Chapter 9: Persuasive Speaking

Types of Persuasive Speeches

There are three kinds of persuasive speeches most often used in the area of beliefs and attitudes. These are speeches of fact, value, and policy. You can argue about what is, what should be, or how it should be. In making any of these kinds of speeches, you make specific claims that you seek to prove to your audience. You make these claims by the propositions you set forth. Propositions serve as the thesis statement for your speech. You “prove ” your case with facts, logic, appeals to emotion, and your credibility. If the audience accepts your arguments and agrees with the facts, you will be successful. We divide the propositions into the three categories because each type requires a different approach as you plan your speech.

Proposition of Fact

A proposition of fact is one that claims something is true or false. Some propositions of fact include:

  • America has fifty states.
  • Water is composed of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen.
  • The sun rises in the east and sets in the west.

Each statement is a proposition that can be proven true or false by checking with authorities, a map, a chemistry textbook, and your experience and senses. Some propositions are quantifiable, like the number of states in the United States. Others are simply true or false, like the correct composition of water.

The propositions of fact that will be the subject of most persuasive speeches are less straightforward. They might include the following:

  • Violence on television causes child violence.
  • More Americans are going to college than ever before.
  • The athletic program at our college raises more money than it spends.

Each of these propositions can be supported by conducting research in books, on the Internet, or in your college’s financial statements. As you establish the truth of your propositions, you are impacting the beliefs of the audience.


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