Writing Persuasive outline

Persuasive Sp Outline

Your Topic (all major words capitalized): (Followed by a fun question or phrase)

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Specific Purpose: To persuade my audience about…(your topic)

Organization Pattern: Problem-Solution, Refutation, Comparative Advantages, Monroe’s Motivated Sequence (just the main pattern)


I. Gain Attention: Plan every word of a vivid story, surprising statement or fact, powerful quotation, hypothetical example, cool demonstration, rhetorical question…

II. Reveal & Relate Topic to Audience: State your topic & explain how it affects listeners (why they should care about it).

III. Establish Speaker’s Credibility: Tell us why you chose the topic, what special knowledge or experience you have (&/or what work you did to prepare this sp).

IV. Preview of Points: List ALL the main pts that you’ll discuss in the Body (in order!).


I. Brief label for 1st main pt OR sentence listing the sub-pts in this section (like There are 2 unusual features you need to know about the…).

A. Sentence about 1st sub-pt.

1. Cite source at beginning of sentence & underline it. Then share the support (like a Statistic). For example: According to a May 2018 article in the New York Times, 80 million people… Notice how you only underline the citation, NOT the support!

2. Explain the Statistic/s verbally & visually (on a slide, using a table, bar graph, pie chart, or the new Assertion-Evidence Style J).

[Transition: Describe the relationship between the 2 sub-pts such as → At this point, you might be wondering… or What’s even stranger is…]

B. Sentence about 2nd sub-pt.

1. Cite source at beginning of sentence & underline it. Then share the support (such as Expert Opinion). For example: The official webpage of…states, and I quote, “for the last 20 years doctors have….”

2. Explain the Expert Opinion (also represent the person/ideas on a slide, for example use Assertion-Evidence Style with the quote as the top sentence & then a pic of the expert &/or topic on bottom).

[Transition: Let audience know you’re moving from 1st to 2nd main pt such as → Another cause of…is… or Now that you know what/how…, let’s look at how/why… ]

II. Brief label of 2nd main pt OR sentence listing the sub-pts in this section.

A. Sentence about 1st sub-pt (see previous instructions) OR go straight to support (see instructions in B just below). If your support is an Historical Example, you might say: To illustrate my point, let’s look at Roseburg, a town of just over 22,000 people in southern Oregon. In 1989, they… Just underline the “citation” part, not the whole story.

B. Then, develop the Example with relevant details. For instance: In the beginning, Roseburg had to worry about… But today, they enjoy…. When you paraphrase, use vivid & concise language. On your slide/s, use Assertion-Evidence Style J or the traditional list of bulleted keywords with an image/pic. No paragraphs!

[Transition: Use a simple word/phrase like → Lastly, Furthermore, In contrast, Not surprisingly, Fortunately…]

C. Sentence about 2nd sub-point or go straight to support.

1. If support is a Personal Story, you might say: As someone who lived through the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake, I can tell you… Just don’t underline the support. We only underline the citation, NOT the Testimony, Statistic or Example!

2. On the slide, the traditional list of keywords with an image/pic could help us follow the key ideas in the quotation; again, never show a paragraph.


I. Signal End: In closing, To sum up, Today we’ve…

II. Summarize the Problems: Do this in 2-3 sentences. Mention all of the main problems with some nice details you want us to remember or “take away” from the sp.

III. Call to Action / Summarize the Solutions: Do this in 2-3 sentences. Mention all of the main solutions with some nice details you want us to remember or “take away” from the sp.

This assignment involves recording an 8-minute speech that persuades your listeners to change their beliefs &/or actions. During the speech, you will present 8-18 PowerPoint slides & use no more than 8 small notecards.

The persuasive speeches will be graded holistically. I will not use a point-based rubric like the previous 2 minor speeches. Rather, I will look broadly at your Content, Organization, Delivery & Materials when assigning a grade that ends in 7, 4 or 1. For example, 87% for a B+, 84% for a B, & 81% for a B-.

7 Steps for Success

  1. Research an important problem, propose a solution, and defend your ideas against counter arguments, doubts & questions. If you do NOT want to do the same topic as your informative speech, new topics must be approved ASAP.
  2. Gather all 3 kinds of evidence (Statistics, Examples, Testimony) from at least 5 credible sources. You can use a couple of the same sources from your informative speech, but you also need to find more convincing articles in places like Atlantic Monthly, Pew Research Center, Chronicle of Higher Education, Los Angeles Times, Economist, & so on. Depending on your topic, .gov sources & for-profit companies might also have useful information. While the informative speech was largely objective/just the facts, the persuasive speech should be more subjective/biased…but still based on solid evidence from credible sources.
  3. Use one of the 4 major persuasive organization patterns to develop 2-4 main points that move the audience to change their beliefs &/or actions. To be successful, your pts must address Need, Plan, Practicality (NPP) & use all 3 methods of persuasion (Ethos, Pathos, Logos).
  4. Use my template or revise your informative outline to build a persuasive outline with the 4-part Introduction, Body pts & Transitions, & 4-part Conclusion. The template is a Word doc in the first module.
  5. Like before, make your PowerPoint slides very audience focused. They help us understand, follow, stay interested, & be persuaded. Listeners need to see unusual vocabulary, statistics & dates, details about the source you’re citing, & lots of images. In the first module, watch 2 short videos about designing more impactful slides.
  6. Prepare your speaking notes using the same Roman numerals as the ones you used in your Preparation Outline. See Tips for Speaking Notes in the 1st module. Keep quotations, citations & transitions in your notecards. The rest should be keywords & short phrases. Too many sentences will tempt you to read, which violates the most basic requirement of this assignment & sucks the joy out of the room. Practice moving back & forth between the slides & your notes with important information on one or the other. If you make revisions, update your Preparation Outline. It’s fine if the outline has a little more information than the actual speech, but the outline should never have less information than the speech, & it should not have the pts in a different order than the speech!
  7. To complete the persuasive speech assignment, you have 3 jobs, which you may have to do ONE AT A TIME:

A. Select File Upload, choose the PDF &/or WORD doc of your final/revised Preparation Outline, & submit.

B. Select Text Entry, click on the electrical plug/cord next to the green film icon, & select Embed Kaltura Media. Check the box next to your Video, click Embed & then submit.

C. In the Comments Box, answer 3 Reflection questions with 2-4 clear & concise sentences for each question:

1) What 2-3 things went especially well for you when preparing &/or delivering this speech?

2) What 2-3 things would you really like to go back & do differently or better in terms of your preparation &/or your delivery?

3) Looking back on the term, what are your takeaways/lessons you are taking with you when it comes to public speaking?

Requirements: exactly as the outline

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