Speaking to persuade: Motivating audiences with solid arguments and moving language

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About this course: In the professional realm, we need to be able to argue without being argumentative. Whether you are fundraising for a nonprofit, pitching a business proposal, or suggesting a change to company policy, you are making arguments. In making the case for your topic, you often want to raise awareness, identify a pressing problem, discuss appropriate solutions, and outline specific steps for the audience. To be persuasive, you must be clear (the audience may have little to no existing knowledge), you must be convincing (you are trying to sway the audience that your argument is valid), and you must be compelling (you are trying to motivate the audience enough so that they wan…

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Didn't find what you were looking for? See also: Motivation, Public speaking & presentation, Feedback Skills, Leadership, and Persuasion & Influencing.

When you enroll for courses through Coursera you get to choose for a paid plan or for a free plan

  • Free plan: No certicification and/or audit only. You will have access to all course materials except graded items.
  • Paid plan: Commit to earning a Certificate—it's a trusted, shareable way to showcase your new skills.

About this course: In the professional realm, we need to be able to argue without being argumentative. Whether you are fundraising for a nonprofit, pitching a business proposal, or suggesting a change to company policy, you are making arguments. In making the case for your topic, you often want to raise awareness, identify a pressing problem, discuss appropriate solutions, and outline specific steps for the audience. To be persuasive, you must be clear (the audience may have little to no existing knowledge), you must be convincing (you are trying to sway the audience that your argument is valid), and you must be compelling (you are trying to motivate the audience enough so that they want to take specific actions). Persuasive speaking thus requires clarity, strategy, topic mastery, plus a sense of style and presence. By the end of this course, you should be able to design persuasive speeches that address problems and solutions and that motivate audience members. You should be able to use rhetorical style strategically and deliver passionate and compelling speeches. Learners will record speeches, providing and receiving peer feedback.

Created by:  University of Washington
  • Taught by:  Dr. Matt McGarrity, Principal Lecturer

    UW Department of Communication
Basic Info Course 3 of 4 in the Dynamic Public Speaking Specialization Level Beginner Commitment 5 weeks of study; 2 hours per week. Language English How To Pass Pass all graded assignments to complete the course. User Ratings 4.6 stars Average User Rating 4.6See what learners said Coursework

Each course is like an interactive textbook, featuring pre-recorded videos, quizzes and projects.

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University of Washington Founded in 1861, the University of Washington is one of the oldest state-supported institutions of higher education on the West Coast and is one of the preeminent research universities in the world.

Syllabus


WEEK 1


Week 1: Welcome. Let's develop a persuasive argument.



In this module, we’ll focus on the key strategies for designing persuasive speeches. In examining persuasive speaking, we tackle both solid argument and eloquent writing. After sorting through the broad concerns about persuasion, we start with some of the most powerful argumentative tools you can have: status quo and stock issues. By the end of the week, these two ideas will have helped us figure out what we need to argue (and what we don’t) and how to go about it. If you want some feedback, you’ll be able to upload an introductory speech for peer review.


15 videos, 2 readings, 2 practice quizzes expand


  1. Video: Welcome to persuasive speaking!
  2. Video: What’s this course about?
  3. Video: What are the assignments?
  4. Reading: Persuasive Speech Assignment Description
  5. Video: What is persuasion?
  6. Video: Good persuasion requires careful planning.
  7. Video: Good persuasion involves logos, pathos, and ethos
  8. Video: Good persuasion responds to questions of fact, policy, and value.
  9. Video: What’s the status quo and burden of proof?
  10. Practice Quiz: Persuasion
  11. Video: What are the stock issues and how do they help?
  12. Video: Stock issue: Ill. Something demands our attention.
  13. Video: Stock issue: Blame. Why does the ill persist?
  14. Video: Stock issue: Cure. What should we do?
  15. Video: Stock issue: Consequences. What happens if we act?
  16. Video: Using these tools to build arguments for and against.
  17. Practice Quiz: Stock issues
  18. Reading: Week 1 assignment check-in
  19. Peer Review: Introductory speech
  20. Video: How to record speech videos

Graded: Week 1 quiz

WEEK 2


Week 2: Designing your persuasive speech



Having mapped out a basic strategy, we now need to think more about the audience and how to respond to their concerns. Additionally, we need to build the speech logically. We will examine how to design congruent speeches that build to clear and motivational calls to action. By the end of the week, you will have a number of techniques for making your case in a way that invites agreement rather than disagreement. If you want strengthen these skills, you’ll be able to engage in some speech analysis.


13 videos, 4 readings, 2 practice quizzes expand


  1. Reading: Argument tactics. Reading and responding to audience concerns.
  2. Video: Go big. Move from policy to value.
  3. Video: Go small. Protect the argument from larger issues.
  4. Video: Challenge softly. Introduce new evidence.
  5. Video: Find your cost-benefit balance
  6. Video: Show, don't tell. Include a story.
  7. Video: Validate your argument. Include some testimony.
  8. Practice Quiz: Argument tactics
  9. Video: What are key arrangement concerns?
  10. Video: Congruency. Everything should fit together.
  11. Video: Calls to action. What should the audience do?
  12. Video: Calls to action. Highlighting audience efficacy.
  13. Video: Stock issues arrangement. Building to the call to action.
  14. Video: Monroe's motivated sequence. Helping the audience visualize the cure.
  15. Practice Quiz: Persuasive arrangement
  16. Reading: Week 2 assignment check-in
  17. Reading: Speech analysis #1 overview
  18. Video: Sample persuasive speech #1
  19. Reading: Matt's feedback

Graded: Week 2 Quiz
Graded: Speech analysis #1

WEEK 3


Week 3: Moving language.



In this module, we'll move from persuasive ideas to a completed argument and speech draft. I think everyone should take the time to become familiar with the fallacies discussed in this module. Globally, the quality of argumentation and reasoning would be better if everyone had a stronger grasp of these concepts. As you well know, persuasion isn't just argument - it's also the crafting of strategic and stylistic language. When people think about the most famous speeches in history, they tend to think of stylistically rich speeches. By the end of the week, you will have a list of strategies for avoiding fallacies and framing your case strategically and stylistically. If you want some feedback, you’ll be able to upload a persuasive speech outline for peer review and engage in some speech writing.


13 videos, 1 reading, 2 practice quizzes expand


  1. Video: That doesn’t sound right! Avoiding fallacies.
  2. Video: Fallacies of reasoning. Something is missing
  3. Video: Fallacies of reasoning. Flawed causality.
  4. Video: Fallacies of relevance. Bad evidence.
  5. Video: Fallacies of relevance. Bad response.
  6. Practice Quiz: Fallacies
  7. Video: Framing. Building credible commonalities.
  8. Video: Identification. We're on the same side.
  9. Video: Topic value. Finding the best words for your subject.
  10. Video: Stylistic devices are easy equations for eloquence.
  11. Video: Sound repetition. Assonance, consonance, alliteration, asyndeton, and polysyndeton.
  12. Video: Phrasing repetition. Anaphora, epistrophe, and symploce.
  13. Video: Writing big applause lines. Anadiplosis, antimetabole, and maxims.
  14. Video: Stylistic hotspots. Where to include style in your speech.
  15. Practice Quiz: Style
  16. Reading: Week 3 assignment check-in
  17. Peer Review: Argument outline

Graded: Week 3 Quiz

WEEK 4


Week 4: Compelling delivery



In this module, we’ll finish our work on persuasive speaking. In order to study delivery, we need to turn to models and imitation. After examining some case studies, we'll work on stylistic delivery and analyze and practice strategic and stylistic language use. We'll talk about the dreaded "UM", a bane of speakers and an issue that merits study. We'll also go over some tips for reducing these sorts of disfluencies. By the end of the week, you will have a couple of speaking techniques to make every speech you give sound more confident and moving. If you want some feedback, you’ll be able to upload a practice persuasive speech for peer review.


10 videos, 3 readings, 1 practice quiz expand


  1. Video: Models of imitation. Who can help you bring out your best
  2. Video: Barack Obama. A model of stylistic energy.
  3. Video: Bobby Jindal. Beware of over-relying on your scripts.
  4. Video: Stylistic delivery requires your commitment.
  5. Video: Why do I say um?
  6. Video: How can I avoid saying um?
  7. Practice Quiz: Um
  8. Video: Dressing for a successful speech.
  9. Video: Preparing your speaking space.
  10. Video: Engaging the audience by working the room.
  11. Video: Making good eye contact.
  12. Reading: week 4 assignment check-in
  13. Reading: Speech analysis #2 overview
  14. Reading: Matt's feedback

Graded: Week 4 Quiz
Graded: Speech analysis #2

WEEK 5


Week 5: Review and assessment
Thank you for time in this course. I hope the material has proven helpful in some way. We concluded our discussion of the persuasive speech last week. I would like to spend a bit of time reflecting on the course. We will end this week with your final speech.


3 videos expand


  1. Video: Course review
  2. Video: Other courses in this specialization
  3. Video: Sample persuasive speech

Graded: Persuasive speech
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