NOTES FOR THE PERSUASIVE EVALUATION FORM
this guide as a checklist to ensure you meet all requirements for
In addition to the pointers listed here, consult the suggested
speech websites and
Communication Arts Center, Rm. 2313.
gained attention + interest
Instead of stating your name and your topic, open in a way that
grabs listeners’ attention.
- Tell your listeners how and why you came by your expertise in this
- Does it relate to your job, your major, or a hobby?
- Have you done research on the topic?
- Have you had personal experience that taught you about it?
Rather than mentioning specific books you read or people you
interviewed (only cite your sources when telling us where you got
particular facts), give your audience the sense that you have know
more about this topic than the average person does.
showed relevance of topic
- Tell listeners why they should care about this subject.
- Localize your topic by showing how it affects people in our area.
- Personalize your topic by showing it affects people in our
position (e.g. as students, as taxpayers, or perhaps as
consumers, as computer users, as parents, etc.).
previewed body of speech
- List the main points you will cover in the speech. In other
words, share your thesis.
- Your English teachers may or may not like you to give such a
precise list in your essays; in speech-making, however,
listeners need to know exactly what they can expect to hear.
main points clear, used appropriate organizational pattern
- In previewing the body, you’ve just listed each main point you
- Now, make sure each of these main points is distinct; your
main points should be separate categories or groups of ideas
rather than a mass of ideas running together.
- Further, choose an organizational pattern that suits your main
transitions clear + effective
- Tell us when you move from the introduction to the body and when
you move from one main point to the next.
cited sources (at least 4)
- Tell listeners where you got your facts by quoting or
paraphrasing the research materials you list in your
- This is particularly important when relating controversial or
- This is also a good way to show that experts share your
- In a speech, a reference to a source is called an “oral
footnote” and doesn’t require as much information as provided in
your bibliography. For example:
- If you cite a book, give the title and author (and maybe the
- If you cite an article, give 2 or 3 out of these: title,
author, publication, date.
- If you cite an interview, give the person’s name and position.
- Avoid claims like “they say . . .” or “I read somewhere that .
argued points soundly, presented clearly stated reasons
- Give your audience good reasons to share your views.
Avoid logical fallacies or irrational statements.
- Anticipate your listeners’ potential objections to your claims
and answer these counter-arguments in your speech.
used solid evidence (facts, expert opinions, etc.) to support claims
- Back all your claims with statistics, testimony, and/ or examples.
- Avoid generalizations like “many people” or “a huge problem.”
gave the audience specific, practical action steps
- Tell us exactly how listeners can participate in fixing the
problem(s) you just discussed.
- These recommendations should be realistic for your audience.
- Avoid general statements like “Something must be done.”
Instead, tell us exactly we should do.
signaled speech ending
- Do this in 2 places:
- Let us know you’re leaving the body of the speech and moving
into the conclusion.
- Let us know, at the end of your closing, that you are finished
with the speech.
summarized and reinforced thesis/main points
- Summarize the main points you’ve covered, although not in the
exact same words you used to preview them in your introduction.
- Drive your message home by ending on a strong, memorable note.
- The conclusion is not the time to introduce new material or
ideas you couldn’t fit in earlier in the speech; use this time
only to reinforce ideas you’ve already covered.
maintained eye contact
- Be sure to look up from your notes.
- Practice helps. Know your material so well that you don’t have
to read your speech.
- Cut down your notes; using key words rather than a manuscript
or sentence outline keeps you from relying too heavily on notes.
- Be sure to look around the whole room. Don’t just focus on one
person or one group.
used voice effectively (volume, pitch, rate, emphasis)
- Speak loudly and clearly, keeping a steady pace.
- Aim for vocal variety rather than monotone.
avoided distracting mannerisms
- Try not to fidget, and try not to play with objects or your
fingers or hair.
- Try not to sway, rock, kick, or lean on the podium.
- You may walk around rather than standing still.
avoided distracting phrases
- “Um” – “like” – “you know” – “I mean” – “OK”
used visual aids effectively
- Find some way to illustrate your ideas: to make them clearer,
more interesting, and/or more memorable.
- If you use video, limit it to 30 seconds.
- Be sure to explain your visual aids in detail; it is not
enough to merely point to something.
- Do not use the chalkboard. If you want your audience to see
something, make a poster, slide, or transparency in advance.
goal + topic appropriate, focused, challenging, creatively developed
Choose a goal and topic that:
- conform to the assignment, e.g. persuasive vs. informative.
- merit the attention of a roomful of college students.
- can be researched and don’t just rely on personal knowledge.
are tasteful and don’t advocate an illegal activity.
- Narrow your topic so that it can be developed in the allotted
- Be original: present a familiar topic in a new light or come
up with something entirely new or unexpected.
- Do something unusual! Wear a costume, play some music, bring
in an amazing visual aid, weave a fantastic story into
your speech, or find some other way to make your presentation
unique, memorable, and interesting.
adapted speech to audience
- Keep reminding your listeners about how this topic affects
them; don’t just do this in the introduction to the speech.
- Work your audience:
- Use personal pronouns like “you” and “we,” “us” and “ours.”
- Refer to things you have in common with the audience.
- Use examples that allow you to relate new concepts to familiar
language clear, correct, vivid, empathetic
Choose words that accurately reflect your ideas. (Don’t use words if
you are not
absolutely certain of their meaning and correct usage.)
- Get to the point quickly.
- Avoid vague phrases like “all that kind of stuff” or “et cetera.”
- Use descriptive language.
- Be sensitive to your audience.
Use good grammar.