Persuasion is a powerful tool used by people use every. An effective persuasive speaker has the ability to change people’s minds about specific subjects. However, difficulty can arise when the listeners are opposed to the speaker’s idea from the start. Persuasion is a challenge for any speaker, and it is crucial that they are equipped with the proper tools. After reading Chapter 15 of The Art of Public Speaking, I feel that the challenge of persuasive speaking, the target audience, and speeches that gain immediate action are the areas I need to focus on as I prepare to deliver a persuasive speech.
People face persuasion daily, in one way or another. Parents are especially exposed to persuasion from their children. Generally, the
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I could listen to the most skilled persuasive speaker deliver a speech about the benefits of abortion, and there is no doubt in my mind I would still be opposed to abortion at the conclusion of the speech. Lucas makes this clear when he writes, “No matter how expert you are on the topic, no matter how skillfully you prepare the speech, no matter how captivating the delivery- some listeners will not agree with you (Lucas, 2009, p. 326). Public speakers, when faced with these types of challenges must learn the skills and techniques that are necessary to adapt to them.
Identifying the target audience is very important to a speaker’s success in a persuasion speech. As I mentioned earlier, there will always be listeners who will be unable to be persuaded. For this reason, speakers need to focus on a core group of listeners who they believe can be persuaded. By understanding the target audience; a speaker can direct the message to them, and not be concerned about the listeners who are unable to be persuaded. Lucas writes, “Once you know where your target audience stands, you can tailor your speech to fit their values and concerns-aim at the target, so to speak” (Lucas, 2009, p. 328). Lucas suggests using research to determine where the listeners stand. He writes, “you can use questionnaires to find out where your classmates stand on your speech topic” (Lucas, 2009, p. 328). It seems that this method would be very