion is and how it can be used to create a message that has the ability to change perceptions and lives in a meaningful way.

As a citizen in a democratic society you have been empowered with a voice to advocate for whatever you desire in this world. You can shout from a soapbox all you want; however, in order to get others to follow, you must motivate them to think what you have to say is valid and that it is worth it for them to adjust their current perceptions. It is a power that can be employed in any aspect of your life where you would like to change or reinforce the opinions of those around you:

  • Do you think the campus Internet fees you pay as part of your tuition are more expensive than the actual benefit of the services you receive?
  • Is your family deciding on vacation options for next summer, and you have something in mind? 
  • Do you have strong feelings that one movie is far superior to the film just mentioned by your friend?

Student Senate meetings, cordial family discussion, and friendly debates that most certainly will become hostile are only the beginning of how persuasive mechanics can be used. Understanding the persuasive process and how to structure a persuasive speech can help you in all of these endeavors and many more. To help explore persuasive speeches we will be looking at what persuasion is, how audiences receive persuasive messages, and different approaches to persuasion that are determined by the desired outcome of your speech.

What Constitutes Persuasion

The purpose of persuasive speeches is to provide a strategic message that has a goal of moving the audience towards a specific belief, value, or behavior. A speaker that shares thoughtful content in an engaging and well-reasoned way allows an audience to see the value in perking up and paying attention. For instance, let's say your community has an amazing theater arts program that is on the verge of bankruptcy. You feel quite strongly that it is a benefit to your town and that it would flourish if community members knew of the high-quality productions it creates. A persuasive speech will allow you the opportunity to spread awareness of the issue, make an argument for why the quality performances are worth the cost of admission, and share a vision of what can be accomplished if people help advance the goals of your speech. You share your message; you think it is a no-brainer, who wouldn't want to save this gem within their community? In an idealistic world everyone will politely hear you out and follow the instruction that you lay out. Unfortunately, because of competing priorities, interests, and varying levels of apathy, the real world application of persuasion isn't as effective as it looks on paper.

Audiences are not forced to buy-in to what a speaker is supporting, and as we will see, there are several obstacles that a speaker faces in being able to accomplish their persuasive goals. Persuasion is accomplished through the creation of an environment that highlights why there is reason/motivation for the audience to follow a specific line of thought concerning a topic.

Persuasion Doesn't Have To Be Awkward

Oftentimes new speakers can feel a little bit uncomfortable thinking about becoming a persuasive speaker. They believe that it is not their place to tell others what to do or how to think. I totally agree. Speakers don't have the authority to force their audience to comply. Instead speakers have an opportunity to advocate for what they believe to be a good course of action by approaching the particular topic in a logical way. By demonstrating that the ideas that are presented within a speech are legit, it is the speaker’s goal to have the audience become like-minded. As a persuasive speaker you will become successful when the audience offers their support out of their own free will, rather than out of compliance or fear of a direct consequence from you as a speaker.

The opinions and ideas that you hold about the world have not come about by accident. Through time spent filtering your own experiences and exposure to information through your personal values and perspectives you have arrived at how you feel about any given topic. By offering a well-crafted persuasive speech you are simply sharing a piece of yourself. You are letting your audience learn how you see the world. By sharing this with the audience you are giving them insight into what reasons and information have led you to arrive at the conclusions that you hold.

At the end of a persuasive speech, even if an audience member isn’t completely won over by your message, they should have an increased level of respect for the position that you shared and your viewpoint. By speaking persuasively you challenge the audience to reevaluate their current viewpoint by inspiring them to think again about the topic using your logical framework as a guide. If handled correctly, persuasive speaking should not be awkward for the speaker or the audience. There are reasons you hold the opinions and viewpoints that you do. It is your job as a public speaker to clearly convey those viewpoints and the reasons why you believe them to be accurate to the audience. If you succeed in doing so, you should be able to feel proud of the message that you share.


Some speakers are concerned that their delivery may come off as "preachy," especially if they are talking about a potentially controversial topic. What are some strategies you might use in order to avoid this perception?

Persuasion is Not Deception or Coercion

Man dressed up as an old-timey 'snake-oil salesman'.
When delivering a speech, your topic should stand on it's own merit.​ [3]

When a speaker decides to take a shortcut by inserting false claims, or intentionally withholding relevant information, persuasion is not present as audiences are being motivated by unethical behaviors. As mentioned in Chapter 3, speakers have an obligation to represent their messages in accordance with ethical principles. Deception occurs when a speaker makes a claim that they know to be inaccurate to motivate audiences to accept their speech goals. Persuasive speakers should be able to stand behind their message and not cut and run once people have figured out that they have been lied to (because they shouldn’t be lying in the first place). Intentionally misleading audiences by using evidence that you know to be false as a way to advance your own persuasive goals is not representative of persuasion.

Coercing, or bullying an audience to adopt your speaking goals is also not persuasion (or ethical). An older sibling telling a younger sibling to give them the remote or else they will be sat upon may gain compliance, however, the younger sibling does not feel happy about the encounter. Coercion creates a very negative communication climate in which a speaker can expect begrudging compliance at best.

True persuasion allows both speaker and audience to willingly be on the same team in advancing the goals of the message, instead of the audience feeling submissively forced to comply. As discussed in Chapter 3, we need to be sure that our goals are ethically sound and that our persuasive efforts are free of unethical approaches (dishonesty, deliberate bias, plagiarism, etc.).


Are publicists/public relations representatives breaching ethical guidelines when speaking on behalf of the companies that employ them?

Purposes of Persuasion

Persuasive speeches can have a variety of goals in terms of what you would like the audience to do with your message. Three main types of persuasive speaking goals are to reinforce the audience’s opinion, to convert the audience’s opinion, or to actuate the audience.

Is it your goal to reinforce the audience’s current attitudes towards your topic?

Click here to see the script for video 10.01.

Speeches to reinforce encourage the audience to reenergize their beliefs that what you are advocating is worthy of their time and should remain top of mind.

Speeches to reinforce are meant to reaffirm your stance, and remind the audience of the reasons they should continue to support (or agree with) you.

Is it your goal to convert the audience to adopt your position on a topic and change their current opinion?

Click here to see the script for video 10.02.

Speeches to convert aim to move the audience away from where they are currently, to align them more closely with the message being delivered.

Is it your goal to get the audience to actuate (take some sort of behavioral action)?

Click here to see the script for video 10.03.

Speeches to actuate don't just offer audiences why they should believe as you say but take it a step further, since the speaker provides specific instruction on how audience members can help use their behavior to bring about the described change.


If a vegetarian speaker is addressing a college class, presenting a speech with the specific purpose, “To persuade audience members to see the benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle and join me in eating a vegetarian diet for the next five days.” What type of speech are they giving?


Speaking to reinforce


Speaking to convert


Speaking to actuate

In order to accomplish any of these goals, it is important to understand that asking politely and saying “pretty please” is usually not enough to persuade somebody to adopt your perspective. One thing that can help you accomplish your speaking goals is to have a solid understanding of how listeners receive persuasive messages, and plan your speeches accordingly.

How Persuasion Is Received

Having a good understanding of the mechanics of listening (Chapter 6), and knowing who the audience is (Chapter 7), allows us to have a much better understanding of how the receivers of our message will engage with what we have to say. Each listener in the audience receives our messages in different ways and is motivated by different things.

Audience Disposition

There are three main mindsets of audiences that can be encountered: oppositional (against), favorable (for), and middle-of-the-road (neutral). Each type presents unique attributes that should be considered while persuading them. Let’s look at each type of audience through the lens of how one might plan a message on why undergraduate tuition should be provided by taxpayers.


What type of audience should you share a persuasive message with?


Oppositional audience


Favorable audience


Middle-of-the-road audience

Favorable Audience

A man speaking during Wal-mart's "fighting hunger together" initiative.
Knowing your audience is key to creating a successful speech.​ [4]

Speaking to a favorable audience is like ‘preaching to the choir,’ since there will be few, if any, disagreements with your points. It is an easier message to give because not as much energy needs to be spent on finding common ground and establishing airtight credibility in your sources. Delivering a message on state-funded college tuition to a group of Young Democrats (a group that is sympathetic to the push to subsidize education) might seem like an absolute cakewalk, but it should not be taken as such. Even though everyone may agree that funding tuition should be done, the policies pertaining to where the money will come from will be a source of great debate. To truly get the most out of your speaking opportunity, you need to make sure to capitalize on creating additional motivation and action within the audience to help accomplish your goals. Your audience (who may be potential volunteers) is at your feet and they are simply looking for direction.

Middle-of-the-Road Audience

The middle-of-the-road audience is perhaps the most important audience of all. Presidential elections are not decided by Republican voters or Democratic voters, as they will support their parties’ candidates. The election will be determined by the “undecided” voters, also known as the “movable middle.” The middle-of-the-road audience can sometimes be your true “target audience.”

This audience is comprised of individuals whose opinions, motivations, and knowledge on your topic are diverse. Challenges arise when addressing this type of audience, as your message needs to be structured and delivered in a way that acknowledges the differences that exist among audience members. There are several explanations for why the audience is in the middle-of-the-road:

Mixed (Audience: Introduction to Political Science class)

This audience has members from all corners of the persuasive continuum pertaining to your message. Some members may be highly informed, others not at all. Plan a message that incorporates the establishment of common ground and credibility (as if speaking to an oppositional audience), but do not miss out on the opportunity to reinforce and make bold claims (as if speaking to a favorable audience).

Apathetic (Audience: middle school gym class)

Photograph of a woman with her chin resting on her hand looking very bored.
If your speech isn't properly geared toward your audience, you can lose their interest. [5]

This audience is similar to an oppositional audience in the aspect that they don't particularly care for your topic. What sets them apart from an oppositional audience is that their lack of agreement is motivated, not out of foundational disagreements, but rather out of them simply not caring (simple disinterest) about the topic, perhaps thinking, “this doesn’t apply to me.” Focusing your message in a way that demonstrates how it is in the audience's best interest to start caring about your topic can go a long way. For example, an effective introduction would demonstrate how many jobs require an undergraduate degree once these middle schoolers become college aged, and clearly articulate what it will cost them to go, if current trends continue. After you have gotten the audience to care, they may move up to the next level, the Uninformed.

Uninformed (Audience: gathering at senior citizen center)

Uninformed audiences are comprised of individuals who have not had much exposure to your topic. A benefit of this is that they have not yet formed hardened opinions surrounding what you are advocating. Uninformed audiences can be extremely rewarding audiences to speak to because you can share awareness that was not there and have a blank slate to work with as you share your perspective. The audience is essentially yours to lose.

A group of senior citizens who have not kept current with educational policy as they and their children are no longer affected directly by these types of policies is a good example of an uninformed audience. When speaking to this type of audience, it is beneficial to clearly explain what the issues are before offering solutions. Because you're the first person to alert them of the issue, it also gives you first crack at helping to shape their attitudes towards your proposed solution.


Would you rather try to persuade a mixed audience, an apathetic audience or an uninformed audience? Why?

Oppositional Audience

Arguably one of the most difficult audiences to speak to, the oppositional audience is comprised of a majority of individuals who enter into your speech disagreeing with the position you are advocating. On the issue of state funding of tuition, an oppositional audience might be the Young Republicans club meeting on your campus. Traditionally this group of individuals holds that limited government and lower spending (resulting in lower taxes) is a beneficial thing that should shape public policy. The term oppositional doesn't necessarily mean that their viewpoint is wrong or inherently bad, it simply means that it is currently in opposition to your viewpoint. Why would a speaker want to give this speech once they know the audience disagrees? Walking into a lion’s den is not always an advisable thing, but having the courage to represent and defend your viewpoint against those who disagree is an important aspect of human discourse. The likelihood that you will completely change their minds is small; however, you will provide them with a better understanding of the position you represent, and demonstrate that your position has merit.

In this situation it is important for the speaker to establish common ground (education is beneficial to society, all of us are students) and credibility (fellow student, demonstrate knowledge base, use of credible support) within the audience as soon as possible. When speaking to this type of audience additional energy needs to be placed in conveying why they should listen and hear you out (“After hearing my message you will understand how this proposal is in lockstep with Republican ideals”). Once you have their attention you are able to lead into the specific elements of your message. Evidence presented should be well cited and from a source they are likely to accept as credible. Presenting polling data from the Young Democrats on campus to this group will not help your case. Instead, seek out unbiased information and appeal to the reality that both speaker and listeners have ideas that are both worthy of consideration.

When completing your audience analysis prior to a persuasive speech keep in mind that, although a review of audience demographics might point to an audience fitting one of these categories more closely than another, it is truly a rare thing to find an audience that is 100 percent made up of only one of the types of audiences mentioned above. Remembering this will help you from becoming overconfident when speaking to a favorable audience (there may still be people who are not on board going into your message), or from being grossly intimidated when speaking to an oppositional audience (there are probably people sympathetic to your case).


When delivering a persuasive speech, do you think it makes a difference if you know the audience members beforehand (imagine giving a speech to a group of familiar classmates as opposed to a group of strangers)? Why or why not?

Pseudo-Transactional Communication

Think of the last time some sort of argument arose between you and another person. How was it resolved? Communication, public speaking or otherwise, is a “transactional” process. When you send a message to someone and they respond with their feedback, that is a “transaction.” The original sender responds in a more informed way as a result of the information in the feedback they received. This is called transactional communication, and it is fairly efficient during one-on-one conversation. By being able to exchange messages with your opponent, (send and receive messages from whomever you are arguing with,) eventually a resolution can be achieved. In this context, both sides will be able to air their grievances and an understanding of both sides can be created.

Now, let's say, instead of arguing with just one person, you are arguing with 20+ individuals simultaneously, and they are only able to respond with nonverbal feedback. Welcome to a persuasive speech. I call this pseudo-transactional communication, because it is like transactional communication in the aspect that you need each other to create any sort of agreement between yourselves; however, only the speaker is able to clearly communicate within the context of a publicly stated message. Knowing this as a speaker is extremely important as it puts additional emphasis on being able to anticipate how your audience will respond to certain claims.

Click here to see the script for video 10.04.

Click here to see the script for video 10.05.

If I'm speaking to a favorable audience and I claim that funding college tuition for our citizens is a worthwhile investment, the expected response from the audience would be positive nonverbal feedback that conveys “we totally agree.” By predicting this response, I know that if I receive that nonverbal feedback during my message I do not need to spend three minutes justifying the claim, as they are already supportive. But what if I’m wrong? If I were to incorrectly predict a positive response and instead received a negative response, I would know that I would need to provide more of an explanation to win back the audience before moving forward.

On the other hand, if I'm speaking to an oppositional audience I can expect that claiming the same thing might elicit a different response. After making a bold claim, I might expect hesitant or negative nonverbal feedback that conveys “Woah, let's hold up a second, how did you determine that?” If they are skeptical of my claim, it is in my best interest to then lead into a more in-depth explanation of how I arrived at that conclusion to help win over the audience. If my prediction was wrong and they surprisingly warm up to the idea right away, I still will benefit from providing some background information. However, I might not need to spend as much energy fighting for them to hear me out, as some may have already jumped on board.

The presence of pseudo-transactional communication in persuasive speaking is important to keep in mind, as your audience will be thinking of various objections that they have or evidence they need in order to adjust their opinions to match what you are advocating. By attempting to predict their responses and rebuttals to your message, you can have an answer ready to ease their concerns.

Classical Appeals of Persuasion

A statue of Aristotle.
Aristotle's Three Proofs of Persuasion were so sound that they are still used today. [6]

Very few documents created thousands of years ago have survived this long.

Therefore when one does, it probably is a good idea to check out what it has to say. Aristotle's The Art of Rhetoric is one of these documents, as it was first written roughly 2,400 years ago. Aristotle developed one of the first frameworks for understanding whether or not a message will have a persuasive effect. He essentially addressed the questions why are people persuaded and how are people persuaded? Aristotle arrived at three appeals that can be used in a speech to help persuade an audience. They are often called the Three Proofs of Persuasion: ethos, pathos, and logos.


As mentioned in Chapter 8, ethos is the mode of persuasion that uses your expertise/experience related to the topic, your personal character, and association with established experts on the topic you are discussing, to help alter the audience’s perceptions. Said differently, by using ethos, audiences are persuaded as a result of who you are, which is comprised of: what you know (“You're an expert, here's my donation.”), how well liked you are (“It's not in my best interest to donate my paycheck to your organization but you look like such a nice person, so here you go.”), and whether or not you can be trusted (“You seem to have my best interests in mind, here's my check.”). In short, a speaker’s ethos can be considered his or her credibility or believability.

Click here to see the script for video 10.06.

Click here to see the script for video 10.07.

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Pathos is the mode of persuasion that uses the audience's emotions as a way to encourage them to be persuaded by what you have to say. Fear, joy, anger… heck, any emotion can be used as a way to draw audiences towards a certain conclusion. Emotion can be an extremely powerful thing as it evokes something deep within our being. What type of emotional appeal you use will depend on what your speech is advocating and what emotion pairs well with the values the audience has about your topic. Choosing which emotion you would like to appeal to can be difficult because it can be done in two ways, either using a positive or negative emotion. The following two videos use pathos to persuade teens to not text and drive. The first video uses a negative emotion, whereas the second uses a positive emotion.

Click here to see the script for video 10.08.

Click here to see the script for video 10.09.

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Logos is the mode of persuasion that uses logic (or the appearance of logic – beware of fallacies (Chapter 12)) as a way to persuade audiences. When using logos, audiences are moved by sound reasoning supported by evidence. By presenting a solid argument that incorporates a clear claim and support for it by using demonstrated evidence and facts it is hard for the audience not to be moved because the reasoning presented is seemingly commonsense. Chapter 12 will explain five different ways to present your logic and reasoning effectively.

Click here to see the script for video 10.10.

Click here to see the script for video 10.11.

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Match the following appeal to the correct example.




“These numbers and trends can only lead to one conclusion.”




"As a pediatrician for 23 years what I would recommend for your child is..."




“If we do nothing to address this issue how safe will you feel?”

Even though we can separate ethos, pathos and logos into three different aspects of persuasion, theoretically, it is hard to isolate each of the three in real-time during a speech. Oftentimes more than one is being employed at once. For instance, if I share a statistic about the percentage of Americans who are food insecure, although the statistic itself falls under the umbrella of logos, the thought of how many Americans are going to bed hungry each night plays on the emotions of the audience (pathos) and the source of my statistic can build trust/respect in me as a speaker (ethos). It is up to you as a speaker to make sure that you are using an appropriate balance of the three throughout your message to achieve your persuasive goals.

A speech relying exclusively on ethos can potentially go quite far if you instill a wonderful admiration of yourself to the audience. On the other hand, the persuasive elements in the speech are apt to falter if people perceive your message to be lacking evidence or proof beyond your word (no logos). Likewise, an absence of any emotional connection might result in an apathetic audience (no pathos).

A speech relying exclusively on pathos can achieve short-lived success as long as the audience is swept up in the emotion of it all. Your speech may tank though if your audience does not believe the emotions you're going for are justified because: they believe you’re ignorant concerning the topic (no ethos); or your evidence doesn't justify the emotional response (no logos).

A speech relying exclusively on logos may succeed because it is often difficult to deny the evidence. Some audiences though might be lulled to sleep by the sterile nature of your facts and think to themselves “that's great and all, but why should I care?” (no pathos), or they might not trust the source of the message and the person delivering it (no ethos), which may cause them to dismiss all of the great evidence and logic presented.

This Venn diagram represents the various ways ethos, pathos, and logos can be used. Think of your speech as a three-legged stool. If all three legs are solid and well balanced, the stool will be steady and well supported. But if one or two legs are missing, it becomes much weaker. If you choose to approach the topic from only one of the three, it can be done, but is not advised, as you are missing the opportunity to be reaching the audience in another way. By using two of them throughout your speech the likelihood that your message will have a lasting persuasive effect increases. By firing on all three cylinders you are taking full advantage of Aristotle's work (good for you!), and the audience will receive the message in an extremely persuasive way.

(Delivered to parents at a Parent-Teacher Association meeting)

The pro sex-ed argument Venn diagram. Pathos (Top left): "If they are not educated, your sons and daughters will risk being exposed to the mortifying pain and illness that accompanies STDs." Ethos (Top right): "Take my word for it. I'm a doctor." Logos (Bottom middle): "Sexual education provides individuals with knowledge concerning how diseases spread and effective behaviors to protect oneself while engaging in sexual activity. There's a direct correlation that STD rates recede as sexual education increases".


Please click on where the following message would fall: You should use sunscreen, as it only takes one minute to apply and provides tremendous benefit to your skin.


Please click on where the following message would fall: Providing additional funding to NASA provides America with so much benefit. The week I spent at Space Camp taught me how the technology developed for deep space exploration programs has practical domestic applications as well. Said a different way, the more we invest in space, the further we can advance here on earth. The stars and galaxies are inspiring to look at and they motivate individuals to dream beyond their wildest imaginations. Don't take that inspiration away. Support a commitment to fund NASA projects.


Please click on where the following message would fall: You should vaccinate your children because Dr. Anderson, an expert on viral diseases, states that, “It’s heartbreaking to watch children suffer from preventable diseases.”

Psychology of Persuasion

Cognitive Dissonance

Have you ever had a close friend who did something you considered totally unacceptable? Do you remember the conflict you felt inside as a result – you like your friend, but can’t accept what they did?

For more than a decade Lance Armstrong was regarded as one of the greatest role models American sports ever produced. He was a top athlete, the founder of a cancer research organization, and exemplary of the American belief that with hard work and determination, you can accomplish anything. It was hard not to root for the guy. When rumors concerning his use of banned drugs turned into confirmed acknowledgment that he was doping, all of his fans faced quite a conundrum. They needed to acknowledge that one of their currently-held attitudes was incorrect (1. Lance is an amazing individual. 2. Cheaters (including Lance) are the scum of the earth). 

Human beings don't like being wrong because let's face it, it sucks. Leon Festinger's concept of cognitive dissonance states that when listeners are exposed to inconsistencies in their opinions or beliefs, they become uncomfortable and experience a certain type of mental stress, or dissonance, which humans seek to resolve. This dissonance is resolved by adjusting one of the beliefs in order to account for the new information: ‘I no longer support Lance Armstrong’; or ‘I no longer think cheating is all that bad.’ Festinger points out that we will oftentimes go with whatever option will reduce the mental stress we feel. 

In this example, it is probably much easier, and likely, that one would simply abandon Lance or rationalize their support of his work by separating it from the monster himself (‘I don't like him, but I like his contributions to cancer research’). Unfortunately, those aren't the only options individuals have to resolve dissonance. Before Lance acknowledged wrongdoings, individuals could hear the allegations and cling to their adoration of Lance by trying to disprove the accusers (rationalizing that jealous cyclers are making false claims for money/fame), belittle the crime (‘so he cheated at a dumb sport, big deal, look at how much money he's raised for cancer’), or anything else that allows them to maintain both original attitudes.

Cognitive dissonance is helpful for persuasive speakers to understand, as it will be extremely relevant whenever you are presenting new information that clashes with the listeners’ current opinions. When you present additional information, it challenges them to accept your view and get rid of their prior opinion, reject your opinion and retain their original position, or create a middle ground that includes both viewpoints.

If you show inconsistencies in the opposition’s thought process, it forces their hand: they must admit that they themselves are wrong (something they do not want to do), or find a way to rationalize that what you are saying is wrong. Being able to refute their current perception is helpful in creating cognitive dissonance. For example, if I have a friend who hates Shakespeare because the plots are boring but loves the television show Sons of Anarchy because of all the plot twists; I can stir things up once I show evidence that the plot of the television show is largely informed by one of Shakespeare's most popular plays, Hamlet. How can he resolve this? Should he now no longer like the show? Should he now become a huge fan of Shakespeare? Should he land somewhere in between? The answer is largely up to the individual; however, as I was the one able to point out inconsistencies in the listener’s attitudes, I can be the one to motivate change by offering a way to help resolve his dissonance by presenting the solution within my speech.

Cognitive Consistency

Very similar to the use of cognitive dissonance is the cognitive consistency appeal. While cognitive dissonance can create internal conflict that causes us to reevaluate our contradictory beliefs, cognitive consistency works as a persuasive appeal by showing that your new idea is perfectly consistent with your listeners’ beliefs. This appeal is often used in endorsement advertising – as referenced above, Lance Armstrong’s popularity has been severely damaged. It is highly unlikely that any major company would hire him as a spokesperson today. If a consumer doesn’t like Armstrong, they won’t buy the product he endorses. NOT buying the product is consistent with not liking the spokesperson. But if a popular sports figure endorsed a product, the results are different. If a consumer likes Peyton Manning, and Peyton likes a particular insurance company, the consumer might be motivated to give them a call. In a persuasive speech, showing that the idea you advocate is perfectly aligned with your audience’s beliefs and attitudes would be an appeal to cognitive consistency.

One-Sided vs. Two-Sided Persuasion

Depending on the circumstances, you will need to determine whether you will be more persuasive delivering a “one-sided” or a “two-sided” persuasion speech. One-sided persuasion means that every piece of evidence and every argument you make supports the position you are advocating – my side is right, and all other sides are wrong. Two-sided persuasion, on the other hand, acknowledges that there are valid arguments against your position, and even explains their value to the audience, but eventually shows that my side is the better side to support.

Don’t misunderstand – a two-sided persuasion speech does not tell the audience both sides of an issue and then allows them decide for themselves (this is common in informative speeches). No, you are still strongly advocating for your side of the issue. You are recognizing that the other side has some good points; however, you should demonstrate why they aren't as good as your ideas.

Why would a speaker try to highlight the opposition’s viewpoints? Because this can be a very effective way to persuade people who disagree with you, and simultaneously undermine the strength of the other side. For example, suppose you wanted to give a speech about ending the death penalty.

Click here to see the script for video 10.12.

The approach can be very powerful – explain to the folks in the audience who disagree with you that you really do see their point, show some respect for their viewpoint, and they will, in turn, be more willing to listen to your side of the issue. This approach also creates an “inoculation effect.” An inoculation effect is when you provide information that will make future counter-arguments less persuasive as you have already given them a reason to discredit the future message.

Click here to see the script for video 10.13.

If your speech is followed by someone from the opposite side, creating an inoculation effect gives you the opportunity to tell the audience about your opponent’s argument, and then explain why your side is better. When the opposition tries to make their case, the audience has already heard their arguments from you as well as why those arguments are weak.

One Sided Approach: Audience already agrees with you. Lower educated audience. No opposing speakers. Two-Sided: Audience initially disagrees with you. Higher educated audience. Possible counter-persuasive speakers.

Persuasive Messages by Type of Claim

Once you have chosen a speech topic, ask yourself: exactly what are you trying to convince your audience of – that something is true or false? That something is good or bad? That we should be doing some things differently?

There are three main types of claims that can be addressed within a persuasive speech: a claim of fact, a claim of value, or a claim of policy. It is important to understand what your speech is actually advocating as it affects how it should be organized and what needs to be addressed to accomplish your goals as a speaker.

Claims of Fact

A ‘claim of fact’ is an argument that proposes whether something is or is not true. This sounds so simple. Just look it up! Google it! Is it true or not? What is or isn't true isn't always as simple as it seems. There are proven facts that a well-reasoned person could not possibly argue as it is always true: “Wednesday follows Tuesday in the traditional American calendar.” A claim of fact, on the other hand, is just that, it claims to be a fact, meaning that it may not be 100 percent valid in every scenario and is debatable. Is the following statement true or false: “Social media harms our ability to establish and maintain strong relationships." Evidence and reasoning can be presented on both sides of this claim. Consider that every criminal court case is based on a claim of fact – did the person commit the crime, or not? In the end, the decision will be based on which side presented the best evidence and arguments.

The purpose of a claim of fact is to provide an argument that supports your perspective on whether a claim is or is not true. It is your job as a speaker to use evidence, logic, reasoning, and everything else at your disposal to demonstrate that your claim is more likely to be true than false. So pile on the research!

Sometimes people who like to approach the world in an extremely black-and-white way often have difficulty with the gray areas that exist when addressing a claim of fact. These people are even more challenged once we move into claims of value.

Claims of Value

‘Claims of value’ are arguments that incorporate reasoning that relies on things that are determined in a subjective/individual way. In creating these arguments you need to first address what values and perceptions are important for helping to understand what you are advocating. For instance, what makes one investment strategy better than another? Do we value one that allows us to get rich? Do we value one with limited exposure to risk? The answer to both is probably yes; however, which one do we value more? The answer depends on the person.

Do you agree with the following statement? “Buying lottery tickets is a better retirement strategy than investing your money in the stock market.” If you ask somebody who bought a lottery ticket and won $300 million, they would argue that yes, in fact, it is a better strategy because it has a chance of exceeding your wildest dreams that could be achieved from investing in the stock market. Because it can provide you more money than if you follow the advice of every financial planner out there, it is therefore a better strategy (high value placed on overall net worth). 

If you ask some of those financial planners if buying lottery tickets as an investment strategy is better they would say no. The argument they would provide is that although winning would be great, it is also statistically unlikely. A safer, and therefore better, strategy is to invest money in a diverse way that has the highest probability for you to make a profit and achieve financial independence (high value placed on safety and likelihood). It may not be as luxurious and opulent as winning the lottery, but it is a much safer approach with the highest chances of success.

In this scenario you cannot deny that there is a chance (however small it might be) that buying lottery tickets is the better choice, but at the same time you cannot deny the logic behind taking the safer, approach of traditional investment options. What needs to be decided is what defines a ‘better’ strategy? Which is essentially asking what do you believe to be the most important value in play. Is it more important to consider the overall wealth that could be achieved (better is defined by the end dollar amount result), or is there more value placed in the safety provided by traditional investments (better is defined by the option that is safest and most likely)?

In short, when trying to convince an audience to agree with your value judgment, you need to clearly explain your criteria for good, bad, better, worse, etc. Once that criterion has been established, your evidence and reasoning will have a much greater impact.

Claims of Policy

‘Claims of policy’ argue that something should be done, and offer what rules, regulations, or policies should be used to achieve the change. The group that is affected by policy can be large like a federal government (the death penalty is cruel and unusual and should be illegal nationwide), or small like a group of friends (calling ‘shotgun’ should not be valid until the car doors are unlocked).

In order for policy speeches to be effective, the audience must think that an adjustment of the current situation is needed. For example: Is it a fact that something needs to be done to save our national parks? If the audience believes the answer is yes, they will be happy to hear what solutions you have, and even be willing to chip in a little bit more in taxes to help. If the audience believes the answer is no, it will be a tough sell to raise taxes for something they don't think is necessary.

A clear plan is needed that demonstrates what changes will be put in place. Your audience, at this point, believes something should be done. A tax to help fund the upkeep of national parks might sound attractive, but you need to address specifics in order to keep the audience believing your policy is good. Will you be taxing everybody in America 1% of their income? What about those who don't even live within 500 miles of a national park? Will those who live in tourist towns near national parks have to pay more because they benefit from beautiful parks? How long will this tax continue?

After your plan has been explained, it is important to clearly state what benefits await the audience by adopting your plan, as well as showing a clear pathway that demonstrates how easy and practical it is to implement your policy.

A claim of policy speech provides: 

  • The need – proving the fact that something needs to change
  • The plan – what is the new policy that you would put in place
  • The benefits – how would we be better off under your new policy
  • The practicality – showing that your new policy really is doable and acceptable

​The Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers are scheduled to begin playing in their new, state-of-the-art stadium in 2020. The cost of the futuristic stadium is estimated at $2.6 billion, and will be the centerpiece of a sports and entertainment complex that covers nearly 300 acres.

No doubt, this move will cause a lot of professional sports team to feel they need a new stadium in order to remain competitive with the new Los Angeles complex. If you wanted to tackle this topic in a persuasion speech, would you approach in as a Question of Fact, a Question of Value, or a Question of Policy?

Mock argument of whether state governments should fund stadiums for professional sports teams. Try making an argument with a Fact approach, a Value approach and a Policy approach.

Choosing an Effective Organizational Structure for Persuasive Speeches

Chapter 5 provided you with an overview of common ways to organize a speech. When it comes to persuasive speaking there are certain specialized organizational styles that help to emphasize the persuasive message you are hoping to share.

Many persuasive speech organizations are variations of the problem-solution pattern that you have already learned. To refresh your memory, a problem-solution speech first demonstrates that something is an issue that needs to be fixed, then proposes a solution that provides the most benefits with the least amount of consequences.

Click here to see the script for video 10.14.

The variations of standard problem-solution organization incorporate other variables that draw special attention to items that otherwise might have only acted as subpoints within the problem-solution speech.


This organization spends extra energies demonstrating why the solution is a feasible (achievable) and beneficial course of action that will bring about desired change.

  • Main Idea I: Problem
  • Main Idea II: Solution
  • Main Idea III: Feasibility

Click here to see the script for video 10.15.


This organization spends additional time focusing on the source of problems (cause), the negative consequences that are created because of the cause (effect), and offers a solution. By clearly showing how the cause creates the effect, the explanation of why the solution will be effective is made easier.

Click here to see the script for video 10.16.

Monroe's Motivated Sequence

Monroe's Motivated Sequence is a style of organization that expands a traditional problem-solution speech into five distinct portions:

  • Main idea I: Attention (demonstrate a connection between your topic and audience)
  • Main idea II: Need (similar to the problem step in a problem-solution organization, demonstrate what shortcomings are creating a need that is not currently being met)
  • Main idea III: Satisfaction (similar to the solution step in a problem-solution organization, demonstrate a way to meet the shortcomings mentioned in the prior section)
  • Main idea IV: Visualization (demonstrate results that can be achieved (or consequences avoided) by the audience through employing the suggestions that you provide)
  • Main idea V: Action (provide the audience with clear instruction of what steps should be taken to help advance the stated goals of the speech)

Monroe’s style is perfect for those who are looking to actuate an audience, as it crescendos nicely into the closing section where instruction can be given on what actions should be taken.

Click here to see the script for video 10.17.

Refutation Pattern

Refutation pattern is a great option when you are trying to demonstrate the shortcomings of logic found within an argument proposed by someone else. It is first important to provide an overview of what you are trying to refute so that the audience is familiar with the argument that is being torn apart. Then, demonstrate the faulty reasoning and why it will not succeed, or be as successful as an alternative option. After you have discredited the original claim, offer reasoning for why your position is a valid alternative. Lastly, highlight the unique strengths your proposal has compared the original option as a way to fully show why your option is a stronger alternative.

Click here to see the script for video 10.18.

Comparative Advantage

A comparative advantage structure pits two or more prevailing ideas against each other as a way to demonstrate that one idea is far superior to the other(s). Before the comparing and contrasting begins, it is important that the audience has a good understanding of what each position represents. Once the audience has a strong foundation of the topic, go point by point to demonstrate the differences among the available options, and highlight why one solution/policy yields the most effective choice. If the solution you're advocating does not perform well in a certain variable, it is important to address why it is not a deal breaker.

Example: Solar is the superior energy source.

  • Main idea I: Solar power has no waste, unlike coal, nuclear, and natural gas.
  • Main idea II: Solar power can be integrated into urban areas in a way that wind energy cannot.
  • Main idea III: Solar power is slightly more expensive to establish the infrastructure, but it offers lower operating costs, and because we are concerned with finding long-term solutions, it is in our best interest.

Click here to see the script for video 10.19.

Topical Organization (Revisited)

Oftentimes, with persuasion, there can be several converging arguments that help arrive at a final conclusion. Topical organization helps to address this. For example, you could argue that legalizing marijuana is beneficial to society in several different ways and create the following speech outline:

I’m here to convince you to support the legalization of marijuana.

  • I. It will reduce the prison population.
  • II. It will produce revenue for local economies.
  • III. It will provide access to a drug that is safer than alcohol.

As mentioned in Chapter 5, topical organization allows you the freedom to dictate the order of your main points. Simply taking these three main ideas and listing them off will get your point across; however, by pairing each of your main points to a miniature version of one of the organizational styles mentioned above, you will have a logical organization that prevents your speech from simply sounding like you are reading down a grocery list. Topical organization gives you the freedom to choose the order of your main points, but it is important to implement purposeful organization when addressing your subpoints. For instance:

I. It will reduce the prison population


  • Problem: It is expensive to keep low-level drug offenders in jail.
  • Solution: Legalize marijuana to decrease the burden of these costs.
  • Feasibility: Added consequences of legal marijuana is less than cost saved by not having to jail low-level offenders.

II. It will produce revenue for local economies


Cause: Otherwise law-abiding people want to smoke an illegal substance.

Effect: They are forced to buy a once safe drug from sketchy drug dealers that are not regulated, not taxed, and do not contribute to their tax obligations.

Solution: Legalization will protect the consumer by providing a safer product, and prevent tax avoidance, which generates income for the state.

III. It will provide access to a drug that is safer than alcohol.

Comparative Advantage:

Marijuana is a safer drug than alcohol.

Smoking marijuana provides a better mind-altering state than alcohol.

Happy Persuading

There are things in life that we have passions for, and it is important for us to share our interests and opinions in respectful ways. Ethical persuasion practices allow us to do that. By having a strong understanding of how audiences receive persuasive messages, speakers can craft messages that appeal to their logic and sensibilities.

Clear argument and clear organization also help emphasize persuasive elements of speeches and should be used accordingly.

Throughout your life you have acquired a unique knowledge set. You have a history of experiences that are your own. You have opinions and perceptions that have been shaped through thoughtful reflection. Utilize these items to share your ideas and your opinions. To not do so would be giving up the opportunity for your voice to be heard.

End of Chapter Checklist

After reading this chapter, you should be able to say to yourself:

  • I have an understanding of what persuasive speaking is and is not.
  • I am aware of how persuasive messages are received and processed by an audience.
  • I can distinguish between claims of fact, value, and policy, and understand the purpose of each.
  • I am able to choose an effective organizational structure for a persuasive speech.

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Video Scripts

Video 10.01

Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to attend this fundraiser today. Participation in events like this mean the world to those in the cancer fighting community. Although events such as these are great, there are more things we can be doing out in the community.

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Video 10.02

One-use plastic bags have become a ubiquitous part of today's modern world. They are convenient, they are cost effective, and they are functional. It is extremely difficult to walk anywhere in your community and not encounter somebody using one. We have all used these bags; however I hope that after hearing my message you gain an understanding of the negative impact that one-use plastic bags have on our society, our economy, and our environment.  

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Video 10.03

I think most of us at some point have either owned a pet or wanted to have a pet. But living the college lifestyle, that's not always accessible to have a pet. Whether it be the money to take care of it, the vet bills and food, or even if it's just the space or a landlord that's maybe not on board with the pet scene. When it comes down to it though, we tend to find replacements. We go on YouTube and we watch videos of kittens or puppies and all these other cute animals. But there is a better way to do it. The Humane Society is only 10 minutes from the school. They have full volunteer opportunities, and they need help. Not only can you go down there and play with all the fun animals, but you can also help them find homes. I think this something every college student should do before they leave here.

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Video 10.04

As college students, I'm sure we all know one of our most valued resources is our time, and we tend to waste a lot of that time looking for a parking spot. We spend 15-20 minutes trying to find a spot, and another 15 minutes to walk from where we parked to the other end of the building. There's a solution to this. Complimentary valet parking. Instead of us going out and trying to find a parking spot for 30 minutes, wasting our valuable resources, we can have a valet do that. That would free up time for us to be able to study, catch up on homework, or even just relax because college students live a very stressful life. If we were to implement complimentary valet parking, this would free up more resources, and we wouldn't have to fight in the jungles that we call the school's parking lot.

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Video 10.05

As I'm sure most of you know, internet access is a vital and very important piece of the college program. It helps us have a better education and keeps us on track. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to high-speed, wireless internet. For a simple 20$ extra per semester, we could have fast, high-speed internet here at the school. Now, I know a lot of people don't want to have added costs. We already pay enough with our tuition, and our books, and our parking permits. And you're right, we do pay quite a bit. But, for just $20, we would be able to provide a high-speed internet connection. Before you dismiss that idea, consider how many thousands of dollars you pay to go to this institution already. Think about how that pales in comparison to a $20 added fee, that you likely wouldn't even notice. 

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Video 10.06

Before we get into why it is best for college students to buy a used car instead of buying a new car, let me tell you about my background information. Growing up, I had the unique opportunity to sell cars with my uncle his dealership. He sold old and used cars. In order for me to become a sales representative for him, I had to go through a three-week certification course where I learned how to appraise vehicles, which provided me with a great understanding of how car markets work. Also, please don't tell anybody like sales people that I told you this information because most sales women or men work on commission. And they'd rather sell new cars that make more money instead of selling used cars, where they are going to make less. I believe that used cars are almost always the best choice for college students. 

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Video 10.07

So, most of you are suckers, simply because you don't know what you're doing when you step on a car lot when you are buying a car. I mean, honestly, I know a lot about cars because I like them. Also, I've been selling them for years. If I had a dollar for every time someone like you stepped on the lot and I ripped you off... Well, it really wouldn't matter because I made the commission selling a car you didn't really know anything about. 

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Video 10.08

It may not seem like a long time, but a lot can happen in 4.6 seconds. Samantha Jenkins, a high school basketball player, knew this all too well. She had just scored the winning three-pointer to beat the rival team. Following left the gym and headed to a get together held by the Booster Club. When she approached her car, she unlocked it,  opened the door, and threw her bag onto the passenger seat. She buckled her seatbelt and then was headed to the party. During her drive she heard the buzz of a text message from her phone. She kept her eyes on the road, felt around, grabbed her phone out the bag, and read the message. The message was from her mom and said "great game tonight, we are so proud of you, I can't wait to give you a hug when you arrive". Samantha would begin to respond but her message would never be read. Because it was never sent. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration the average distracted driver takes their eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds. Nobody for sure knows how long Samantha was truly distracted by her cell phone. Unfortunately what we do know is that when she ran a red-light and was T-boned by a truck going 40 miles an hour. She became one of the 421,000 other people injured in a car accident involving a distracted driver in 2012. Samantha was brought to a local hospital unconscious and put on life support for three days. The tears and the heartfelt posters from classmates were not enough. As her parents held her lifeless hands, they had some difficult conversations. And soon, Samantha became one of 3,300 people in 2012 to die from an accident caused by distracted driving. Samantha’s story is heartbreaking; however, the fact is that there are 3300 other stories that are just as tragic. So I urge you, not to text and drive. The joy you may feel by reading a text is nothing compared to the indescribable pain felt by you and your loved ones if a serious accident was to occur.

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Video 10.09

William Manatt is a hard-working man. During his career he has put in long hours as a construction foreman requiring him to be at work from before the sun rises to well after dark. He believes it is all worth it.

He has been able to provide for his family. He and his wife have paid off their mortgage, their retirement account is sufficient, and they have saved enough to help pay tuition for their oldest daughter who is about to go off to college in the fall.

On a recent Friday night William sat alone in the living room reading. He checked his watch and realized that it was 11:30pm and that he should probably go join his wife in bed. By the time he got around to going upstairs and crawling into bed it was a few minutes after midnight. Lying awake unable to sleep he tossed and turned in the silence of his house. Just then he heard a door slam, footsteps across the kitchen, and keys drop onto the counter. Upon hearing this William slowly grinned to himself and a feeling of ease and relief washed over him. These noises indicated that his daughter had made it home and that he could go to sleep knowing that she was safe.

Parents love their children. Oftentimes in ways that are unknown and undisclosed to the kids themselves. Every parent dreads the middle of the night phone call that something terrible has happened to their children rendering the parents helpless. Considering how many individuals between the ages of 16 and 20 get into serious car accidents as a result of distracted driving and texting, each time William’s daughter makes it home safely he breathes a sigh of relief. Partly because he doesn't have to face the harsh realities that some parents do, but rather it is the joy he can feel that his daughter has made smart mature decisions in order to be an alert and safe driver. By pledging to never use your phone while driving you can bring comfort to not only parents but friends and family. Take pride in your life and don’t text and drive.

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Video 10.10

It is in your best interest to buy these basketball shoes because they offer the most ankle support out of any shoe on the market. According to a study done by the American Journal of Physical Medicine by wearing these shoes the likelihood of a sprained ankle decreases by over 40% compared to the top three selling brands last year

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Video 10.11

These basketball shoes will help you become a better player because they come in a variety of different colors. I also heard from a friend that these shoes can really help you make shots because they help you shoot better.

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Video 10.12

I am sure there are death penalty supporters in the audience today, and to be honest, there are some good reasons to support it. For example, some of you may be thinking, ‘I don’t want my hard-earned money providing room and board for some killer.’ Believe me, I can understand that feeling, because it is expensive to house a prisoner.

In Florida, for example, it costs, nearly $18,000 on average, per year per prisoner. That’s a lot! But, did you realize that because of the death penalty, Florida spends an extra $51 million just to keep prisoners on Death Row?

In North Carolina, where about 43 people have been executed in the last 35 years, it costs them about $2.16 million dollars per execution! While you may not like the idea of paying $18,000 a year to house a prisoner, can we afford to spend millions more in order to execute them?

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Video 10.13

When the satellite TV sales representative tries to sell you their services, they always make the same three claims – you will have more channels to choose from, you will have a clearer picture, and you will save money. These sound really good when you first hear them.

But let’s look at each of these claims in detail. A quick look at the cable TV suppliers in town will show you at least three companies that offer an equal number of available channels in different packages.

As for picture quality, each cable provider offers High Definition TV reception at no additional cost. In fact, every major cable provider offers some very competitive rates. And on top of all that, you don’t have to worry about a storm knocking out your satellite dish!

So when that sales rep come knocking on your front door, be prepared to challenge all of their claims.

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Video 10.14

Students who live on campus are growing increasingly concerned by the recent thefts that are plaguing our campus. By installing cameras in each dorm hallway the college will better be able to protect student property and increase the likelihood of being able to catch the burglars.

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Video 10.15

Many elementary age children report going home and being unable to hold a conversation with their parents as a result of the parents being more focused on their electronic devices. Schools can have students make “cell phone time-out” boxes in class to use at home with their parents. The project is a great fit as each student can make the box during art class and students can practice explaining the boxes to their parents in class before bringing them home for actual use.

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Video 10.16

The Hollow Oaks neighborhood in Shelbyville has some of the highest crime rates in the state. Residents of that neighborhood unfortunately are tasked with a difficult choice: suffer from the lack of accessibility to legal economic opportunity or seek out illegal activity to help put food on the table. Things are so bad that otherwise law-abiding individuals believe that engaging in morally corrupt activity is the right choice for the survival of their families, can you blame them? In order to fix this abysmal cycle of criminality we need to request that local government create economic opportunities within the Hollow Oaks neighborhood in order to give the residents a better alternative than selling drugs in order to feed their families and improve their quality of life.”

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Video 10.17

My stomach hurts. Why does my stomach hurt? Because I didn't eat breakfast. This hunger of mine makes it difficult to focus on class, who else feels the same? Unfortunately today's college student doesn't always make enough time in the day to allow them to eat as healthy as they could. If our campus was to provide in-class food delivery from the cafeteria students would be able to eat more responsibly. Imagine, with this service students would have sandwiches or salads delivered to a class which would allow students to eat healthier, save time, and provide employment opportunities for other students. The idea is innovative; however with your assistance in signing and distributing this petition throughout our campus we will be able to make food delivery a reality here on campus.

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Video 10.18

Commercials on TV and ads on social media promote the Body Max Weight Loss Diet as being healthy, delicious, and inexpensive. As results of research from doctors, nutritionists, and my own personal experience I can unequivocally tell you that these things are not true. The diet is far from healthy, the food is barely edible, and hidden fees and up tremendously quick.

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Video 10.19

Country and pop are the two most popular genres of music; however by comparing the two, I hope to show you that country music is the superior choice. Through a side-by side comparison, I hope to show you that country music incorporates more thoughtful and original lyrics than pop can provide. Country music draws from diverse influences whereas pop is quite derivative. Lastly, country music is an authentic American genre that does not rely on foreign influences like pop does.

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Image Credits

[1]  Image courtesy of U.S. Army Photography in the public domain.

[2] Image courtesy of Erik Abderhalden under CC BY 2.0.

[3] Image courtesy of Carol M. Highsmith in the public domain.

[4] Image courtesy of Walmart under CC BY 2.0.

[5] Image courtesy of Jason Scragz under CC BY 2.0.

[6] Image courtesy of Jastrow in the public domain.

To move an audience towards a specific belief, value or behavior.
Deception - noun
Attempting to persuade an audience using information the speaker knows to be untrue.
Coercion - noun
The use of physical or moral force to compel a person to do (or not do) something; depriving someone of free will.
Advocate - verb
Pleading or defending the cause of another.
Mixed Audience
An audience comprised of individuals whose opinions, motivations, and knowledge on a topic are varied and diverse.
Uninformed Audience
An audience comprised of individuals who have not had much exposure to a topic.
Pseudo-transactional Communication
The transactional communication model positions that both the sender and receiver interact with messages and responses in the context of their individual and shared experiences. Attempting to recreate this model in a speech setting has limitations as both the speaker and the listener are restricted by the context of public speaking.
Ethos - noun
A speaker’s credibility or believability.
Pathos - noun
The use of emotion to persuade an audience.
Logos - noun
The use of logic to persuade an audience.
Apathetic Audience
An audience that doesn’t really care about your topic; they may feel ”it doesn’t apply” to them.
Cognitive Dissonance
Psychological distress or internal conflict resulting from inconsistencies in thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors.
Cognitive Consistency
The concept that individuals have a preference for their own thoughts, beliefs, opinions and attitudes and consistently work to avoid internal contradictions.
One-sided Persuasion
A persuasive strategy or speech structure that presents only one perspective on an issue.
Two-sided Persuasion
A persuasive strategy or speech structure that presents arguments on both sides of an issue.
Claim of Fact
An argument that proposes that something is or is not true.
Claim of Value
An argument that proposes that something is good or bad, fair or unfair, right or wrong.
Claim of Policy
An argument that something should be done, offering rules, regulations or policies that can be used to affect change.
Monroe's Motivated Sequence
An organizational speech format for persuasive speeches that follows a five-step process.
Refutation Pattern
The negation of an argument, opinion, or theory through contradicting evidence in order to disprove opposing arguments.
Comparative Advantage
An organizational speech format that pits two or more ideas against each other in order to demonstrate that one idea is far superior to the other(s).