Writing a Persuasive Speech – A Proven Outline (Plus My 50-Point Checklist of Public Speaking Tips)

confident_speakerIf you’ve got to give a speech or a presentation, then chances are you want to make it persuasive. If the audience doesn’t believe or behave differently than they did before they heard you, then you simply didn’t do your job as a speaker.

When people hire me to speak for their group, this is the exact framework I use to craft my talk. Whether it’s a 20-minute “lunch and learn” presentation or a 90-minute keynote address for a management conference, the basic formula remains the same. Follow these guidelines and you’ll be well on your way to a great speech!


1. Establish rapport
Expressing thanks
Expressing similarity (“I remember sitting right where you are now…”)
Humor (especially self-deprecating)

2. State their problem or their possibility A problem is about pain and possibility is about gain. (Keep in mind, pain is twice as powerful as gain.)

“How many of you are tired of negative people and chronic complainers in the
workplace?” (Problem)

“I’ve uncovered a little-known niche that can bring you more customers than you can
imagine.” (Possibility)

3. Make the promise and get permission.

“By the time you leave here today, you will be able to__________. Sound good?”

4. Share your own personal “mess, quest, success” story.

“I was failing as a manager. My team wasn’t performing but yet I was the one taking all the blame. I wanted to be the ‘cool boss’ so I tried being everyone’s friend. That backfired. Then I tried “laying down the law” and being a tough guy. That backfired too! It all changed when I discovered the power of ___________. Suddenly, my team genuinely respects me, they are more productive and creative than ever before, and my boss gave me a raise!”

5. The “Chunks”. It’s time to give them the goods. (The bulk of your time will likely be spent here.)
a) Make a point.
b) Support the point (Data, facts, figures, etc.)
c) Explore the point (Interactive exercises, worksheets, etc.)
d) Illustrate the point (Stories, analogies, quotes, entertainment-based illustrations.
real-world examples, etc.)
e) Tell them how to apply the point and what common mistakes to avoid.
f) Tell them about resources that can help them apply this info.
g) Transition to next “chunk” and repeat.

*Note: b, c, and d are interchangeable.

6. Offer social proof that it all works. (Case studies, testimonials, before and after, etc.)

7. Praise and thank the person who invited you to speak and hint that you’ll be wrapping up soon.

“I just have to say, this is an amazing group. What a great job by Mr. Tinkerton in putting all this together. Before I wrap up here, if you’ve had fun and learned something useful, then give it up one last time for Mr. Tinkerton everybody!”

8. Share a closing story.

This last story should be in alignment with how you want the audience to feel when they leave. If you want them to feel energized, tell an energetic story. If you want them to take action, tell them the story of someone who took action.

9. Step on the applause with one last quotable quote or one-liner and tell them exactly what you want them to do next.

“Remember…awesomeness is achievable so get out there and be awesome!” (Bonus points if it rhymes.)

Speaking of bonus…Want to download my 50-Point Public Speaking Tips Checklist? This guide will tell you exactly what you need to add to (or take away from) your speech. You’ll never again miss an important point or forget to do something obvious during your presentation.

3 thoughts on “Writing a Persuasive Speech – A Proven Outline (Plus My 50-Point Checklist of Public Speaking Tips)

  1. Bernie Heine

    Great points on both lists. I see in some places, what’s working for me but you have many items, that I have not thought much about, like 4, 6, 7, and 9 above and countless items off of your 50 point list.
    Thank you for sharing your insights with us.

  2. Alfred Poor

    #7 is my favorite. Way too many people put that in the #1 position and it’s a huge mistake. Putting it towards the end like this is far more effective and sincere. You want to lead with your best content at the start.


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