Year 11: What makes a good persuasive speech?

Year 11s: between Monday 25th September and Friday 6th October, you’ll be completing your speaking and listening assessments for your GCSE in English Language.

To help you do your best in your assessment, here are some of our top tips for writing (and performing) a good persuasive speech.



It sounds obvious, because it is. Failing to prepare is, as you’ve no doubt heard before, preparing to fail.

Once you’ve picked your task (and you can find the task sheet as well as the other resources your teacher’s used in class here), you need to start doing your research.

Some key questions to focus on answering in your talk:

– What’s your view?

– Why do you hold that view?

– How are you going to convince your audience to share it?

Your speech should last around 5 minutes. If you talk at the average pace for someone delivering a speech, that equates to around 600 words – or a side-and-a-half of typed A4. Aim to make every word count.

Think about how to start your speech to grab the attention of your audience. How are you going to then develop your arguments? And how will you conclude your speech to leave a lasting impression?

Don’t forget that you will also be asked questions once you’ve finished. Make sure you know your subject well enough to answer these, as you won’t know what you’ll be asked in advance.



You’ll be needing to use some persuasive language in your speech – but it’s important not to prioritise this over a strong argument.

This presentation – which you may have seen while preparing for the Writing with a viewpoint section of Paper 2 – makes it clear that persuasive devices, if not used carefully, can actually lessen the impact of your work.

If your speech is a cake, the arguments you use are the sponge, and the persuasive devices are the icing on top. Get the balance right.



It can be daunting to give a speech to an unfamiliar group of people. The best way to prepare for this is to rehearse – whether it’s in front of your friends, family or just a bedroom mirror.

Get used to giving your speech long before you have to do it for the assessment, and it won’t be nearly as frightening.

Remember: you are allowed cue cards to help prompt you during the assessment – but if you’ve rehearsed it, you shouldn’t need to rely on these too much.

If you’d like to practise in front of a more formal audience, you can pop along to one of our lunchtime drop-in sessions in L1. These run every Thursday from 1.25pm to 1.45pm.


Keeping calm is something Phil Davison – above – certainly isn’t skilled at.

Don’t allow yourself to get in a panic over your assessment. It’ll be over in under ten minutes, and everyone in Year 11 is in the same boat as you.

Take a deep breath, and enjoy it. You never know: you might even change your audience’s mind on something!


One comment

  1. Pingback: GCSE Speaking and Listening | English at Lutterworth College

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