Passive Agreement Speech

by Karen Smith
Successful public speakers attain passive agreement from speaking persuasively to their audiences.

Successful public speakers attain passive agreement from speaking persuasively to their audiences.

Speeches are sometimes made for the purpose of persuading listeners to tacitly agree with an argument rather than motivating them to action. To persuade your audience effectively, you will need to prepare a speech that is clear, logical and emotionally compelling. You should deliver it in a manner that maintains these qualities and reveals your personal credibility.

Establish Your Credibility

At the beginning of your speech, after introducing and stating your argument, convince your audience that you are both a trustworthy person and that you have the necessary experience to address this specific argument. To appear trustworthy, try sharing an anecdote about your personal involvement in the issue you are speaking about and describe the steps you have taken to inform yourself about the issue. Be optimistic, speak confidently and practice your speech so that you can deliver it without disfluencies. Doing so is necessary for getting your audience to believe and agree with you.

Use Logical Reasoning and Evidence

Build up to your main argument in a series of steps, which you should preview in an outline at the beginning of the talk. Each step should be supported by concrete evidence and examples. For example, if claiming that standardized testing doesn't improve students' mathematical performance, give some statistical evidence as well as perhaps some anecdotes about specific students, teachers or schools. Define any relevant terms that your listeners might not understand but try to avoid jargon when possible. Then, connect the steps together logically to formulate your argument. Conclude with a memorable summary of the main points and how they are linked.

Engage Your Audience Emotionally

Keep your speech from becoming dry by using vivid examples that your listeners will care about personally. Tap into you listeners emotional needs by explaining how the points you make relate to and impact them directly. Positive emotions are obviously useful for persuasion, but so is fear as well as anxiety about what other people think of us. Consider drawing on these, perhaps through humor, such as by making jokes about people who disagree with or fail to accept your argument. However, make sure to test your jokes first on an honest friend or relative to ensure that they are tasteful, funny and delivered appropriately.

Address the Opposing Argument

Critical listeners will want to hear you address and logically refute common arguments that oppose yours. For example, if persuading listeners to support building a new neighborhood school, explain why the main arguments against building the school are based on false information, logically incorrect or morally untenable. Experienced speakers can build effective arguments by playing "devil's advocate" or pretending to take an oppositional position, then revealing it to be flawed and inadequate.

About the Author

Karen Smith has been writing professionally since 2008. Her articles are published in the "Encyclopedia of Muslim-American History" and the upcoming "Dictionary of African Biography," as well as on Patheos.com and in volumes of "Anthropology News," "Contemporary Islam," "Islamic Africa" and "American Ethnologist." She has a Doctor of Philosophy in anthropology.

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