Persuasive Speech Thesis Statement

Persuasive speech generator.

thesis statement in a persuasive speech

Crafting a persuasive speech hinges on a compelling thesis statement – the linchpin that anchors your argument and guides your audience. The potency of your speech is encapsulated in this singular sentence, making it essential to perfect. Below, we delve into the anatomy of persuasive speech thesis statements, offering examples to inspire, guidelines to streamline the writing process, and pro tips to ensure your message resonates powerfully. Ready to persuade and captivate? Dive in.

What is a Persuasive Speech Thesis Statement? – Definition

A persuasive speech thesis statement is a concise declaration that clearly expresses the main argument or stance of your speech. Unlike an informative speech thesis statement which simply informs, a persuasive speech thesis aims to convince the audience to adopt a particular viewpoint or take a certain action. It serves as the foundation of your argument, providing a roadmap for your listeners and guiding the content of your speech.

What is a good thesis statement Example for a persuasive speech?

A good thesis statement for a persuasive speech should be clear, concise, arguable, and specific. Here’s an example:

Topic: Reducing meat consumption for environmental purposes.

Thesis Statement: “Reducing our meat consumption by half can significantly decrease our carbon footprint, lessen water usage, and help in preserving essential ecosystems, making it not just a dietary choice but a responsibility for the environment.”

This thesis statement makes a clear argument, states why the audience should care, and is backed by several points that can be elaborated upon during the speech.

100 Persuasive Speech Thesis Statement Examples

  • Mandatory vaccinations are crucial for public health.
  • Vegetarianism can significantly reduce global environmental damage.
  • Schools should abolish standardized tests.
  • Solar energy is the future of global power.
  • Animal testing for cosmetics should be banned worldwide.
  • Online education can be more effective than traditional classroom settings.
  • Ban on single-use plastics is essential for marine conservation.
  • Euthanasia should be legalized under specific circumstances.
  • Governments should regulate social media to combat fake news.
  • Higher education should be free for all citizens.
  • Workplace dress codes are outdated and unnecessary.
  • Young adults should be mandated to take a gap year before college.
  • Juvenile offenders should never be treated as adults in the legal system.
  • Artificial intelligence poses more risks than benefits.
  • GMOs are safe and beneficial for global food security.
  • Children under 16 shouldn’t have access to smartphones.
  • Censorship in media does more harm than good.
  • Parents should be held accountable for their children’s cyberbullying actions.
  • Organic farming is essential for future food sustainability.
  • Space exploration is a waste of money that could be better spent on Earth’s problems.
  • Pro athletes deserve their high salaries due to their unique skills and market demand.
  • The death penalty is an outdated form of punishment.
  • Video games don’t lead to violent behavior in youths.
  • Mandatory voting would strengthen democracies.
  • Physical education in schools is essential for youth health.
  • Corporal punishment is detrimental to children’s well-being.
  • Taxing sugary drinks can decrease obesity rates.
  • All countries should adopt a universal basic income.
  • Modern zoos are ethical and beneficial for wildlife conservation.
  • Children’s exposure to screen time should be limited for cognitive development.
  • Countries should prioritize refugees over other immigrants.
  • Binge-watching TV shows can lead to psychological issues.
  • Public transport should be free to reduce traffic congestion.
  • Companies should be taxed more for carbon emissions.
  • Homeschooling can provide a more personalized education than traditional schools.
  • Medical marijuana should be legalized worldwide.
  • Advertising to children should be strictly regulated.
  • Fast fashion is detrimental to both the environment and society.
  • Child actors are often exploited and laws should protect them more rigorously.
  • Cybersecurity education should be a mandatory part of school curriculums.
  • Celebrity endorsements in politics do more harm than good.
  • Gender-neutral bathrooms promote inclusivity and should be standardized.
  • Self-driving cars are the solution to urban traffic woes.
  • The gig economy undermines workers’ rights.
  • Print books are superior to e-books for cognitive absorption.
  • Intermittent fasting has more benefits than traditional dieting.
  • Capitalism needs significant reforms to address modern challenges.
  • Professional networks are more beneficial than academic degrees in today’s job market.
  • Pets should be adopted from shelters instead of being purchased from breeders.
  • Drone deliveries are the future of e-commerce.
  • Modern architecture should prioritize sustainability over aesthetics.
  • Mental health days should be a standard employment benefit.
  • Religious institutions should pay taxes.
  • Athletes caught doping should face lifetime bans.
  • All public places should offer free Wi-Fi.
  • Parenting classes should be mandatory for expectant parents.
  • Soft skills are more important than hard skills in today’s workforce.
  • College athletes should be paid for their efforts.
  • Digital currency will replace traditional money.
  • Forest conservation is more important than urban expansion.
  • Remote work improves employee productivity and well-being.
  • Traditional college is becoming obsolete.
  • Public figures have a right to personal privacy.
  • Extreme adventure sports should have stricter regulations.
  • Recycling should be legally mandatory for households.
  • Local tourism is more sustainable than international travel.
  • Artificial sweeteners do more harm than natural sugars.
  • Digital detoxes are essential for mental health.
  • Nuclear energy is a necessary alternative in the climate change battle.
  • Fossil fuels need to be phased out within the next decade.
  • The pay gap is a pervasive issue that needs addressing.
  • Mandatory military service strengthens nations.
  • Multilingual education from a young age has cognitive and cultural benefits.
  • Cultural appropriation in fashion and art should be discouraged.
  • Childhood vaccination should not be optional.
  • Public speaking skills should be a mandatory part of the school curriculum.
  • Reality TV promotes negative stereotypes and should be reformed.
  • The 4-day workweek improves overall quality of life.
  • Bottled water is an environmental and economic disaster.
  • Governments should fund scientific research over military endeavors.
  • Telemedicine is as effective as in-person consultations.
  • The arts are just as important as sciences in education.
  • Elitism in Ivy League schools undermines the education system.
  • Human cloning has more ethical concerns than benefits.
  • Paternity leave should be equal to maternity leave.
  • Junk food advertising should be banned during children’s television programming.
  • Sustainable living should be a core part of school education.
  • Immigration policies should be more compassionate.
  • Philanthropy by billionaires isn’t a solution to systemic societal issues.
  • Traditional media is losing its credibility.
  • Fast food chains should be accountable for the obesity epidemic.
  • Urban gardens are essential for community well-being.
  • Virtual reality can revolutionize education.
  • Tabloid journalism threatens democratic processes.
  • Every city should have green rooftops.
  • Adventure travel is more than a trend; it’s a learning experience.
  • Plastics in cosmetics harm both the environment and consumers.
  • Youth activism is reshaping global politics.
  • The universal right to internet access should be a fundamental human right.
  • The rise of influencer culture negatively impacts societal values.

Remember, these are broad topics and may need to be adjusted to fit specific audiences or contexts. They aim to serve as inspiration and a starting point for your persuasive speeches.

Persuasive Speech Thesis Statement Examples for College

Crafting the right thesis for a college-based persuasive speech can mold opinions, drive actions, and shape futures. Here’s a set of examples aiming at various issues relevant to the college experience.

  • Implementing mental health services in colleges is crucial to support student well-being.
  • Every college should offer free online course alternatives to reduce student costs.
  • Limiting textbook prices will make higher education more accessible.
  • Extracurricular activities are just as vital as academics in shaping a student’s character.
  • Campus security measures should be increased to ensure student safety.
  • Colleges should foster an environment that promotes free speech and open dialogue.
  • The fraternity and sorority system requires an overhaul to combat systemic issues.
  • Online courses can be more tailored and efficient than traditional classroom lectures.
  • Mandatory internships should be integrated into every college curriculum.
  • College tuition fees should be proportional to post-graduate income levels.

Persuasive Speech Thesis Statement Examples on Pollution

Pollution, in its many forms, threatens our health, environment, and future. These thesis statements shed light on the pressing need for action and awareness in tackling this universal concern.

  • Air pollution’s long-term health impacts make it a silent global crisis.
  • Ocean plastic pollution threatens not only marine life but human survival.
  • Urbanization without proper waste management systems exacerbates land pollution.
  • Implementing stricter emission standards can significantly reduce vehicular pollution.
  • Industrial water pollution is the leading cause of freshwater habitat loss.
  • Noise pollution in urban areas has unrecognized psychological implications.
  • Electronic waste is the new environmental crisis of the digital age.
  • Encouraging sustainable agriculture can mitigate soil pollution.
  • Light pollution affects human circadian rhythms and needs to be addressed.
  • The cosmetic industry must be held accountable for microplastic pollution.

Persuasive Speech Thesis Statement Examples for Introduction

Setting the right tone at the start of your speech is crucial. An impactful thesis statement in your introduction can capture attention and shape the direction of your persuasive message.

  • Today’s consumerist society threatens the planet’s finite resources.
  • Advancements in technology are eroding genuine human connections.
  • Our dietary choices have profound implications for our health and environment.
  • Childhood education shapes a nation’s future more than any policy.
  • The rise of digital currencies can revolutionize the global financial system.
  • The media landscape shapes public perception more than factual events.
  • Combating climate change is not a choice but a necessity.
  • The fashion industry’s practices are at odds with ethical consumerism.
  • Urban planning and green spaces directly impact societal well-being.
  • The future of transportation lies in sustainable energy sources.

Persuasive Speech Thesis Statement Examples for Conclusion

A powerful ending requires a conclusive thesis statement, reinforcing your argument and ensuring your message resonates after the speech ends.

  • Confronting gender biases isn’t a niche issue but central to societal progress.
  • Without collective action, endangered species face an irreversible fate.
  • Privacy in the digital age is not a luxury, but a fundamental right.
  • Without conscious effort, traditional cultures risk fading into oblivion.
  • Sustainable living isn’t a trend but the only way forward.
  • Local businesses are the backbone of a thriving community.
  • Without reforms, the healthcare system will collapse under its weight.
  • The arts, often underfunded, are essential for holistic human development.
  • Youth engagement in politics can reshape outdated policies.
  • Technology, without ethical boundaries, poses a threat to human autonomy.

How do you start a thesis statement for a persuasive speech?

Starting a thesis statement for a persuasive speech is pivotal in setting the tone and direction for the rest of the speech. Here’s how to begin crafting one:

  • Identify Your Topic : Understand the topic you’ll be addressing. This might seem obvious, but having a clear topic in mind ensures your thesis remains focused.
  • Understand Your Audience : Tailor your thesis statement to appeal to the audience’s values, beliefs, and interests.
  • State Your Position Clearly : A persuasive speech thesis statement must make a claim or express an opinion that you will support and develop throughout the speech.
  • Make It Arguable : Ensure your thesis presents a viewpoint someone might challenge. It should not be a plain statement of fact.
  • Keep It Concise : An effective thesis is concise and direct, avoiding vague words or overly complex sentence structures.
  • Start with a Strong Word : Words like “must,” “should,” “ought to,” can make your thesis more forceful.

Example : Instead of saying “Exercise is good for health,” you might say, “Regular exercise is essential for maintaining a healthy body and mind.

How do you write a thesis statement for a persuasive essay? – Step by Step Guide

Writing a compelling thesis statement for a persuasive essay is crucial, as it sets the tone and direction for the rest of your essay. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you craft an effective thesis statement:

1. Understand the Essay Prompt: Before crafting your thesis, ensure you thoroughly understand the essay prompt or question. This provides clarity on what you’re being asked to argue or address.

2. Choose a Specific Topic: Narrow down a broad subject to a specific topic that is suitable for the essay’s length. The more specific you are, the more concise and to the point your argument will be.

3. Take a Clear Stance: A persuasive essay requires a clear stance on the topic. Decide what your position is after analyzing all angles of the topic.

4. Conduct Preliminary Research: Before finalizing your thesis, do some preliminary research to ensure ample evidence and examples are available to support your stance. This will also help you gauge the strength of your argument.

5. Draft a Preliminary Thesis Statement: Begin by drafting a broad statement, which you’ll refine in subsequent steps.

6. Be Specific: General statements lack punch. Instead of saying, “Air pollution is bad,” you could say, “Air pollution from vehicular emissions has detrimental health effects and contributes significantly to global warming.”

7. Ensure Your Thesis is Arguable: A good persuasive essay thesis should be debatable. It’s essential that your thesis presents an opinion or claim that others could dispute.

8. Revise and Refine: After drafting, take a step back and review your thesis. Can it be more specific? Stronger? More concise? Does it truly encapsulate the main point of your essay? Adjust as necessary.

9. Seek Feedback: It’s beneficial to get feedback from peers or instructors about your thesis statement. They might offer a perspective or critique that you hadn’t considered.

10. Position Your Thesis: Traditionally, a thesis statement is placed near the end of the introduction. This helps your reader understand the argument you’ll be making in your essay.

Example: If writing about the influence of media on young minds, a potential thesis might be: “The omnipresence of media, especially social media, has a profound impact on adolescents, influencing their mental health, body image, and perceptions of reality, necessitating strict regulatory measures.

Tips for Writing a Persuasive Speech Thesis Statement

  • Be Clear and Direct : Avoid ambiguity. Your audience should immediately understand your stance.
  • Stay Focused : Your thesis should address one main idea or argument. Avoid trying to tackle too many issues at once.
  • Back It Up : While the thesis itself is a statement, always ensure you have evidence to support your claim in the body of your speech.
  • Avoid Neutral Language : Use strong, definitive language to convey your position.
  • Test Your Thesis : Before finalizing, ask yourself if someone could oppose your thesis. If the answer is no, it might not be argumentative enough.
  • Position It Properly : Typically, the thesis statement should be among the first things your audience hears, so they understand the context and direction of your speech.
  • Stay Authentic : While it’s essential to be persuasive, ensure your thesis aligns with your beliefs and knowledge. Authenticity can make your argument more convincing.

In summary, crafting a strong thesis statement for a persuasive speech or essay provides a clear direction for your argument, engages your audience, and makes your message memorable. Ensure it’s concise, specific, and backed by evidence.


Text prompt

  • Instructive
  • Professional

Generate a Persuasive Speech Thesis Statement on adopting a plant-based diet

Write a Persuasive Speech Thesis Statement for supporting local businesses

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14 Crafting a Thesis Statement

Learning Objectives

  • Craft a thesis statement that is clear, concise, and declarative.
  • Narrow your topic based on your thesis statement and consider the ways that your main points will support the thesis.

Crafting a Thesis Statement

A  thesis statement  is a short, declarative sentence that states the purpose, intent, or main idea of a speech. A strong, clear thesis statement is very valuable within an introduction because it lays out the basic goal of the entire speech. We strongly believe that it is worthwhile to invest some time in framing and writing a good thesis statement. You may even want to write your thesis statement before you even begin conducting research for your speech. While you may end up rewriting your thesis statement later, having a clear idea of your purpose, intent, or main idea before you start searching for research will help you focus on the most appropriate material. To help us understand thesis statements, we will first explore their basic functions and then discuss how to write a thesis statement.

Basic Functions of a Thesis Statement

A thesis statement helps your audience by letting them know, clearly and concisely, what you are going to talk about. A strong thesis statement will allow your reader to understand the central message of your speech. You will want to be as specific as possible. A thesis statement for informative speaking should be a declarative statement that is clear and concise; it will tell the audience what to expect in your speech. For persuasive speaking, a thesis statement should have a narrow focus and should be arguable, there must be an argument to explore within the speech. The exploration piece will come with research, but we will discuss that in the main points. For now, you will need to consider your specific purpose and how this relates directly to what you want to tell this audience. Remember, no matter if your general purpose is to inform or persuade, your thesis will be a declarative statement that reflects your purpose.

How to Write a Thesis Statement

Now that we’ve looked at why a thesis statement is crucial in a speech, let’s switch gears and talk about how we go about writing a solid thesis statement. A thesis statement is related to the general and specific purposes of a speech.

Once you have chosen your topic and determined your purpose, you will need to make sure your topic is narrow. One of the hardest parts of writing a thesis statement is narrowing a speech from a broad topic to one that can be easily covered during a five- to seven-minute speech. While five to seven minutes may sound like a long time for new public speakers, the time flies by very quickly when you are speaking. You can easily run out of time if your topic is too broad. To ascertain if your topic is narrow enough for a specific time frame, ask yourself three questions.

Is your speech topic a broad overgeneralization of a topic?

Overgeneralization occurs when we classify everyone in a specific group as having a specific characteristic. For example, a speaker’s thesis statement that “all members of the National Council of La Raza are militant” is an overgeneralization of all members of the organization. Furthermore, a speaker would have to correctly demonstrate that all members of the organization are militant for the thesis statement to be proven, which is a very difficult task since the National Council of La Raza consists of millions of Hispanic Americans. A more appropriate thesis related to this topic could be, “Since the creation of the National Council of La Raza [NCLR] in 1968, the NCLR has become increasingly militant in addressing the causes of Hispanics in the United States.”

Is your speech’s topic one clear topic or multiple topics?

A strong thesis statement consists of only a single topic. The following is an example of a thesis statement that contains too many topics: “Medical marijuana, prostitution, and Women’s Equal Rights Amendment should all be legalized in the United States.” Not only are all three fairly broad, but you also have three completely unrelated topics thrown into a single thesis statement. Instead of a thesis statement that has multiple topics, limit yourself to only one topic. Here’s an example of a thesis statement examining only one topic: Ratifying the Women’s Equal Rights Amendment as equal citizens under the United States law would protect women by requiring state and federal law to engage in equitable freedoms among the sexes.

Does the topic have direction?

If your basic topic is too broad, you will never have a solid thesis statement or a coherent speech. For example, if you start off with the topic “Barack Obama is a role model for everyone,” what do you mean by this statement? Do you think President Obama is a role model because of his dedication to civic service? Do you think he’s a role model because he’s a good basketball player? Do you think he’s a good role model because he’s an excellent public speaker? When your topic is too broad, almost anything can become part of the topic. This ultimately leads to a lack of direction and coherence within the speech itself. To make a cleaner topic, a speaker needs to narrow her or his topic to one specific area. For example, you may want to examine why President Obama is a good public speaker.

Put Your Topic into a Declarative Sentence

You wrote your general and specific purpose. Use this information to guide your thesis statement. If you wrote a clear purpose, it will be easy to turn this into a declarative statement.

General purpose: To inform

Specific purpose: To inform my audience about the lyricism of former President Barack Obama’s presentation skills.

Your thesis statement needs to be a declarative statement. This means it needs to actually state something. If a speaker says, “I am going to talk to you about the effects of social media,” this tells you nothing about the speech content. Are the effects positive? Are they negative? Are they both? We don’t know. This sentence is an announcement, not a thesis statement. A declarative statement clearly states the message of your speech.

For example, you could turn the topic of President Obama’s public speaking skills into the following sentence: “Because of his unique sense of lyricism and his well-developed presentational skills, President Barack Obama is a modern symbol of the power of public speaking.” Or you could state, “Socal media has both positive and negative effects on users.”

Adding your Argument, Viewpoint, or Opinion

If your topic is informative, your job is to make sure that the thesis statement is nonargumentative and focuses on facts. For example, in the preceding thesis statement, we have a couple of opinion-oriented terms that should be avoided for informative speeches: “unique sense,” “well-developed,” and “power.” All three of these terms are laced with an individual’s opinion, which is fine for a persuasive speech but not for an informative speech. For informative speeches, the goal of a thesis statement is to explain what the speech will be informing the audience about, not attempting to add the speaker’s opinion about the speech’s topic. For an informative speech, you could rewrite the thesis statement to read, “Barack Obama’s use of lyricism in his speech, ‘A World That Stands as One,’ delivered July 2008 in Berlin demonstrates exceptional use of rhetorical strategies. 

On the other hand, if your topic is persuasive, you want to make sure that your argument, viewpoint, or opinion is clearly indicated within the thesis statement. If you are going to argue that Barack Obama is a great speaker, then you should set up this argument within your thesis statement.

For example, you could turn the topic of President Obama’s public speaking skills into the following sentence: “Because of his unique sense of lyricism and his well-developed presentational skills, President Barack Obama is a modern symbol of the power of public speaking.” Once you have a clear topic sentence, you can start tweaking the thesis statement to help set up the purpose of your speech.

Thesis Checklist

Once you have written a first draft of your thesis statement, you’re probably going to end up revising your thesis statement a number of times prior to delivering your actual speech. A thesis statement is something that is constantly tweaked until the speech is given. As your speech develops, often your thesis will need to be rewritten to whatever direction the speech itself has taken. We often start with a speech going in one direction, and find out through our research that we should have gone in a different direction. When you think you finally have a thesis statement that is good to go for your speech, take a second and make sure it adheres to the criteria shown below.

Thesis checklist questions.

Preview of Speech

The preview, as stated in the introduction portion of our readings, reminds us that we will need to let the audience know what the main points in our speech will be. You will want to follow the thesis with the preview of your speech. Your preview will allow the audience to follow your main points in a sequential manner. Spoiler alert: The preview when stated out loud will remind you of main point 1, main point 2, and main point 3 (etc. if you have more or less main points). It is a built in memory card!

For Future Reference | How to organize this in an outline |


Attention Getter: Background information: Credibility: Thesis: Preview:

Key Takeaways

Introductions are foundational to an effective public speech.

  • A thesis statement is instrumental to a speech that is well-developed and supported.
  • Be sure that you are spending enough time brainstorming strong attention getters and considering your audience’s goal(s) for the introduction.
  • A strong thesis will allow you to follow a roadmap throughout the rest of your speech: it is worth spending the extra time to ensure you have a strong thesis statement.

Stand up, Speak out  by University of Minnesota is licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

Public Speaking Copyright © by Dr. Layne Goodman; Amber Green, M.A.; and Various is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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The thesis statement or main claim must be debatable

An argumentative or persuasive piece of writing must begin with a debatable thesis or claim. In other words, the thesis must be something that people could reasonably have differing opinions on. If your thesis is something that is generally agreed upon or accepted as fact then there is no reason to try to persuade people.

Example of a non-debatable thesis statement:

This thesis statement is not debatable. First, the word pollution implies that something is bad or negative in some way. Furthermore, all studies agree that pollution is a problem; they simply disagree on the impact it will have or the scope of the problem. No one could reasonably argue that pollution is unambiguously good.

Example of a debatable thesis statement:

This is an example of a debatable thesis because reasonable people could disagree with it. Some people might think that this is how we should spend the nation's money. Others might feel that we should be spending more money on education. Still others could argue that corporations, not the government, should be paying to limit pollution.

Another example of a debatable thesis statement:

In this example there is also room for disagreement between rational individuals. Some citizens might think focusing on recycling programs rather than private automobiles is the most effective strategy.

The thesis needs to be narrow

Although the scope of your paper might seem overwhelming at the start, generally the narrower the thesis the more effective your argument will be. Your thesis or claim must be supported by evidence. The broader your claim is, the more evidence you will need to convince readers that your position is right.

Example of a thesis that is too broad:

There are several reasons this statement is too broad to argue. First, what is included in the category "drugs"? Is the author talking about illegal drug use, recreational drug use (which might include alcohol and cigarettes), or all uses of medication in general? Second, in what ways are drugs detrimental? Is drug use causing deaths (and is the author equating deaths from overdoses and deaths from drug related violence)? Is drug use changing the moral climate or causing the economy to decline? Finally, what does the author mean by "society"? Is the author referring only to America or to the global population? Does the author make any distinction between the effects on children and adults? There are just too many questions that the claim leaves open. The author could not cover all of the topics listed above, yet the generality of the claim leaves all of these possibilities open to debate.

Example of a narrow or focused thesis:

In this example the topic of drugs has been narrowed down to illegal drugs and the detriment has been narrowed down to gang violence. This is a much more manageable topic.

We could narrow each debatable thesis from the previous examples in the following way:

Narrowed debatable thesis 1:

This thesis narrows the scope of the argument by specifying not just the amount of money used but also how the money could actually help to control pollution.

Narrowed debatable thesis 2:

This thesis narrows the scope of the argument by specifying not just what the focus of a national anti-pollution campaign should be but also why this is the appropriate focus.

Qualifiers such as " typically ," " generally ," " usually ," or " on average " also help to limit the scope of your claim by allowing for the almost inevitable exception to the rule.

Types of claims

Claims typically fall into one of four categories. Thinking about how you want to approach your topic, or, in other words, what type of claim you want to make, is one way to focus your thesis on one particular aspect of your broader topic.

Claims of fact or definition: These claims argue about what the definition of something is or whether something is a settled fact. Example:

Claims of cause and effect: These claims argue that one person, thing, or event caused another thing or event to occur. Example:

Claims about value: These are claims made of what something is worth, whether we value it or not, how we would rate or categorize something. Example:

Claims about solutions or policies: These are claims that argue for or against a certain solution or policy approach to a problem. Example:

Which type of claim is right for your argument? Which type of thesis or claim you use for your argument will depend on your position and knowledge of the topic, your audience, and the context of your paper. You might want to think about where you imagine your audience to be on this topic and pinpoint where you think the biggest difference in viewpoints might be. Even if you start with one type of claim you probably will be using several within the paper. Regardless of the type of claim you choose to utilize it is key to identify the controversy or debate you are addressing and to define your position early on in the paper.

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How to Write a Strong Thesis Statement

A thesis can be found in many places—a debate speech, a lawyer’s closing argument, even an advertisement. But the most common place for a thesis statement (and probably why you’re reading this article) is in an essay.

Whether you’re writing an argumentative paper, an informative essay, or a compare/contrast statement, you need a thesis. Without a thesis, your argument falls flat and your information is unfocused. Since a thesis is so important, it’s probably a good idea to look at some tips on how to put together a strong one.

Guide Overview

What is a “thesis statement” anyway.

  • 2 categories of thesis statements: informative and persuasive
  • 2 styles of thesis statements
  • Formula for a strong argumentative thesis
  • The qualities of a solid thesis statement (video)

You may have heard of something called a “thesis.” It’s what seniors commonly refer to as their final paper before graduation. That’s not what we’re talking about here. That type of thesis is a long, well-written paper that takes years to piece together.

Instead, we’re talking about a single sentence that ties together the main idea of any argument . In the context of student essays, it’s a statement that summarizes your topic and declares your position on it. This sentence can tell a reader whether your essay is something they want to read.

2 Categories of Thesis Statements: Informative and Persuasive

Just as there are different types of essays, there are different types of thesis statements. The thesis should match the essay.

For example, with an informative essay, you should compose an informative thesis (rather than argumentative). You want to declare your intentions in this essay and guide the reader to the conclusion that you reach.

To make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, you must procure the ingredients, find a knife, and spread the condiments.

This thesis showed the reader the topic (a type of sandwich) and the direction the essay will take (describing how the sandwich is made).

Most other types of essays, whether compare/contrast, argumentative, or narrative, have thesis statements that take a position and argue it. In other words, unless your purpose is simply to inform, your thesis is considered persuasive. A persuasive thesis usually contains an opinion and the reason why your opinion is true.

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are the best type of sandwich because they are versatile, easy to make, and taste good.

In this persuasive thesis statement, you see that I state my opinion (the best type of sandwich), which means I have chosen a stance. Next, I explain that my opinion is correct with several key reasons. This persuasive type of thesis can be used in any essay that contains the writer’s opinion, including, as I mentioned above, compare/contrast essays, narrative essays, and so on.

2 Styles of Thesis Statements

Just as there are two different types of thesis statements (informative and persuasive), there are two basic styles you can use.

The first style uses a list of two or more points . This style of thesis is perfect for a brief essay that contains only two or three body paragraphs. This basic five-paragraph essay is typical of middle and high school assignments.

C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia series is one of the richest works of the 20th century because it offers an escape from reality, teaches readers to have faith even when they don’t understand, and contains a host of vibrant characters.

In the above persuasive thesis, you can see my opinion about Narnia followed by three clear reasons. This thesis is perfect for setting up a tidy five-paragraph essay.

In college, five paragraph essays become few and far between as essay length gets longer. Can you imagine having only five paragraphs in a six-page paper? For a longer essay, you need a thesis statement that is more versatile. Instead of listing two or three distinct points, a thesis can list one overarching point that all body paragraphs tie into.

Good vs. evil is the main theme of Lewis’s Narnia series, as is made clear through the struggles the main characters face in each book.

In this thesis, I have made a claim about the theme in Narnia followed by my reasoning. The broader scope of this thesis allows me to write about each of the series’ seven novels. I am no longer limited in how many body paragraphs I can logically use.

Formula for a Strong Argumentative Thesis

One thing I find that is helpful for students is having a clear template. While students rarely end up with a thesis that follows this exact wording, the following template creates a good starting point:

___________ is true because of ___________, ___________, and ___________.

Conversely, the formula for a thesis with only one point might follow this template:

___________________ is true because of _____________________.

Students usually end up using different terminology than simply “because,” but having a template is always helpful to get the creative juices flowing.

The Qualities of a Solid Thesis Statement

When composing a thesis, you must consider not only the format, but other qualities like length, position in the essay, and how strong the argument is.

Length: A thesis statement can be short or long, depending on how many points it mentions. Typically, however, it is only one concise sentence. It does contain at least two clauses, usually an independent clause (the opinion) and a dependent clause (the reasons). You probably should aim for a single sentence that is at least two lines, or about 30 to 40 words long.

Position: A thesis statement always belongs at the beginning of an essay. This is because it is a sentence that tells the reader what the writer is going to discuss. Teachers will have different preferences for the precise location of the thesis, but a good rule of thumb is in the introduction paragraph, within the last two or three sentences.

Strength: Finally, for a persuasive thesis to be strong, it needs to be arguable. This means that the statement is not obvious, and it is not something that everyone agrees is true.

Example of weak thesis:

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are easy to make because it just takes three ingredients.

Most people would agree that PB&J is one of the easiest sandwiches in the American lunch repertoire.

Example of a stronger thesis:

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are fun to eat because they always slide around.

This is more arguable because there are plenty of folks who might think a PB&J is messy or slimy rather than fun.

Composing a thesis statement does take a bit more thought than many other parts of an essay. However, because a thesis statement can contain an entire argument in just a few words, it is worth taking the extra time to compose this sentence. It can direct your research and your argument so that your essay is tight, focused, and makes readers think.

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8 Purpose and Thesis

Speechwriting Essentials

In this chapter . . .

As discussed in the chapter on Speaking Occasion , speechwriting begins with careful analysis of the speech occasion and its given circumstances, leading to the choice of an appropriate topic. As with essay writing, the early work of speechwriting follows familiar steps: brainstorming, research, pre-writing, thesis, and so on.

This chapter focuses on techniques that are unique to speechwriting. As a spoken form, speeches must be clear  about the purpose and main idea or “takeaway.” Planned redundancy means that you will be repeating these elements several times over during the speech.

Furthermore, finding purpose and thesis are essential whether you’re preparing an outline for extemporaneous delivery or a completely written manuscript for presentation. When you know your topic, your general and specific purpose, and your thesis or central idea, you have all the elements you need to write a speech that is focused, clear, and audience friendly.

Recognizing the General Purpose

Speeches have traditionally been grouped into one of three categories according to their primary purpose: 1) to inform, 2) to persuade, or 3) to inspire, honor, or entertain. These broad goals are commonly known as the  general purpose of a speech . Earlier, you learned about the actor’s tool of intention or objectives. The general purpose is like a super-objective; it defines the broadest goal of a speech. These three purposes are not necessarily exclusive to the others. A speech designed to be persuasive can also be informative and entertaining. However, a speech should have one primary goal. That is its general purpose.

Why is it helpful to talk about speeches in such broad terms? Being perfectly clear about what you want your speech to do or make happen for your audience will keep you focused. You can make a clearer distinction between whether you want your audience to leave your speech knowing more (to inform), or  ready to take action (to persuade), or feeling something (to inspire)

It’s okay to use synonyms for these broad categories. Here are some of them:

  • To inform could be to explain, to demonstrate, to describe, to teach.
  • To persuade could be to convince, to argue, to motivate, to prove.
  • To inspire might be to honor, or entertain, to celebrate, to mourn.

In summary, the first question you must ask yourself when starting to prepare a speech is, “Is the primary purpose of my speech to inform, to persuade, or to inspire?”

Articulating Specific Purpose

A specific purpose statement builds upon your general purpose and makes it specific (as the name suggests). For example, if you have been invited to give a speech about how to do something, your general purpose is “to inform.”  Choosing a topic appropriate to that general purpose, you decide to speak about how to protect a personal from cyberattacks. Now you are on your way to identifying a specific purpose.

A good specific purpose statement has three elements: goal, target audience, and content.

If you think about the above as a kind of recipe, then the first two “ingredients” — your goal and your audience — should be simple. Words describing the target audience should be as specific as possible. Instead of “my peers,” you could say, for example, “students in their senior year at my university.”

The third ingredient in this recipe is content, or what we call the topic of your speech. This is where things get a bit difficult. You want your content to be specific and something that you can express succinctly in a sentence. Here are some common problems that speakers make in defining the content, and the fix:

Now you know the “recipe” for a specific purpose statement. It’s made up of  T o, plus an active W ord, a specific  A udience, and clearly stated  C ontent. Remember this formula: T + W + A + C.

A: for a group of new students

C: the term “plagiarism”

Here are some further examples a good specific purpose statement:

  • To explain to a group of first-year students how to join a school organization.
  • To persuade the members of the Greek society to take a spring break trip in Daytona Beach.
  • To motivate my classmates in English 101 to participate in a study abroad program.
  • To convince first-year students that they need at least seven hours of sleep per night to do well in their studies.
  • To inspire my Church community about the accomplishments of our pastor.

The General and Specific Purpose Statements are writing tools in the sense that they help you, as a speechwriter, clarify your ideas.

Creating a Thesis Statement

Once you are clear about your general purpose and specific purpose, you can turn your attention to crafting a thesis statement. A thesis is the central idea in an essay or a speech. In speechwriting, the thesis or central idea explains the message of the content. It’s the speech’s “takeaway.” A good thesis statement will also reveal and clarify the ideas or assertions you’ll be addressing in your speech (your main points). Consider this example:

General Purpose: To persuade. Specific Purpose: To motivate my classmates in English 101 to participate in a study abroad program. Thesis: A semester-long study abroad experience produces lifelong benefits by teaching you about another culture, developing your language skills, and enhancing your future career prospects.

The difference between a specific purpose statement and a thesis statement is clear in this example. The thesis provides the takeaway (the lifelong benefits of study abroad). It also points to the assertions that will be addressed in the speech. Like the specific purpose statement, the thesis statement is a writing tool. You’ll incorporate it into your speech, usually as part of the introduction and conclusion.

All good expository, rhetorical, and even narrative writing contains a thesis. Many students and even experienced writers struggle with formulating a thesis. We struggle when we attempt to “come up with something” before doing the necessary research and reflection. A thesis only becomes clear through the thinking and writing process. As you develop your speech content, keep asking yourself: What is important here? If the audience can remember only one thing about this topic, what do I want them to remember?

Example #2: General Purpose: To inform Specific Purpose: To demonstrate to my audience the correct method for cleaning a computer keyboard. Central Idea: Your computer keyboard needs regular cleaning to function well, and you can achieve that in four easy steps.
Example # 3 General Purpose: To Inform Specific Purpose: To describe how makeup is done for the TV show The Walking Dead . Central Idea: The wildly popular zombie show The Walking Dead achieves incredibly scary and believable makeup effects, and in the next few minutes I will tell you who does it, what they use, and how they do it.

Notice in the examples above that neither the specific purpose nor the central idea ever exceeds one sentence. If your central idea consists of more than one sentence, then you are probably including too much information.

Problems to Avoid

The first problem many students have in writing their specific purpose statement has already been mentioned: specific purpose statements sometimes try to cover far too much and are too broad. For example:

“To explain to my classmates the history of ballet.”

Aside from the fact that this subject may be difficult for everyone in your audience to relate to, it’s enough for a three-hour lecture, maybe even a whole course. You’ll probably find that your first attempt at a specific purpose statement will need refining. These examples are much more specific and much more manageable given the limited amount of time you’ll have.

  • To explain to my classmates how ballet came to be performed and studied in the U.S.
  • To explain to my classmates the difference between Russian and French ballet.
  • To explain to my classmates how ballet originated as an art form in the Renaissance.
  • To explain to my classmates the origin of the ballet dancers’ clothing.

The second problem happens when the “communication verb” in the specific purpose does not match the content; for example, persuasive content is paired with “to inform” or “to explain.” Can you find the errors in the following purpose statements?

  • To inform my audience why capital punishment is unconstitutional. (This is persuasive. It can’t be informative since it’s taking a side)
  • To persuade my audience about the three types of individual retirement accounts. (Even though the purpose statement says “persuade,” it isn’t persuading the audience of anything. It is informative.)
  • To inform my classmates that Universal Studios is a better theme park than Six Flags over Georgia. (This is clearly an opinion; hence it is a persuasive speech and not merely informative)

The third problem exists when the content part of the specific purpose statement has two parts. One specific purpose is enough. These examples cover two different topics.

  • To explain to my audience how to swing a golf club and choose the best golf shoes.
  • To persuade my classmates to be involved in the Special Olympics and vote to fund better classes for the intellectually disabled.

To fix this problem of combined or hybrid purposes, you’ll need to select one of the topics in these examples and speak on that one alone.

The fourth problem with both specific purpose and central idea statements is related to formatting. There are some general guidelines that need to be followed in terms of how you write out these elements of your speech:

  • Don’t write either statement as a question.
  • Always use complete sentences for central idea statements and infinitive phrases (beginning with “to”) for the specific purpose statement.
  • Use concrete language (“I admire Beyoncé for being a talented performer and businesswoman”) and avoid subjective or slang terms (“My speech is about why I think Beyoncé is the bomb”) or jargon and acronyms (“PLA is better than CBE for adult learners.”)

There are also problems to avoid in writing the central idea statement. As mentioned above, remember that:

  • The specific purpose and central idea statements are not the same thing, although they are related.
  • The central idea statement should be clear and not complicated or wordy; it should “stand out” to the audience. As you practice delivery, you should emphasize it with your voice.
  • The central idea statement should not be the first thing you say but should follow the steps of a good introduction as outlined in the next chapters.

You should be aware that all aspects of your speech are constantly going to change as you move toward the moment of giving your speech. The exact wording of your central idea may change, and you can experiment with different versions for effectiveness. However, your specific purpose statement should not change unless there is a good reason to do so. There are many aspects to consider in the seemingly simple task of writing a specific purpose statement and its companion, the central idea statement. Writing good ones at the beginning will save you some trouble later in the speech preparation process.

Public Speaking as Performance Copyright © 2023 by Mechele Leon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.


The Thesis Statement in a Persuasive Text

Alys Avalos-Rivera

In another chapter, we discussed the features of an informational essay. In this chapter, we will guide you to understand the essential elements of a similar type of academic text: the persuasive essay. Although informational and persuasive writing follow similar principles such as an orderly presentation of ideas that should be supported with evidence (e.g. facts, arguments, or examples), their purposes differ. The objective is written to take a stance (specific point of view) with respect to a controversial topic and persuade the audience to adopt the writer’s position. Because of this difference, the thesis statement of the persuasive essay needs to introduce the writer’s position in the controversy featured in the essay. Also, the preview of the essay’s structure should outline the arguments that the author will use to support his/her stance.

Should the US drinking age be lowered?

In the US, drinking alcoholic beverages is illegal for people under 21 years of age (minimum legal drinking age or MLDA). This law has long caused a great deal of disagreement and debates. While some people think it is paradoxical that young people of 18 cannot enter a bar but still go to war, others believe that the law is the best way to keep youth away from irresponsible and heavy drinking episodes (also called binge drinking). The following texts were written by readers of the New York Times” Room for Debate page to express their opinions about the subject. [1]

  • Read the comments and underline the readers’ main arguments (reasons to support one position or the other).
  • Identify which readers are against lowering the minimum drinking age (CON) and which are in favor (PRO)?
  • Which arguments seem the least convincing? Which are the most persuasive? Why?

Content focus: Rating thesis statements

Considering these features, in the following task you will analyze how six college students drafted their thesis statements for a persuasive essay on the MLDA controversy. In the prompt used by the instructor for this assignment, students were required to address the following purposes:

  • Present the PROs and CONs of the MLDA to a group of college students’ parents.
  • Persuade the parents to vote in favor of lowering the MLDA to 18 years of age.

In other words, the writers need to take a stance on the issue. Read the Thesis Statement and assess how well each one fulfills the purposes given above and to what extent. Rate the Thesis Statement using a scale from 1 to 6, where 6 will stand for the best Thesis Statement and 1 will be given to the poorest. Be prepared to explain the reasons you have to support your rating.

a. The United States has more accidents caused by drivers under the influence of alcohol than other countries where there is no MLDA (        )

b. Young people should be allowed to drink without legal restrictions based on their age, which is ridiculous (        )

c. Parents should teach their children how to drink alcohol in moderation.  (        )

d. Lowering the MLDA will allow parents to introduce their children to alcohol use under the supervision and reduce the rate of accidents caused by drunken drivers (        )

e. A reduction in the MLDA will help neutralize teenagers’ obsession with drinking, allow parents to monitor their children first encounters with alcohol, and reduce the rate of accidents caused by irresponsible drinking.   (        )

f. Having the MLDA fixed at 21 is only increasing young people’s fascination with drinking in unsafe environments and using false IDs.     (        )

Guidelines for a thesis statement

What should be considered when drafting a thesis statement for an essay that aims to persuade the audience to take a stand in a controversial issue? Think of some possible guidelines to write an effective persuasive TS taking into account the following:

  • How should you address your audience?
  • Where in your text should you introduce your stance?
  • What language features (words, phrases) could be useful?
  • How can you connect your TS with the main arguments you will use in your essay?

Write your guidelines below and discuss them with your colleagues and your instructor:

In some of the thesis statements listed above, the writers use modal verbs such as will and should . The first one ( will ) is used to predict the results that could be achieved if the authorities follow a specific course of action regarding the MLDA. The second one ( should ) is used to recommend what should be done with respect to the MLDA. These and other modal verbs that express advice, convey an obligation, or predict an outcome are often used to introduce the writer’s stance because they are useful to express the speaker’s desires, or his/her ideas of how the world should be. Other modal verbs that are also used with these purposes are: must, can, could, ought to, and also the semi-modal have to .

When using modal verbs to compose your thesis statement, however, you should be careful to select the one that best represents your purpose. The meaning of your thesis statement can change a great deal if you use one or the other. Read the following examples and explain how the meaning has changed with each modal (in bold):

*Although ought to and must are accepted as standard forms, they are not used in Academic English very often because they imply a strong and categorical position. Scientists usually abstain from categorical statements because these expressions do not convey that the writer remains open to new possibilities. Scientist prefer to maintain a more open attitude in their writing in case new evidence is discovered in the future that can change their points of view about the world.

Although the participants in the Room for Debate’s and Star Wars pages hold different points of view regarding very different topics, they all engaged in their online discussions with a common purpose: persuading their audience of their point of view. They do so in a succinct fashion because their audience does not usually invest much time in reading blog posts that are too long and complex. Therefore, effective blog/forum posters try to be direct and present one single point per post. On the contrary, academic persuasive writing needs to be more detailed and provide the audience with more than just the author’s point of view.

  • https://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2015/02/10/you-must-be-21-to-drink ↵

The Thesis Statement in a Persuasive Text Copyright © 2020 by Alys Avalos-Rivera is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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How To Write A Persuasive Speech: 7 Steps


Table of contents

  • 1 Guidance on Selecting an Effective and Relevant Topic
  • 2 Strategies for Connecting With Different Types of Audiences
  • 3 Developing Your Thesis Statement
  • 4.1 Writing the Introduction
  • 4.2 Body of Your Speech
  • 4.3 Concluding Effectively
  • 5 Techniques for Creating a Coherent Flow of Ideas
  • 6 Importance of Transitions Between Points
  • 7 Importance of Tone and Style Adjustments Based on the Audience
  • 8 Prepare for Rebuttals
  • 9 Use Simple Statistics
  • 10 Practicing Your Speech
  • 11 Additional Resources to Master Your Speech
  • 12 Master the Art of Persuasion With PapersOwl

Are you about to perform a persuasive speech and have no idea how to do it? No need to worry; PapersOwl is here to guide you through this journey!

What is persuasive speaking? Persuasive speaking is a form of communication where the speaker aims to influence or convince the audience to adopt a particular viewpoint or belief or take specific actions. The goal is to sway the listeners’ opinions, attitudes, or behaviors by presenting compelling arguments and supporting evidence while appealing to their emotions.

Today, we prepared a guide to help you write a persuasive speech and succeed in your performance, which will surprise your audience. We will:

  • Understand how to connect with your audience.
  • Give you persuasive speech tips.
  • Provide you with the best structure for a persuasive speech outline.
  • Prepare yourself for rebuttals!
  • Talk about the importance of flow in your speech.
  • Discover additional resources for continuous improvement.

Let’s begin this journey together!

Guidance on Selecting an Effective and Relevant Topic

The most important thing in convincing speeches is the topic. Indeed, you must understand the purpose of your speech to succeed. Before preparing for your performance, you should understand what you want to discuss! To do that, you can:

  • Choose a compelling speech topic relevant to your audience’s interests and concerns.
  • Find common interests or problems to form a genuine relationship.
  • Remember that a persuasive speech format should be adapted to your audience’s needs and ideals. Make your content relevant and appealing.

And if you are struggling on this step, PapersOwl is already here to help you! Opt to choose persuasive speech topics and find the one that feels perfect for you.

Strategies for Connecting With Different Types of Audiences

A successful persuasive speech connects you with your audience. To do that, you should really know how to connect yourself to people.

Thus, the speaker connects with and persuades the audience by using emotions such as sympathy or fear. Therefore, you can successfully connect with different types of audiences through different emotions. You can do it by showing that you have something in common with the audience. For example, demonstrate that you have a comparable history or an emotional connection. Additionally, include personal stories or even make a part of a speech about yourself to allow your audience to relate to your story.

Developing Your Thesis Statement

When you give a persuasive speech, there should be a thesis statement demonstrating that your goal is to enlighten the audience rather than convince them.

A thesis statement in persuasive speaking serves as the central argument or main point, guiding the entire presentation. A successful thesis anchors your speech and briefly expresses your position on the subject, giving a road map for both you and your audience.

For instance, in pushing for renewable energy, a thesis may be: “Transitioning to renewable sources is imperative for a sustainable future, mitigating environmental impact and fostering energy independence.” This statement summarizes the argument and foreshadows the supporting points.

Overview of speech structure (introduction, body, conclusion)

The key elements of a persuasive speech are:

  • introduction (hook, thesis, preview);
  • body (main points with supporting details and transitions);
  • conclusion (summary, restated thesis, closing statement).

Let’s look closer at how to structure them to write a good persuasive speech.

Writing the Introduction

The introduction to persuasive speech is crucial. The very beginning of your discourse determines your whole performance, drawing in your audience and creating a foundation for trust and engagement. Remember, it’s your opportunity to make a memorable first impression, ensuring your listeners are intrigued and receptive to your message.

Start off a persuasive speech with an enticing quotation, image, video, or engaging tale; it can entice people to listen. As we mentioned before, you may connect your speech to the audience and what they are interested in. Establish credibility by showcasing your expertise or connecting with shared values. Ultimately, ensure your thesis is clear and outline which specific purpose statement is most important in your persuasive speech.

Body of Your Speech

After choosing the topic and writing an intro, it’s time to concentrate on one of the most critical parts of a persuasive speech: the body.

The main body of your speech should provide the audience with several convincing reasons to support your viewpoint. In this part of your speech, create engaging primary points by offering strong supporting evidence — use statistics, illustrations, or expert quotations to strengthen each argument. Also, don’t forget to include storytelling for an emotional connection with your audience. If you follow this combination, it will for sure make a speech persuasive!

Concluding Effectively

After succeeding in writing the main points, it is time to end a persuasive speech! Indeed, a call to action in persuasive speech is vital, so we recommend you end your performance with it. After listening to your argument and proof, you want the audience to make a move. Restate your purpose statement, summarize the topic, and reinforce your points by restating the logical evidence you’ve provided.

Techniques for Creating a Coherent Flow of Ideas

Your ideas should flow smoothly and naturally connect to strengthen the persuasive speech structure . You can do this by employing transitional words and organizing your thoughts methodically, ensuring that each point flows effortlessly into the next.

Importance of Transitions Between Points

No one can underestimate the importance of transition. They are important persuasive speech elements. Thus, each idea must flow smoothly into the following one with linking phrases so your speech has a logical flow. Effective transitions signal shifts, aiding audience comprehension and improving the overall structure of the speech.

Importance of Tone and Style Adjustments Based on the Audience

To be persuasive in a speech, don’t forget to analyze your audience in advance, if possible. Customizing your approach to specific listeners encourages their engagement. A thorough awareness of your target audience’s tastes, expectations, and cultural subtleties ensures that your message connects, making it more approachable and appealing to the people you seek to reach.

Prepare for Rebuttals

Still, be aware that there may be different people in the audience. The main point of persuasive speaking is to convince people of your ideas. Be prepared for rebuttals and that they might attack you. Extensively research opposing points of view to prove yours. You may manage any objections with elegance by being prepared and polite, reaffirming the strength of your argument.

Use Simple Statistics

We’ve already discussed that different techniques may reach different audiences. You could also incorporate simple data to lend credibility to your persuasive talk. Balance emotional appeal with plain numerical statistics to create a captivating blend that will appeal to a wide audience.

Practicing Your Speech

We all have heard Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote, “Practice makes perfect.” Even though he said it hundreds of years ago, it still works for everything, including persuasive public speaking! Consequently, you can improve your text with these pieces of advice:

  • Go through and edit your persuasive speech sample.
  • Practice your speech with body language and voice variation to find the perfect way to perform it.
  • Reduce anxiety by practicing in front of a mirror or telling it to someone ready to provide you with valuable feedback.
  • Embrace pauses for emphasis, and work on regulating your pace.

It will help you to know your content well, increase confidence, and promote a polished delivery, resulting in a dynamic and engaging speech to persuade your audience.

Additional Resources to Master Your Speech

PapersOwl wants you to ace your speech! We recommend using additional sources to help master your persuasive speech presentation!

  • For inspiration, study any example of persuasive speech from a famous speaker, such as Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” or Steve Jobs’ Stanford commencement address. Analyzing these speeches can provide valuable insights into effective communication techniques.
  • Explore Coursera’s course “Speaking to Persuade: Motivating Audiences With Solid Arguments and Moving Language” by the University of Washington.
  • Go through different persuasive speech examples for students around the internet, for instance, “Talk Like TED” by Carmine Gallo.

Make your persuasive speech successful by continuously learning and drawing inspiration from accomplished speakers!

Master the Art of Persuasion With PapersOwl

In conclusion, speaking to persuade is an art that helps convince with words . You can craft it by following our tips: include a well-structured persuasive speech introduction, a compelling body, and memorable conclusion. To ace your speech, practice it in advance, be ready for rebuttals, and confidently state your message. The secret lies in blending both for a nuanced and compelling communication style, ensuring your message resonates with diverse audiences in various contexts.

Nevertheless, writing a persuasive speech that can hold your audience’s attention might be difficult. You do not need to step on this path alone. You may quickly construct a persuasive speech that is both successful and well-organized by working with PapersOwl.com . We’ll be there for you every step, from developing a convincing argument to confidently giving the speech. Just send us a message, “ write a speech for me ,” and enjoy the results!

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Public Speaking: Developing a Thesis Statement In a Speech

Thesis Statement In a Speech

Understanding the purpose of a thesis statement in a speech

Diving headfirst into the world of public speaking, it’s essential to grasp the  role of a thesis statement  in your speech. Think of it as encapsulating the soul of your speech within one or two sentences.

It’s the declarative sentence that broadcasts your intent and main idea to captivate audiences from start to finish. More than just a preview, an effective thesis statement acts as a roadmap guiding listeners through your thought process.

Giving them that quick glimpse into what they can anticipate helps keep their attention locked in.

As you craft this central hub of information, understand that its purpose is not limited to informing alone—it could be meant also to persuade or entertain based on what you aim for with your general purpose statement.

This clear focus is pivotal—it shapes each aspect of your talk, easing understanding for the audience while setting basic goals for yourself throughout the speech-making journey. So whether you are rallying rapturous applause or instigating intellectual insight, remember—your thesis statement holds power like none other! Its clarity and strength can transition between being valuable sidekicks in introductions towards becoming triumphant heroes by concluding lines.

Identifying the main idea to develop a thesis statement

In crafting a compelling speech, identifying the main idea to develop a thesis statement acts as your compass. This process is a crucial step in speech preparation that steers you towards specific purpose.

Think of your central idea as the seed from which all other elements in your speech will grow.

To pinpoint it, start by brainstorming broad topics that interest or inspire you. From this list, choose one concept that stands out and begin to narrow it down into more specific points. It’s these refined ideas that form the heart of your thesis statement — essentially acting as signposts leading the audience through your narrative journey.

Crafting an effective thesis statement requires clarity and precision. This means keeping it concise without sacrificing substance—a tricky balancing act even for public speaking veterans! The payoff though? A well-developed thesis statement provides structure to amplifying your central idea and guiding listeners smoothly from point A to B.

It’s worth noting here: just like every speaker has their own unique style, there are multiple ways of structuring a thesis statement too. But no matter how you shape yours, ensuring it resonates with both your overarching message and audience tastes will help cement its effectiveness within your broader presentation context.

Analyzing the audience to tailor the thesis statement

Audience analysis is a crucial first step for every public speaker. This process involves adapting the message to meet the audience’s needs, a thoughtful approach that considers cultural diversity and ensures clear communication.

Adapting your speech to resonate with your target audience’s interests, level of understanding, attitudes and beliefs can significantly affect its impact.

Crafting an appealing thesis statement hinges on this initial stage of audience analysis. As you analyze your crowd, focus on shaping a specific purpose statement that reflects their preferences yet stays true to the objective of your speech—capturing your main idea in one or two impactful sentences.

This balancing act demands strategy; however, it isn’t impossible. Taking into account varying aspects such as culture and perceptions can help you tailor a well-received thesis statement. A strong handle on these elements allows you to select language and tones best suited for them while also reflecting the subject at hand.

Ultimately, putting yourself in their shoes helps increase message clarity which crucially leads to acceptance of both you as the speaker and your key points – all embodied within the concise presentation of your tailor-made thesis statement.

Brainstorming techniques to generate thesis statement ideas

Leveraging brainstorming techniques to generate robust thesis statement ideas is a power move in public speaking. This process taps into the GAP model, focusing on your speech’s Goals, Audience, and Parameters for seamless target alignment.

Dive into fertile fields of thought and let your creativity flow unhindered like expert David Zarefsky proposes.

Start by zeroing in on potential speech topics then nurture them with details till they blossom into fully-fledged arguments. It’s akin to turning stones into gems for the eye of your specific purpose statement.

Don’t shy away from pushing the envelope – sometimes out-of-the-box suggestions give birth to riveting speeches! Broaden your options if parameters are flexible but remember focus is key when aiming at narrow targets.

The beauty lies not just within topic generation but also formulation of captivating informative or persuasive speech thesis statements; both fruits harvested from a successful brainstorming session.

So flex those idea muscles, encourage intellectual growth and watch as vibrant themes spring forth; you’re one step closer to commanding attention!

Remember: Your thesis statement is the heartbeat of your speech – make it strong using brainstorming techniques and fuel its pulse with evidence-backed substance throughout your presentation.

Narrowing down the thesis statement to a specific topic

Crafting a compelling thesis statement for your speech requires narrowing down a broad topic to a specific focus that can be effectively covered within the given time frame. This step is crucial as it helps you maintain clarity and coherence throughout your presentation.

Start by brainstorming various ideas related to your speech topic and then analyze them critically to identify the most relevant and interesting points to discuss. Consider the specific purpose of your speech and ask yourself what key message you want to convey to your audience.

By narrowing down your thesis statement, you can ensure that you address the most important aspects of your chosen topic, while keeping it manageable and engaging for both you as the speaker and your audience.

Choosing the appropriate language and tone for the thesis statement

Crafting the appropriate language and tone for your thesis statement is a crucial step in developing a compelling speech. Your choice of language and tone can greatly impact how your audience perceives your message and whether they are engaged or not.

When choosing the language for your thesis statement, it’s important to consider the level of formality required for your speech. Are you speaking in a professional setting or a casual gathering? Adjusting your language accordingly will help you connect with your audience on their level and make them feel comfortable.

Additionally, selecting the right tone is essential to convey the purpose of your speech effectively. Are you aiming to inform, persuade, or entertain? Each objective requires a different tone: informative speeches may call for an objective and neutral tone, persuasive speeches might benefit from more assertive language, while entertaining speeches can be lighthearted and humorous.

Remember that clarity is key when crafting your thesis statement’s language. Using concise and straightforward wording will ensure that your main idea is easily understood by everyone in the audience.

By taking these factors into account – considering formality, adapting to objectives, maintaining clarity – you can create a compelling thesis statement that grabs attention from the start and sets the stage for an impactful speech.

Incorporating evidence to support the thesis statement

Incorporating evidence to support the thesis statement is a critical aspect of delivering an effective speech. As public speakers, we understand the importance of backing up our claims with relevant and credible information.

When it comes to incorporating evidence, it’s essential to select facts, examples, and opinions that directly support your thesis statement.

To ensure your evidence is relevant and reliable, consider conducting thorough research on the topic at hand. Look for trustworthy sources such as academic journals, respected publications, or experts in the field.

By choosing solid evidence that aligns with your message, you can enhance your credibility as a speaker.

When presenting your evidence in the speech itself, be sure to keep it concise and clear. Avoid overwhelming your audience with excessive details or data. Instead, focus on selecting key points that strengthen your argument while keeping their attention engaged.

Remember that different types of evidence can be utilized depending on the nature of your speech. You may include statistical data for a persuasive presentation or personal anecdotes for an informative talk.

The choice should reflect what will resonate best with your audience and effectively support your thesis statement.

By incorporating strong evidence into our speeches, we not only bolster our arguments but also build trust with our listeners who recognize us as reliable sources of information. So remember to choose wisely when including supporting material – credibility always matters when making an impact through public speaking.

Avoiding  common mistakes when developing a thesis statement

Crafting an effective thesis statement is vital for public speakers to deliver a compelling and focused speech. To avoid  common mistakes when developing a thesis statement , it is essential to be aware of some pitfalls that can hinder the impact of your message.

One mistake to steer clear of is having an incomplete thesis statement. Ensure that your thesis statement includes all the necessary information without leaving any key elements out. Additionally, avoid wording your thesis statement as a question as this can dilute its potency.

Another mistake to watch out for is making statements of fact without providing evidence or support. While it may seem easy to write about factual information, it’s important to remember that statements need to be proven and backed up with credible sources or examples.

To create a more persuasive argument, avoid using phrases like “I believe” or “I feel.” Instead, take a strong stance in your thesis statement that encourages support from the audience. This will enhance your credibility and make your message more impactful.

By avoiding these common mistakes when crafting your thesis statement, you can develop a clear, engaging, and purposeful one that captivates your audience’s attention and guides the direction of your speech effectively.

Key words: Avoiding common mistakes when developing a thesis statement – Crafting a thesis statement – Effective thesis statements – Public speaking skills – Errors in the thesis statement – Enhancing credibility

Revising the thesis statement to enhance clarity and coherence

Revising the thesis statement is a crucial step in developing a clear and coherent speech. The thesis statement serves as the main idea or argument that guides your entire speech, so it’s important to make sure it effectively communicates your message to the audience.

To enhance clarity and coherence in your thesis statement, start by refining and strengthening it through revision . Take into account any feedback you may have received from others or any new information you’ve gathered since initially developing the statement.

Consider if there are any additional points or evidence that could further support your main idea.

As you revise, focus on clarifying the language and tone of your thesis statement. Choose words that resonate with your audience and clearly convey your point of view. Avoid using technical jargon or overly complicated language that might confuse or alienate listeners.

Another important aspect of revising is ensuring that your thesis statement remains focused on a specific topic. Narrow down broad ideas into more manageable topics that can be explored thoroughly within the scope of your speech.

Lastly, consider incorporating evidence to support your thesis statement. This could include statistics, examples, expert opinions, or personal anecdotes – whatever helps strengthen and validate your main argument.

By carefully revising your thesis statement for clarity and coherence, you’ll ensure that it effectively conveys your message while capturing the attention and understanding of your audience at large.

Testing the thesis statement to ensure it meets the speech’s objectives.

Testing the thesis statement is a crucial step to ensure that it effectively meets the objectives of your speech. By  testing the thesis statement , you can assess its clarity, relevance, and impact on your audience.

One way to test your thesis statement is to consider its purpose and intent. Does it clearly communicate what you want to achieve with your speech? Is it concise and specific enough to guide your content?.

Another important aspect of  testing the thesis statement  is analyzing whether it aligns with the needs and interests of your audience. Consider their background knowledge, values, and expectations.

Will they find the topic engaging? Does the thesis statement address their concerns or provide valuable insights?.

In addition to considering purpose and audience fit, incorporating supporting evidence into your speech is vital for testing the effectiveness of your thesis statement. Ensure that there is relevant material available that supports your claim.

To further enhance clarity and coherence in a tested thesis statement, revise it if necessary based on feedback from others or through self-reflection. This will help refine both language choices and overall effectiveness.

By thoroughly testing your thesis statement throughout these steps, you can confidently develop a clear message for an impactful speech that resonates with your audience’s needs while meeting all stated objectives.

1. What is a thesis statement in public speaking?

A thesis statement in public speaking is a concise and clear sentence that summarizes the main point or argument of a speech. It serves as a roadmap for the audience, guiding them through the speech and helping them understand its purpose.

2. How do I develop an effective thesis statement for a speech?

To develop an effective thesis statement for a speech, start by identifying your topic and determining what specific message you want to convey to your audience. Then, clearly state this message in one or two sentences that capture the main idea of your speech.

3. Why is it important to have a strong thesis statement in public speaking?

Having a strong thesis statement in public speaking helps you stay focused on your main argument throughout the speech and ensures that your audience understands what you are trying to communicate. It also helps establish credibility and authority as you present well-supported points related to your thesis.

4. Can my thesis statement change during my speech preparation?

Yes, it is possible for your thesis statement to evolve or change during the preparation process as you gather more information or refine your ideas. However, it’s important to ensure that any changes align with the overall purpose of your speech and still effectively guide the content and structure of your presentation.

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How to Write an Outline for a Persuasive Speech, with Examples

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Jim Peterson has over 20 years experience on speech writing. He wrote over 300 free speech topic ideas and how-to guides for any kind of public speaking and speech writing assignments at My Speech Class.

How to Write an Outline for a Persuasive Speech, with Examples intro image

Persuasive speeches are one of the three most used speeches in our daily lives. Persuasive speech is used when presenters decide to convince their presentation or ideas to their listeners. A compelling speech aims to persuade the listener to believe in a particular point of view. One of the most iconic examples is Martin Luther King’s ‘I had a dream’ speech on the 28th of August 1963.

In this article:

What is Persuasive Speech?

Here are some steps to follow:, persuasive speech outline, final thoughts.

Man Touches the Word Persuasion on Screen

Persuasive speech is a written and delivered essay to convince people of the speaker’s viewpoint or ideas. Persuasive speaking is the type of speaking people engage in the most. This type of speech has a broad spectrum, from arguing about politics to talking about what to have for dinner. Persuasive speaking is highly connected to the audience, as in a sense, the speaker has to meet the audience halfway.

Persuasive Speech Preparation

Persuasive speech preparation doesn’t have to be difficult, as long as you select your topic wisely and prepare thoroughly.

1. Select a Topic and Angle

Come up with a controversial topic that will spark a heated debate, regardless of your position. This could be about anything. Choose a topic that you are passionate about. Select a particular angle to focus on to ensure that your topic isn’t too broad. Research the topic thoroughly, focussing on key facts, arguments for and against your angle, and background.

2. Define Your Persuasive Goal

Once you have chosen your topic, it’s time to decide what your goal is to persuade the audience. Are you trying to persuade them in favor of a certain position or issue? Are you hoping that they change their behavior or an opinion due to your speech? Do you want them to decide to purchase something or donate money to a cause? Knowing your goal will help you make wise decisions about approaching writing and presenting your speech.

3. Analyze the Audience

Understanding your audience’s perspective is critical anytime that you are writing a speech. This is even more important when it comes to a persuasive speech because not only are you wanting to get the audience to listen to you, but you are also hoping for them to take a particular action in response to your speech. First, consider who is in the audience. Consider how the audience members are likely to perceive the topic you are speaking on to better relate to them on the subject. Grasp the obstacles audience members face or have regarding the topic so you can build appropriate persuasive arguments to overcome these obstacles.

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4. Build an Effective Persuasive Argument

Once you have a clear goal, you are knowledgeable about the topic and, have insights regarding your audience, you will be ready to build an effective persuasive argument to deliver in the form of a persuasive speech. 

Start by deciding what persuasive techniques are likely to help you persuade your audience. Would an emotional and psychological appeal to your audience help persuade them? Is there a good way to sway the audience with logic and reason? Is it possible that a bandwagon appeal might be effective?

5. Outline Your Speech

Once you know which persuasive strategies are most likely to be effective, your next step is to create a keyword outline to organize your main points and structure your persuasive speech for maximum impact on the audience.

Start strong, letting your audience know what your topic is, why it matters and, what you hope to achieve at the end of your speech. List your main points, thoroughly covering each point, being sure to build the argument for your position and overcome opposing perspectives. Conclude your speech by appealing to your audience to act in a way that will prove that you persuaded them successfully. Motivation is a big part of persuasion.

6. Deliver a Winning Speech

Select appropriate visual aids to share with your audiences, such as graphs, photos, or illustrations. Practice until you can deliver your speech confidently. Maintain eye contact, project your voice and, avoid using filler words or any form of vocal interference. Let your passion for the subject shine through. Your enthusiasm may be what sways the audience. 

Close-Up of Mans Hands Persuading Someone

Topic: What topic are you trying to persuade your audience on?

Specific Purpose:  

Central idea:

  • Attention grabber – This is potentially the most crucial line. If the audience doesn’t like the opening line, they might be less inclined to listen to the rest of your speech.
  • Thesis – This statement is used to inform the audience of the speaker’s mindset and try to get the audience to see the issue their way.
  • Qualifications – Tell the audience why you are qualified to speak about the topic to persuade them.

After the introductory portion of the speech is over, the speaker starts presenting reasons to the audience to provide support for the statement. After each reason, the speaker will list examples to provide a factual argument to sway listeners’ opinions.

  • Example 1 – Support for the reason given above.
  • Example 2 – Support for the reason given above.

The most important part of a persuasive speech is the conclusion, second to the introduction and thesis statement. This is where the speaker must sum up and tie all of their arguments into an organized and solid point.

  • Summary: Briefly remind the listeners why they should agree with your position.
  • Memorable ending/ Audience challenge: End your speech with a powerful closing thought or recommend a course of action.
  • Thank the audience for listening.

Persuasive Speech Outline Examples

Male and Female Whispering into the Ear of Another Female

Topic: Walking frequently can improve both your mental and physical health.

Specific Purpose: To persuade the audience to start walking to improve their health.

Central idea: Regular walking can improve your mental and physical health.

Life has become all about convenience and ease lately. We have dishwashers, so we don’t have to wash dishes by hand with electric scooters, so we don’t have to paddle while riding. I mean, isn’t it ridiculous?

Today’s luxuries have been welcomed by the masses. They have also been accused of turning us into passive, lethargic sloths. As a reformed sloth, I know how easy it can be to slip into the convenience of things and not want to move off the couch. I want to persuade you to start walking.

Americans lead a passive lifestyle at the expense of their own health.

  • This means that we spend approximately 40% of our leisure time in front of the TV.
  • Ironically, it is also reported that Americans don’t like many of the shows that they watch.
  • Today’s studies indicate that people were experiencing higher bouts of depression than in the 18th and 19th centuries, when work and life were considered problematic.
  • The article reports that 12.6% of Americans suffer from anxiety, and 9.5% suffer from severe depression.
  • Present the opposition’s claim and refute an argument.
  • Nutritionist Phyllis Hall stated that we tend to eat foods high in fat, which produces high levels of cholesterol in our blood, which leads to plaque build-up in our arteries.
  • While modifying our diet can help us decrease our risk for heart disease, studies have indicated that people who don’t exercise are at an even greater risk.

In closing, I urge you to start walking more. Walking is a simple, easy activity. Park further away from stores and walk. Walk instead of driving to your nearest convenience store. Take 20 minutes and enjoy a walk around your neighborhood. Hide the TV remote, move off the couch and, walk. Do it for your heart.

Thank you for listening!

Topic: Less screen time can improve your sleep.

Specific Purpose: To persuade the audience to stop using their screens two hours before bed.

Central idea: Ceasing electronics before bed will help you achieve better sleep.

Who doesn’t love to sleep? I don’t think I have ever met anyone who doesn’t like getting a good night’s sleep. Sleep is essential for our bodies to rest and repair themselves.

I love sleeping and, there is no way that I would be able to miss out on a good night’s sleep.

As someone who has had trouble sleeping due to taking my phone into bed with me and laying in bed while entertaining myself on my phone till I fall asleep, I can say that it’s not the healthiest habit, and we should do whatever we can to change it.

  • Our natural blue light source is the sun.
  • Bluelight is designed to keep us awake.
  • Bluelight makes our brain waves more active.
  • We find it harder to sleep when our brain waves are more active.
  • Having a good night’s rest will improve your mood.
  • Being fully rested will increase your productivity.

Using electronics before bed will stimulate your brainwaves and make it more difficult for you to sleep. Bluelight tricks our brains into a false sense of daytime and, in turn, makes it more difficult for us to sleep. So, put down those screens if you love your sleep!

Thank the audience for listening

A persuasive speech is used to convince the audience of the speaker standing on a certain subject. To have a successful persuasive speech, doing the proper planning and executing your speech with confidence will help persuade the audience of your standing on the topic you chose. Persuasive speeches are used every day in the world around us, from planning what’s for dinner to arguing about politics. It is one of the most widely used forms of speech and, with proper planning and execution, you can sway any audience.

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17.3 Organizing Persuasive Speeches

Learning objectives.

  • Understand three common organizational patterns for persuasive speeches.
  • Explain the steps utilized in Monroe’s motivated sequence.
  • Explain the parts of a problem-cause-solution speech.
  • Explain the process utilized in a comparative advantage persuasive speech.

A classroom of attentive listeners

Steven Lilley – Engaged – CC BY-SA 2.0.

Previously in this text we discussed general guidelines for organizing speeches. In this section, we are going to look at three organizational patterns ideally suited for persuasive speeches: Monroe’s motivated sequence, problem-cause-solution, and comparative advantages.

Monroe’s Motivated Sequence

One of the most commonly cited and discussed organizational patterns for persuasive speeches is Alan H. Monroe’s motivated sequence. The purpose of Monroe’s motivated sequence is to help speakers “sequence supporting materials and motivational appeals to form a useful organizational pattern for speeches as a whole” (German et al., 2010).

While Monroe’s motivated sequence is commonly discussed in most public speaking textbooks, we do want to provide one minor caution. Thus far, almost no research has been conducted that has demonstrated that Monroe’s motivated sequence is any more persuasive than other structural patterns. In the only study conducted experimentally examining Monroe’s motivated sequence, the researchers did not find the method more persuasive, but did note that audience members found the pattern more organized than other methods (Micciche, Pryor, & Butler, 2000). We wanted to add this sidenote because we don’t want you to think that Monroe’s motivated sequence is a kind of magic persuasive bullet; the research simply doesn’t support this notion. At the same time, research does support that organized messages are perceived as more persuasive as a whole, so using Monroe’s motivated sequence to think through one’s persuasive argument could still be very beneficial.

Table 17.1 “Monroe’s Motivated Sequence” lists the basic steps of Monroe’s motivated sequence and the subsequent reaction a speaker desires from his or her audience.

Table 17.1 Monroe’s Motivated Sequence

The first step in Monroe’s motivated sequence is the attention step , in which a speaker attempts to get the audience’s attention. To gain an audience’s attention, we recommend that you think through three specific parts of the attention step. First, you need to have a strong attention-getting device. As previously discussed in Chapter 9 “Introductions Matter: How to Begin a Speech Effectively” , a strong attention getter at the beginning of your speech is very important. Second, you need to make sure you introduce your topic clearly. If your audience doesn’t know what your topic is quickly, they are more likely to stop listening. Lastly, you need to explain to your audience why they should care about your topic.

In the need step of Monroe’s motivated sequence, the speaker establishes that there is a specific need or problem. In Monroe’s conceptualization of need, he talks about four specific parts of the need: statement, illustration, ramification, and pointing. First, a speaker needs to give a clear and concise statement of the problem. This part of a speech should be crystal clear for an audience. Second, the speaker needs to provide one or more examples to illustrate the need. The illustration is an attempt to make the problem concrete for the audience. Next, a speaker needs to provide some kind of evidence (e.g., statistics, examples, testimony) that shows the ramifications or consequences of the problem. Lastly, a speaker needs to point to the audience and show exactly how the problem relates to them personally.


In the third step of Monroe’s motivated sequence, the satisfaction step , the speaker sets out to satisfy the need or solve the problem. Within this step, Monroe (1935) proposed a five-step plan for satisfying a need:

  • Explanation
  • Theoretical demonstration
  • Reference to practical experience
  • Meeting objections

First, you need to clearly state the attitude, value, belief, or action you want your audience to accept. The purpose of this statement is to clearly tell your audience what your ultimate goal is.

Second, you want to make sure that you clearly explain to your audience why they should accept the attitude, value, belief, or action you proposed. Just telling your audience they should do something isn’t strong enough to actually get them to change. Instead, you really need to provide a solid argument for why they should accept your proposed solution.

Third, you need to show how the solution you have proposed meets the need or problem. Monroe calls this link between your solution and the need a theoretical demonstration because you cannot prove that your solution will work. Instead, you theorize based on research and good judgment that your solution will meet the need or solve the problem.

Fourth, to help with this theoretical demonstration, you need to reference practical experience, which should include examples demonstrating that your proposal has worked elsewhere. Research, statistics, and expert testimony are all great ways of referencing practical experience.

Lastly, Monroe recommends that a speaker respond to possible objections. As a persuasive speaker, one of your jobs is to think through your speech and see what counterarguments could be made against your speech and then rebut those arguments within your speech. When you offer rebuttals for arguments against your speech, it shows your audience that you’ve done your homework and educated yourself about multiple sides of the issue.


The next step of Monroe’s motivated sequence is the visualization step , in which you ask the audience to visualize a future where the need has been met or the problem solved. In essence, the visualization stage is where a speaker can show the audience why accepting a specific attitude, value, belief, or behavior can positively affect the future. When helping people to picture the future, the more concrete your visualization is, the easier it will be for your audience to see the possible future and be persuaded by it. You also need to make sure that you clearly show how accepting your solution will directly benefit your audience.

According to Monroe, visualization can be conducted in one of three ways: positive, negative, or contrast (Monroe, 1935). The positive method of visualization is where a speaker shows how adopting a proposal leads to a better future (e.g., recycle, and we’ll have a cleaner and safer planet). Conversely, the negative method of visualization is where a speaker shows how not adopting the proposal will lead to a worse future (e.g., don’t recycle, and our world will become polluted and uninhabitable). Monroe also acknowledged that visualization can include a combination of both positive and negative visualization. In essence, you show your audience both possible outcomes and have them decide which one they would rather have.

The final step in Monroe’s motivated sequence is the action step , in which a speaker asks an audience to approve the speaker’s proposal. For understanding purposes, we break action into two distinct parts: audience action and approval. Audience action refers to direct physical behaviors a speaker wants from an audience (e.g., flossing their teeth twice a day, signing a petition, wearing seat belts). Approval, on the other hand, involves an audience’s consent or agreement with a speaker’s proposed attitude, value, or belief.

When preparing an action step, it is important to make sure that the action, whether audience action or approval, is realistic for your audience. Asking your peers in a college classroom to donate one thousand dollars to charity isn’t realistic. Asking your peers to donate one dollar is considerably more realistic. In a persuasive speech based on Monroe’s motivated sequence, the action step will end with the speech’s concluding device. As discussed elsewhere in this text, you need to make sure that you conclude in a vivid way so that the speech ends on a high point and the audience has a sense of energy as well as a sense of closure.

Now that we’ve walked through Monroe’s motivated sequence, let’s look at how you could use Monroe’s motivated sequence to outline a persuasive speech:

Specific Purpose: To persuade my classroom peers that the United States should have stronger laws governing the use of for-profit medical experiments.

Main Points:

  • Attention: Want to make nine thousand dollars for just three weeks of work lying around and not doing much? Then be a human guinea pig. Admittedly, you’ll have to have a tube down your throat most of those three weeks, but you’ll earn three thousand dollars a week.
  • Need: Every day many uneducated and lower socioeconomic-status citizens are preyed on by medical and pharmaceutical companies for use in for-profit medical and drug experiments. Do you want one of your family members to fall prey to this evil scheme?
  • Satisfaction: The United States should have stronger laws governing the use of for-profit medical experiments to ensure that uneducated and lower-socioeconomic-status citizens are protected.
  • Visualization: If we enact tougher experiment oversight, we can ensure that medical and pharmaceutical research is conducted in a way that adheres to basic values of American decency. If we do not enact tougher experiment oversight, we could find ourselves in a world where the lines between research subject, guinea pig, and patient become increasingly blurred.
  • Action: In order to prevent the atrocities associated with for-profit medical and pharmaceutical experiments, please sign this petition asking the US Department of Health and Human Services to pass stricter regulations on this preying industry that is out of control.

This example shows how you can take a basic speech topic and use Monroe’s motivated sequence to clearly and easily outline your speech efficiently and effectively.

Table 17.2 “Monroe’s Motivated Sequence Checklist” also contains a simple checklist to help you make sure you hit all the important components of Monroe’s motivated sequence.

Table 17.2 Monroe’s Motivated Sequence Checklist


Another format for organizing a persuasive speech is the problem-cause-solution format. In this specific format, you discuss what a problem is, what you believe is causing the problem, and then what the solution should be to correct the problem.

Specific Purpose: To persuade my classroom peers that our campus should adopt a zero-tolerance policy for hate speech.

  • Demonstrate that there is distrust among different groups on campus that has led to unnecessary confrontations and violence.
  • Show that the confrontations and violence are a result of hate speech that occurred prior to the events.
  • Explain how instituting a campus-wide zero-tolerance policy against hate speech could stop the unnecessary confrontations and violence.

In this speech, you want to persuade people to support a new campus-wide policy calling for zero-tolerance of hate speech. Once you have shown the problem, you then explain to your audience that the cause of the unnecessary confrontations and violence is prior incidents of hate speech. Lastly, you argue that a campus-wide zero-tolerance policy could help prevent future unnecessary confrontations and violence. Again, this method of organizing a speech is as simple as its name: problem-cause-solution.

Comparative Advantages

The final method for organizing a persuasive speech is called the comparative advantages speech format. The goal of this speech is to compare items side-by-side and show why one of them is more advantageous than the other. For example, let’s say that you’re giving a speech on which e-book reader is better: Amazon.com’s Kindle or Barnes and Nobles’ Nook. Here’s how you could organize this speech:

Specific Purpose: To persuade my audience that the Nook is more advantageous than the Kindle.

  • The Nook allows owners to trade and loan books to other owners or people who have downloaded the Nook software, while the Kindle does not.
  • The Nook has a color-touch screen, while the Kindle’s screen is black and grey and noninteractive.
  • The Nook’s memory can be expanded through microSD, while the Kindle’s memory cannot be upgraded.

As you can see from this speech’s organization, the simple goal of this speech is to show why one thing has more positives than something else. Obviously, when you are demonstrating comparative advantages, the items you are comparing need to be functional equivalents—or, as the saying goes, you cannot compare apples to oranges.

Key Takeaways

  • There are three common patterns that persuaders can utilize to help organize their speeches effectively: Monroe’s motivated sequence, problem-cause-solution, and comparative advantage. Each of these patterns can effectively help a speaker think through his or her thoughts and organize them in a manner that will be more likely to persuade an audience.
  • Alan H. Monroe’s (1935) motivated sequence is a commonly used speech format that is used by many people to effectively organize persuasive messages. The pattern consists of five basic stages: attention, need, satisfaction, visualization, and action. In the first stage, a speaker gets an audience’s attention. In the second stage, the speaker shows an audience that a need exists. In the third stage, the speaker shows how his or her persuasive proposal could satisfy the need. The fourth stage shows how the future could be if the persuasive proposal is or is not adopted. Lastly, the speaker urges the audience to take some kind of action to help enact the speaker’s persuasive proposal.
  • The problem-cause-solution proposal is a three-pronged speech pattern. The speaker starts by explaining the problem the speaker sees. The speaker then explains what he or she sees as the underlying causes of the problem. Lastly, the speaker proposes a solution to the problem that corrects the underlying causes.
  • The comparative advantages speech format is utilized when a speaker is comparing two or more things or ideas and shows why one of the things or ideas has more advantages than the other(s).
  • Create a speech using Monroe’s motivated sequence to persuade people to recycle.
  • Create a speech using the problem-cause-solution method for a problem you see on your college or university campus.
  • Create a comparative advantages speech comparing two brands of toothpaste.

German, K. M., Gronbeck, B. E., Ehninger, D., & Monroe, A. H. (2010). Principles of public speaking (17th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon, p. 236.

Micciche, T., Pryor, B., & Butler, J. (2000). A test of Monroe’s motivated sequence for its effects on ratings of message organization and attitude change. Psychological Reports, 86 , 1135–1138.

Monroe, A. H. (1935). Principles and types of speech . Chicago, IL: Scott Foresman.

Stand up, Speak out Copyright © 2016 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Persuasive Speeches — Types, Topics, and Examples

Daniel Bal

What is a persuasive speech?

In a persuasive speech, the speaker aims to convince the audience to accept a particular perspective on a person, place, object, idea, etc. The speaker strives to cause the audience to accept the point of view presented in the speech.

The success of a persuasive speech often relies on the speaker’s use of ethos, pathos, and logos.

Success of a persuasive speech

Ethos is the speaker’s credibility. Audiences are more likely to accept an argument if they find the speaker trustworthy. To establish credibility during a persuasive speech, speakers can do the following:

Use familiar language.

Select examples that connect to the specific audience.

Utilize credible and well-known sources.

Logically structure the speech in an audience-friendly way.

Use appropriate eye contact, volume, pacing, and inflection.

Pathos appeals to the audience’s emotions. Speakers who create an emotional bond with their audience are typically more convincing. Tapping into the audience’s emotions can be accomplished through the following:

Select evidence that can elicit an emotional response.

Use emotionally-charged words. (The city has a problem … vs. The city has a disease …)

Incorporate analogies and metaphors that connect to a specific emotion to draw a parallel between the reference and topic.

Utilize vivid imagery and sensory words, allowing the audience to visualize the information.

Employ an appropriate tone, inflection, and pace to reflect the emotion.

Logos appeals to the audience’s logic by offering supporting evidence. Speakers can improve their logical appeal in the following ways:

Use comprehensive evidence the audience can understand.

Confirm the evidence logically supports the argument’s claims and stems from credible sources.

Ensure that evidence is specific and avoid any vague or questionable information.

Types of persuasive speeches

The three main types of persuasive speeches are factual, value, and policy.

Types of persuasive speeches

A factual persuasive speech focuses solely on factual information to prove the existence or absence of something through substantial proof. This is the only type of persuasive speech that exclusively uses objective information rather than subjective. As such, the argument does not rely on the speaker’s interpretation of the information. Essentially, a factual persuasive speech includes historical controversy, a question of current existence, or a prediction:

Historical controversy concerns whether an event happened or whether an object actually existed.

Questions of current existence involve the knowledge that something is currently happening.

Predictions incorporate the analysis of patterns to convince the audience that an event will happen again.

A value persuasive speech concerns the morality of a certain topic. Speakers incorporate facts within these speeches; however, the speaker’s interpretation of those facts creates the argument. These speeches are highly subjective, so the argument cannot be proven to be absolutely true or false.

A policy persuasive speech centers around the speaker’s support or rejection of a public policy, rule, or law. Much like a value speech, speakers provide evidence supporting their viewpoint; however, they provide subjective conclusions based on the facts they provide.

How to write a persuasive speech

Incorporate the following steps when writing a persuasive speech:

Step 1 – Identify the type of persuasive speech (factual, value, or policy) that will help accomplish the goal of the presentation.

Step 2 – Select a good persuasive speech topic to accomplish the goal and choose a position .

How to write a persuasive speech

Step 3 – Locate credible and reliable sources and identify evidence in support of the topic/position. Revisit Step 2 if there is a lack of relevant resources.

Step 4 – Identify the audience and understand their baseline attitude about the topic.

Step 5 – When constructing an introduction , keep the following questions in mind:

What’s the topic of the speech?

What’s the occasion?

Who’s the audience?

What’s the purpose of the speech?

Step 6 – Utilize the evidence within the previously identified sources to construct the body of the speech. Keeping the audience in mind, determine which pieces of evidence can best help develop the argument. Discuss each point in detail, allowing the audience to understand how the facts support the perspective.

Step 7 – Addressing counterarguments can help speakers build their credibility, as it highlights their breadth of knowledge.

Step 8 – Conclude the speech with an overview of the central purpose and how the main ideas identified in the body support the overall argument.

How to write a persuasive speech

Persuasive speech outline

One of the best ways to prepare a great persuasive speech is by using an outline. When structuring an outline, include an introduction, body, and conclusion:


Attention Grabbers

Ask a question that allows the audience to respond in a non-verbal way; ask a rhetorical question that makes the audience think of the topic without requiring a response.

Incorporate a well-known quote that introduces the topic. Using the words of a celebrated individual gives credibility and authority to the information in the speech.

Offer a startling statement or information about the topic, typically done using data or statistics.

Provide a brief anecdote or story that relates to the topic.

Starting a speech with a humorous statement often makes the audience more comfortable with the speaker.

Provide information on how the selected topic may impact the audience .

Include any background information pertinent to the topic that the audience needs to know to understand the speech in its entirety.

Give the thesis statement in connection to the main topic and identify the main ideas that will help accomplish the central purpose.

Identify evidence

Summarize its meaning

Explain how it helps prove the support/main claim

Evidence 3 (Continue as needed)

Support 3 (Continue as needed)

Restate thesis

Review main supports

Concluding statement

Give the audience a call to action to do something specific.

Identify the overall importan ce of the topic and position.

Persuasive speech topics

The following table identifies some common or interesting persuasive speech topics for high school and college students:

Persuasive speech examples

The following list identifies some of history’s most famous persuasive speeches:

John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address: “Ask Not What Your Country Can Do for You”

Lyndon B. Johnson: “We Shall Overcome”

Marc Antony: “Friends, Romans, Countrymen…” in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar

Ronald Reagan: “Tear Down this Wall”

Sojourner Truth: “Ain’t I a Woman?”


  1. Persuasive Speech Thesis Statement

    A persuasive speech thesis statement is a concise declaration that clearly expresses the main argument or stance of your speech. Unlike an informative speech thesis statement which simply informs, a persuasive speech thesis aims to convince the audience to adopt a particular viewpoint or take a certain action.

  2. 30 Persuasive Thesis Statement Examples to Persuade

    NO: The thesis statement is a fact. It is not persuasive and not debatable. If you answered "yes" and felt the thesis was persuasive, or if you answered "no" but couldn't explain why the thesis isn't effective, you might want to take time to review the basics of a thesis statement.

  3. Crafting a Thesis Statement

    A thesis statement for informative speaking should be a declarative statement that is clear and concise; it will tell the audience what to expect in your speech. For persuasive speaking, a thesis statement should have a narrow focus and should be arguable, there must be an argument to explore within the speech.

  4. Thesis Statements

    Thesis Statements. A thesis is the main claim you are making in an argument, similar to the hypothesis in a scientific experiment. It is what you are trying to prove or persuade your audience to believe or do. It's helpful to develop a working thesis to guide your composition process. "Working" is the operative word here; your ideas are ...

  5. How to Craft a Thesis Statement for a Persuasive Speech

    To write a thesis statement for your persuasive speech, you need to follow four steps: identify your topic, narrow your focus, state your position, and provide reasons. First, you need to choose a ...

  6. Strong Thesis Statements

    The thesis statement or main claim must be debatable. An argumentative or persuasive piece of writing must begin with a debatable thesis or claim. In other words, the thesis must be something that people could reasonably have differing opinions on. If your thesis is something that is generally agreed upon or accepted as fact then there is no ...

  7. How to Write a Thesis Statement

    Step 2: Write your initial answer. After some initial research, you can formulate a tentative answer to this question. At this stage it can be simple, and it should guide the research process and writing process. The internet has had more of a positive than a negative effect on education.

  8. How to Write a Thesis Statement for a Persuasive Essay

    In your introduction, you want to introduce the topic. Then, you want to preview the arguments you will use to support your position. You want to conclude by writing your thesis statement. Your thesis statement is brief, usually one or two sentences. In a persuasive essay, it does more than just tell the reader your position on the issue.

  9. How to Write a Strong Thesis Statement

    A thesis can be found in many places—a debate speech, a lawyer's closing argument, even an advertisement. But the most common place for a thesis statement (and probably why you're reading this article) is in an essay. ... 2 Categories of Thesis Statements: Informative and Persuasive . Just as there are different types of essays, there are ...

  10. How to Create a Thesis Statement for a Persuasive Essay

    Pass the "How and Why" Test. Your thesis statement should answer one or both of two key questions: "how" and "why.". For example, if you think that online learning is more effective for students than traditional instruction, then your thesis should tell readers how or why it's more effective. If a reader can't determine the "how" or ...

  11. PDF Tips for Writing a Persuasive Speech

    In order to be persuasive, you need to establish common ground with your audience. They need to feel directly connected to the problem. Think about what you have in common with your audience—their values, interests, shared experiences—which can relate back to your topic. Thesis The thesis is simply your solution statement.

  12. 11.2 Persuasive Speaking

    Foundation of Persuasion. Persuasive speaking seeks to influence the beliefs, attitudes, values, or behaviors of audience members. In order to persuade, a speaker has to construct arguments that appeal to audience members. Arguments form around three components: claim, evidence, and warrant. The claim is the statement that will be supported by ...

  13. Persuasive Thesis Statement Examples

    In persuasive writing, the thesis statement is particularly important because it encapsulates precisely what you are hoping to persuade your readers of. A reader should be able to move away from ...

  14. Purpose and Thesis

    It's the speech's "takeaway." A good thesis statement will also reveal and clarify the ideas or assertions you'll be addressing in your speech (your main points). Consider this example: General Purpose: To persuade. Specific Purpose: To motivate my classmates in English 101 to participate in a study abroad program. Thesis: A semester ...

  15. Thesis Statement for Speech

    What is a Thesis Statement in a Speech. A thesis statement is the speaker's whole speech condensed into one statement. It should include the overall point of the speech as well as any subpoints ...

  16. The Thesis Statement in a Persuasive Text

    The Thesis Statement in a Persuasive Text Alys Avalos-Rivera. In another chapter, we discussed the features of an informational essay. In this chapter, we will guide you to understand the essential elements of a similar type of academic text: the persuasive essay. Although informational and persuasive writing follow similar principles such as ...

  17. How to Write A Persuasive Speech: a Step-by-step Guide

    When you give a persuasive speech, there should be a thesis statement demonstrating that your goal is to enlighten the audience rather than convince them. A thesis statement in persuasive speaking serves as the central argument or main point, guiding the entire presentation. A successful thesis anchors your speech and briefly expresses your ...

  18. Public Speaking: Developing a Thesis Statement In a Speech

    Having a strong thesis statement in public speaking helps you stay focused on your main argument throughout the speech and ensures that your audience understands what you are trying to communicate. It also helps establish credibility and authority as you present well-supported points related to your thesis. 4.

  19. Persuasive Speech Preparation & Outline, with Examples

    Reason 3 ( Provide one reason as to why listeners should act or think the way your thesis suggests.) Example 1 - Support for the reason given above. Example 2 - Support for the reason given above. The most important part of a persuasive speech is the conclusion, second to the introduction and thesis statement.

  20. 17.3 Organizing Persuasive Speeches

    Alan H. Monroe's (1935) motivated sequence is a commonly used speech format that is used by many people to effectively organize persuasive messages. The pattern consists of five basic stages: attention, need, satisfaction, visualization, and action. In the first stage, a speaker gets an audience's attention.

  21. Persuasive Speeches

    A factual persuasive speech focuses solely on factual information to prove the existence or absence of something through substantial proof. This is the only type of persuasive speech that exclusively uses objective information rather than subjective. ... Give the thesis statement in connection to the main topic and identify the main ideas that ...

  22. Thesis Generator

    Remember that the thesis statement is a kind of "mapping tool" that helps you organize your ideas, and it helps your reader follow your argument. After the topic sentence, include any evidence in this body paragraph, such as a quotation, statistic, or data point, that supports this first point. Explain what the evidence means. Show the reader ...