Using argumentative speech topics is a method of speaking that either convinces the listeners that your ideas are valid, or that they have more validity than somebody else’s ideas.
Typically, this is done through either an ethos, pathos or logos style of speaking.
There are many different ways of using speech in order to persuade an individual or group to feel as YOU do. Whenever a speaker is skilled at doing this, they can control a room and guide it in any direction that they want it to go.
Speech Topic: I Am an Expert
Persuading your audience through the use of ethos is a way of convincing them of your argument because you have validity on a personal level in their eyes.
The word ethos is Greek for character, and in terms of speech-making it refers to the credibility of the person making the speech. Credibility is something you absolutely MUST project if you’re going to effectively use this style of speech. Once you establish yourself as someone that is credible in your listeners’ eyes, it will be easy to persuade them to feel as you do.
An example statement using ethos
“As a mother of five healthy eaters, I can assure you that introducing vegetables to babies as early as possible avoids fussy feeding.”
In other words, “I have raised five children so have the personal experience that qualifies me to make this statement”.
Speech Topic: Emotional Appeal
Pathos, or emotional persuasion, is simply a way of appealing to somebody’s emotions in order to convince them of your argument. Ideally, you will make your audience identify with you and ‘feel your pain’. Pathos works well with argumentative speech topics, because it is easy to appeal to somebody’s emotions throughout this type of presentation. This is especially true if you’re discussing a subject about which emotions tend to run high.
An example statement using pathos
“Imagine your children facing a future without you – then take this opportunity TODAY to give up smoking and create a healthier you!”
This appeals directly to your listeners’ love for their families and could be used to persuade them to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Speech Topic: Applying Logic
Using logos is using logic to support your statements and thereby persuade your audience. There are several different ways in which you can do this, but one of the most effective is to develop a coherent speech that moves logically through your argument, emphasizes reasoning (including statistics and data if appropriate) then culminates in a powerful conclusion.
An example statement using logos
“Every student using the dining hall was questioned, and not one expressed the wish for a ‘fast food’ option at lunch time.”
Logically, then, there is no need to serve fast food as there will be no demand for it.
Making Your Case: Critical Thinking and the Argumentative Essay
One of the most important parts of effectively delivering a presentation based around argumentative speech topics is the identification of your particular audience. You need to gauge how your listeners are likely to already feel about the subject, then tailor your arguments appropriately.
You should also keep in mind the audience’s familiarity with your subject matter.
If you feel it’s something they may not know a great deal about, then use the intial part of your speech to briefly but clearly give more background. This will help you develop a rapport with your listeners.
Speech Topic: Ensure Your Argumentative Speech Uses Ethos, Pathos, and/or Logos
If you establish yourself early in your speech as an authority on the subject, or appeal to your audience’s emotions or logic, you’ll find it easier to develop a convincing argument and persuade your listeners to agree with you!
Here are some
excellent controversial speech topics
to choose from if you’ve been asked to prepare an argumentative speech.