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Ideas for Persuasive Speeches

Madhura Pandit Feb 21, 2020
Persuasive essays and speeches can be interesting only if you choose an exciting topic. Here is a list of topics for high school and college students.
As the name suggests, persuasive speeches are delivered to convince or persuade the audience to have a particular point of view. The speaker needs to make a strong argument for or against the topic and persuade the audience about the same. There is no prescribed structure for it.
But, your topic should be fresh (usually the current issue) and arouse interest of your audience. Secondly, the topic should be of your interest so that you can speak passionately and convincingly about it. Here are some examples and topics that will be helpful to you.

Interesting Persuasive Speech Topics

There are several contemporary issues that can be used as speech topics.
  • Screen violence leads to behavioral disorders
  • The death penalty
  • Banning paparazzi
  • Is vegetarianism healthy?
  • Community service
  • Gun control
  • Use of steroids
  • Is the world really free of apartheid?
  • Fad diets do more bad than good
  • Gay marriages
  • Controversial death of Diana, Princess of Wales
  • Use of Internet should be censored for kids
  • The Da Vinci Code: fact or fiction
  • Greatest writer/ scientist of all time
  • Does meditation actually work?
  • Is Internet dating safe?
  • Do ghosts exist?
  • Exams should not be mandatory.
  • Is organ donation ethical?
  • Was life in the previous century better?
  • Will life in the next century be better?
  • Is lying justified?
  • Religious practices in public be banned.
  • Is living together a prerequisite of marriage?
  • Do extraterrestrials (ET) exist?
  • The current tax system is fair/ unfair.
  • Banning junk food at school

Persuasive Speech Outline Example

Apart from the aforementioned ones, topics like recycling, use of cell phones, on smoking, drinking and driving, voting rights, use of uniforms in schools, etc., are some of the common and contemporary issues for students.
Now, another tip to consider is to look for a topic that does not have an obvious viewpoint. For e.g., Smoking / alcoholism is bad  is a very obvious statement which does not have 2 contradicting viewpoints. In that case, the speech would not be interesting.
On the other hand, say, 'Will life in the next century be better?, then you can have two answers, Yes, life can be better..., or No, life will not be better.. Now, if you have chosen this speech topic, you will need to chalk out your points and have a detailed outline.
Take a look at the following example. You can take either of the viewpoint and persuade your audience for the same.

Life was Better in the Previous Century
  • No pollution
  • Simple living
  • Less stress
  • Healthy living
  • Bound by traditions
  • Slow-paced life
Life was NOT Better in the Previous Century
  • Manual work
  • Technology not advanced
  • Fewer comforts in life
  • Slower progress
  • Fewer individual rights
  • Unaffordable luxury

Persuasive Speeches by Famous People

You may also come across persuasive monologues or speeches in movies. There were many notable persuasive speeches in history made by famous speakers. Here is a compilation of such speeches by famous people. You can take tips from these speeches in order to deliver a successful speech yourself.
  • Alexander Stephens - Secession is the Height of Madness
  • Anthony Eden - The Suez Crisis
  • Aung San Suu Kyi - Freedom from Fear
  • Barack Obama - Against Going to War with Iraq
  • Booker T. Washington - Atlanta Compromise
  • Cardinal Clemens Von Galen -Against Nazi Euthanasia
  • David Lloyd George - WWII
  • Dwight D Eisenhower - The Chance for Peace
  • Eleanor Roosevelt - What Libraries Mean to the Nation
  • Edmund Burke - He is a Member of Parliament
  • Enoch Powell - Rivers Of Blood
  • Hillary Clinton - Women's Rights are Human Rights
  • Neville Chamberlain - Radio Address(September 3rd 1939)
  • John Stuart Mill - In Favor of Capital Punishment
  • John F. Kennedy - Inaugural Address
  • John Wilkes - The Conquest of the Americans
  • King Edward VIII - Abdication Speech
  • Queen Elizabeth I - Speech to the Troops at Tilbury
  • Stanley Baldwin - Disarmament
  • William Pitt - The Defense of Weaker States
  • William Wilberforce - Horrors of the Slave Trade
  • William Lyon Phelps - The Pleasure Of Books
  • William Wyndham - Attack on Sir Robert Walpole
  • William Shakespeare - Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears
We hope these topics and examples will help you choose an interesting topic. Lastly, remember that a thorough research, foolproof knowledge and confidence can help you be a successful orator. So, go forth with it. Good luck!