Earth Ethics Institute
Miami Dade College
Home Students Faculty & Staff Community EDUCATION Greening the College Organic Gardens services Resources



Notes for the Persuasive Evaluation Form



Use this guide as a checklist to ensure you meet all requirements for the speech.
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.

___ established credibility

            - Tell your listeners how and why you came by your expertise in this subject.

                        - 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 will cover.

            - 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 points.


___ 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 bibliography.

            - This is particularly important when relating controversial or unlikely-sounding facts.

            - This is also a good way to show that experts share your opinions.

            - 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 year).

            - 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 time.

            - 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 ones.


___ 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.


 Chandra links pulsar to historic supernova 


Earth Ethics Institute • An Earth Literacy Resource Center Serving MDC Administrators, Faculty, Staff,  and Students, as well as the South Florida Community
Miami Dade College • 300 N.E. 2nd Avenue, Room 3506-11, Miami, FL 33132-2204 • t: 305-237-3796 • f: 305-237-7724