One of your worst nightmares comes true: public speaking.
Your next speech is due within days, and you imagine yourself standing in front of the class, shaking uncontrollably, and suddenly unable to remember anything you’re supposed to say.
Your professor seems even more intimidating than usual. He stares at you over the top of his reading glasses, his eyes burning a hole through your soul.
This isn’t going to end well. You fumble through a few hastily scribbled note cards and begin to speak. Your assigned seven-minute speech runs barely four as the words fly from your mouth at record pace.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
If you start with a strong speech topic that you’re actually excited to talk about and spend enough time planning, things can go a lot more smoothly.
While I certainly can’t promise that by planning you won’t feel your heart pounding out of your chest as you approach the podium, I can help you find an interesting topic for your persuasive speech. I can also help you feel more confident about the information you’ll be delivering.
Let’s begin by finding a topic for your persuasive speech.
49 Persuasive Speech Topics
I’ve divided this list of 49 topics into seven categories. I’ve also included links to sample persuasive speech outlines, persuasive essays, and argumentative essays to give you a few ideas of how you might develop ideas for your persuasive speech.
Persuasive speech topics about technology
- Can virtual currency replace central banking systems?
- Should parents monitor their children’s online activity?
- Does technology benefit education?
- Should children spend less time on electronic devices?
- Can smartphones create an addiction to technology?
- Does technology harm one’s mental health?
- Are law enforcement cameras an invasion of privacy?
Persuasive speech topics about health, community, and well-being
- Are college students facing increasing amounts of stress?
- Should people consider organ donation?
- Is service-based learning important?
- Should health awareness strategies be implemented in communities?
- Does genetically modified food cause health problems?
- Should fast food be banned from public schools?
- Should junk food be taxed?
Persuasive speech topics about animals
- Are pitbulls a misunderstood dog breed?
- Should people purchase products tested on animals?
- Should people be required to spay and neuter their pets?
- Is animal testing necessary in medical research?
- Should students be allowed to bring pets to college?
- Do animals have souls?
- Should animals be kept in zoos?
Persuasive speech topics about the environment
- Should people use less plastic in their daily lives?
- Is food waste harming humans and the environment?
- Does it really matter if people litter occasionally?
- Should the government do more to support renewable energy?
- Is the meat industry ruining the environment?
- Does the automobile industry need to be more environmentally friendly?
- Is overpopulation harming the environment?
Persuasive speech topics about politics
- Does one person’s vote make a difference?
- Does the rhetoric used by politicians actually convince voters?
- Should the Electoral College be abolished?
- Does religion influence political ideology?
- Why are American politics so polarized?
- Should voting be compulsory in the United States?
- Are campaign finance reforms necessary?
Persuasive speech topics about education
- Do private schools offer a better education than public schools?
- Are core classes (like speech and English) an important component of a college education?
- Should college be tuition-free?
- Are college students sleep deprived?
- Should homework be required in elementary schools?
- Should sex education be taught in schools?
- Is a college education necessary?
Persuasive speech topics that are a little off the beaten path
- Can a good manicure or a good haircut change your life?
- Is it important take a vacation with your significant other before deciding to marry him/her?
- Can autocorrect ruin your relationship?
- Should you ever go on a blind date?
- Are our pets smarter than us?
- Do you deserve an A in the class?
- Should yoga pants only be worn to yoga class?
5 Quick Tips for Planning and Writing a Persuasive Speech
Once you’ve found the perfect topic for your persuasive speech, it’s time to start planning.
I know it can be tempting to wing it, but trust me, if you actually plan your speech, you’ll not only feel less nervous about speaking in front of the class but also be more likely to get a better grade. (And who doesn’t want that, right?)
With that in mind, take a look at these five tips to help you plan your persuasive speech.
Know whether you need to include research
While some assignments may allow you to deliver a persuasive speech using only your opinions as evidence, others will require you to use credible sources as evidence. (If you’re not sure, check your assignment guidelines.)
Know your time limit
You’ll need a heckuva lot more content for a ten-minute speech than you will for a three-minute speech, so plan accordingly.
Outline your ideas
Even though you likely won’t write your speech word for word, don’t underestimate the power of a solid outline. In some cases, your prof will let you use an outline when you deliver your speech, so a strong outline will make delivering your speech that much easier.
Before you actually start planning any type of visuals, make sure you know what types of visuals are allowed (or required). Can you get away with a colorful poster board? Should you bring props? Are you required to create a slideshow?
No matter what type of visuals you create, make sure they’re clear, specific, and complete. (If you’d like a few tips on preparing slideshows, check out this link.)
Practice, practice, practice
Once you have your research, outline, and visuals complete, it’s time to rehearse your speech.
Yes, it really is important to practice. You wouldn’t think of stepping foot on the football or soccer field without practicing, so why would you present a speech without practicing?
Practicing your speech can help you see where information doesn’t flow smoothly or where your arguments may be weak or illogical. It can also help you work on timing. (Remember, you sometimes talk more quickly when you’re nervous, so even though you may think you have seven minutes worth of content, you may end up with only five.)
Worried that you don’t have an audience? Ask a friend, roommate, your mom, your significant other, or even your cat to be your audience.
If you’d prefer to practice without an audience, deliver your speech in front of a mirror or set up your phone and record your practice runs.
Recording yourself can help you work on your content as well as your delivery because you can see whether you fidget nervously, look down at your notes too much, or mumble through the entire speech.
Afraid No One Will Want to Listen?
By now you should have a great topic that you want to talk about, but maybe you’re still worried that no one will want to listen to what you have to say.
Polish up your outline or your speech draft, and let one of the experts at Kibin make sure you’re on the right track. We’ll provide honest feedback about your persuasive abilities and help you make sure your audience will be on the edge of their seats.