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16.1: Appendix A

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    Persuasive Speech Topic Ideas

    Environmental Topics

    • Citizens should try to reuse items before recycling them
    • The U.S. should ban mountaintop removal as a mode of harvesting coal.
    • Contemporary climate change is human-caused.
    • Governmental funding for clean energy should be increased.
    • All municipalities should offer public transportation.
    • The U.S. should ratify the Kyoto Protocol.
    • Bottled water should undergo the same quality testing as municipal water.
    • Preservation is a better environmental sustainability model than is conservation.
    • Hunting should be banned on all public lands.

    Social Justice Topics

    • The right to marry should be extended to gays and lesbians.
    • Abortion should be illegal.
    • State colleges should be free to attend.
    • Martin Luther King, Jr. was the most influential leader of the civil rights movement
    • The death penalty should be abolished.
    • Convicted rapists should be sentenced to the death penalty.
    • Women should receive equal pay for equal work.
    • Affirmative action does not work and should be ended.
    • Individuals and communities affected by environmental injustices should receive compensation.

    Campus Life

    • Dorm rooms should have individual thermostats.
    • Professors’ office hours should be held at reasonable hours, not 7 a.m. on Mondays.
    • Free coffee should be provided in all classroom buildings before noon.
    • Student fees at universities are too high.
    • Dining halls should provide nutritional information for all meals.
    • Student government leaders should host regular forums to answer questions from the general student population.
    • Plagiarism should be prosecuted to the fullest extent.

    Everyday Life Topics

    • The legal drinking age should be lowered to 18.
    • Frequent flyers should not be required to remove their shoes in airport security lines.
    • Eating five meals a day is better than eating three.
    • Smoking should be illegal in all public areas.
    • Gmail is the best email service.
    • All restaurants should offer vegan and vegetarian options or substitutes.
    • Netflix and Hulu are better ways to watch movies and television shows.
    • ATM fees should be outlawed.
    • Proximity to religious facilities should have no bearing on alcohol sales.

    Economic Topics

    • Social security benefits should be guaranteed for those who pay in to the program.
    • All multi-year jobs should include pension plans.
    • The U.S. should spend less on wars and more on education.
    • Everyone should be required to pay an equal percentage of taxes.
    • A consumption tax is more just than an income tax.
    • The minimum wage in the U.S. is too low.
    • Multi-million dollar bonuses for corporate executives are unjust because they preclude better wages/reduced prices for others.

    Organizing and Outlining



    Attention Getter: By looking at me, you might think I’m just a middle aged white woman, but we’ve all heard you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover!

    Central Idea (Thesis): Diversity and experience have made me the person that I am, and sharing this with you will help you see beyond the surface and learn more about who I am.

    Credibility/Relevance: Obviously, I know myself well enough to talk about myself, but you’d be surprised how one person’s experience can actually help you in your own life.

    Preview: First, I’m going to tell you about my background and family. Then, I’m going to tell you about the main hobbies in my life. Finally, I’m going to tell you about a really sad and scary incident that happened when I was just 19 years old.


    1. First, let me tell you a little about my background and family.
      1. I’m a first-generation American, born to parents who came to the United States from China during the late 1930’s.
      2. I have one older brother who is in the medical field.
      3. I’m married to my husband of 30 years.
      4. I have two children: a son who lives in the UK with his family, and a daughter who is a college professor.
        1. Internal Summary/Preview: Now that you know a little about my background and family, let me tell you about my special hobbies.
    2. In my spare time, I have hobbies that involve party planning and crafting.
      1. I own enough fine China, crystal stemware, silver flatware, napkins, napkin rings, chair covers, sashes, and more to do a party for 150 people.
        1. I have thrown wedding showers, baby showers, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, and other special events like birthdays celebrating milestone years.
        2. Though I don’t charge for my services, maybe someday that will become a business for me.
      2. I also enjoy hobbies that tap into my creative side.
        1. I do chalk painting, which is a special paint that is used to go over any surface.
        2. I also repurpose furniture by turning a piece into something different than it was originally.
          1. Internal Summary/Preview: So, now that you know about my background and family, and my special hobbies, let me tell you about one of the scariest and saddest events in my young adult life.
    3. At the age of 19, I learned that a “friend” of my brother and our family, was more than he professed to be.

      1. After being friends for two years, we found out a terrible secret about my brother’s friend Paul.

        1. We thought we knew all we had to know: Paul was a Sheriff’s deputy, and third year law student.

        2. Paul was a friend who came over to our house all the time; and hung out with us, or sometimes just me.

        3. One day we opened up the newspaper only to read that Paul had been arrested on several counts of rape, and that the “ski mask rapist” had been caught.

          1. He was caught coming out of the apartment of the last woman he had raped.

      2. He was carrying the ski mask in his hand.

      3. That day I learned never to judge a book by its cover.


    Summary: Today, I’ve shared a little bit about myself. I told you about my background and family, my hobbies, and about my experience in learning that things aren’t always as they seem.

    Closing Statement: I hope next time you encounter something you think is obvious, you’ll look twice before passing judgment.

    Contributors and Attributions

    16.1: Appendix A is shared under a CC BY license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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