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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:41 pm 
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I'm trying to figure out if I should do a Persuasive speech next year. And if I do, what on? My fam says I'm a rally good speaker but, like I believe them! Besides better speaking skills, what good what I get out of it?








~Ellie :)

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:52 pm 
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Hint hint peoples.
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Hi Golden_voice<3! Welcome to the forum. :)

Persuasive is a great category to glorify God, sharpen your critical thinking skills, and practice your communication and presentation. With regards to finding a Persuasive topic, I described earlier in a different thread:

ParadigmPWNS wrote:
The single most important action item you can do before you think of a topic, or apply the pen to the parchment, is to pray. Ask the Lord to lead you and guide you to the topic He would like for you to speak on. "I will fetch my knowledge from afar; I will ascribe righteousness to my Maker...Seek ye first the kingdom of God...ask, and it will be given unto you, seek, and you will find...If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind."

With persuasive speeches, you should speak about something that you are passionate about. Something that energizes you, interests you, or something important that you want to communicate to others. You need to convey why the topic you have chosen is relevant to yourself and the lives of your audience; as well as how the audience can take action.

If you care deeply about the topic you have chosen to speak on, it will show. The judges and audience will notice. If you relate the topic both to yourself and to them, backing it up with solid proof, that boosts your ethos (credibility) big time.

Good persuasive topics, therefore, differ from person to person. The topic should be somewhat general enough that anybody can relate to it, but not too broad so that it becomes very difficult to express your thoughts in ten minutes. On the flipside, the topic shouldn't be so narrow that the judges wonder why you spend ten minutes talking about it. "Narrowness" and "broadness" are somewhat in the eye of the beholder, but it's not impossible to determine.

Sara Nimori, for example, won Stoa's NITOC 2011 in persuasive, and her topic was on Japanese internment camps in the 1940's, but from a different perspective than the conventional wisdom. She went out and interviewed people who were actually forced to be in the camps and showed how the historical application still had meaning for people today. She also, as I previously mentioned, drew a stark contrast between the conventional way that some people think of the camps vs. how she responded to it from a Christian perspective. Taking something that might be well-known or not-well-known and possibly giving a different take on it than what most people are used to is an excellent way to craft an attention-grabbing, enthralling persuasive.

Also, the topic needs to be pertinent not just to you, but to the judge/audience. Good persuasives are not necessarily speeches which have to deal with political issues or moral/religious issues (although I have seen many excellent persuasives on both of those topics). Don't necessarily shy away from choosing a more narrow topic (like Abkhazian independence or something crazy like that, lol). Just be sure to relate the topic to your audience. Why is Abkhazian independence such a big deal, anyway? Who does it affect? Will there be reprecussions that positively or negatively impact the audience? If so, why do those results matter?

Good persuasive topics can be boiled down to three "p's:" pertinent, personal and powerful.

If you are up to the challenge, doing a persuasive on a rapidly changing, controversial event or issue might be risky, but it can be done, and it can be done well. I remember when Lincoln Andersen did his persuasive on ObamaCare/the healthcare overhaul, and boy was it good.


Hope this helps! :)

(Note to mods: this should probably be moved to "Individual Events" discussion.) :)

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As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. -Psalm 42:1


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:08 pm 
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I know not this "leverage" of which you speak.
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I've never competed in persuasive before, but I've watched a few persuasive rounds. WARNING: I have never tried this advice, so take everything I say with a grain of salt.

This what I want as an audience member:

Make them think. Make them think. Make them think. If your audience doesn't have to fully engage their minds, you're doing it wrong. That doesn't mean that you should use complicated words and difficult to understand quotes from shakespeare. Rather, it means that you should make them think about something in a way they've never thought of it before. ParadigmPWNS is right:
ParadigmPWNS wrote:
Taking something that might be well-known or not-well-known and possibly giving a different take on it than what most people are used to is an excellent way to craft an attention-grabbing, enthralling persuasive.


This is how you might prepare a speech that fulfills my desire:

Try to avoid cliche topics. Audiences will get sick of hearing 5 different speeches on politics, the constitution or abortion. While those can be worthy discussion topics, few speakers address them in depth and instead rehash the same old material.

If you do want to talk about a well known/controversial topic, make sure you develop a thorough understanding of it. As with any topic, you should do your research first. Listen to other people's pursuasives on the topic. Listen to what the media is saying about the topic. Listen to what experts say on the topic. Listen to what your peers and elders say on the topic.

When examining what people are saying, think about what assumptions they are making. Think about what implications those assumptions have. You can't make your audience think if you don't think even harder.

As a debater, I'm really partial to improving ideas through discourse. So I say, once you listen to people and form an informed opinion, discuss it! Talk to your friends. Talk to your parents. Start an HSD thread. There's nothing like a good 'ol discussion to make you think about your ideas in ways that you've never even dreamed of. Just make sure you discuss the topic, not your speech.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 2013 12:24 am 
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As far as good you can get out of it, Persuasives are great because they help you really cement what you believe. This is particularly true if you choose a controversial topic, but even if you don't, you'll be forced to make your stance really clear, which is great. I did one last year that was very helpful for me in determining what I thought and why. I had to take a bunch of somewhat vague and only newly thought-out ideas I had and present them so they make sense to a judge. I became more and more convinced of my side as my argument became stronger. Additionally, you'll have to respond to the stance of the other side and their counter arguments, which also helps make your argument better.

For instance, if you want to do a Persuasive on why everyone should wear brown shoes on Fridays, you're not only going to have to make this sound like a reasonable and good idea, but you'll have to say specifically why it is. This is good because being able to succinctly present and defend something you believe in really comes in handy in the real world. Additionally, such a Persuasive will help to strengthen your resolve that brown shoes are a must for the final weekday, as you'll have to defend your side really well. And, your judges will be thinking of counter arguments, such as the fact that they don't own any brown shoes and prefer yellow instead, and you'll have to address these points and assure them that brown shoes are fairly affordable and match more outfits than yellow shoes do, ect. You're convinced, and hopefully, your judges are too.

Finally, believe it or not, Persuasives can have a real impact. I can think of several off the top of my head that have really affected the way I thought. Even non-controversial topics (because those aren't for everyone) can change people. My friend is doing one on breaking habits that is not only doing well, but making people think! Basically, Persuasives are cool and valuable and you should do one. :)

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-Chandler (my speeches | my blog)
revgirl wrote:
You may or may not want to know that Chandler is one of the coolest people on the planet.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:11 pm 
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I agree with Mr. Glasses. And I have done that. And I coach all my persuasive students to do that. You gain nothing by preaching to the choir. You should intentionally choose the challenge of persuading people who may not know or may already disagree with you.

If you happen to land on a topic many judges agree with, ok. But analyzing whether they will or not up front leads to sophistry, in my opinion. Instead, use the practice of the event as a chance to see what works and doesn't when your audience probably doesn't agree.

For me in highschool, this meant a speech against downloading music (this was when Napster was new, haha... wow) b/c I knew most of my audience did that. For a student I coached last year, it meant telling judges often coming to the round with a Starbucks cup that they should avoid Starbucks on ethical grounds. Take the event as an opportunity to research and learn to communicate a difficult thing in a winsome way.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:44 pm 
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Ellie I'm so excited your interested in doing a Pers! If you've never done a platform please oh please do one! I can't tell you how much doing platforms has sharpened my writing, analyzing, thought processing, speaking, gestures, voice inflection--well just about everything.

But, please don't limit yourself to simply a Persuasive. You may find a great speech idea--but it may not fit best under a Pers. Personally, I find the best type of Persuasive speeches push you into a new way thinking or call you to action--for brownie points do both!

You've probably heard this a million times--but it must be a topic your passionate about. But here's why: 1) So your passion will flow through your speaking to the judges and 2) so you don't get burnt out. Seriously. I started counting every single time I did my BN trying for 20 practices between tournaments. I'm well over 50--and if I happen to qualify to Nats it will end up being over 100, I'm sure. Not sure how many people actually practices there speeches that much--but it worked best for me.
That being said--you need to have a topic that when you quote it for the 100th time your still just as passionate and excited about it as when you quoted it for the very first time! And it can be hard to do. I have to continually remind myself about how God can use my speeches to impact judges and how excitement and joy should flow from that.

I also have never done a Persuasive--which I am finding to be a sad mistake on my part. My problem next year will not be finding a topic but picking from the several I have in mind. As always leave room for God to show you where He wants you to speak--and what to speak on. Hope you have an awesome speech year!

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Communist Officer told a Christian he was beating, "I am almighty, as you suppose your God to be. I can kill you." The Christian answered, "The power is all on my side. I can love you while you torture me to death."

-Jesus Freaks by Voice of the Martyrs (p. 186)


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