How to Choose Persuasive Speech and Essay Topics

Giving a persuasive speech requires you to be passionate and informed about your topic.

If you are tasked with giving a persuasive speech or creating a persuasive essay in a high school or college class, you will need to choose a topic that engages your audience. Look for an issue that you already have some knowledge or personal experience with -- and one that you feel passionate about. This will help make the difference between a run-of-the-mill essay and one that stands out from the crowd.

Brainstorm with other students to generate a wide variety of topics. Pick something that fuels your emotions. If you feel gas-guzzling sport-utility vehicles should be replaced by hybrid and electric cars, you'll have an easier time writing on the topic.

Avoid over-done topics. These may include abortion, global warming, affirmative action, the death penalty, recycling, and sex and violence in the media. When you are narrowing your topic choices, try to choose something fresh and interesting.

Select a specific topic, rather than writing an essay that is too general and overwhelming. For instance, instead of singing the benefits of alternative energies, explore in detail the pluses of building more geothermal plants to generate electricity.

Focus on a topic that you can readily research and find information on. If you're writing about a technology that's just in the beginning stages of development, you may have trouble finding credible sources of information on it.

Find a subject with an edge. It needs to have passionate supporters and opponents while, at the same time, lending itself to logical reasoning. In short, it needs to be debatable. This means the problem should still be unsolved.

  • Handouts are a good way to communicate with your audience.

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