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14.8: Conclusion, Glossary, References

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    The primary goal of persuasive speaking is to influence an audience’s beliefs or behaviors so that they can make necessary or positive change. Persuasive speaking is a vital skill in all areas of life, whether it is a political candidate convincing voters to elect them, an employee convincing the boss to give them a promotion, or a sales person convincing a consumer to buy a product, individuals must understand what persuasion is and how it functions.

    When formulating a persuasive speech, remember to determine the type of question you seek to answer so that you can decide whether to offer a proposition of fact, a proposition of value, or a proposition of policy. Weave the topic and the proposition together to create a compelling argument for your specific audience.

    Knowing your audience can help when it comes to choosing the appropriate strategies for convincing them that you are a credible speaker. Once you have established your credibility, you can advance both logical and emotional appeals to move your audience toward the belief or behavior you hope they will adopt. As you weave these appeals together, be sure to offer the most ethical arguments by avoiding fallacies and supporting emotional appeals with relevant evidence.

    Once you have compiled the most relevant arguments and emotional appeals for a given audience, take care to organize your message effectively. Give thought to your persuasive goals and determine whether they can be best achieved through the use of one of the patterns of organization explained in this chapter.

    Module Activities

    Review Questions

    1. Early in the chapter the prevalence of persuasion was discussed. Think of an instance in which you knew you were being persuaded. What were you being persuaded to do? Was the persuader focused on changing your beliefs, attitudes, values, or actions? How do you know?
    2. Imagine you are giving a persuasive speech on _________________ [you fill in the blank]. Draft a specific purpose statement on this topic for a speech to convince. Next, draft a specific purpose statement on the same topic for a speech to actuate.
    3. Draft a proposition of fact, proposition of value, and proposition of policy for one or more of the following topics:
      1. Shortening class time
      2. Pro-anorexia images on social networking sites
      3. Airline fees
    4. You have been invited to speak to administrators about increasing alumni support for the school. What steps will you take to build your ethos for this audience? What logical appeals will you make? How will you appeal to their emotions?
    5. Imagine you are giving a speech in which you hope to convince audience members to begin retirement planning while they are still in their twenties. Which of the organizational patterns described above best fits this topic? Why? Describe its advantages over the other organization styles for the specific purpose.


    1. Using a recent newspaper, locate an example of a proposition of fact, a proposition of value, and a proposition of policy, and underline each one. Then, see if you can locate the data, warrant, and backing for each of these claims. If you cannot locate one or more of the elements, write your own based on the information provided in the article.


    A proposition supported by one or more reasons or pieces of evidence.
    Foundational evidence which supports a claim, such as examples, statistics, or testimony.
    Causal reasoning
    Examines related events to determine which one caused the other.
    The proposition you want the audience to accept.
    A process whereby thoughts or behaviors are altered through deceptive or harmful methods.
    Preliminary evidence on which a claim is based.
    Deductive Reasoning
    The process of formulating an argument by moving from a general premise to a specific conclusion.
    Statistical information that reflects the make-up of a group, often including age, sex, ethnic or cultural background, socioeconomic status, religion, and political affiliation.
    The audience’s perception of a speaker’s credibility and moral character.
    Evaluation Criteria
    A set of standards for judging the merit of a proposition.
    Errors in reasoning that occur when a speaker fails to use appropriate or applicable evidence for their argument.
    Hostile Audience
    An audience that is opposed to the speaker or to the persuasive proposition.
    A connection that is fostered between the speaker and their audience by highlighting shared attributes or attitudes.
    Inductive Reasoning
    The process of formulating an argument by moving from specific instances to a generalization.
    The logical means of proving an argument.
    Monroe’s Motivated Sequence
    An organizational pattern that attempts to convince the audience to respond to a need that is delineated in the speech through five sequential steps.
    Neutral Audience
    An audience that is neither open nor opposed to the persuasive proposition.
    The use of emotional appeals to persuade an audience.
    The art of influencing or reinforcing people’s beliefs, attitudes, values, or actions.
    Persuasive Speeches
    Speeches which aim to convince an audience to think or behave in a particular way.
    Problem-Solution Speech
    A speech in which problems and solutions are presented alongside one another with a clear link between a problem and its solution.
    Proposition of Fact
    An argument that seeks to establish whether something is true or false.
    Proposition of Policy
    An argument that seeks to establish an appropriate course of action.
    Proposition of Value
    An argument that seeks to establish the relative worth of something.
    Monroe’s Motivated Sequence
    An organization style that is designed to motivate the audience to take a particular action and is characterized by a five-step sequence: (1) attention, (2) need, (3) satisfaction, (4), visualization, and (5) action appeal.
    Receptive Audience
    An audience that is generally supportive of, or open to, the persuasive proposition.
    Speeches to Actuate
    Persuasive speeches which seek to change or motivate particular behaviors.
    Speeches to Convince
    Persuasive speeches which seek to establish agreement about a particular topic.
    Status Quo
    The current situation.
    Reasoning beginning with a major premise, then moving to a minor premise, before establishing a specific claim.
    The (often unstated) connection between data and claim.


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