1. The first step in writing a persuasive speech/research report is selecting the topic that lends itself to an issue. Choose a topic/problem about which you feel strongly. Then be sure to narrow the topic down to a specific problem, which you can reasonably discuss within the limits set by this essay’s length and the time limit of the speech that it will generate. Ask yourself what you, or your prospective audience, want to know about this problem as an illustration of the larger issue. Example: Issue: Technology’s negative influence on society. Problem: Technology in the classroom has not enhanced the quality of education of our young people. Solution: Use Technology judiciously, and focus on critical thinking skills rather than “edutainment.”
2. The next step in writing a speech is gathering information. You want people to believe that you know what you’re talking about! So, you’ll need to do some research. For instance, let’s say your big issue is the environment. You promise to pass a law that says all new cars must run on electricity, not gas. That will cut down on air pollution! But it would help if you had a few facts: How much bad air does one car create each year? How many new cars are sold in your country every year? So how much will pollution be cut every year? Use the library or the Internet to do research. Your new policy proposal will sound really strong if you have the facts to back it up. Speeches of this nature usually include a broad series of references possibly to current events, history and literature studied in class (as well as researched). Consider the key contextual elements that relate to your topic: e.g. Moral, Religious, Social, Political, Economic, Educational, Philosophical, Historical, Literary, Environmental, General Axioms and Medical. Then before you start the actual research, take a look at your resources. The Internet, newspapers, and reference books are common sources of information. Visit the library. Include at least three sources in your references at the end of the essay.
3. Once you have located your sources of information, read the material carefully and take notes. Take the general nature of the topics above and narrow the focus of the issue to something tangible and concrete. For example, the technological example can be narrowed down to “problems with including technology in education without reducing student competency and academic standards. Once you identify your problem, then divide it into several sub-topics, which eventually will become the basis of your arguments. List the topic/issue, sub-topics/arguments, and the facts that relate to each sub-topic. Record direct quotations from your sources, electronic or otherwise. These include author, title, publisher, and page number.
4. Your notes should demonstrate knowledge of the methods of organization and will help you arrange your speech. By arranging your arguments, you may discover not only an ideal organization for your speech, but also a need for further research. Once you have arranged material, complete an essay outline with the traditional structure of “Problem-Solution.” In the first part of your speech you say, “Here’s a problem, here’s why things are so terrible.” (see chart for aid in structure):
5. In the second part of your speech you say, “Here’s what we can do to make things better.” Sometimes it helps to persuade people if you have statistics or other facts in your speech. And sometimes you can persuade people by quoting someone else that the audience likes and respects.
6. Consider the writing variables so that you can fulfil your audience’s needs. In this case, two audiences: your teacher and your peers. Remember that your purpose is to present an issue and to inform your audience(s) convincingly and to entertain. The issue should demonstrate a clear division between the statement of a problem and possible solutions. Express yourself simply yet emphatically. Aristotle, and later Cicero, also identified the rhetorical approaches we use most to persuade as “ethos” or ethical stature, credibility or authority of the speaker, “logos” or knowledge and “pathos” or emotion. Will you use one rhetorical appeal over the others or a combination of all three?
7. Keep in mind that every topic sentence (the first sentence of each paragraph) should demonstrate a clear formulation of your argument regarding the issue as you have presented it in the thesis Usually, this entails restating part of your thesis followed by the word “because” and then the argument or claim you wish to make.
8. With your audience in mind, clearly identify the problem with a clear transition as in “This identifies a very serious problem…” and the important shift to the solution as in “How can we solve this situation?”
9. Before you write the first draft, determine whether your treatment of the subject will be serious or light-hearted. Does the topic require that you use personal pronouns like I, me, mine? Do such pronouns create anunnecessary, subjective tone? Once you have decided on a definite style, follow it consistently.
10. Finally, write like you talk. Remember that you’re writing a speech, not an academic essay. People will hear the speech. The more conversational you can make it sound, the better.
Therefore: a) Use short sentences. It’s better to write two simple sentences than one long, complicated sentence. b) Use contractions. Say “I’m” instead of “I am” “we’re” instead of “we are.” c) Don’t use big words that you wouldn’t use when talking to someone. d) You don’t have to follow all the rules of written English grammar. “Like this. See? Got it? Hope so.” Generally, people don’t always talk in complete sentences with verbs and nouns. So try to write like people talk. e) Use concrete words and examples. Concrete details keep people involved and interested. For instance, which is more effective? A vague sentence like: “Open play spaces for children’s sports are in short supply.” Or the more concrete “We need more baseball and soccer fields for our kids.” Always read your speech aloud while you’re writing it. You’ll hear right away if you sound like a book or a real person talking!
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