persuasive speech topics


Persuasive Speech Topics

Pages:12 (3596 words)


Topic:Persuasive Speech

Document Type:Writing Guide



Whether you are delivering a speech for a business class or as a leader of your company, public speaking skills are tremendously important. This article will help you hone your ideas before you give that persuasive speech, providing you with a comprehensive and multidisciplinary list of creative, insightful persuasive speech topics you can use in any setting.

Not all speeches are persuasive. Some speeches are merely informative; others might be designed for their emotional appeal or just to tell a story. The following list of persuasive speech topics covers mainly those issues that are controversial enough to warrant the use of rhetorical devices and other persuasive strategies that can be useful in getting your audience to take action or change they way they look at a certain issue or subject.

Importance of Persuasive Speeches

There are as many persuasive speeches as there are persuasive speakers. Even if you have never delivered a speech before in your life, you already have what it takes to get the job done.

Little kids know how to give persuasive speeches without even realizing what they are doing—using whatever emotional or rational tactics they can use to convince their parents to buy them the right toy or make their favorite food for dinner!

Therefore, think of a persuasive speech as something you already do naturally. Only this time, you need to deliver the message to your audience using slightly more formal language than you might be used to. And you may need to use additional visual aids or a PowerPoint presentation to supplement the content of your speech. There are a lot of resources available to you online related to how to create an ideal PowerPoint presentation for any classroom.

Persuasive Speech Tips

Before you jump into the deep end, consider practicing your persuasive speech in front of a mirror or with friends and family members first. You can overcome your fear of public speaking and learn how to manage uncomfortable emotions that overwhelm you. When you practice your persuasive speech first, you can master your gestures and body language in ways that get your audience to focus on the content of your discussion instead of on you.

Types of Persuasive Speeches

You can deliver a persuasive speech for any topic, in any situation, for any class, business, or condition.

Perhaps your persuasive speech is for a town hall meeting, as you want to persuade an elected official or town council to adopt a new ordinance policy, or bylaw.

Or, maybe your persuasive speech is about changing a company policy or getting your supervisor to invest in a new technology.

Most of you reading this article will be using this list of persuasive speech topics in order to come up with good ideas for a school-related debate or speech. A persuasive speech can be used in any classroom environment, from grade school to graduate school.

In grade school, persuasive speeches can be about American or World History, about literature, the arts, science, or public policy. When you get to undergraduate level education (college or university), you may be asked to deliver more comprehensive persuasive speeches about specific topics of interest to you in anything from environmental science to religion.

In fact, persuasive speeches can become the key component in your application for financial aid, grant money, or a new job. Use any of the topic ideas in this article or consult a writing tutor for more help on how to structure and organize your persuasive speech.

Rhetorical Strategies

American students typically learn about the rhetorical strategies that were developed by the ancient Greeks. Used to make rational philosophical arguments, these rhetorical strategies have been broken down into three primary components known by their Greek names: pathos, ethos, and logos.


Pathos is the emotion that charges your persuasive speech. You want your audience to feel moved by what you say, which requires you to appeal to the audience’s sense of morals. Pathos is evident in the language you use and the tone with which you deliver your persuasive speech. Using graphic images or vivid examples, such as stories of death, destruction, or redemption, are examples of pathos in your speech.


Ethos refers to the ethical merit and credibility of your discussion. Typically, ethos is rooted in your command of the subject matter—evident in the people or organizations you cite to support your main argument. With ethos, you show your audience that your persuasive speech has a well-conceived overarching framework or ethical paradigm. You want to demonstrate that your ideas are cohesive, so that your audience and you are on the same page.


Logos is the rhetorical element of logic and fact. No matter how emotionally charged your content or how credible your sources, your audience will not be persuaded to take action or impressed by your words if you spew lies. Your persuasive speech needs to be driven by facts and figures. Use statistics, numbers, and empirical research whenever possible instead of opinion or anecdotal evidence.

What is a Persuasive Speech?

A persuasive speech is not something mysterious. Nor is a persuasive speech only something that powerful leaders can deliver. You can deliver a quality persuasive speech right now, by following the tips in this guide. So what is a persuasive speech, anyway? A persuasive speech is any orally delivered presentation in which the goal is to change the audience’s mind or behavior.

There are a number of different tactics you can use to persuade your audience in a speech.

For example, you can use fear to motivate your audience to move away from a certain position, point of view, or action.

Similarly, you can use anger or outrage to inspire the audience to take action or understand the urgency of the situation you are describing.

You can also use appeals to positive feelings like compassion, love, and altruism to persuade your audience to adopt a different attitude.

Another approach to a persuasive speech is to rely only on factual evidence to illuminate gaps of information or make up for the glut of misinformation proliferating online or in the mainstream media.

The Power of Persuasion

To better understand the power of persuasive speeches, consider that some of the most famous speeches you know of—or at least the famous quotes within them—are persuasive speeches. The following are only a few of the many persuasive speeches that turned the tides of history in America:

Perhaps you will add your name to the list of famous persuasive speeches!

Good Persuasive Speech Topics

Generally speaking, persuasive speeches need to be convincing. You need to pick a topic that is interesting and relevant to your audience. This means that you can pretty much talk about anything you want, so long as you can show the audience why it matters.

Good persuasive speech topics can be about anything:

  • Why you should stop eating meat.
  • The War on Drugs should be ended immediately.
  • The United States should pay reparations to Native Americans and African Americans.
  • Additional taxes should be levied on corporations to fund education.
  • Public education should include undergraduate degree programs, making college affordable for all Americans.
  • Healthcare in America should be restructured to eliminate the profit motive.
  • Immediate action should be taken now to introduce alternative energy sources and mitigate the effects of climate change.
  • Either the Second Amendment should be modified or a new Constitutional Amendment added to clarify the judicious use of personal militias versus the unjust proliferation of unnecessary firearms, handguns, and automatic weapons.
  • The death penalty should be abolished immediately.
  • Treating workers right leads to higher productivity.
  • The minimum wage should be renewed each year in light of real cost of living values, computed by economists using advanced algorithms.
  • School curricula should include personal financial management, public speaking, media literacy, and science literacy and be less concerned with useless information that can be easily looked up online.

Easy Persuasive Speech Topics

If you are a new English language learner or are in grade school, you may need to choose an easy persuasive speech topic to get you started. Easy persuasive speech topics can still be good ones.

  • The death penalty is good because it reminds members of the general public the importance of obeying the law.
  • Abortion is murder and should be illegal no matter what.
  • Prayer should be allowed or even encouraged in public schools.
  • The best and easiest way to immediately stop global warming is to ban meat production, starting with cattle.
  • The drinking age should be lowered to 18, given that people are able to vote, run for office, and pay their own taxes when they are that age.
  • Why driverless cars are the rides of the future.
  • Democracy is imperfect, but better than other forms of government
  • Why euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide should be allowed.
  • Why the freedom of speech is so important.
  • The Importance of Washing Your Hands
  • It is each person’s own responsibility to fight climate change by making daily sacrifices and choices about what consumer products to buy.

Funny Persuasive Speech Topics

Perhaps you have heard of famously satirical persuasive pieces, such as Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal.

Funny persuasive speech topics can be fun and frivolous, or they can be seriously satirical like Swift’s essay about why the British government should advocate eating Irish children in order to help the poor. You can use a persuasive speech to demonstrate acumen in forming a good argument about almost any subject imaginable. Funny topics can also use the tactic of absurdism in order to get a point across.

  • The White Menace: Why mayonnaise should be banned.
  • Why Trump would make a good dictator.
  • Why Journey was the best rock band ever.
  • If men were able to get pregnant and have babies, the whole world would fall apart at the seams.
  • Hypocrisy is the American way, and why that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
  • The downsides of being an honest person.
  • Why having handguns in the household is always a good idea.
  • Why all women should become lesbians right now.
  • Mandatory RFID chips for all new babies would solve a lot of problems.
  • Communism isn’t so bad after all: lessons from China, Cuba, and the former Soviet republics.

Persuasive Speech Topics for College

In college, for your undergraduate education, you are likely to write a persuasive essay or be asked to deliver a persuasive speech. The persuasive speech topics below cover a wide range of subject areas that you may encounter in a liberal arts curriculum. Note that you can write persuasive speeches in just about any class imaginable.

  • The economic, social, and political reasons for ending mass incarceration.
  • Why providing clean drinking water to every person on the planet is not an unreasonable goal.
  • The critical importance of media literacy and science literacy to democracy.
  • Private health insurance undermines civil rights in America.
  • Gender is the final frontier: why male dominance in the social hierarchy is more pervasive and persistent than race-based or class-based bigotry.
  • Why isolationism makes more sense for America than being the world’s police.
  • Corporate social responsibility is the new norm in business.
  • Women are still being discouraged from pursuing STEM subjects in school and in their careers.
  • The classics of Greco-Roman literature and civilization remain important to a liberal arts education.
  • Government should play a more active role in mitigating the effects of climate change, because the capitalist free market is far too shortsighted to respond.
  • As important as science is, it can never fulfill the deep longing in the human spirit for some sort of spiritual truth.

Persuasive Speech Topics 2020

Current events topics are perennially popular. For 2020, you can talk about anything that is relevant to your daily life or what you read about in the news. The first half of the year was dominated by the corona virus, and the ways in which different governments responded to the public health scare. However, there are also other 2020 persuasive speech topics you can choose from.

  • Three ways the United States failed to respond to the COVID crisis.
  • Three things we can do to better prepare ourselves for the next pandemic.
  • Why the 2020 election is the most important one in American history.
  • If world governments and businesses collaborated to flatten the COVID curve, then they can also work together on climate change.
  • The time has come for a new global system of governance in which all citizens of the world take responsibility for our actions.
  • The nation-state model is outdated; in the current era, borders are irrelevant and make no real sense, only hindering economic growth and humanitarian values.
  • The United States should impose a temporary ban on male presidential candidates in order to allow prominent and powerful women to come to the fore and lead the country in a new direction.
  • The COVID crisis is only one of many reasons why 2020 is the year human beings should cease using animals as a source of food.
  • Given that the world is in crisis, now would be the best time to start colonizing outer space.
  • Parasite deserved the Oscar for Best Picture because of its unique storytelling devices, its unconventional plot twists, and the cinematography.
  • World War Three is immanent because of the unresolvable conflicts around the world such as between the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds, the unpredictable nature of North Korea, and the sinister power of Russia.

Controversial Persuasive Speech Topics

While all persuasive speeches have the potential to be about controversial topics or have a provocative tone, some are more contentious than others. If you were asked to deliver a persuasive speech on an unconventional controversial persuasive speech topic but are at a loss for ideas, start with one of the following.

  • No one should be allowed to use in vitro fertilization if they cannot have children to encourage more people to adopt.
  • Baby boomers should be taxed, or have their Social Security and pension cut in order to pay for the problems they created such as global warming.
  • There should be no limits to free speech; even hate speech needs to come out in the open so we can talk about such things rather than suppress them.
  • If cocaine and heroin are illegal, then alcohol and tobacco should be illegal too considering how many people those drugs kill or harm.
  • Islam is not a religion of peace.
  • People should have to pass an exam before they are allowed to vote, so that people who are ignorant about the issues, or about science, are not qualified to participate in public elections.
  • People who develop preventable illnesses due to an unhealthy lifestyle should be denied insurance coverage, not people with actual “preexisting conditions.”
  • Science is just a new form of religion.
  • Social science is not real science, and the field of psychology should be obliterated in favor of cognitive science and neuroscience, which are more grounded in quantitative data and research methods.

Sports Persuasive Speech Topics

Sports are a source of joy for some, and revenue for others. If you are in a school program focusing on athletics or sports management, or are taking a sports-related course, you can deliver a persuasive speech on one of the following topics. The same may be true if you are working in the sports industry and have to give presentations to your colleagues.

  • Skateboarding should be an Olympic sport.
  • The rules of American football should change to prevent head injuries.
  • College athletes should be paid.
  • Taking performance enhancing drugs is not a big deal, and besides, so many athletes already do it so it might as well become legal.
  • There should be at least a few all-gender sports: games in which men and women play on the same teams.
  • People with prosthetics and transgender people should not be allowed in mainstream sports, but should have their own league.
  • The commercialization of sports is good for society because it encourages all people to push past their comfort zone, reach their highest potential, and strive to be the best they can be.
  • Female players should be paid as much as male players, and marketers should find a way to create new target markets to generate the revenue and audiences to support female athletes.
  • If athletes are required to pass their academic courses while training for elite level competition, then all students in college should be required to take and pass physical education courses.
  • Why our sports agency should invest in a particular player, or sign a contract with a specific sponsor.

Interesting Persuasive Speech Topics

Ideally, any persuasive speech you give will be interesting—otherwise you will put your audience to sleep! The following are some persuasive speech topics guaranteed to pique your audience’s interest.

  • No matter how young you are, now is the best time to write your will and declare your wishes for all end of life issues including organ donation, DNR orders, and whether to keep you alive on artificial systems.
  • The outlandish notion that mandatory bilingual education would improve our children’s future.
  • Why we pick and choose when to regulate, and when we leave things up to the free market.
  • The quickest and cheapest way to reform healthcare.
  • Why genetics and nanotechnologies are the most important sectors to invest in now.
  • Why superstring theory could lead to a breakthrough that enables the unification of Einstein’s relativity with quantum physics.
  • Boycotting businesses is the most effective strategy for creating meaningful social change because we live in a free market society.
  • More money should be spent right now on developing the technologies that allow us to upload our consciousness into the matrix.
  • Companies should have liberal work-from-home policies and other means to encourage workers to remain motivated and healthy.
  • Why we should not be afraid of human cloning and especially of artificially intelligent systems.
  • Social shaming seems simple, but it is really the best way to create a massive movement in support of environmental or social responsibility.
  • Why some socialist policies would be good for America.

Persuasive Speech Topics for High School

High school students or anyone above grade 8 or 9 will practice the art of persuasion, rhetoric, and speech. It is important that you learn how to make a public, oral presentation. First doing a persuasive speech in front of your classmates gives you some practice, so that later on when it really counts, you will already feel confident and prepared. In high school, speech and debate classes assign you persuasive speech topics. Some social studies and civics classes also call upon you to deliver oral reports. The same would be true for classes in business, management, and leadership.

  • Persuade your audience to stop drinking milk or eating dairy products, based on both animal rights and health reasons.
  • A persuasive speech on why political correctness is bad, and how the society has become too sensitive.
  • Persuade your audience to take a one minute cold shower every single day for thirty days in order to encourage people to get outside of their comfort zone on a daily basis.
  • Why doing drugs is bad, and how to avoid peer pressure.
  • Persuade your principal to spend money on upgraded equipment for a sports team, the music or art department, or for new computers.
  • Why college fraternities and sororities are things of the past, and why they should be abolished.
  • Persuade your classmates to read a specific book or listen to your favorite album.
  • Why it is important to do volunteer work, or why schools should make some type of community service a mandatory part of the curriculum.
  • All students should be given a government stipend for international travel after their senior year, prior to starting college or a new job.
  • A persuasive speech on the importance of caring for one’s elders.


Delivering a speech for class, or to your company? Now that you have some solid persuasive speech topics to work with, the time has come to begin with an outline and a draft. Then you will have a lot more time working on what really matters when it comes to an effective speech: your delivery. If you need to put your persuasive speech into another format, such as PowerPoint, you can also find some helpful tools online.

Good speaking skills, including your overall presentation, body language, mannerisms, voice, and dress are going to be important for many years to come as you grow your career. If you start now, with the simple act of writing a good persuasive speech, you will find that speaking and leading come more easily to you each day.

Joining Toastmasters, taking a drama class, or delivering a presentation to your local library are some other ways you can get started on persuasive speech writing. Likewise, a writing tutor or friend can help you perfect your ideas and deliver your persuasive speech in a way that will get you the grades that you want and deserve. You will find that you use your public speaking skills not just in school but in your future career. Just don’t forget the importance of connecting with your audience, because the ultimate purpose of a persuasive speech is to inspire people to take action.

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