Image of a microphoneby  Bettina Benoit Durant

Assistant Professor of Communication and Journalism, Georgia State University

Goal of the Assignment:  The goal of this persuasive speech assignment is to get students engaged and to provide students with the principles of persuasion preparing them to go into the community and serve as advocates for non-profit organizations of their choice. Teaching students how to build persuasive arguments through community advocacy will better their understanding and their ability to use ethos, logos, and pathos in the persuasive speech. The persuasive speech of advocacy will require students to research and recognize the contributions of non-profits, encourage volunteerism, inspire advocacy, and foster student engagement.

Rationale:   The persuasive speech of advocacy will allow the  online student to serve community organizations by promoting service to the organization and encourage their physical service to the non-profits.

Grading Rubric:                               

Organization Introduction gained attention, introduced the topic and main points, and established credibility. Main points were clear and adequately developed in the body. Transitions were used effectively.

Main points were supported. Conclusion called audience to action.

20 points
Content Supporting material and three persuasive appeals were used. At least 2 sources were correctly cited. Language was appropriate and at least 1 stylistic device was used. The speech was videotaped.

Student panned audience.

30 points
Vocal Delivery Rate and volume were appropriate, and voice was expressive. Silent pauses were used appropriately. Vocalized pauses were eliminated. Articulation was clear.  10 points
Physical Delivery Direct eye contact was maintained. Body, posture, movement, and gestures were used to complement ideas. Facial expressions were used to convey emotion. Appearance was not distracting. 10 points
General Effectiveness Content, organization, and delivery were persuasive. Time limit was met. Purpose was achieved.  Visual aids helped to persuade. 30 points


Typical Results:   This assignment teaches students how to build persuasive arguments while erasing the geographical constraints of service learning by teaching online students how to serve as advocates for service to non-profit community organizations of their choice.


  1. Students are provided with a non-profit database resource. They are then asked to select an organization for their advocacy speech. Students then enter the research phase by spending time learning about the non-profit they have selected through readings and by contacting a representative from the organization selected.
  2. Students will then organize their research using Monroe’s Motivated Sequence.
  3. Each student must next develop arguments demonstrating an understanding of the supporting material (e.g., stories, testimony, statistics) and appeals (pathos, ethos, and logos) studied in the course. Speakers must also demonstrate an understanding of the language/stylistic device needed to persuade the audience to support the organization selected as the topic. Stylistic devices studied include repetition, alliteration, antithesis, metaphor).
  4. Students will videotape themselves delivering the 3-5-minute speech extemporaneously. Students are encouraged to glance at note cards during delivery. Manuscripts are not accepted

Reference:    Stand Up, Speak Out: The Practice and Ethics of Public Speaking

Book Note: The text is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. See the license for more details, but that basically means you can share this book as long as you credit the author, don’t make money off of it, and make it available to everyone else under the same terms.

This version of the book was revised and edited by Georgia Perimeter College in January 2014 and made available in September 2014.

The original version of the book was accessible as of December 29, 2012, and it was downloaded then by Andy Schmitz in an effort to preserve the availability of this book.

Author contact info:

Bettina Benoit Durant