Friday, November 2, 2007

How to Structure Your Persuasive Speech

How you structure you speech will drastically effect how your speech is received. Indeed, the foundation of your persuasive speech is its structure, that is how you have laid it out. Does it flow from one area to the next? Is it logical? How is it structured? The most common structure to any speech, persuasive or otherwise, is as follows:

  1. Tell them what you are going to say.
  2. Say it
  3. Tell them what you said

Pretty simple, isn't it? Let's expand on it, and see how to implement it effectively. Start with a solid headline, one that clearly states what you will be talking about, and why the audience should be interested. “How to save time and money by jogging”

Fair enough, that's a terrible headline, but the formula is the one you should use: How to (benefit) by (your topic). Lead with the benefit, using phrases like “how to...”, “the advantages of...”, and the like, followed by your topic, in this case "jogging". Easy, yes?

In the introductory paragraph of your speech, outline the topic. Tell them what you are going to be telling them. This can be a good place to introduce a problem that you have the solution to.

“With the rising cost of fuel and maintenance, cars are becoming more of an expensive luxury to today's executive, which is why many modern execs are taking up jogging to and from work.”

So here we have introduced a problem “cars are becoming more of an expensive luxury”, and a solution, “jogging”. Forgive me if I state the obvious, but the solution should be your topic, or the thought you want your audience to agree to, whether it be a shift in opinion, a commitment to buy, or whatever.

The next step is to let them know what you are going to say. Talk about (in this case) how jogging will help them save money. Then you will launch into the main body of your speech. Give them a few statistics and figures such as, “fuel prices have risen 3000 percent in the last 5 years”, "joggers save money, and find that their morning jog has greatly increased their energy and productivity”, and the like. (Ed.: The preceding figures were made up just for this article) Talk about how the benefits of your offer solve the problem(s) you outlined in the introduction.

Finally, recap everything you just said, in short form, finishing with a call to action, as appropriate.

And there you have it: You just told your audience what you were going to tell them, then you told them, and finally you told them what you just told them. Make each section flow one into the other, and you will be well on your way to persuading your audience of your message.

No comments: