What is Persuasive Speech?

How Can You Persuade With the Words You Use?

What is persuasive speech?Persuasive Speech and Persuasive Public Speaking is the art of using words to influence an audience.

It involves directing, guiding, or appealing to the thinking, logic or emotions of an individual or an audience. The goal is to help the listeners to accept the idea, attitude, or action being presented by the speaker. It is accomplished by the use of argumentation, rationalization, symbolism, and presenting supportive information.

Learning What Persuasive Speech Is?

    We started learning to use persuasion when we were born. We influenced the filling of our needs through our body language, crying or laughing. As we grew, we started using more sophisticated means to get what we wanted.

    We tried whining. When it failed, we advanced to more socially acceptable forms of persuasive speech. We subconsciously sought the answer to "What is persuasive speech?"

    We used it to be able to stay out late, buy our first car or other aspects of growth and development. Learning how to use the art of persuasion was part of our growth and development.

    Whenever we get a ticket for violating a traffic law, we have the right to use the art of persuasive speech to reduce or eliminate the charges against us with both the officer (slim chance but possible) and in a court of law.

    The necessity of persuasive speech can be seen in its use. Consider situations when natural disaster is eminent or compliance with directions could save a life. What is persuasive speech? A way to save lives.

    Taken to its highest art form it becomes negotiation.

    Failure to learn how to do it can lead to a life of constant capitulation and compromise. Not knowing how to use it could result in loss of freedoms. It can limit the ability to communicate helpful and beneficial information.

What is Persuasive Speech in Public Speaking?

The types of persuasion can be classified into modes or devices. These are the same for writing. They are Ethos, Pathos, and Logos.

    One of the oldest writings on the subject is by Aristotle. He felt there were three tools to help with persuasion.

  • Personal Character
  • When Speech Stirs Emotions
  • Using speech to prove a truth by means of persuasive argumentation.
  • To further answer the question, “What is persuasive speech?” requires looking at those three tools. These are basic tools that are used in rhetoric and public speaking. Mastery of these tools is not a simple process.

Ethos, Pathos, Logos


    Ethos is the characteristic spirit of a culture, era, or community as seen in its beliefs. The qualification to speak on a subject is accepted by the audience based on those beliefs. Qualification can come from education, experience and or career advancement. Someone who is known in the field of the subject being discussed and has amassed a body of knowledge is believed to qualify to speak on the subject.

    Sometime just having an interest or relationship to the subject such as having worked next to the person who is the subject could provide qualify ones expertise.

    Finally, by impressing the audience that your knowledgeable on the subject.

    The characteristic spirit of our grandparents generation was to believe their doctors no matter what they said. Today, we question our doctors sometimes to the third opinion.

      Note: When starting out as a professional speaker you will notice those with wonderful credentials who are not very good public speakers. If you attain Speechmastery you will be farther ahead of those who have either alphabet soup behind their name or a very long CV to present.


    Appealing to the emotions of an audience. It can be in the form of a story with a moral, an illustration, metaphor, simile, parable, or even an emotional claim that something is unjust.


    The logical appeal using facts, figures and information to support the premise that is being presented.


      There is a pitfall to beware of. Mark Twain said it best when he said, there are liars, darn (not the exact word he used) liars and statisticians. Statistics can be made to say anything. Some in your audience will know this. They will be able to bore holes in your presentation if your not prepared.

Use all three, Logos, Pathos, and Ethos and you will have the best chance to move your audience to your most wanted response.

To use all three will require learning to have a dynamic range of speaking skills.

Persuasive speech if ethically presented will benefit both the presenter and the accepting audience.

So…what is persuasive speech and persuasive speaking? How would you define or explain the answer?

What persuasive speech is not and your most wanted response (MWR). Look at the, what is persuasive speech?” question from the WHY viewpoint.

Persuasive Speech Home and more about the art of persuasive speech process.

Speechmastery.com: The What is Persuasive Speech Resource

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Lets Connect View Jonathan Steele RN Holistic Nurse's profile on LinkedIn
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