Persuasive speech topics can be found just about anywhere you look. Think about it! Aren’t you always being persuaded to do something—whether it is to buy this or that fragrance, try this or that pizza, buckle your seat belt when driving, or vote for this or that candidate? Sure you are! In fact, all the ads you see all around you every day are persuasive speeches waiting to happen. You can look elsewhere as well: think about the subjects you study in school—aren’t your teachers trying to persuade you of some point of view? Think about music or movies or what you read—don’t you find yourself being persuaded about something in everything you interact with? Look around at the world in which you live: it is full of people trying to get other people to act a certain way, accept a certain idea, or buy a certain product. See? Persuasive speech topics are everywhere—just sitting there waiting to be found. To help jump start your juices, here are few topics that might appeal to you.
Topics For College Students
- College should be free to the public.
- College degrees are virtually required nowadays if you want to acquire a career. Yet paying for college can virtually bankrupt you. For something that is necessary to get going in life, shouldn’t there be a way to make it available to all at no charge?
- All classes should be graded on a pass/fail basis.
- Handing out grades is a very subjective measure. Pass/fail measures are more objective and eliminate a lot of the gray area where biases can be formed.
- Class attendance should not be mandatory.
- If a student can show up on the last day of class without ever having attended a lecture, pass the test, and ace the course, shouldn’t that student have the right to do so?
- Online education is a great way to learn.
- Not only can online education be less expensive than campus-based learning, it allows students to complete courses in their own time instead of having to be at a certain place at a certain hour of the day. In other words, it is much more conducive to modern living, where life goes by at a mile a second.
- Artificial Intelligence vs. Human Intelligence
- Everyone has seen The Matrix and understood the warning: AI can be a great boon to society in some ways—but what happens if human beings start relying on it too much?
- Studying abroad is a terrific opportunity for young students.
- Not only can studying abroad be more affordable than going to school stateside, it can also be a chance to experience once-in-a-lifetime interactions with people and places you would otherwise never get to know.
- Ethics are the most important things a student can learn.
- While some might argue business is the best subject to study, or science, or math, the fact is that without ethics no one is safe! Think about all the potentially great organizations that have ever existed—opportunities for success that were brought low because a few people at the top failed to exercise good ethics. That’s why studying ethics is so important.
- Everyone should visit the Grand Canyon at least once in their lifetime.
- There is no better way to obtain a sense of the vastness of space than to stand at the top of the Grand Canyon and look down. It is truly an unforgettable experience and one that will stay with you for the rest of your life.
- Americans are over-prescribed.
- The opioid epidemic got started as a result of Big Pharma pushing its pills onto the public via advertising, primary care providers. These pills are not only dangerous but have been falsely advertised by the pharmaceutical industry as being safe and non-addictive.
- Why the global credit impulse is a good market indicator for investors.
- Traders will use a number of indicators, from moving averages to volume, to make decisions about when to buy and when to sell. Investors, however, might take a different approach to the long game—and indicators for them often tell a deeper story about what is going on. In the age of central banking intervention, the one big indicator that should matter most is the global credit impulse. When it crashes…watch out.
- Why a cruise to the Caribbean is the best way to spend a vacation holiday.
- Cruises are nice because your meals are included in the price, you don’t have to worry about traveling to your destination (the ship takes you right there), and there is a lot to do aboard the cruise while on your way to the beach.
- The best time of the day to cut the grass.
- Mowing the lawn is something everyone must do—but in order to properly care for the earth’s atmosphere the best time of day to cut the grass is when the fumes from the engine can have the least negative impact on the ozone.
- Why Samsung is better than Apple.
- In the battle of smart phones, there will be winners and there will be losers. One must ultimately reign supreme. Persuade your audience why Samsung’s devices outshine the iPhone—yes, that’s right, the device that started it all.
- Why the federal income tax should be abolished.
- This one won’t be hard to persuade an audience of: you could discuss it from a legal perspective, an economic perspective or a socio-political perspective. Almost any reason for abolishing the income tax is a good one!
- You should eliminate refined sugar from your diet.
- Look at the diets of the all-time greatest athletes and you’ll find one thing in common: they’ve eliminated refined sugar from their diets. Being healthy starts with eating right and a diet that has too much sugar in it can be incredibly draining on the body!
- Why should you support your local creative arts programs.
- Arts and humanities have always been a major part of all great societies. Ancient Athens was the artistic hub of the classical world—and that focus on the arts has been adopted by Western society ever since. In today’s era of too-much-Internet, it is important to get out, reconnect with real people, and support your local arts.
- Why children should raise at least one pet.
- Having a pet to take care of teaches children to be responsible. It also connects them to a nature in a way that is very important in the Digital Era, when so many kids are attached to iPads and tablets by the time they are two years of age. Having a pet can be a good way to remind everyone in the home that there is a life outside of electronics!
- Why learning another language can help advance your career.
- Being bilingual can really be a great asset. In today’s globalized world, businesses must interact with people from all over the globe. Having someone on staff who can speak two or more languages is not only a benefit in today’s world, it’s fast becoming a necessity. Knowing another language can help you stand out from your peers when it comes time to hiring. So what are you waiting for? Get started!
- Learning to cook is one of the best things a person can learn.
- There’s nothing quite like a homemade meal, especially if done well. Plus, it can save a family from having to eat out a lot and that means money in the bank!
- Why you should make use of the sharing economy.
- With Uber, Lyft, and AirBnB all changing the way people travel, isn’t it time you start thinking about how these sharing economy platforms can help you? Uber are Lyft are cheap, quick and safe ways to get from point A to point B and both beat having to wait for a taxi (plus—no tips!). AirBnB offers you the opportunity to travel and stay away overnight without losing any of the conveniences of home (plus—it can be a lot cheaper than paying for a hotel!).
- Why humility really can be a virtue.
- One of the most talked about forms of leadership in the modern era is servant leadership. This is a style of leadership that puts the follower’s needs first. It requires a leader to will to put others ahead of himself. It requires humility and charity. In today’s day and age, people from all around often need help getting on their feet and finding the right track. A little humility can be exactly what is needed as we all try to find the right track forward together.
- Why reading Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov could change your life.
- This book has been influencing people since its publication in the 19th century. It shows in immense detail the complete range of humanity, from saints to sinners and everything in between. The novel is undoubtedly Fyodor Dostoevsky’s masterpiece—and it is full of scenes and stories that can leave an impact on one’s consciousness for a lifetime.
- Why homemade sauerkraut could be just what you need.
- Everyone is familiar with antibiotics—those things that doctors prescribe when we get a cold that are designed to kill bacteria. However, did you know that there are good bacteria in your gut that are responsible for supporting your immune system—and that when you take antibiotics you risk making your body’s defenses against illness even worse? That is why many health professionals recommend taking probiotics—these are supplements that can help restore the good bacteria in your gut. Well, one way to make the process even more natural is to serve yourself up a batch of homemade sauerkraut! Sauerkraut is full of good, healthy probiotics that can help your body feel great again.
- Why you should introduce your friends to Indian food.
- Indian food is delicious: the curry, the veg samosas, the naan, the dahl—all of it is enticing and inviting; yet many people are afraid to branch out and try new things—especially ethnic food. Persuade your friends to try eating Indian food and maybe this will broaden their horizons.
- Americans should air kiss on the cheek when they greet one another.
- French people do it and it looks so classy and cool when it happens. Nothing says confidence like air kissing one’s friends’ cheeks when meeting them. It is an easy way to make people feel instantly welcome and comfortable.
- Traffic lights should be banned.
- There is nothing worse than trying to drive a few blocks in your car only to be stopped at every intersection by a red light. It’s one thing when all the lights are in sync and you can catch them when they are all green. But it’s quite another when they are out of sync and you hit every red light on the road. The fact that it can possibly take you 20 minutes to travel 2 miles on busy roads where there are a lot of lights is reason enough to abolish traffic lights. Sure, it might sound like a bad idea—but there are better ways to promote the flow of traffic!
- NASA should work on time travel instead of space travel.
- Yes, space exploration is neat and exciting—but time travel is about a 1000 times neater and more exciting. Besides, NASA has been exploring space for decades now and we still haven’t colonized the Moon or Mars—so maybe it’s time to start looking into time travel as the next frontier. Just think of the possibilities!
- Colleges should offer courses on napping.
- Medical experts agree that napping is advantageous to health. Therefore, schools should get behind the experts and help students to understand how they can use naps to feel better throughout the day. Students could even obtain a Bachelor’s or a Master’s in napping so as to help others around the world better understand the positive effects of napping and how to best implement a good nap to help one reach one’s highest potential.
- All communication should be conducted by telegram.
- Who doesn’t like receiving a message in the mail? Today, we are inundated with text messages and Instagrams on our phones—to the point that most of them seem irrelevant and unimportant. But just imagine if you received a telegram! Suddenly every message would be weighed with more consideration and thought, and interactions might seem meaningful again.
- Why watching a live performance on the stage is more of a social experience than watching a filmed performance on a screen even if there a way more people in the cinema than there are in the seats at the playhouse.
- There is something about live theater, about the way the performers connect with the audience, that makes it more immediate, more social, and more direct than the interaction between a film and a viewer.
- Why you really should take time to smell the roses.
- Life goes by pretty quickly and few people actually take time to step out of the rat race to appreciate the great gift and beauty that is life. The few moments we have on this planet should be cherished and appreciated—and that is why everyone should take time each day to smell the roses.
- Why materialism is the death of culture.
- Materialism forces people to focus too much on the things of this world instead of higher things. Materialism supposes that all we have is the here and now, whereas cultures throughout all history have taught there is more to life than the here and now. From the East to the West, people throughout history have understood that man is more than just animal and more than just an economic creature. Materialism is the death of culture because culture is the expression of the soul, and a society that fails to focus on the needs of the soul will ultimately sound its own death knell.
- Why children really are the future.
- Whitney Houston sang it best: “I believe the children are our future.” Without children to care for, we are not invested in the future of society. We don’t care what happens. We think of ourselves but not of the coming generations. If, however, we realize that children are the future, as the song goes, we feel compelled to get more involved, to participate in the world, and to invest in the right things.
- Drug addiction should be treated as an illness, not as a crime.
- Too many people in America are arrested for using or selling drugs. However, most of the people who use illegal drugs are attempting to self-medicate. Putting these people in prisons does nothing to address the underlying issues of drug addiction and, indeed, can actually make the whole situation worse.
- Experience is the best educator.
- One can spend endless hours in school, but until one gets out in the real world and gains some first-hand experience, all one’s classroom training will count for nothing. Experience is the best teacher because it is direct, impactful, and oftentimes unforgettable.
- America should be investing in infrastructure instead of war.
- Bridges, roads, water supply, dams, ports, and sewer systems are all in need of repair all across America. Yet instead of investing in infrastructure, our country spends billions on defense and on wars that seem to have no end. What good will all this defense do when in 25 years there is nothing left at home worth defending?
- Peer-to-peer file sharing should not be viewed as online piracy.
- The digital age has brought with it a lot of new changes to technology and the way that people communicate. While some of those changes may be good for some (especially for users of digital technology), others view them as risky (such as producers of digital media). The fact is that people have always shared media among themselves, whether old or new—and that will not change. So instead of accusing peer-to-peer file sharers as online pirates, maybe media producers should instead invest their time and energy in technological ways to prevent their media from being passed around.
- College basketball is not better than the NBA.
- A lot of “sports” guys scoff at the NBA: the players get away with traveling all the time; the league is too soft now; the teams are too stacked. They prefer college ball instead—the game is purer there—so they say. However, in reality, there’s no comparison between the two. The pros are playing at a level that dwarfs anything seen in college. To compete in the NBA, year after year, you have to be of a mindset and a physical capacity that is similar to a locomotive engine. Sure, NBA players may get an extra step or two in their drives—but at the end of the day they are offering fiercer competition than any college club could ever dream of giving.
- Why Pete Rose should be admitted to the Hall of Fame.
- Yes, Rose gambled on baseball. But he was never arrested for domestic violence. He was never caught cheating using steroids. He was never a drug user. Players have been admitted into the Hall of Fame after committing far worse crimes than Rose ever committed. Yet Rose, one of the greatest hitters to ever play the game, has been banned.
- The hosting of the Olympic Games is a complete waste of money.
- It costs a ton of money to set up, prepare, host, and oversee the Olympic Games. For countries like Brazil, where the aftermath is a stark reminder of the waste that accompanies the Games, hosting can be an immense drain on the local economy. Those companies that benefit from coming in and setting up for the Games reap a big return—but the host country is typically left with a bill that it simply cannot pay.
- There should not be an age limit on when basket players can turn pro.
- If a young player is good enough to go pro, clubs should be able to draft him. Denying a young person the right to make a livelihood for himself because of his age is an authoritarian practice that has no real practical value.
- Young students should be educated in how to play a number of sports in elementary school.
- In ancient times, Confucius learned to ride a horse, fight, and recite poetry—all part of the basic curriculum in China centuries ago. Today, curriculum is set by a State department that has little sense of what kids really need. Sports can teach children to be confident, to tap into their bodies and obtain coordination, and to develop socially.
Public Speaking Topics
- Why marriage is a good thing.
- Marriage is a social contract that represents the union of two people and the promise of a future for society. When two people marry it means they are coming together under the possibility of having children so that society can continue into the future.
- Why classical dance should be promoted more.
- Classical dance teaches discipline, coordination, balance, and harmony. It teaches one not only to be in tune with one’s body but to elevate one’s actions and movements to an artistic and transcendental degree.
- Why planting a garden is something everyone should do.
- Sustainable communities are helpful to the environment and gardens play a large part in their success. Gardens help people to take responsibility for their own lives, to connect with nature, and to oversee the growing of their own fruits and vegetables instead of having to depend on someone else to do it.
- Why your money is worth less today than it was yesterday.
- Since the central bank was established under the Federal Reserve Act in 1913, the value of the dollar has diminished. The main reason for this is that the Fed has the authority to print money out of thin air and loan it to the government at interest. Thus, there is incentive for the central bank to print. Moreover, through printing, the money supply already in existence is devalued because now there is more money today than there was yesterday. This is why you could buy a house thirty years ago for the same price you would pay for a car today.
- Why it is important to vote.
- Everyone who is 18 years of age should exercise his or her right to vote. Voting is a privilege that our forefathers won for us in the battle for Independence. Today, we should be grateful that we have this opportunity and privilege to have a say in how our government is run.
- Why pornography should not be legal.
- Pornography is addictive and can be as damaging for people as opiates, which people need a prescription for. By allowing pornography to be so easily accessible, society risks damaging kids and adults who lack self control.
- Why it is very possible that the Moon landing in 1969 was faked.
- Supposedly they streamed the footage live from the Moon back to Earth in 1969—that’s over a distance of 238,900 miles. Yet today it is still difficult just to get good cell phone reception if you are roaming.
- The attack on the USS Liberty in 1967 was not just a mistake.
- The American ship was the target of an unprovoked attack by Israeli fighters during the Six Day War. 34 Americans were killed. There was, however, no reprisal. President Johnson stated that it was an honest mistake on the part of Israel.
- The heroin epidemic is directly related to the post-9/11 US invasion of Afghanistan.
- The poppy fields of Afghanistan were “liberated” by American forces following the invasion—and the exportation of opium to the US was the result.
- There should not be any limitations on free speech.
- Some people are offended by certain types of speech and so seek to ban or outlaw such speech. Hate speech is one example. And yet in the US, free speech is one of the defining attributes of this country. If free speech is limited, the country will stop being a haven of liberty.
Topics for Teens
- Adolescents’ use of the Internet should be monitored.
- The Internet can be like the Wild West of information: there is so much out there and available on it that almost anything can happen. Children and adolescents should be able to use the Internet but their browsing should be monitored—just in case they stumble across a site that is potentially harmful to their well-being.
- Teens should be encouraged to apprentice somewhere as an alternative to high school or college.
- The old world used guilds, which established a type of master-apprentice relationship for individuals who wanted to pursue a certain trade. Today’s world has no such model—and the consequence is that a lot of young people are confused about which direction to go in.
- Teens need good role models in their lives and you can be just that.
- Role models are not and should not just be people whom young teens see on TV or in the movies. Teens need role models in their own lives. This means that you can play a major factor in how teens grow up. The more you get involved and show that you care, the more likely teens are to develop into mature and respectable citizens.
- Teens should have more creative outlets.
- Creative outlets are a way for teens to express themselves in positive ways. Teens should be encouraged to use the various tools around them to be creative—from blogging to drawing and painting to making films on their phones and uploading them to YouTube.
- Teens should be able to drive by age 15.
- Most teenagers are ready to start working a part-time job by age 15. However, in most states, they can’t drive independently until they are 16. This means they still have to count on Mom or Dad for a ride to work (or take the bus if this is an option). But if the driving age were lowered a year, teens could start showing responsibility sooner—a win/win for all.
- The drinking age requirement should be abolished.
- This is a controversial point to take—but think about: all the emphasis on avoiding alcohol makes the drink that much more enticing. It’s a forbidden fruit. But if our culture were okay with alcohol and treated it not with suspicion but with respect, we would be able to trust young people to make the right decisions with it. Moreover, they’d be more likely just to grow up with it, the way youngsters do in Europe.
Topics for Kids
- The founding of America was a great moment in history.
- America was founded following the Revolutionary War. It was a very significant moment in history because up to that point, Britain had essentially been in charge. America’s independence showed that a new destiny could be carved out for people who stood up for their rights.
- Video games can be educative.
- Video games are not just for entertainment. They also have great educative value. Kids can learn great problem-solving skills that can help them in their schooling. They can also practice developing attention to detail through playing video games.
- Kids should learn survival skills.
- They don’t have to join the Scouts, but kids should learn some skills associated with being outdoors and surviving a nuclear holocaust. Nothing should be taken for granted in this day and age—and kids are great reservoirs just waiting to be filled up with knowledge.
- Kids should be exposed to as much of the classical arts as possible.
- They should listen to classical music (Mozart, Beethoven, Bach and Brahms), get to know paintings, sculptures and architecture; start reading the classic works of literature; and become acquainted with philosophy. This will give them a solid foundation going forward.
- The expression “cultural appropriation” should not be used to attack musicians.
- No one culture or ethnicity has a claims or rights to any style of music. Once it is made and put out into the public, it can become a source of inspiration for anyone. That is how ideas and styles and arts spread.
- Only New Orleans could have given birth to jazz.
- The history of the rise and fall of New Orleans presents a specific set of circumstances that, looking back, was perfect for confecting the elements that would ultimately give jazz to the world.
- Why you should learn to play a musical instrument.
- Music is the food of love, of course. But learning to play a musical instrument can actually also increase your brain’s ability to develop. So by learning to play an instrument, you not only become a potential role player at parties but you also up your chances of being even smarter than you are now!
- The Fourth Symphony by Brahms is one of the greatest symphonies ever.
- It is full of feeling, romance, passion, longing, tragedy, hope, joy and sorrow. If you had to pick one piece of music to be the soundtrack of life, this would be it.
- Animals should not be kept in zoos.
- While zoos may try to mimic an animal’s natural habitat, the sad truth is that these are nothing less than prisons for animals.
- Every home should have at least one animal.
- Whether you want to raise chickens, pigs, horses, cats, dogs, or gerbils, pick at least one: animals bring joy to people’s hearts and teach people about responsibility.
- Chicken farmers should be required to raise free-range chickens.
- Chickens that are farmed in cages and pumped full of hormones should not be viewed as good or healthy sources of food. The stress the chickens raised in cages go through is bad for them.
- Animals have souls.
- Anyone who has ever owned a beloved dog or cat or horse or pig (or choose your favorite animal and insert here) believes that their animal had a soul—maybe not a soul like what people have but a soul no less. Explain how this is possible and what it means.
2018 / Current Events
- Why the “everything bubble” is not good for the global marketplace.
- With Amazon acquiring Whole Foods, the stock market at all-time highs, rents through the roof, health care virtually unaffordable for those without insurance (and too expensive even then), education more costly than ever before, and home prices going up and up, the “everything bubble” is the surest sign that central banks are engaged in wealth transfer. In other words, the “everything bubble” may be good for the 1% but it won’t be good for the rest of the world—especially when all the bubbles pop.
- Why the “Russia Did It” meme won’t go away but should.
- Cold War 2.0 has arrived and, thanks to the mainstream media, it’s here to stay. While the narrative of Russia hacking the 2016 US election makes for good click bait, the real story here is not about Russian meddling but why a handful of leaders in the US want to demonize Russia. In a world that is quickly becoming multi-polar, the US should be focused on working with Russia not against her. This is true for everything from business to fighting terrorism in the Middle East.
- How to stop the threat of terrorism.
- Terrorism seems like a problem that just won’t go away. But maybe the solution is a lot easier than we think. Maybe all it really takes is for the US to stop meddling in the Middle East, supporting radicalized groups, destabilizing nations, and creating an environment where violence, ill-will and terror can fester. Perhaps the easiest and most effective way to support terrorism is to stop creating the conditions that foster it.
- How to solve the problem of healthcare reform in the US.
- Healthcare reform is extraordinarily complicated—but there have some good ideas on how to solve this complexity. The best one? Get the government out of the business of health care. Indeed, by taking away incentives for providers focused on treating instead of preventing illness, the health care industry will naturally improve by leaps and bounds almost immediately. And that’s just one way to start!
- Cryptocurrency may seem like a good investment, but gold and silver are better.
- While cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have been receiving a lot of attention from investors (and going up in price), the type of exponential returns that these currencies have enjoyed over the past few years also tends to attract speculators. What’s more, the digital currencies are not as stable as some may believe them to be. Sooner or later, they will be broken up. Gold and silver, on the other hand, have been around for thousands of years. They are precious metals that keep track with inflation—which means that they are a good store of value—i.e., they are a way to save.
- Why stricter gun laws is not the solution to the problem of violence at schools.
- The latest school shooting in Florida has a lot of anti-gun advocates making the rounds. People like David Hogg are going to great lengths to raise awareness about why guns are bad—but worse than guns are the SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) that many shooters have actually been prescribed: these are drugs that alter the mind and can have terrible psychotic side effects. Describe how the real issue in school shootings is mental health—and no amount of gun laws is going to fix a mental health problem.
- Why the U.S. should get out of Syria.
- ISIS has been routed and the need to stay is no longer apparent—yet the U.S. doesn’t seem likely to leave the country (even though, unlike Russia, we were never invited there in the first place). Our presence is not wanted or required by the Syrian government—so just why do we remain? Describe how the U.S. presence in Syria has more to do with regime change and pipelines than it does with ISIS.
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The best persuasive speech topics are those that can allow you to make a point and argue it convincingly. You doubt have to use a bunch of facts to support your speech—although facts can certainly be helpful. You can however use emotional appeals, art, rhetoric, and story to make your point. Draw upon your own experiences, whatever they are: mine your past and dig deep down into yourself to find that which you would feel comfortable persuading someone else about. Think about what it is you love, what it is you feel passionate about, what it is that you would like to see more people doing, more people believing, or more people thinking—and choose that as your persuasive speech topic. Hopefully the topics listed above have helped inspire some ideas inside you. Good luck!
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