Speaking to persuade: persuasive essay

Speaking to persuade

Speaking to persuade is also known as

persuasive speech. This means a speech

specially designed to change or reinforce the

beliefs or actions of an audience. The target here

is to make the listener(s) or the audience decide

to do something by giving them satisfactory

reasons why they should do it. The indication

here is that the audience may not really want

to perform the action. As a result, the need for

your speech arises to convince them, giving

them the whys and wherefores of the action.

Persuasive speech is different from the

other type of speech we have studied, which

is mainly designed to inform, and is called


informative speech. It is important that we

study the differences between this example

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Persuasive speech is a complex and

challenging type of speech. It is necessary in

a situation where there is disagreement. It is

usually not easy to change the mind of persons

on a given idea. The speaker has to indulge in

a psychological process of winning the minds

of the listeners, while the listeners assess the

speaker’s integrity and credibility, the manner

of delivery, supporting details, etc. in order to

decide whether or not to believe the speaker

and thus change their minds, or to remain

neutral or opposed.


Target audience

By the target audience we mean the particular

audience the persuasive speaker wishes mostly

to address; those whom he/she would want

the message to reach. We can group them as

the uncommitted audience, those inclined to

agree and those inclined to disagree, but who

are open to persuasion. We must also, however,

expect other listeners of different opinions as

part of the audience.

In persuasive speech, we deal with three

different types questions. They are:

questions of fact

questions of value

questions of policy.

Questions of fact

These are questions directed at the truth or

falsity of an assertion. Questions of fact are

structured to make audience believe in the

speaker’s view of facts about the matter for



Question of value

The question of value is directed to the worth,

rightness, morality, etc. of an idea or action.

The speaker, under the question, makes a

judgement, right or wrong, good or bad,

moral or immoral, ethical or unethical. The

speaker justifies the position in line with clear



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