Speaking to persuade: Motivating audiences with solid arguments and moving language

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In the professional realm, we need to be able to argue without being argumentative. Whether you are fundraising for a nonprofit, pitching a business proposal, or suggesting a change to company policy, you are making arguments. In making the case for your topic, you often want to raise awareness, identify a pressing problem, discuss appropriate solutions, and outline specific steps for the audience.

To be persuasive, you must be clear (the audience may have little to no existing knowledge), you must be convincing (you are trying to sway the audience that your argument is valid), and you must be compelling (you are trying to motivate the audience enough so that they want to take specific actions). Persuasive speaking thus requires clarity, strategy, topic mastery, plus a sense of style and presence.

By the end of this course, you should be able to design persuasive speeches that address problems and solutions and that motivate audience members. You should be able to use rhetorical style strategically and deliver passionate and compelling speeches. Learners will record speeches, providing and receiving peer feedback.