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Persuasive speech ideas
50 good persuasive speech topics
Persuasive speech ideas are everywhere - billions of them! The trick to choosing the best topic begins with recognizing it, lifting it clear of all the other possibilities to see its potential.
Use my persuasive speech topic list as a prompt to flick your own creativity into action. Hopefully you'll find that one special suggestion that stands out from the rest, demanding that you consider it carefully!
A few words of warning and advice before you begin
Some topics are overdone.
They're tired. Even if the issues they raise are unresolved let them lie down and sleep.
Boring your audience with yet another earnest speech on "smoking is bad for you", "wearing seat belts while driving" or "lifting/lowering the drinking/voting age" will probably not do what you want it to.
Unless you have a genuinely fresh and interesting angle leave them to snooze in peace.
Remember - local and topical is GOOD
Before settling on a topic from my list check what's going on right under your nose.
Great persuasive speech ideas can pop out of your local community newspaper, the radio, TV, or your FaceBook page. These interest your audience - after all it's where you all live. The issues in your community have an impact on everyone's well being.
I just did a quick flick through the copy of the local community news I picked up at my supermarket.
There were articles on a huge sign Wellington airport is considering placing on a hill alongside the runway. It will read "Wellywood".
Airport authorities say it supports our thriving film industry, celebrating and building on the success of "The Lord of the Rings".
Those against it argue it's cheap copy-catting of the famous Hollywood sign and that the thousands of overseas visitors per day who see it will snort with derisive laughter. There's two potential persuasive speech ideas: for and against the sign.
Another piece was on the mixed success of a newly introduced recycling scheme. Yet another was on depression along side the story of a young man who suffered from it. What angles could be taken on either of those?
How to use this list
Note down 3 possibilities as you go through the list of speech topics below bearing in mind:
- your audience (their interests, values, hopes)
- your interest in the topic
In order to persuade convincingly and confidently you need to genuinely believe your persuasive speech idea is good.
- the time you have to research it thoroughly
- your desired outcome
(What do you want your audience to do as a result of hearing you speak?)
- your credibility
How qualified are you to speak on the topic you've chosen?
Do you have personal experience on your side?
How long have you been interested in it?
Have you done your research? Found reliable resources?
50 persuasive speech ideas
"Graffiti is a legitimate form of social protest"
- Lying is always wrong.
- Truth is never debatable.
- Modern media is to blame for lowering moral standards, reading levels or escalating violence.
- Online games can be good for you.
- Disabilities of any sort are an opportunity for personal growth.
- Internet chat rooms are evil.
- FaceBook (or any other form of social media) is replacing the need for face to face communication.
- Cyberbullying controls
- There is never an excuse or reason good enough to declare war.
- Money is not the root of all evil.
- Power does not necessarily corrupt.
- Healthcare is the responsibility of the individual, not the state.
- Homelessness is the result of choice.
- Winning at all costs is not right.
- Becoming a parent should be an earned privilege.
- Gay marriage is OK.
- Being 'green' is a fashionable fad.
- Religion has no place in government.
- Clothes choices reflect who you are.
- Global warming is real.
- Being a good person is learned.
- What is 'right' and 'wrong' changes from generation to generation.
- Having chores/a pet/ an after-school job teaches responsibility.
- Food engineering is the way of the future.
- 'Normal' depends on your environment.
- Culture is essential, just like fresh air and food.
- Equality is a myth.
- What we eat, we become.
- What we think, we are.
- Cell phone use in public places
- Plastic surgery should be only for those who really need it.
- Higher education is over-rated.
- Monitoring media of any sort should be banned.
- Women should stay in the home to look after their families properly.
- The idea of peace on earth is naive.
- Freedom of speech is a fallacy.
- Nationalism creates enemies.
- Cultural difference should be celebrated.
- Designer children - is this good for future generations?
- All education should be free.
- Conformity cripples creativity.
- Cloning is justifiable.
- Poverty begins in the mind.
- Divorce damages children.
- Juvenile crime is a cry for help not punishment.
- Gangs are the result of family breakdown.
- Children from single parent families are disadvantaged.
- Boys/girls need father figures to grow into mature adults.
- Being PC (politically correct) encourages masking our real feelings.
- Graffiti is art.
Getting from topic to speech
For help turning your persuasive speech ideas into a fully fledged speech check these pages:
- Sample Speech Outline
This is the familiar 3 part speech outline - good for any type of speech. Read the step by step instructions then download a free blank speech outline to complete. Fill it in and you're ready to go!
- How to Write a Speech
Step by step easily followed instructions for shaping your material into an effective speech.
- Check the site map for more Public Speaking Help
You'll find pages on using props (visual aids), preparing cue cards, rehearsing your speech and more.
- And if you're still in need of persuasive speech ideas check this page for more good persuasive speech topics this one on interesting speech topics or this on informational speech topics. All three will give you more suggestions to put your spin on.
- Persuasive Speech Outline
Find out more about structuring an effective persuasive speech using Monroe's Motivated Sequence, the classic 5 step pattern used by all professional persuaders: politicians, the advertising industry, PR experts...
There's a downloadable blank persuasive speech outline template available too.
- And here's a persuasive speech example illustrating the persuasive sequence above. Be warned. The topic is controversial: suicide and the affect it has on close family and friends.
Image per courtesy Purdue University
Arguing Either Side of an Issue
- Doctor-assisted suicide should (or should not) be legal.
- Spammersâpeople who bombard Internet users with unsolicited e-mailâshould (or should not) be allowed to send their junk mail.
- Every automobile driver should (or should not) be required to take a new driver's test every three years.
- Electroshock treatment is (or is not) a humane form of therapy.
- Every student should (or should not) be required to learn a foreign language.
- Solar power is (or is not) a viable alternate energy source.
- Drug addicts should (or should not) be put in hospitals for medical treatment instead of in prisons for punishment.
- American workers should (or should not) be guaranteed a three-day weekend by law.
- All health professionals should (or should not) be tested annually for HIV infection and AIDS.
- Self-proclaimed "militias" should (or should not) be closely monitored by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
- Assault weapons should (or should not) be outlawed.
- All owners of firearms should (or should not) be required to register their weapons with the police.
- A two-week waiting period should (or should not) be required for anyone attempting to purchase a firearm.
- The death penalty for murderers should (or should not) be abolished.
- The death penalty should (or should not) be imposed on juveniles.
- Drug dealers convicted of distributing large quantities of drugs should (or should not) receive the death penalty.
- The U.S. military should (or should not) be used to curb drug smuggling into the U.S.
- The U.S. should (or should not) cut off all foreign aid to dictatorships.
- Smoking should (or should not) be banned in public areas such as restaurants and airport terminals.
- State and local governments should (or should not) operate lotteries and gambling casinos.
- The U.S. should (or should not) remain in the United Nations.
- Immigration into the U.S. should (or should not) be restricted.
- Churches should (or should not) be required to pay taxes.
- Federal funding for the arts should (or should not) be provided.
- The present-day tax system is (or is not) unfair to middle-class and lower-income Americans.
- College athletes should (or should not) be required to meet the academic requirements of their schools.
- Sex education should (or should not) be a required course in all schools as early as sixth grade.
- Everyone should (or should not) be required to pass a competency exam before being allowed to graduate from high school.
- Chronic mental patients should (or should not) be housed in "halfway houses" or residences in the community, rather than in remote mental hospitals.
- The President should (or should not) be limited to a single six-year term.
- Billboards should (or should not) be outlawed on interstate highways.
- Businesses should (or should not) be permitted to make unsolicited telephone calls to citizens.
- IQ tests are (or are not) valid measures of human intelligence.
- Psychologists and psychiatrists should (or should not) testify in court on behalf of the not-guilty-by-reason-of-insanity plea.
- Regardless of income, all Americans should (or should not) be guaranteed basic medical care under a national health insurance program.
- Heredity is (or is not) a more powerful influence on personality development than environment.
- ESP (extrasensory perception) is (or is not) a demonstrable scientific fact.
- Scientific experimentation on animals should (or should not) be outlawed.
- Heroin should (or should not) be legal as a pain reliever for terminally ill patients.
- Acupuncture is (or is not) a valid medical technique.
- Beauty pageants do (or do not) debase women.
- The minimum wage should (or should not) be waived for adolescent and young adult workers.
- Despite their legal tax deductions and loopholes, all millionaires should (or should not) be required to pay federal income tax.
- Police should (or should not) be allowed to set up roadblocks to isolate and arrest impaired drivers.
- Athletes should (or should not) be allowed to use steroids.
- Students need to be more vigilant and observant to avoid becoming victims of campus crime.
- Citizens should resist efforts being made to shut down zoos and aquariums.
- Steps must be taken to reduce contaminants in the nation's water supplies.
- Children and teenagers need to be educated on the dangers of huffing (sniffing solvents and aerosols).
- Lawmakers need to pass tougher legislation to discourage the growing number of stalkers.
- Every person should stipulate that in the event of death, he or she is willing to donate organs.
- People of all races and ethnic groups should be aware that overexposure to the sun can cause skin cancer, regardless of a person's skin color.
- Dog and cat owners should have their pets spayed or neutered.
- Citizens with cellular phones can help thwart crimes and assist in the capture of criminals.
- People wanting cosmetic surgery should investigate the risks before submitting to surgery.
- Riders of bicycles and motorcycles should be required by law to always wear helmets.
- Every person who dines at a restaurant needs to know when and how much to tip.
- Hotels and motels should increase security to counteract the rising number of crimes against guests.
- Taxpayers should subsidize therapy sessions for victims of violent crimes.
- Sellers of used automobiles should be required by law to tell prospective buyers if a car is a rebuilt vehicle that had been wrecked.
- Child care authorities should carefully screen prospective foster parents to prevent child molesters from becoming foster parents.
- Everyone should take classes in CPR and first aid techniques.
- Consumers who routinely run up credit card bills that they can't pay should seek guidance from credit counselors.