The Internet TESL Journal

Delivering a Persuasive Speech

Douglas Parker
bps2 [at]

The Handout for the Students

The Lesson - Your Voice and Body are Your Best Tools

You are a natural talker. You have done it all your life. Every time you talk to someone, you are trying to make him or her see things your way. It is true, that any time you say a fact you are saying it is true.

For this speech, you have to guess that not everyone will agree with you from the start. It is your job to make them see things your way. The goal of this speech is to change someone's mind or way of thinking about a topic. Your voice and body language are very important. Here you will see how your delivery can help.

There are several important aspects of presentation to keep in mind:

The Strategy: Appear Wise

When you are trying to convince someone of something, you must sell yourself before you sell your message. If people feel that you are not being reasonable, you do not stand a chance. You must be committed to the goals of your speech and what you are saying. Do not use words such as "maybe" or "might"- use positive words such as "will" and "must."

You are the power figure in this speech, so you had better supply enough information to prove your points. People can usually spot someone who is trying to "wing" a speech. You should also appear to be truthful --even when you are really stretching a point. If you do not appear to be honest, people will doubt your word and tune out your speech.

Lastly, do not be afraid to show a little emotion. Your body and voice must match the tone of your words. If your language is strong, you must present a physical force to go along with your delivery.

The Comments and Goals


You cannot sit back and let your words do all of the talking. You must use your total self to deliver your message. This means that you will have to show a little of your personality to the group. Your group will be supportive.

The Group Reaction

The group has two major issues to consider after each speech. First, the delivery. Were the speaker's body, words, and actions in agreement? Did one support the other or was there tension between the body and the voice? Secondly, were you persuaded? Why or why not? Discuss what makes a persuasive speech work and how the little changes can make it work better.

The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. VII, No. 8, August 2001