How to Write an Effective Persuasive Speech Outline: 5 Key Elements

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If you’re a speaker, you are probably well familiar with the path from initial speech drafts to the day you actually present. By its nature, speech delivery is a journey filled with obstacles, yet it’s simultaneously an adventure in persuasion. With a well-crafted persuasive speech outline, you can do more than just present facts and figures to your audience. You can weave them into a narrative that captivates, convinces, and converts.

A meticulously planned persuasive speech outline isn’t just helpful; it’s essential. Crafting this blueprint carefully lets you deliver your message more effectively, making sure each point lands with the impact you’re aiming for. To help you achieve this impact, we have some tips and tricks for you to try.

Writing an Effective Persuasive Speech Outline

When we talk about persuasive speeches, we’re diving into the art of convincing others to see things from a certain point of view. Your speech is your one shot to grab attention, build your case, and inspire action. Your secret weapon for achieving this is your speech outline. In your speech outline, you want to touch on several key elements.

  1. Pick your fight: Start by zeroing in on what you really want to change or influence with this speech.
  2. Support your claim with evidence: Identify those key points that back up your stance to appeal to your audience’s rational side.
  3. The emotional hook: Weave in stories or facts that hit home emotionally.
  4. Avoid the kitchen sink approach: Don’t throw everything at them hoping something sticks. Be selective and strategic with the info you share.
  5. Nail that closer: Your conclusion isn’t just goodbye; it’s where you charge your audience with a call to action.

These elements form the backbone of your persuasive speech. By including these in your talk’s outline, you can’t go wrong.

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Establishing Your Main Objective and Structuring Your Points

Now that you have a general idea of what goes into a persuasive speech outline, let’s break a couple of these pieces down and look at them a little more closely.

Identifying the Purpose of Your Persuasive Speech

When writing your speech, you first need to nail down why you’re doing this in the first place. In other words, identify your main objective. After all, choosing to speak up isn’t merely about the desire to express oneself; it’s deeply rooted in understanding the effect you hope your discourse will unleash. Do you hope to sway opinions towards the belief that animal experimentation is a relic of the past? Or perhaps persuade them that social media does more good than harm? Whatever your cause, identifying your main objective will help keep you on track and avoid rambling.

Organizing Key Points for Maximum Impact

Once you’ve determined what you want to persuade your audience of, you can start building your argument. Specifically, you can determine your key points. Key points support your position on a topic, proving to your audience that you have actual reasons for taking your position.

To pack the most punch, arrange these key points in a logical order. Consider how you might connect your key points. Are there some that can be grouped together? The flow of your argument matters just as much as the argument itself, and a disjointed argument won’t do anyone any favors. As you organize your key points, consider these tips:

  1. Lead with strength, but don’t throw all your cards out at once.
  2. Build upon each point; important transitions between them can make or break audience engagement.
  3. Finish strong by tying back everything to the emotional chord you struck at the beginning.

Nailing these steps will ensure that when you speak, your message doesn’t just echo—it resonates.

Selecting Compelling Topics for Your Persuasive Speeches

Let’s face it, picking the right topic for your persuasive speech outline is half the battle. But what makes a topic not just good, but great? First off, it needs to spark interest, both yours and your audience’s. If you’re not fired up about it, chances are they won’t be either. Second, make sure the topic is something relevant. It should resonate with your listeners’ experiences or touch on their concerns and aspirations. Lastly, your topic has to be something you can research and back up with solid facts and expert opinions.

For ideas to get you started, check out a variety of speech topics here.

Enhancing Persuasion Through Rhetorical Appeals

The art of persuasion is something that’s been studied since ancient Greece. Back then, Greek philosopher Aristotle came up with the three rhetorical appeals. Each one described a different way of convincing your audience of your position. Together, these appeals help you form a rock-strong argument, making them worth learning.

Building Credibility with Ethos

To get people on your side, you first need to win their trust. That’s where ethos comes into play. Demonstrating to your listeners that you’re both trustworthy and deserving of their attention hinges on transparency about your qualifications, genuine self, and the wisdom gained from occasional setbacks. Letting folks know why they should listen can make all the difference.

Connecting with the Audience Through Pathos

At some point, we’ve all been moved by a story or an ad because it hit right in the feels. That sort of emotional appeal is called pathos, and it’s powerful stuff. If you want people really invested in what you’re saying, then be sure to use this appeal in your presentation. To harness the power of pathos, try telling a story, especially one your audience can relate to. The key is authenticity—sharing true experiences resonates more than anything fabricated ever could.

Strengthening Arguments with Logos

Last but not least, we have logos, our logical appeal. Oftentimes, this logical appeal entails facts and data points, which are used to back up what you’re selling, turning skeptics into believers. But just because you’re listing facts and figures doesn’t mean this part has to be boring. To keep your audience engaged, craft persuasive narratives and then ground them in robust proof. Giving your story to go with your numbers doesn’t just help keep them engaged, it also helps the information stick.

The Importance of Supporting Evidence and Counterarguments

In your persuasive speech outline, you need to note compelling evidence for each key point. In addition, you’ll want to address opposing views.

Gathering and Presenting Convincing Evidence

No matter how trustworthy you seem, or how compelling your stories are, most people need tangible proof. That’s where concrete evidence steps into the spotlight. To fortify your argument and boost its believability, sprinkle in a mix of hard data, customer stories, numerical evidence, and endorsements from authorities. To illustrate this data for your audience, you may find it helpful to create a slideshow. Supporting every assertion with research is an essential part of any persuasive speech. Without it, arguments inevitably sound flimsy and unconvincing.

Addressing Opposing Views Effectively

Although it may seem counterintuitive, address counter-arguments head-on in your persuasive speech outline. It might feel like walking into enemy territory but it actually strengthens your own argument. By acknowledging opposing views, you’re showing that not only do you know what they are, but also that they don’t scare you.

When you address these counter-arguments, demonstrate your understanding. Again, this is where your good research skills are going to come in handy. Present the facts, and ditch biased explanations. In other words, don’t mock or belittle the other side’s viewpoint or you’ll undermine your own trustworthiness. Instead, explain opposing viewpoints with neutrality.

Adopting this strategy not only neutralizes possible objections but also enhances your stance. Plus, this makes for an engaging dialogue between both sides of any debate, which keeps audience members hooked from start to finish.

In essence, tackling counter-arguments is less about winning over naysayers and more about enriching discussions around hot-button issues. At its core, persuasion isn’t just convincing folks; it’s sparking conversations worth having.

Crafting a Captivating Introduction and Conclusion

Now that you have the body of your persuasive speech outline, it’s time to talk beginning and end. To really hit your message home, you want to grab your audience’s attention at the beginning and call them to action at the end.

Creating an Engaging Hook to Capture Attention

The opening of your speech is where you need a good first impression. To hook your audience, consider starting with an intriguing question, a surprising fact, or even a short story related to your topic. Whatever route you choose, keep it interesting and concise, so that you can transition into the rest of your persuasive speech outline.

Concluding with a Strong Call to Action

Crafting strong conclusions is about leaving your readers feeling pumped and ready to jump into action. After all, if you’ve argued convincingly enough, your audience should be ready to act. To channel this energy, urge listeners towards specific actions. Here are some strategies:

  • Suggest clear next steps: Don’t leave your audience hanging wondering what’s next. Give them concrete steps they can take immediately after reading.
  • Create urgency: Why wait? Let folks know why now is the perfect time to act.
  • Show benefits: Paint vivid pictures of how taking action will positively impact their lives or solve their problems.

With that captivating hook and a decisive call-to-action, you are one step closer to presenting an unforgettable speech.

Utilizing Monroe’s Motivated Sequence for Persuasive Structure

As you finish off your persuasive speech outline, you may be wondering how best to structure your speech. If that’s you, then Purdue University professor Alan H. Monroe has some answers. In his book “Monroe’s Principles of Speech,” the professor outlines Monroe’s Motivated Sequence, the best structure for persuasive speeches. Each step is broken down below.

Attention: Grabbing the Audience’s Focus

You’ve got something important to say. But first, you need them to listen. Start with a bang. Throwing out a shocking truth, posing a thought-provoking query, or sharing an enthralling tale could work magic in grabbing their attention. It’s all about making heads turn and ears perk up.

Need: Highlighting the Issue at Hand

Now that they’re listening, show them there’s a gaping hole in their lives that only your message can fill. Paint a vivid picture of the problem your speech addresses.

Satisfaction: Proposing a Solution

This is where you come in as the hero with a plan. Introduce your solution clearly and convincingly. How does it patch things up? Why does it outshine merely applying quick fixes to deep-rooted issues? Give your audience hope.

Visualization: Helping the Audience Visualize Benefits

Show them life on the other side of adopting your idea or product—brighter, easier, better. Use vivid imagery and relatable scenarios so they can see themselves reaping those benefits firsthand.

Action: Encouraging Audience Action

Last step: nudge them from “maybe” to “yes.” Make this part irresistible by being clear about what action they should take next—and why now’s the time to act. Whether signing up, voting, or changing behavior, make sure they know how easy taking that first step can be.

Learn more about Monroe’s Motivated Sequence here.

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Overcoming Public Speaking Fears for Effective Delivery

Let’s face it, the thought of public speaking can turn even the most confident folks into a bundle of nerves. But hey, you’ve got this. Dive into these expert strategies and you’ll find yourself delivering speeches like a seasoned orator in no time.

Techniques to Build Confidence in Public Speaking

If you’re feeling nervous on the big day, these three techniques are perfect for you. Take a look!

  • Breathe: Deep breathing is your secret weapon against those pesky nerves. It tells your brain that everything is going to be okay.
  • Pose like a superhero: Stand tall and strike a power pose before you go on stage. This isn’t just fun; science backs it up as a confidence booster.
  • Kick perfectionism to the curb: Aim for connection with your audience, not perfection. Mistakes make you human and more relatable.

The goal here is to calm yourself enough to be able to deliver your persuasive speech outline with confidence. Even if you still feel a little nervous, you can still present an awesome speech. You just don’t want those nerves running the show.

Practicing Your Speech for Perfect Execution

If you know that you tend to get nervous when public speaking, then you don’t want to be running through you speech for the first time on the big day. Instead, practice beforehand using these techniques.

  1. The mirror is your friend: Practice in front of a mirror to catch any odd gestures or facial expressions.
  2. Vary your voice: As you deliver your speech, let your voice rise and fall to match what you’re sharing. Avoid speaking in a monotone.
  3. Say no to memorization: Rather than memorizing every word, learn key points by heart. You want to sound natural out there.

Remembering these steps won’t just help you tackle public speaking fear, but will also polish those all-important public speaking skills.


Once you’ve honed the skills you need to write a persuasive speech outline, the only thing left to do is to get out there and practice them. So take the rhetorical appeals—ethos, logos, and pathos—and practice weaving each element into your speech. Or take Monroe’s Motivated Sequence and work on structuring your outline accordingly.

Prepare well and when you hit the stage, you have not just a well-prepared persuasive speech outline, but also the power to alter perspectives, challenge the status quo, or even change lives.


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