A persuasive speech is one of the most commonly used speeches. You may not even realize it, but you try to persuade people when you speak multiple times a day. (I know I do whenever I want it to be pizza night!)
Examples Of Persuasive Speech Topics
You may think persuasive speech topics only apply to sales, advertising, or even in the courtroom, but it doesn’t. I’m going to share many specific examples of my TEDx Talk to show you that just about any talk, speech, or even toast you give is persuasive in nature.
What is a Persuasive Speech?
Almost every speech you hear is a persuasive speech. That’s because the speeches are to educate, to inform, and are (or they should be) entertaining. By default, the speech will persuade people to think differently, feel a certain way, or even act in a certain way.
When you give a persuasive speech, the goal is to sway the audience to adopt your own viewpoint. When I gave my TEDx talk titled Fake News: It’s Your Fault, my goal was to get people to think twice before sharing something on social media.
My talk was very timely, thought-provoking, daring because it could have been viewed as political, and it had a clear opinion with specific story-telling examples to prove I was knowledgeable about the subject and could argue my opinion.
Persuasive Speech Topics
To be honest, I did not choose my topic for the TEDx talk I gave in Boca Raton. Because of my experience working in the media, it was suggested to me by the organizer.
Still, it’s important to keep certain factors in mind when choosing a topic. I keep all of these in mind when I’m pitching myself to be a guest on a podcast and when I read pitches from people who want to be a guest on my podcast, Become a Media Maven. Here are some things to consider when planning a good persuasive speech topic.
For an infographic of 67 persuasive speech topics, click here. But I suggest you keep scrolling and reading first.
When I worked as a TV reporter, a question I always asked myself was, “Why does this story need to be done now?” You want to make sure it’s relevant today. Look for a timely hook or angle to get audience members interested.
You have to be familiar with the topic. If you’re not an expert in what you’re talking about, why would I want to hear it from you? This is where you gain authority and credibility. You can’t give an informative speech if you’re not informed with factual information, after all.
Are other people interested in what you’re talking about? If not, they won’t be excited to hear more which could decrease viewership, even sign-ups, podcast downloads, etc. This means don’t steer clear of controversial topics. In fact, those are the best to maintain an audience’s attention!
Plus, the more interested you are in something, the more likely you and others are to engage in another point of view. So yes, both sides need to be interested in a great speech to land well.
In my TEDx talk, I was allowed to show some slides. I kept it minimal because the talk was able to stand alone, but visuals help tell the story. When I mentioned the tweet that went viral, it had a bigger impact if I showed it, for example.
If you don’t have literal visuals, then you want to make sure you’re using your voice to let people draw their own visual images in their minds, like they would when reading a descriptive book.
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of hearing the same, general information and thoughts over and over again. Yes, we know we need to be authentic on social media to grow a following. We also know we need to cut down expenses to save more money. And yes, we know we need to listen more to understand.
Go deeper than just hitting the main points. The more niche and specific you can get, the better. Tell people something they’ve never heard before about a common topic and you’ll wow them!
Make people feel. This is such an important factor in delivering any talk or speech… or even writing a persuasive essay for a high school class or thesis statement for college students. If you can make people feel an emotion – good, bad, happy, sad, etc., then you’ve done your job.
A couple of weeks after my TEDx talk, the organizer told me that he heard a family member was fighting with another family member about fake news in the car on the way home from the event.
Emotional appeals, so it’s a good idea to consider emotional topics like the death penalty, plastic water bottles, police officer violence, detrimental effects of something that is popular, organ donation, a United States federal government scandal, global warming, marine life, and anything else that makes people feel deeply. Those are all interesting persuasive speech topics that could lead to an outstanding speech that is remembered for years.
People like hearing about issues that affect them personally.
For example, whenever a popular online course platform has an online summit, they bring on the most successful users to share their success. These users earn millions of dollars a year. While that’s great and impressive, it’s not relatable to me. I’d love to hear from users who are earning $100,000 a year. Why? Because I can relate to that person more and feel like it’s an easier goal to attain.
So, make sure your audience can relate to what you’re discussing in your speech so they’re intrigued. You may have the right topic, but not the ideal target audience so be sure to consider both.
Just like in marketing, everything ends with a call to a specific action. What do you want your audience to do when your speech ends? For me, it was to “use care before you share”. This was something I repeated multiple times during my talk.
This phrase acted as a guide and brought the entire talk full circle. It was the specific purpose of the entire speech. Don’t save this to be the last thing you think about in crafting the best persuasive speech topics.
How to Choose a Persuasive Speech Topic
Hopefully, this last section helped you narrow your thoughts down a bit. Lots of timely persuasive topics can be found using social media, podcasts, TV, newspapers, magazines, etc. (Hello?! My talk was titled Fake News!)
For this reason, it’s hard to make a list of persuasive speech topics because what is timely is always changing. Sure, there are some constants that you can find fresh angles to like the real estate market, government spending, the education system, etc.
But still, the main idea of a great persuasive speech topic has to have a newsworthy element to hit listeners just right. That’s the first thing to remember in persuasive speaking when you brainstorm great persuasive speech ideas.
Examples of a Persuasive Speech
Hopefully, after reading this post you’re on your way to choosing the right persuasive speech topic for your next meeting or public speaking event. What is a perfect persuasive speech topic? By now, you know it depends on a few things, like the event and the audience.
There are tons of persuasive speeches I could share with you as inspiration. I mean, just logging onto TED.com and viewing the videos that pique your interest would be more than enough. After all, its slogan is ideas worth spreading.
A couple of other resources you may find helpful include The Best Sample Welcome Speech for a Corporate Event and 5 Toastmasters Icebreaker Ideas.
Now, I’ll end by sharing some of my favorite persuasive speech examples by my friend Azul Terronez, Mel Robbins, and fellow Boca Raton TEDx speaker, Cece Espeut.
Let me know who your favorite persuasive speakers are or what your favorite persuasive speech topic is on Instagram at @ChristinaAllDay.