Outlining The Persuasive Speech

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Hi everyone. In this article I’m going to walk you through the persuasive outline template. I’m going to try to walk you through how to organize your persuasive speech, and what all parts of this outline refer to and so this article could get a little bit long, similar to the last one where I went over the last outline template. So um I would like you to just follow along as you’re completing your outline template for your persuasive speech, and you may be able to pause as you go through but hopefully you find this useful to help you with organizing your speech, because there’s very specific ways to do this. So to start, as an example, we will do a speech on texting and driving because I see so many students do speeches on texting and driving, and it’s not a topic that will really be relevant to your speech so we’re just going to use this for example purposes.

Texting driving is my topic. I’ll put my name so topic is we’ll say, banning texting, and driving my general purpose here is going to always be, "To Persuade." Remember that the general purpose is either to inform or to persuade or entertain. So for this speech, the last speech is to persuade. So my specific purpose to persuade my audience that texting and driving should be banned. My central idea/thesis statement – I’m going to come back to that in a minute, but that is going to be the statement of my three main points, and so for this speech since we’re using Monroe’s motivated sequence the three main points are actually the Need, Satisfaction and Visualization, or as I’m going to rename it the Problem, Solution, Visualization, but like I said we’re going to come back to this in a minute after we’ve done our introduction. So our introduction – we always again start with the Attention-getter that’s the same and that is Step One in Monroe is to gain attention of your audience.

So we could start with a startling statistic here about texting and driving, but I think this would be a great place to show a visual aid of a car crash so um, I will say show the article of car crash. Why should you in the audience care? That’s your relation to the audience. We can say something like, and I’m going to make up statistics, so again these are not real statistics I’m totally making these up for example purposes. According to drivingfacts.com, I’m sure of very credible website, um we’ll say 40 percent or 40 percent of crashes are due to distracted driving such as texting, perhaps you or someone you know will be involved will be a part of this 40 percent. We’ve now related that to the audience. So why are you personally credible?

This is where we establish our ethos. I have researched this topic – it can be something as simple as that. It can explain your first-hand experience – I have a PhD, you know, of driving – I teach driving school… whatever. Okay so now we’re going to say to our three main points. So today I like to discuss the problem with texting and driving, propose a new law against texting and driving, and explain the benefit. So again, we have our need,solution and then visualization is main point three, or we can say, problem, solution visualization. For transition to body – let’s start by discussing the problem.

Okay so again the need is actually the problem. I like to use the term problem here instead of need because I think when I see from students is that need means tell me why this is needed and then there’s a really it’s really easy to focus on the benefit, so when we talk about texting and driving if I tell you, it’s tell me why a law against texting and driving is needed, like because it will save lives that’s why it’s needed. Okay so that’s not a problem that’s actually a visualization. That’s that’s a benefit of it. So in the problem step we want to actually take the time to explain what the problem is. I mean you after that kind of after the problem step you want the audience to feel like, we better do something about this.

So you want them to feel that need for change. That’s what we mean by need. Again I think that term gets kind of confusing so I really like to use the word problem here. The problem this is where we find a lot of our research, so the first thing we’re going to do is we’re going to make our claim and we’re going to say, texting and driving is a problem. Now we’re going to provide some evidence to explain why is this a problem. So we’re going to make up some evidence and say when you text and drive you are driving, the driving like you are drunk. According to David Drinker, again, probably a really really credible source.

We should probably explain who he is for our credibility, author of the book Distracted Driving. Now ideally I’d probably have a few statistics in there to back it up, but I think you get the idea. I’m going to provide another piece of evidence that will say, some deaths occurred from texting and driving. So we’ll say something like, last year 4200 people lost their lives due to texting and driving. The problems with texting and driving are kind of endless here. You’ve heard all about it in the news.

News everywhere for texting and driving and see all sorts of things. Of course we do need a citation here. We did cite some statistics – according to the US Department of Transportation, so we’ve got two pieces of evidence so now we need to create that conclusion. This is where we use our reasoning. So when you text and drive you’re driving like a drunk. Last year a lot of people lost their lives due to texting and driving. So how can we put these two pieces of evidence together to form some sort of warrant or conclusion that ties these two pieces together?

That tells us why the supports drinking and texting and driving is the problem? So because we’ve got drunk driving here the one piece I think that here is missing is that there’s no evidence to say that when you’re drunk that we driving drunk that but that’s a problem. So let’s try to connect that in here too. So we can say something like, because drunk driving is dangerous and can be deadly we can see that texting and driving is just as if not more dangerous. There are laws against drunk driving so why aren’t there laws against texting and driving?

So here we’ve kind of tried to make a connection now it’s not a great connection, because drunk driving is dangerous and can be deadly so we really didn’t establish evidence for that so if you really want to make that make that conclusion you’re probably going to want to go back here and say, you’re driving like you’re drunk because the one thing we’ve left out that is which point we haven’t really told the audience that drunk driving is really distracted driving. We kind of just assume the audience knows that and more than likely they probably do, but in persuasive speaking we probably don’t want to make a lot of assumptions. We don’t want to leave things up to we don’t want the audience to have to think. The theory behind that is that there’s really two routes for persuasion, and if we want the audience to adopt our message without thinking very much about it. We don’t want them to have to critically think. That’s why we teach you how to critically think in school.

A lot of people don’t know how to do it, so we don’t want them to. We want to make a conclusion that just lays it all out for them. When everything is laid out and they don’t have to fill in any holes in the arguments. So yeah, so ideally we should probably come up in here and say say something about this drunk driving is mostly, we could say drunk driving is extremely dangerous. Well I guess who wouldn’t say extremely dangerous. That would be more of a judgment. We could say approximately 4,000 people lost their lives to drunk driving and so we can make that connection than between those two to show us why texting and driving is a problem and this is a great summary.

Let’s look at the solution. So now we’re moving into our satisfaction and solution. Ideally this should be probably more of an internal summary: So now that we seen why texting and driving is a problem, let’s look at the solution. Another thing that I see here a lot of students will say something like, you know, now that we’ve seen there’s a problem luckily I have a solution to help with this, and that sometimes helps to make that connection as well, so let’s talk about the solution. So the solution we’re going to say, Iowa should create a law banning texting and driving.

Yes I do, I am aware that Iowa already has a law for texting and driving. This is just for example purposes, so in this step we are really describing this solution and we’re going to describe it in a lot of detail. So we’re going to talk about every little bit in pieces to what this law would look like, and so we’re going to say something like, um drivers can be pulled over if caught texting and driving and receive a $50 ticket. For a second offense, they will receive a a $75 ticket, and a third offense can result in them losing their what I would say with suspended license. Okay, the evidence to support the solution. The best way to do this is to revive and provide an example, and so look at another state, we’ll say um Illinois has adopted a similar ban in Illinois. Ddriver’s caught texting and driving three times automatically lose… again making all this up… their license.

Since then we can say something like since then car accidents due to distracted driving have decreased fifty percent. So the conclusion here should be pretty clear. If it works in Illinois it should work in Iowa too. So again we have another transition. So now that you are aware of the solution, let’s discuss the benefits.

We can say there are several benefits to this solution, and how is the solution solve your problem. So this is simple. By banning texting and driving people will be less likely to engage in distracted driving due to cell phone use and then we can start describing the benefits. There would be less car accidents and less death. The best way to do this is to really refer back to the problem steps. We can go up what were the things we do say that’s 4200 lives per year that could be saved. Another benefit and then I have in here.

Example for how your solution will work. We kind of covered that already, but we can say an example for how the solution will work, and again we don’t want to use the example of the other state this time we want to say imagine a world where people’s attention is on the road and not on their phone. and then transition to conclusions, so you can say so In Conclusion, and then in the conclusion the first thing we do is summarize the main points. So today we discuss the problem of texting driving, solution of banning it, and the benefits. So relate back to your audience. If my solution the enacted, you or someone you love won’t be a statistic.

And then finally call to action. What can you do? Call your representatives today. Now just a couple of suggestions for best practices here – in each step, because again this is a really basic solution a lot of it was made up, this is more to show you outline format, but just a couple of of ideas. One thing in the solution step one of the most common things that I see in the solution step is students focusing on the benefits. So you really want to be really really really specific about describing the solution, like define it.

So for example for this one with texting and driving, we probably really want to do here. We describe to the law but we really want to define what we mean by texting as well so just trying to think of every single detail as you’re going through here. In the problem step the biggest thing that I find students do in the problem step is not describing the problem like I said you focus too much on the need ,or they spend too much time talking about things like you have the statistics, but you don’t explain why that’s a large number. So, so, one thing here where we have the statistic last year – 4200 people lost their lives. Okay so put that into perspective – what is 4,200 people? You know, you hear that like, well you know is that in the US, is that in Iowa 4,200 people in the city of Cedar Rapids that would be like a huge statistic, and you could then take that one step further and explain what that actually means.

4,200 people in the entire world, you know, maybe sound a little bit less. So try to put the statistics in perspective that you use try to explain them. That’s another great example of using those conclusions and those reasoning to help and just to also help relate it to the audience. Ehat I don’t want to see is the problem step to spending on a whole bunch of statistics without any sort of explanation as to how they help your argument. And then finally, I know I did some of this this is kind of a backwards order, in the visualization, trying to focus really on the benefits now in reading some stuff with Monroe’s motivated sequence they like to talk about with Monroe, that you can explain the negatives with Monroe within the visualization, so you can explain what happens if your solution isn’t enacted, and in my opinion that’s just restating the problem. I actually don’t really like to see that you can actually like the visualization should be leaving the audience this is your last main point with hope for the future, if your solutions enacted and not fear for the future if your solution isn’t enacted.

We’ve talked about Fear Appeals, and I think the with the fear appeal is really the most important thing to do is we start with you know that emotion and then we relieve that emotion, so in my opinion, if we create the fear and the problem step we create then the resolution in the solution step we wouldn’t want to go back and create the fear again we would want to keep relieving the fear and that in my opinion would be more persuasive. So try to focus on the positive and then the thing that I see in the end most commonly missed is the missus – the call to action step so you’re going to want to do that also action call your representative this is specifically what can the audience view so you don’t want to defend your speech with you know if my citizens elected you or someone you love won’t be a statistic Thanks you don’t want to end with just think you want to explain to the audience what can they do and then the very last step you take your sources you’ll put them in APA or MLA format so hopefully that gives you a better idea for organizing this speech.

About Post Author

Professor Cram

Professor Lawrence Cram is a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University working in the Department of Applied Mathematics. His interests include astronomy, mathematics, engineering, computing, and physics. Due to his extensive expertise, professor Cram has worked as a Professor of Physics at the University of Sydney and as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor at ANU during 2004-2012. In 2013, he retired as a Master, University House and Graduate House. In January 2014, he was appointed as an acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Charles Darwin University. Professor Cram is also a Fellow at the Royal Astronomical Society and the Australian Institute of Physics.
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