ESL Activities - Delivering a Persuasive Speech
Overview: Students need to understand that how they say something and how they physically present themselves are just as important as what they say. By understanding the dynamics involved in effective persuasive speaking, students will improve their overall confidence in communicating.
Purpose: The purpose of this lesson is to improve students' oral persuasion techniques by understanding the appropriate speaking skills. The lesson is presented in second person, making it more meaningful as a resource for the students, and easier for the teacher to use as a handout.
Objectives: Students will be able to...
Resources/Materials: Teacher-prepared topics for persuasive speeches.
Assessments: The Class will assess each speaker's performance in terms of voice and body coordination, and in terms of persuasiveness. Each class can develop performance assessments such as rubrics to facilitate this process.
Teacher's Anticipatory Set: During class discussion, define and explain how people make decisions based on what they see and hear. Explain that sometimes we have to use skills to convince others about our positions. Have the students recall and list their own experiences trying to convince their friends about something, and then ask them to share these with the class.
Pick a proposition that not everyone would agree with such as: "nuclear power plants are superior energy sources." Write a 6- to 8-minute speech in outline form to persuade the group.
The Lesson: Your Voice and Body are Your Best Tools
You are a natural persuader! You have done it all your life. Every time you enter a conversation, you engage in elementary persuasion techniques. It is true, that any time you make a statement of fact, you are asserting its validity and assuming that your listener agrees.
This speech goes further than a normal conversational assertion: now you have to assume that not everyone will agree with you from the start, and 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. This is not a speech to sell, as you do not ask that the listener do anything except to agree with you or to begin to listen to your way of thinking. Your message is, of course, very important in this speech, but your voice and body language are even more important. Here you will see how your delivery can help.
There are several important aspects of presentation to keep in mind:
The Strategy: Appear Rational
When you are trying to convince someone of something, you must first establish your credibility, or in other words, you must sell yourself before you sell your message. If people feel that you are not being reasonable or rational, you do not stand a chance. You must be committed to the ideals and 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 authority figure in this speech, so you had better supply enough information to prove your points so that you can seem knowledgeable, and you had better know your material cold. 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 earnest, even if your message is the 100% truth, people will doubt your word and tune out your speech.
Lastly, do not be afraid to show a little emotion - this is not a sterile or static speech. 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, and this means that you will have to expose a little of your personality to the group. Your group will be supportive.
The Group Reaction
The group has two major criteria to consider after each member's speech. First, the delivery. Were the speaker's body, words, and actions in synchronization and harmony? 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 intangibles effect a positive outcome.
Contributor: Douglas Parker