Key Takeaways

  1. Persuasion is intentional communication designed to get another to persist, resist or change an attitude or behavior.
  2. Persuading depends on understanding your audience’s promoting as well as resisting attitudes and behaviors.
  3. Persuasive appeals can be made through effective use of:
    1. Emotion (use emotional / personal evidence)
    2. Logic (use factual / impersonal evidence)
    3. Credibility (use educational / experiential evidence)
    4. Appeal to conventional wisdom (use broadly accepted evidence)

Explore Further

optional exercises for further reflection and practice



  • Prepare, practice, and record yourself delivering a 2 minute “elevator pitch” version of your persuasive presentation, in addition to the longer version you will deliver in class. This helps distill key messages and strategies for persuasion.

Build Your Checklist

this list grows throughout the academic quarter
  1. Create Anxiety Management Plan (AMP) and use when speaking publicly
  2. Define audience and speaking goals:
    1. Who am I speaking to?
    2. What are their needs?
    3. What do I want them to know, feel, or do differently after hearing me?
  3. Choose and apply an identifiable structure, such as:
    1. What, so what, now what?
    2. Problem, solution, benefit
    3. What is, what could be, new bliss
  4. Create a powerful opening and closing
  5. Create transitions that:
    1. Resummarize prior section
    2. Introduce next section
    3. Signpost overall structure
  6. Develop persuasive strategy and content, incorporating:
    1. Data
    2. Testimonial
    3. Personal experience
    4. Storytelling
  7. Prepare visual aids that reinforce structure and story:
    1. One big idea per slide
    2. Quick impact
    3. Clean and crisp
  8. Plan and prepare specific audience engagement techniques such as:
    1. Inclusive language
    2. Cognitive / rhetorical exercises
    3. Questions and polls
    4. Engaging data or anecdotes 
  9. Practice and digitally record talk repeatedly, refining:
    1. Visual delivery: Stance, movement, gestures, eye contact
    2. Vocal delivery: Volume, dynamics, pace, tone
    3. Verbal delivery: Clear and vivid word choices, minimize fillers
  10. Plan and prepare for Q&A:
    1. Anticipate and eliminate the need for some questions, by building responses into the presentation
    2. Practice Q&A handling as part of overall preparation
    3. Use ADD structure (Answer, Detail, Describe relevance / benefit)