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By Beth Beutler
1 Lawyers use it frequently. Sales executives depend on it. Politicians couldn't win without it. What is it? It is a persuasive speech.
2 To "persuade" means to cause someone to take action or accept a point of view by using reasoning or argument. When you are asked to make a persuasive speech, you will be making a presentation that you hope will change the listeners' point of view or rouse them to take action. In the cases above, a lawyer would want a jury to make a decision for the good of his client, the sales person wants a customer to make a purchase, and a politician wants you to vote for him!
3 Here are a few tips that will help you develop an effective persuasive speech:
4 1. Know your topic well. In order to convince people to "buy into" your ideas, you must know your topic. You need to research through reading, listening, and observing, so you can be prepared for questions or arguments. For example, assume your assignment is to convince the audience that your city's major league baseball team is the best in the league. You need to pay attention to how they are doing against other teams; you may need to attend a game and watch the skill level of the players, and you should keep track of statistics.
5 2. Believe in your topic. It will be very hard to convince someone to take action on your idea if you do not believe in it yourself. From time to time you may be assigned a topic that you don't necessarily feel strongly about. However, you should throw yourself into the topic with enthusiasm if only to practice the skills of persuasive speech and get a good grade! Better yet, see if you can pick a topic for which you feel passion (deeply felt enthusiasm). For example, if you love having a dog, you might do a speech on the benefits of owning a pet.
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