Persuasive Speech Criteria

Persuasive Speech Criteria


In this assignment, your goal as a speaker is to persuade the audience to your way of thinking on a specific topic and function as an advocate of a specific issue or topic. The assignment allows you advance your opinion and support your point of view with evidence to back it up. You will need to research your topic until you are capable of discussing it competently. Persuasive speaking is unique in that it has an informative component. You must first teach the audience members about your topic and then persuade them according to your chosen position (recall the persuasive process—awareness, understanding, agreement…). However, the majority of the speech needs to advance solid arguments that are supported with evidence to support your position in order to be effective.

Length of Speech

The speech should be from 6-8 minutes. Points (10) will be deducted for speeches under 6 minutes and over 8 minutes. A speech less than 5 minutes is an automatic F.

Structure of the Speech

Introduction: A complete introduction must contain the following items: A) an attention-getter; B) introduce the subject area to the class; C) a thesis (aka your position statement (what is your goal/objective)); D) audience relevance–a statement that motivates your audience to listen to you and follow your advice (what is it that makes the topic pertinent to this class or why the subject appeals to us). Remember, you can select any subject, you just need to be certain that you take steps to “sell” the relevance of the subject to this/your audience; E) a credibility statement (remember to sell yourself as being competent & committed to the subject); and F) a preview of main points.

Body: The body should have 2 to 5 clear and distinct main points. Each point should have been previewed in your introduction and needs to be fully supported. Be sure to adhere to an approved pattern of organization for your ideas. You must cite at least 5 different oral sources in the speech. If you only have three sources your grade will not exceed a D. If you have no oral source citations, you fail the assignment. Your main points and different parts of the speech need to be connected with smooth and creative transitions. Develop your ideas in order to back up your position with evidence in a manner supportive of your Argument. This will allow the audience an opportunity to assess the merits and accuracy of your arguments in support of your thesis (or position).

Conclusion: Your conclusion must contain: A) reinforcement of the thesis; B) review of each main point; and C) a strong ending that makes a final appeal and closes out effectively (Now that the audience has heard your speech, what do you want them to do?).


Delivery must be extemporaneous. If you read the speech, the highest grade you can earn is a 70%. You must use notecardstaking your full sentence outline along with you is unacceptable. You should have sustained eye contact, appropriate gestures, and a good vocal quality with minimal filler words. The 8 x 8 rule applies (64 words per note card) along with a limit on the number of note cards which is the ”two plus” standard.

Outline & Reference Page & Note Cards

As with the informative speech, a full-sentence outline is required for this speech. Again, a full-sentence outline is basically your speech in outline formThe outline will count for 10 points of the assignment (a letter grade). Remember outlines must be typed and turned in on the day you speak. You ​must label what persuasive organizational pattern you are using for your speech—put it under your name (e.g., problem/solution, motivated sequence). The reference page with the 5 citations minimum is also worth 10 points (a separate typed page “on time”), so if you blow the outline and reference requirements, the best you can get is 80% for the assignment barring any other deductions. No Wikipedia, and you don’t count as a source! Lastly, as usual, I will be collecting and evaluating your note cards and they count for 10 points.


This assignment is worth 23% of the entire course requirements. It is essential that you follow the above instructions precisely in order to maximize your performance for this assignment. By this point in the semester you should have a good understanding of what the expectations are for this assignment and those that follow. Don’t let this assignment turn out to be a bad day, make it a great one with all your best effort put forth on the assignment.

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