How to Give a Persuasive Speech on Drinking & Driving

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A speech on drinking and driving should present clear arguments, supported by real-life examples and statistical data, so your audience walks away with a clear understanding of why drinking and driving is a dangerous combination. Citing statistics and anecdotes from reputable organizations will appeal both to your audience's emotions and their sense of reason.

Eye-Opening Introduction

  • Open with an attention-grabbing statement that motivates your listeners to tune in. Drinking and driving is a life-and-death issue, so start your speech with a stunning statistic. For example, every day in America 28 people die as a result of drunken-driving accidents, reports Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Or, in 2012, nearly one-third of all traffic-related deaths were a result of alcohol-impaired driving, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cite reputable studies, such as those conducted by government agencies and universities, to back your introductory comments and support your arguments throughout the speech.

Appeal to Reason

  • Convince your listeners to accept your point of view by appealing to their sense of reason, suggests the Purdue University Online Writing Lab. Present a clear, logical thesis, so there's no confusion about the purpose of your speech. For example, your thesis may read, "Alcohol-serving establishments should have breathalyzer machines so that customers can test their blood-alcohol levels before driving home." Support your thesis with specific data. For example, it takes the average person one hour to metabolize an alcoholic beverage -- defined as 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits -- according to Michigan State University.

Emotional Anecdotes

  • Tug at your listeners' heartstrings by incorporating stories about real people and real situations into your speech. For example, you might personalize your speech by sharing the story of a local resident's difficult struggle to rehabilitate after an accident. The goal of a persuasive speech about drinking and driving is to create a sense of urgency and responsibility, suggests Concordia Online Education's "Simple Steps to Create a Persuasive Speech Lesson Plan." Challenge listeners to do their part by actively supporting the cause and by not drinking and driving themselves.

Opposing Arguments

  • Present other sides to your argument and respectfully explain why you disagree with those perspectives. For example, if your thesis supports maintaining the current drinking age of 21, discuss why some proponents want to lower the drinking age to 18. Don't talk down to your listeners or bully them, and politely explain why opposing arguments fall short, recommends Purdue University's Online Writing Lab. For example, you might use psychological studies that show that an 18-year-old's brain isn't fully developed or that age 25 is now considered the end of adolescence, according to an article by Lucy Wallis in the BBC News Magazine.

References

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