• 7 Super and Strategic Hooks In Speaking
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Recent speech at an education conference to 500 educators but many more showed up!

Recent speech at an education conference to 500 educators but many more showed up!

If you don’t have hooks strategically sprinkled throughout your speech, chances are your audience will bail mentally if not physically.

You have to find ways to keep hooking your audience so THEY don’t want to let go.

Below you’ll find 7 super hooks (in no particular order) that get your audience to say, “Tell me more” or “What happened next?”

Hook #1: Curiosity Hook

“After 15 years of trial and error, research, and blood, sweat, and tears, I’ve finally found out what makes the difference between a good presenter and a great one. It’s…”

That’s an example of a curiosity hook. You find ways to make your long road lead to their shortcut. However, you don’t tell them what they want to know…at least not immediately. Make them curious, tease them a little more, and then give them the tool (or solution, answer, or formula, etc.).

Hook #2 – Avoidance Hook

Here’s an example of an Avoidance Hook.

I tell a story about a speech I gave in Michigan when I failed miserably to the point where the meeting planner couldn’t even look me in the eyes. Then I say to my audience of speakers, “This is something you should not have to go through and you won’t if you listen closely.”

The Avoidance Hook focuses on something your audience wants to avoid. It’s important to use this type of hook because sometimes people are motivated by what they want to avoid more than they are by what they want to attain.

Hook #3 – Attainment Hook

I’ve said to an audience of speakers, “How would you like a tool to make a deeper connection than you’ve ever made before? If so, say yes.” They always yell, “YES!”

The Attainment Hook is just how it sounds. You simply let the audience know what they can attain if they pay attention to what’s coming next. Think results-based. I mention that they’ll be able to make a deeper connection than they ever have before. That’s certainly something they want, but I make sure to tease them before I tell them. Don’t give it up too soon. Make them wait for it and want it.

Hook #4 The “Most People” Hook

When speaking, always keep this in mind:

Most people don’t want to be most people”

When I used to watch the master presenters, I realized many of them made statements like, “Most people do this” or “Most people do that.” Whenever I heard those statements, I’d say to myself “I’m not going to be like most people. I don’t want to be average. I want to do something different.”

That’s the effect the words “most people” have on people. For example, I’ve said, “Most people live their lives on get-set. When it comes to pursuing their goals and dreams, they take their marks, they get-set, and they never go. They live and they die on get-set.”

Because “most people” are two of the most persuasive words in the English language, my audience members get very motivated to “go” rather than live on “get-set.”

Hook #5 – Conflict Hook

Good stories have a conflict that is established early. Great stories not only establish the conflict, they also escalate it. Think about the Titanic. One of the conflicts was when the Titanic hit the iceberg. However, the escalation of the conflict was when the water rose on the Titanic. If the water never rose on the Titanic, then that would have been a terrible movie. Always think, “How can I raise the water on the Titanic in my story?”

The conflict is the hook because your audience wants to see how you will overcome it and what tools you will use. Why? Because maybe they can use similar tools for similar situations. In that way, your speech has become very useful to them.

Hook #6 Silence Hook

I tell a story about how excited I was to meet my speaking hero. The only problem was, when I approached him, he said nothing back to me. That silence in the story becomes a hook because my audience is anxious to hear what he is going to say and then, when he doesn’t say anything, they get ever hungrier to see what I’m going to do about it. The silent moment becomes the hook.

The problem with some speakers is they rush through the silence and make the potential hook much less effective. Take your time, dance in the silence, and watch your audience move to the edge of their seats.

Hook #7 Statement Hook

One of the first stories I ever told as a speaker started out like this:

“Nobody has ever died from a snakebite.”

My audience wonders, “What’s he talking about? People get bitten all the time and I’m sure some of them have died.”

I then go on to tell them it’s not the bite, it’s the venom that kills them.

The key is that the first statement hooked them in to want to know more. The rest of the story cleared it up and answered their question.

When all of your hooks are done, your speech is over.

Final Words on Hooks

As you can see, it’s important not only to have hooks at the beginning and end of your speeches, but to sprinkle them throughout. Remember, when you are in speaking, you are in sales. These hooks will sell your audience on listening to the next part of your presentation.

Oh, wait a minute!  I almost forgot. There is an 8 th hook and it’s more powerful than the other 7 combined. It’s…

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Persuasive Speeches — Types, Topics, and Examples

Daniel Bal

What is a persuasive speech?

In a persuasive speech, the speaker aims to convince the audience to accept a particular perspective on a person, place, object, idea, etc. The speaker strives to cause the audience to accept the point of view presented in the speech.

persuasive speech hook examples

The success of a persuasive speech often relies on the speaker’s use of ethos, pathos, and logos.

Success of a persuasive speech

Ethos is the speaker’s credibility. Audiences are more likely to accept an argument if they find the speaker trustworthy. To establish credibility during a persuasive speech, speakers can do the following:

Use familiar language.

Select examples that connect to the specific audience.

Utilize credible and well-known sources.

Logically structure the speech in an audience-friendly way.

Use appropriate eye contact, volume, pacing, and inflection.

Pathos appeals to the audience’s emotions. Speakers who create an emotional bond with their audience are typically more convincing. Tapping into the audience’s emotions can be accomplished through the following:

Select evidence that can elicit an emotional response.

Use emotionally-charged words. (The city has a problem … vs. The city has a disease …)

Incorporate analogies and metaphors that connect to a specific emotion to draw a parallel between the reference and topic.

Utilize vivid imagery and sensory words, allowing the audience to visualize the information.

Employ an appropriate tone, inflection, and pace to reflect the emotion.

Logos appeals to the audience’s logic by offering supporting evidence. Speakers can improve their logical appeal in the following ways:

Use comprehensive evidence the audience can understand.

Confirm the evidence logically supports the argument’s claims and stems from credible sources.

Ensure that evidence is specific and avoid any vague or questionable information.

Types of persuasive speeches

The three main types of persuasive speeches are factual, value, and policy.

Types of persuasive speeches

A factual persuasive speech focuses solely on factual information to prove the existence or absence of something through substantial proof. This is the only type of persuasive speech that exclusively uses objective information rather than subjective. As such, the argument does not rely on the speaker’s interpretation of the information. Essentially, a factual persuasive speech includes historical controversy, a question of current existence, or a prediction:

Historical controversy concerns whether an event happened or whether an object actually existed.

Questions of current existence involve the knowledge that something is currently happening.

Predictions incorporate the analysis of patterns to convince the audience that an event will happen again.

A value persuasive speech concerns the morality of a certain topic. Speakers incorporate facts within these speeches; however, the speaker’s interpretation of those facts creates the argument. These speeches are highly subjective, so the argument cannot be proven to be absolutely true or false.

A policy persuasive speech centers around the speaker’s support or rejection of a public policy, rule, or law. Much like a value speech, speakers provide evidence supporting their viewpoint; however, they provide subjective conclusions based on the facts they provide.

How to write a persuasive speech

Incorporate the following steps when writing a persuasive speech:

Step 1 – Identify the type of persuasive speech (factual, value, or policy) that will help accomplish the goal of the presentation.

Step 2 – Select a good persuasive speech topic to accomplish the goal and choose a position .

How to write a persuasive speech

Step 3 – Locate credible and reliable sources and identify evidence in support of the topic/position. Revisit Step 2 if there is a lack of relevant resources.

Step 4 – Identify the audience and understand their baseline attitude about the topic.

Step 5 – When constructing an introduction , keep the following questions in mind:

What’s the topic of the speech?

What’s the occasion?

Who’s the audience?

What’s the purpose of the speech?

Step 6 – Utilize the evidence within the previously identified sources to construct the body of the speech. Keeping the audience in mind, determine which pieces of evidence can best help develop the argument. Discuss each point in detail, allowing the audience to understand how the facts support the perspective.

Step 7 – Addressing counterarguments can help speakers build their credibility, as it highlights their breadth of knowledge.

Step 8 – Conclude the speech with an overview of the central purpose and how the main ideas identified in the body support the overall argument.

How to write a persuasive speech

Persuasive speech outline

One of the best ways to prepare a great persuasive speech is by using an outline. When structuring an outline, include an introduction, body, and conclusion:


Attention Grabbers

Ask a question that allows the audience to respond in a non-verbal way; ask a rhetorical question that makes the audience think of the topic without requiring a response.

Incorporate a well-known quote that introduces the topic. Using the words of a celebrated individual gives credibility and authority to the information in the speech.

Offer a startling statement or information about the topic, typically done using data or statistics.

Provide a brief anecdote or story that relates to the topic.

Starting a speech with a humorous statement often makes the audience more comfortable with the speaker.

Provide information on how the selected topic may impact the audience .

Include any background information pertinent to the topic that the audience needs to know to understand the speech in its entirety.

Give the thesis statement in connection to the main topic and identify the main ideas that will help accomplish the central purpose.

Identify evidence

Summarize its meaning

Explain how it helps prove the support/main claim

Evidence 3 (Continue as needed)

Support 3 (Continue as needed)

Restate thesis

Review main supports

Concluding statement

Give the audience a call to action to do something specific.

Identify the overall importan ce of the topic and position.

Persuasive speech topics

The following table identifies some common or interesting persuasive speech topics for high school and college students:

Persuasive speech examples

The following list identifies some of history’s most famous persuasive speeches:

John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address: “Ask Not What Your Country Can Do for You”

Lyndon B. Johnson: “We Shall Overcome”

Marc Antony: “Friends, Romans, Countrymen…” in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar

Ronald Reagan: “Tear Down this Wall”

Sojourner Truth: “Ain’t I a Woman?”

persuasive speech hook examples

How to Write and Structure a Persuasive Speech

The purpose of a persuasive speech is to convince your audience to agree with an idea or opinion that you present. First, you'll need to choose a side on a controversial topic, then you will write a speech to explain your position, and convince the audience to agree with you.

You can produce an effective persuasive speech if you structure your argument as a solution to a problem. Your first job as a speaker is to convince your audience that a particular problem is important to them, and then you must convince them that you have the solution to make things better.

Note: You don't have to address a real problem. Any need can work as the problem. For example, you could consider the lack of a pet, the need to wash one's hands, or the need to pick a particular sport to play as the "problem."

As an example, let's imagine that you have chosen "Getting Up Early" as your persuasion topic. Your goal will be to persuade classmates to get themselves out of bed an hour earlier every morning. In this instance, the problem could be summed up as "morning chaos."

A standard speech format has an introduction with a great hook statement, three main points, and a summary. Your persuasive speech will be a tailored version of this format.

Before you write the text of your speech, you should sketch an outline that includes your hook statement and three main points.

Writing the Text

The introduction of your speech must be compelling because your audience will make up their minds within a few minutes whether or not they are interested in your topic.

Before you write the full body you should come up with a greeting. Your greeting can be as simple as "Good morning everyone. My name is Frank."

After your greeting, you will offer a hook to capture attention. A hook sentence for the "morning chaos" speech could be a question:

Or your hook could be a statistic or surprising statement:

Once you have the attention of your audience, follow through to define the topic/problem and introduce your solution. Here's an example of what you might have so far:

Good afternoon, class. Some of you know me, but some of you may not. My name is Frank Godfrey, and I have a question for you. Does your day begin with shouts and arguments? Do you go to school in a bad mood because you've been yelled at, or because you argued with your parent? The chaos you experience in the morning can bring you down and affect your performance at school.

Add the solution:

You can improve your mood and your school performance by adding more time to your morning schedule. You can accomplish this by setting your alarm clock to go off one hour earlier.

Your next task will be to write the body, which will contain the three main points you've come up with to argue your position. Each point will be followed by supporting evidence or anecdotes, and each body paragraph will need to end with a transition statement that leads to the next segment. Here is a sample of three main statements:

After you write three body paragraphs with strong transition statements that make your speech flow, you are ready to work on your summary.

Your summary will re-emphasize your argument and restate your points in slightly different language. This can be a little tricky. You don't want to sound repetitive but will need to repeat what you have said. Find a way to reword the same main points.

Finally, you must make sure to write a clear final sentence or passage to keep yourself from stammering at the end or fading off in an awkward moment. A few examples of graceful exits:

Tips for Writing Your Speech

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How to Write an Introduction for a Persuasive Speech

Last Updated: March 7, 2023 References Approved

This article was co-authored by Gale McCreary and by wikiHow staff writer, Kyle Hall . Gale McCreary is the Founder and Chief Coordinator of SpeechStory, a nonprofit organization focused on improving communication skills in youth. She was previously a Silicon Valley CEO and President of a Toastmasters International chapter. She has been recognized as Santa Barbara Entrepreneurial Woman of the Year and received Congressional recognition for providing a Family-Friendly work environment. She has a BS in Biology from Stanford University. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 81% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 133,782 times.

A persuasive speech is meant to convince an audience to agree with your point of view or argument relating to a specific topic. While the body of your persuasive speech is where the bulk of your argument will go, it’s important that you don’t overlook the introduction. A good introduction will capture your audience’s attention, which is crucial if you want to persuade them. Fortunately, there are some simple rules you can follow that will make the introduction to your persuasive essay more engaging and memorable.

Organizing Your Introduction

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Tip: If you know how long your speech is going to be before you write it, make the first draft of your introduction the right length so you don’t have to add or delete a lot later.

Polishing Your Writing

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Tip: An easy way to make your writing more concise is to start your sentences with the subject. Also, try to limit the number of adverbs and adjectives you use.

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Example Introduction for a Persuasive Speech

persuasive speech hook examples

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Community Answer

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Be Persuasive

About This Article

Gale McCreary

To write an introduction for a persuasive speech, start with a hook that will grab your audience's attention, like a surprising statistic or meaningful quote. Then, introduce your thesis statement, which should explain what you are arguing for and why. From here, you'll need to demonstrate the credibility of your argument if you want your audience to believe what you're saying. Depending on if you are an expert or not, you should either share your personal credentials or reference papers and studies by experts in the field that legitimize your argument. Finally, conclude with a brief preview of the main points you'll cover in your speech, so your audience knows what to expect and can follow along more easily. For more tips from our co-author, including how to polish your introduction, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Public Speaking Tips & Speech Topics

50+ Hook Examples: The Opening Lines That Make Your Essay Successful

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Jim Peterson has over 20 years experience on speech writing. He wrote over 300 free speech topic ideas and how-to guides for any kind of public speaking and speech writing assignments at My Speech Class.

The Opening Lines That Make Your Essay Successful intro image

Writing a good paper starts with brainstorming a brilliant hook, which keeps your audience engaged with the text. There are many ways to formulate hooks, which will help your writing sound more original and compelling. Looking at some essay hook examples and tips on writing them is the first step to creating one of your own!

In this article:

What is a Hook?

Tips for creating a great hook, question hook examples, strong statement examples, fact/statistic hook examples, metaphor/simile hook examples, anecdotal hook examples.

A “hook” is a sentence that grabs the reader’s attention and keeps them interested in the outcome of your academic text or research paper. The hook is found in the first sentence or two in the opening paragraph in an academic text and serves both as an introduction and an attention grabber.

In literature, such sentences are often found in novels. A great personal favorite of mine is Christmas Carol’s first sentence: “Marley was dead: to begin with. ” This invites tons of interesting questions and piques your curiosity, making you want to read along.

We come across hook examples in our day-to-day lives, scrolling through YouTube video titles and website links. Clickbait can be considered the hook of the modern world, and there are tons of techniques to learn from it.

However, this article will focus on essay hooks for academic papers specifically. In the section below, we’ll be discussing tips on writing hook sentences and engaging your reader’s interest through a single opening sentence.

There are different types of hook sentences in an essay introduction. We’ll take a look at each type, and a few tips, so later on, you can start formulating your own essay hooks based on these few examples.

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If you’re using the fact/statistic hook, always make sure you quote a credible source. The same goes for the interesting facts hook type. Include those sources in the body of your essay.

It also helps to think of a hook you came across recently that made an impression on you. Was it a controversial blog post? A captivating personal story? A thesis statement that made you ponder?

Once you finish reading our article, it’s helpful to test your hook and introductory paragraph out to an audience. Have another student, tutor, or parent read it. See if it’s doing its purpose – is the reader engaged? What did they understand from your hook? Is the essay topic clear?

Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get it right the first time. Writing is a long process and requires a lot of rewriting. Take a small break and give it another go.

How to Write a Great Hook + Examples

There are two crucial points to follow when you write a hook:

It’s time to get to the examples!

Mastering the hook sentence is something you might end up using in your day-to-day life, especially if you go into academia, publishing, or journalism as a career choice. But that’s not it – we use hooks to communicate on social media. The title of our blog post or recent youtube video are examples of well-formulated hooks. The quicker you start practicing them the easier they’ll become to use.

If you’re having any other academic trouble, like coming up with essay topics , or you want to learn the outlines of the different essay types, we can help you with that! You’ll become an essay writing pro in no time! We’ve got some good and interesting research paper topics we’re proud of, as well as demonstration speech topics ! Hook sentence examples are just the start!

We hope this article has helped you master the art of essay writing, and you now find the reader agrees with your point of view! Let us know of any good hook examples you came up with!

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8 Effective Hooks to Start Your Speech

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Speeches can be challenging to communicate complicated or nuanced information, which is why the opening sentence matters so much. Hooks for speeches have the power to pull the listener in and keep them involved.

They will grab your audience’s attention, get them engaged and interested in what you say, and gradually help set the tone for your speech.

In this article, you’ll find eight effective ways to hook your audience and start a strong presentation.

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What Is a Hook in Speech?

A hook is a tool to show your audience where you are going in your speech. They are used in two different ways. Firstly, they are used as a transition between ideas. Secondly, Hooks are used to keep the audience involved and engaged .

Using a hook can help keep your audience focused and give them something to hold on to while you get your point across. A good hook grabs the audience’s attention and gets them interested in what you’re saying.

A person giving a speech in front of a huge audience

8 Effective Hooks for Speeches

One way to start your speech is to hook your audience with a powerful way of describing the topic you are speaking on. Hooks can be as simple as descriptions, metaphors, or quotations. Here are eight hooks for speeches to make a lasting impression on the audience.

1. Take a Contrarian Stance

One way to start your speech with a powerful hook is to use a contrarian approach. This means that you take another stance on the issue and discuss it orally, thereby raising doubts in your audience.

One way to create a contrarian approach is to argue against an opinion or belief. A contrarian attitude can create easily recognizable hooks for a speech and succeed in catching the audience’s attention.

2. Ask Several Rhetorical Questions

Rhetorical questions are powerful because they pull at people’s heartstrings. They make statements and ask the listener to agree. Used wisely, they can lead the audience into an argument.

The goal of the question is to ask the listener to think and make a judgment on his own.

3. Use a Powerful Sound Bite

A sound bite is a brief statement that captures the attention of your audience and promises a thought-provoking result. It makes it easier to remember the specifics of what you are talking about.

For example, “Did you know that in 2016 each enterprise had a choice? The choice to go from silos and silences to voice and insight”?

4. Provide a Reference to a Historical Event

Mentioning a historical event is a good attention-getter for speeches. Sometimes you can use the day you present as an opening gambit to tie the topic of your presentation to some historical significance.

Whenever you reference historical events, the audience instantly associates them with their own experience. This leads to a higher level of interest.

5. Employ a Startling Assertion

Making a startling assertion is a quick and effective strategy to get attention. If you’re having trouble coming up with a hook, employ a striking fact. Spend some time researching shocking data that show how serious the topic you’re going to discuss is.

For example, “You might not know, but your brain has less than three seconds to react when you see a bear in the wild.” This is startling as people believe they have enough time to think about what will happen before a bear attack.

6. Take Them Through Imagine or What If Scenario

This is a great hook to start a persuasive speech or one that discusses possible scenarios. It’s an ideal hook for a premise based on hypothetical situations and the effects of potential changes.

Ask the audience something that might change their viewpoint, like what if you could go invisible for a day or go back in time? You can also use the word ‘Imagine’ to draw a mental image and engage the mind.

7. Use Quotations With Your Twist

The usage of quotations is a common strategy for hooks. Although many speakers begin with an appropriate quotation, you might stand out by reciting the quote and putting a twist. You might also use a quote from your personal experience.

8. Tell the Audience a Story

Starting a speech with a story is a great way to engage your audience. For example, “Remember the first time you had a conversation with a child, someone who hadn’t even been born yet? ”

Each of your listeners would probably remember this conversation vividly because they were a part of it. When starting a speech with a story, use an analogy or an experience to heighten the experience.

Make it relatable and better engage your audience.

Hooks are the rhetorical devices that help you to pull your audience in . There are many different hooks for speeches, and each one is effective in its way.

They help to create a dynamic and colorful tone that keeps the audience engaged. Remember that the audience will only give you about 30 seconds before deciding whether or not to continue listening.

Employ one of the eight effective hooks mentioned in this post to make your speech memorable for the audience.

8 Effective Hooks to Start Your Speech

Abir Ghenaiet

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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Persuasive Speech Outline, Ideas and Tips for Delivery

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Persuasive Speech Outline, with Examples

Updated march 17, 2021 - gini beqiri.

A persuasive speech is a speech that is given with the intention of convincing the audience to believe or do something. This could be virtually anything - voting, organ donation, recycling, and so on.

A successful persuasive speech effectively convinces the audience to your point of view, providing you come across as trustworthy and knowledgeable about the topic you’re discussing.

So, how do you start convincing a group of strangers to share your opinion? And how do you connect with them enough to earn their trust?

Topics for your persuasive speech

We've made a list of persuasive speech topics you could use next time you’re asked to give one. The topics are thought-provoking and things which many people have an opinion on.

When using any of our persuasive speech ideas, make sure you have a solid knowledge about the topic you're speaking about - and make sure you discuss counter arguments too.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Read our full list of 75 persuasive speech topics and ideas .

Ideas for a persuasive speech

Preparation: Consider your audience

As with any speech, preparation is crucial. Before you put pen to paper, think about what you want to achieve with your speech. This will help organise your thoughts as you realistically can only cover 2-4 main points before your audience get bored .

It’s also useful to think about who your audience are at this point. If they are unlikely to know much about your topic then you’ll need to factor in context of your topic when planning the structure and length of your speech. You should also consider their:

The factors above will all determine the approach you take to writing your speech. For example, if your topic is about childhood obesity, you could begin with a story about your own children or a shared concern every parent has. This would suit an audience who are more likely to be parents than young professionals who have only just left college.

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Remember the 3 main approaches to persuade others

There are three main approaches used to persuade others:

The ethos approach appeals to the audience’s ethics and morals, such as what is the ‘right thing’ to do for humanity, saving the environment, etc.

Pathos persuasion is when you appeal to the audience’s emotions, such as when you tell a story that makes them the main character in a difficult situation.

The logos approach to giving a persuasive speech is when you appeal to the audience’s logic - ie. your speech is essentially more driven by facts and logic. The benefit of this technique is that your point of view becomes virtually indisputable because you make the audience feel that only your view is the logical one.

Ideas for your persuasive speech outline

1. structure of your persuasive speech.

The opening and closing of speech are the most important. Consider these carefully when thinking about your persuasive speech outline. A strong opening ensures you have the audience’s attention from the start and gives them a positive first impression of you.

You’ll want to start with a strong opening such as an attention grabbing statement, statistic of fact. These are usually dramatic or shocking, such as:

Sadly, in the next 18 minutes when I do our chat, four Americans that are alive will be dead from the food that they eat - Jamie Oliver

Another good way of starting a persuasive speech is to include your audience in the picture you’re trying to paint. By making them part of the story, you’re embedding an emotional connection between them and your speech.

You could do this in a more toned-down way by talking about something you know that your audience has in common with you. It’s also helpful at this point to include your credentials in a persuasive speech to gain your audience’s trust.

Speech structure and speech argument for a persuasive speech outline.

Obama would spend hours with his team working on the opening and closing statements of his speech.

2. Stating your argument

You should pick between 2 and 4 themes to discuss during your speech so that you have enough time to explain your viewpoint and convince your audience to the same way of thinking.

It’s important that each of your points transitions seamlessly into the next one so that your speech has a logical flow. Work on your connecting sentences between each of your themes so that your speech is easy to listen to.

Your argument should be backed up by objective research and not purely your subjective opinion. Use examples, analogies, and stories so that the audience can relate more easily to your topic, and therefore are more likely to be persuaded to your point of view.

3. Addressing counter-arguments

Any balanced theory or thought addresses and disputes counter-arguments made against it. By addressing these, you’ll strengthen your persuasive speech by refuting your audience’s objections and you’ll show that you are knowledgeable to other thoughts on the topic.

When describing an opposing point of view, don’t explain it in a bias way - explain it in the same way someone who holds that view would describe it. That way, you won’t irritate members of your audience who disagree with you and you’ll show that you’ve reached your point of view through reasoned judgement. Simply identify any counter-argument and pose explanations against them.

4. Closing your speech

Your closing line of your speech is your last chance to convince your audience about what you’re saying. It’s also most likely to be the sentence they remember most about your entire speech so make sure it’s a good one!

The most effective persuasive speeches end with a call to action . For example, if you’ve been speaking about organ donation, your call to action might be asking the audience to register as donors.

End your persuasive speech with a call to action.

The most effective persuasive speeches end with a call to action.

If audience members ask you questions, make sure you listen carefully and respectfully to the full question. Don’t interject in the middle of a question or become defensive.

You should show that you have carefully considered their viewpoint and refute it in an objective way (if you have opposing opinions). Ensure you remain patient, friendly and polite at all times.

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Example 1: Persuasive speech outline

This example is from the Kentucky Community and Technical College.

Specific purpose

To persuade my audience to start walking in order to improve their health.

Central idea

Regular walking can improve both your mental and physical health.


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Example 2: Persuasive speech

Tips for delivering your persuasive speech

The best persuasive speech ideas are those that spark a level of controversy. However, a public speech is not the time to express an opinion that is considered outside the norm. If in doubt, play it safe and stick to topics that divide opinions about 50-50.

Bear in mind who your audience are and plan your persuasive speech outline accordingly, with researched evidence to support your argument. It’s important to consider counter-arguments to show that you are knowledgeable about the topic as a whole and not bias towards your own line of thought.

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112 Persuasive Speech Topics That Are Actually Engaging

What’s covered:, how to pick an awesome persuasive speech topic, 112 engaging persuasive speech topics, tips for preparing your persuasive speech.

Writing a stellar persuasive speech requires a carefully crafted argument that will resonate with your audience to sway them to your side. This feat can be challenging to accomplish, but an engaging, thought-provoking speech topic is an excellent place to start.

When it comes time to select a topic for your persuasive speech, you may feel overwhelmed by all the options to choose from—or your brain may be drawing a completely blank slate. If you’re having trouble thinking of the perfect topic, don’t worry. We’re here to help!

In this post, we’re sharing how to choose the perfect persuasive speech topic and tips to prepare for your speech. Plus, you’ll find 112 persuasive speech topics that you can take directly from us or use as creative inspiration for your own ideas!

Choose Something You’re Passionate About

It’s much easier to write, research, and deliver a speech about a cause you care about. Even if it’s challenging to find a topic that completely sparks your interest, try to choose a topic that aligns with your passions.

However, keep in mind that not everyone has the same interests as you. Try to choose a general topic to grab the attention of the majority of your audience, but one that’s specific enough to keep them engaged.

For example, suppose you’re giving a persuasive speech about book censorship. In that case, it’s probably too niche to talk about why “To Kill a Mockingbird” shouldn’t be censored (even if it’s your favorite book), and it’s too broad to talk about media censorship in general.

Steer Clear of Cliches

Have you already heard a persuasive speech topic presented dozens of times? If so, it’s probably not an excellent choice for your speech—even if it’s an issue you’re incredibly passionate about.

Although polarizing topics like abortion and climate control are important to discuss, they aren’t great persuasive speech topics. Most people have already formed an opinion on these topics, which will either cause them to tune out or have a negative impression of your speech.

Instead, choose topics that are fresh, unique, and new. If your audience has never heard your idea presented before, they will be more open to your argument and engaged in your speech.

Have a Clear Side of Opposition

For a persuasive speech to be engaging, there must be a clear side of opposition. To help determine the arguability of your topic, ask yourself: “If I presented my viewpoint on this topic to a group of peers, would someone disagree with me?” If the answer is yes, then you’ve chosen a great topic!

Now that we’ve laid the groundwork for what it takes to choose a great persuasive speech topic, here are over one hundred options for you to choose from.

persuasive speech hook examples

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Do Your Research

A great persuasive speech is supported with plenty of well-researched facts and evidence. So before you begin the writing process, research both sides of the topic you’re presenting in-depth to gain a well-rounded perspective of the topic.

Understand Your Audience

It’s critical to understand your audience to deliver a great persuasive speech. After all, you are trying to convince them that your viewpoint is correct. Before writing your speech, consider the facts and information that your audience may already know, and think about the beliefs and concerns they may have about your topic. Then, address these concerns in your speech, and be mindful to include fresh, new information.

Have Someone Read Your Speech

Once you have finished writing your speech, have someone read it to check for areas of strength and improvement. You can use CollegeVine’s free essay review tool to get feedback on your speech from a peer!

Practice Makes Perfect

After completing your final draft, the key to success is to practice. Present your speech out loud in front of a mirror, your family, friends, and basically, anyone who will listen. Not only will the feedback of others help you to make your speech better, but you’ll become more confident in your presentation skills and may even be able to commit your speech to memory.

Hopefully, these ideas have inspired you to write a powerful, unique persuasive speech. With the perfect topic, plenty of practice, and a boost of self-confidence, we know you’ll impress your audience with a remarkable speech!

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Ideas, Inspiration, and Giveaways for Teachers

We Are Teachers

35 Strong Persuasive Writing Examples (Speeches, Essays, Ads, and More)

Learn from the experts.

Jill Staake

The more we read, the better writers we become. Teaching students to write strong persuasive essays should always start with reading some top-notch models. This round-up of persuasive writing examples includes famous speeches, influential ad campaigns, contemporary reviews of famous books, and more. Use them to inspire your students to write their own essays. (Need persuasive essay topics? Check out our list of 60 interesting ideas here! )


Persuasive Speech Writing Examples

Many persuasive speeches are political in nature, often addressing subjects like human rights. Here are some of history’s most well-known persuasive writing examples in the form of speeches.

I Have a Dream by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Sample lines: “And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

Woodrow Wilson’s War Message to Congress, 1917

Sample lines: “There are, it may be, many months of fiery trial and sacrifice ahead of us. It is a fearful thing to lead this great peaceful people into war, into the most terrible and disastrous of all wars, civilization itself seeming to be in the balance. But the right is more precious than peace, and we shall fight for the things which we have always carried nearest our hearts—for democracy, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own governments, for the rights and liberties of small nations, for a universal dominion of right by such a concert of free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all nations and make the world itself at last free.”

Chief Seattle’s 1854 Oration

Sample lines: “I here and now make this condition that we will not be denied the privilege without molestation of visiting at any time the tombs of our ancestors, friends, and children. Every part of this soil is sacred in the estimation of my people. Every hillside, every valley, every plain and grove, has been hallowed by some sad or happy event in days long vanished. Even the rocks, which seem to be dumb and dead as they swelter in the sun along the silent shore, thrill with memories of stirring events connected with the lives of my people, and the very dust upon which you now stand responds more lovingly to their footsteps than yours, because it is rich with the blood of our ancestors, and our bare feet are conscious of the sympathetic touch.”

Women’s Rights Are Human Rights, Hillary Rodham Clinton

Sample lines: “What we are learning around the world is that if women are healthy and educated, their families will flourish. If women are free from violence, their families will flourish. If women have a chance to work and earn as full and equal partners in society, their families will flourish. And when families flourish, communities and nations do as well. … If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights once and for all.”

I Am Prepared to Die, Nelson Mandela

Sample lines: “Above all, My Lord, we want equal political rights, because without them our disabilities will be permanent. I know this sounds revolutionary to the whites in this country, because the majority of voters will be Africans. This makes the white man fear democracy. But this fear cannot be allowed to stand in the way of the only solution which will guarantee racial harmony and freedom for all. It is not true that the enfranchisement of all will result in racial domination. Political division, based on color, is entirely artificial and, when it disappears, so will the domination of one color group by another. … This then is what the ANC is fighting. Our struggle is a truly national one. It is a struggle of the African people, inspired by our own suffering and our own experience. It is a struggle for the right to live.”

The Struggle for Human Rights by Eleanor Roosevelt

Sample lines: “It is my belief, and I am sure it is also yours, that the struggle for democracy and freedom is a critical struggle, for their preservation is essential to the great objective of the United Nations to maintain international peace and security. Among free men the end cannot justify the means. We know the patterns of totalitarianism—the single political party, the control of schools, press, radio, the arts, the sciences, and the church to support autocratic authority; these are the age-old patterns against which men have struggled for 3,000 years. These are the signs of reaction, retreat, and retrogression. The United Nations must hold fast to the heritage of freedom won by the struggle of its people; it must help us to pass it on to generations to come.”

Freedom From Fear by Aung San Suu Kyi

Sample lines: “Saints, it has been said, are the sinners who go on trying. So free men are the oppressed who go on trying and who in the process make themselves fit to bear the responsibilities and to uphold the disciplines which will maintain a free society. Among the basic freedoms to which men aspire that their lives might be full and uncramped, freedom from fear stands out as both a means and an end. A people who would build a nation in which strong, democratic institutions are firmly established as a guarantee against state-induced power must first learn to liberate their own minds from apathy and fear.”

Harvey Milk’s “The Hope” Speech

Sample lines: “Some people are satisfied. And some people are not. You see there is a major difference—and it remains a vital difference—between a friend and a gay person, a friend in office and a gay person in office. Gay people have been slandered nationwide. We’ve been tarred and we’ve been brushed with the picture of pornography. In Dade County, we were accused of child molestation. It is not enough anymore just to have friends represent us, no matter how good that friend may be.”

The Strike and the Union, Cesar Chavez

Sample lines: “We are showing our unity in our strike. Our strike is stopping the work in the fields; our strike is stopping ships that would carry grapes; our strike is stopping the trucks that would carry the grapes. Our strike will stop every way the grower makes money until we have a union contract that guarantees us a fair share of the money he makes from our work! We are a union and we are strong and we are striking to force the growers to respect our strength!”

Nobel Lecture by Malala Yousafzai

Sample lines: “The world can no longer accept that basic education is enough. Why do leaders accept that for children in developing countries, only basic literacy is sufficient, when their own children do homework in algebra, mathematics, science, and physics? Leaders must seize this opportunity to guarantee a free, quality, primary and secondary education for every child. Some will say this is impractical, or too expensive, or too hard. Or maybe even impossible. But it is time the world thinks bigger.”   

Persuasive Writing Examples in Advertising Campaigns

Ads are prime persuasive writing examples. You can flip open any magazine or watch TV for an hour or two to see sample after sample of persuasive language. Here are some of the most popular ad campaigns of all time, with links to articles explaining why they were so successful.

Nike: Just Do It

Nike "swoosh" logo and slogan Just Do It. (Persuasive Writing Examples)

The iconic swoosh with the simple tagline has persuaded millions to buy their kicks from Nike and Nike alone. Teamed with pro sports star endorsements, this campaign is one for the ages. Blinkist offers an opinion on what made it work.

Dove: Real Beauty

Beauty brand Dove changed the game by choosing “real” women to tell their stories instead of models. They used relatable images and language to make connections, and inspired other brands to try the same concept. Learn why Global Brands considers this one a true success story.

Wendy’s: Where’s the Beef?

Today’s kids are too young to remember the cranky old woman demanding to know where the beef was on her fast-food hamburger. But in the 1980s, it was a catchphrase that sold millions of Wendy’s burgers. Learn from Better Marketing how this ad campaign even found its way into the 1984 presidential debate.

De Beers: A Diamond Is Forever

Diamond engagement ring on black velvet. Text reads "How do you make two months' salary last forever? The Diamond Engagement Ring."

A diamond engagement ring has become a standard these days, but the tradition isn’t as old as you might think. In fact, it was De Beers jewelry company’s 1948 campaign that created the modern engagement ring trend. The Drum has the whole story of this sparkling campaign.

Volkswagen: Think Small

Americans have always loved big cars. So in the 1960s, when Volkswagen wanted to introduce their small cars to a bigger market, they had a problem. The clever “Think Small” campaign gave buyers clever reasons to consider these models, like “If you run out of gas, it’s easy to push.” Learn how advertisers interested American buyers in little cars at Visual Rhetoric.

American Express: Don’t Leave Home Without It

AmEx was once better known for traveler’s checks than credit cards, and the original slogan was “Don’t leave home without them.” A simple word change convinced travelers that American Express was the credit card they needed when they headed out on adventures. Discover more about this persuasive campaign from Medium.

Skittles: Taste the Rainbow

Bag of Skittles candy against a blue background. Text reads "Share the rainbow, taste the rainbow" (Persuasive Writing Examples)

These candy ads are weird and intriguing and probably not for everyone. But they definitely get you thinking, and that often leads to buying. Learn more about why these wacky ads are successful from The Drum.

Maybelline: Maybe She’s Born With It

Smart wordplay made this ad campaign slogan an instant hit. The ads teased, “Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline.” (So many literary devices all in one phrase!) Fashionista has more on this beauty campaign.

Coca-Cola: Share a Coke

Seeing their own name on a bottle made teens more likely to want to buy a Coke. What can that teach us about persuasive writing in general? It’s an interesting question to consider. Learn more about the “Share a Coke” campaign from Digital Vidya.

Always: #LikeaGirl

Girl kicking a sign that says "Can't be brave". Text reads "Unstoppable #likeagirl"

Talk about the power of words! This Always campaign turned the derogatory phrase “like a girl” on its head, and the world embraced it. Storytelling is an important part of persuasive writing, and these ads really do it well. Medium has more on this stereotype-bashing campaign.   

Editorial Persuasive Writing Examples

Original newspaper editorial "Yes Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus" (Persuasive Writing Examples)

Source: New York Daily News

Newspaper editors or publishers use editorials to share their personal opinions. Noted politicians, experts, or pundits may also offer their opinions on behalf of the editors or publishers. Here are a couple of older well-known editorials, along with a selection from current newspapers.

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus (1897)

Sample lines: “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias.”

What’s the Matter With Kansas? (1896)

Sample lines: “Oh, this IS a state to be proud of! We are a people who can hold up our heads! What we need is not more money, but less capital, fewer white shirts and brains, fewer men with business judgment, and more of those fellows who boast that they are ‘just ordinary clodhoppers, but they know more in a minute about finance than John Sherman,’ we need more men … who hate prosperity, and who think, because a man believes in national honor, he is a tool of Wall Street.”

America Can Have Democracy or Political Violence. Not Both. (The New York Times)

Sample lines: “The nation is not powerless to stop a slide toward deadly chaos. If institutions and individuals do more to make it unacceptable in American public life, organized violence in the service of political objectives can still be pushed to the fringes. When a faction of one of the country’s two main political parties embraces extremism, that makes thwarting it both more difficult and more necessary. A well-functioning democracy demands it.”

The Booster Isn’t Perfect, But Still Can Help Against COVID (The Washington Post)

Sample lines: “The booster shots are still free, readily available and work better than the previous boosters even as the virus evolves. Much still needs to be done to build better vaccines that protect longer and against more variants, including those that might emerge in the future. But it is worth grabbing the booster that exists today, the jab being a small price for any measure that can help keep COVID at bay.”

If We Want Wildlife to Thrive in L.A., We Have To Share Our Neighborhoods With Them (Los Angeles Times)

Sample lines: “If there are no corridors for wildlife movement and if excessive excavation of dirt to build bigger, taller houses erodes the slope of a hillside, then we are slowly destroying wildlife habitat. For those people fretting about what this will do to their property values—isn’t open space, trees, and wildlife an amenity in these communities?”   

Persuasive Review Writing Examples

Image of first published New York Times Book Review

Source: The New York Times

Book or movie reviews are more great persuasive writing examples. Look for those written by professionals for the strongest arguments and writing styles. Here are reviews of some popular books and movies by well-known critics to use as samples.

The Great Gatsby (The Chicago Tribune, 1925)

Sample lines: “What ails it, fundamentally, is the plain fact that it is simply a story—that Fitzgerald seems to be far more interested in maintaining its suspense than in getting under the skins of its people. It is not that they are false: It is that they are taken too much for granted. Only Gatsby himself genuinely lives and breathes. The rest are mere marionettes—often astonishingly lifelike, but nevertheless not quite alive.”

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Washington Post, 1999)

Sample lines: “Obviously, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone should make any modern 11-year-old a very happy reader. The novel moves quickly, packs in everything from a boa constrictor that winks to a melancholy Zen-spouting centaur to an owl postal system, and ends with a scary surprise. Yet it is, essentially, a light-hearted thriller, interrupted by occasional seriousness (the implications of Harry’s miserable childhood, a moral about the power of love).”

Twilight (The Telegraph, 2009)

Sample lines: “No secret, of course, at whom this book is aimed, and no doubt, either, that it has hit its mark. The four Twilight novels are not so much enjoyed, as devoured, by legions of young female fans worldwide. That’s not to say boys can’t enjoy these books; it’s just that the pages of heart-searching dialogue between Edward and Bella may prove too long on chat and too short on action for the average male reader.”

To Kill a Mockingbird (Time, 1960)

Sample lines: “Author Lee, 34, an Alabaman, has written her first novel with all of the tactile brilliance and none of the preciosity generally supposed to be standard swamp-warfare issue for Southern writers. The novel is an account of an awakening to good and evil, and a faint catechistic flavor may have been inevitable. But it is faint indeed; novelist Lee’s prose has an edge that cuts through cant, and she teaches the reader an astonishing number of useful truths about little girls and about Southern life.”

The Diary of Anne Frank (The New York Times, 1952)

Sample lines: “And this quality brings it home to any family in the world today. Just as the Franks lived in momentary fear of the Gestapo’s knock on their hidden door, so every family today lives in fear of the knock of war. Anne’s diary is a great affirmative answer to the life-question of today, for she shows how ordinary people, within this ordeal, consistently hold to the greater human values.”   

Persuasive Essay Writing Examples

First paragraph of Thomas Paine's The American Crisis

From the earliest days of print, authors have used persuasive essays to try to sway others to their own point of view. Check out these top examples.

The American Crisis by Thomas Paine

Sample lines: “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.”

Politics and the English Language by George Orwell

Sample lines: “As I have tried to show, modern writing at its worst does not consist in picking out words for the sake of their meaning and inventing images in order to make the meaning clearer. It consists in gumming together long strips of words which have already been set in order by someone else, and making the results presentable by sheer humbug.”

Letter From a Birmingham Jail by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Sample lines: “We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was ‘well timed’ in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word ‘Wait!’ It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This ‘Wait’ has almost always meant ‘Never.’ We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that ‘justice too long delayed is justice denied.'”

Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau

Sample lines: “Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it. It is only expressing to men feebly your desire that it should prevail. A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority. There is but little virtue in the action of masses of men.”

Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Roger Ebert

Sample lines: “‘Kindness’ covers all of my political beliefs. No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime.”

What are your favorite persuasive writing examples to use with students? Come share your ideas in the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook .

Plus, the big list of essay topics for high school (100+ ideas) ..

Find strong persuasive writing examples to use for inspiration, including essays, speeches, advertisements, reviews, and more.

Jill Staake is a Contributing Editor with WeAreTeachers. She has a degree in Secondary English Education and has taught in middle and high school classrooms. She's also done training and curriculum design for a financial institution and been a science museum educator. She currently lives in Tampa, Florida where she often works on her back porch while taking frequent breaks for bird-watching and gardening.

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Related Content

Related topics, 12 ways to hook an audience in 30 seconds.

The attractive mid adult woman teleconferences to meet with her diverse colleagues.  She is social distancing due to the coronavirus epidemic.

Published: October 26, 2021

Updated: October 26, 2021

Do you want to grab your audience's attention from the first sentence? Here's a compilation of great ideas with examples and tips on how to write a good hook.

"When you advertise fire-extinguishers, open with the fire," says advertising executive  David Ogilvy . You have only 30 seconds in a TV commercial to grab viewers' attention. The same applies to a presentation. Knowing how to hook your audience in the first 30 seconds of your talk is crucial. This is the time your listeners form an impression of you and of what's to follow. The success of your talk depends upon grabbing your listeners’ attention and keeping them engaged. 

What is a speech hook and how does it work?

A hook is a presentation-opening tactic that immediately captures your audience’s imagination. As the word implies, it’s like a worm on a fishing hook that attracts a fish. A hook instantly engages your audience so that they want to listen to what you have to say.

Your hook must come at the start of your talk. First impressions count. Like a fine thoroughbred, you need to start strong out of the gate. Instead, many presenters are more like old, tired workhorses—they start weak by wasting those first precious seconds with platitudes and pleasantries.  Brain research  shows that we don't pay attention to boring things. Surprise your listeners with some creative speech attention grabbers.

How do you make a good hook?

Coming up with hook ideas is not difficult if you follow some basic guidelines on how to make a good hook.

A good hook is brief, catchy, well-rehearsed and pertinent to your topic. In brainstorming examples of hooks, avoid the dry and conventional.

For example, let's say you are  delivering a presentation  on investments. Instead of an obvious and trite question such as "How many of you would be unhappy to hear that your house is worth less than you paid for it?" consider using a catchy or thought-provoking question such as "How many of you thought that your home would be your safest investment?"

12 Killer Hooks to Grab Your Audience's Attention

If you're stuck for ideas on how to start with a hook, check out these 12 examples of hooks that will help you grab your audience's attention—and keep it.

1. Use a contrarian approach.

One of the best attention grabber examples is to make a statement of a universally accepted concept, then go against conventional wisdom by contradicting the statement. For example, a market trader starts by contradicting the commonly held advice of buying low and selling high. He says: "It's wrong. Why? Because buying low typically entails a stock that's going in the opposite direction—down—from the most desired direction—up." This tactic is a provocative attention grabber for speeches and it can help engage the audience right away.

2. Ask a series of rhetorical questions.

One of the most common hook ideas is to start with a rhetorical question. Better still, start with a series of rhetorical questions. An excellent example of this tactic is Simon Sinek's TED  presentation  on how great leaders can inspire action. He begins with: "How do you explain when things don't go as we assumed? Or better, how do you explain when others are able to achieve things that seem to defy all of the assumptions? For example, why is Apple so innovative? . . . Why is it that they seem to have something different? Why is it that Martin Luther King led the civil rights movement?" A series of rhetorical questions stimulate the audience's mind as they ponder the answers.

3. Deliver a compelling sound bite.

Top hook ideas include using a catchy phrase or sound bite that perks up the audience.  To create your sound bite, consider your message and package it in a brief and compelling statement. Then explain how it fits into your overall topic or message.

Take inspiration from speakers such as innovation expert  Jeremy Gutsche  who once used this sound bite in a keynote: "Culture eats strategy for breakfast. This is a sign that is on Ford's strategy War Room. And the lesson from it is not how good your PowerPoint slide deck is; what it really boils down to at the end of the day is how ready and willing your organization is to embrace change, try new things and focus on when you find an opportunity."

4. Make a startling assertion.

When you're stumped for ideas on how to make a hook, use a surprising or amazing fact. That's an easy and sure-fire way to gain people's attention. Take the time to research startling statistics that illustrate the seriousness of what you're going to talk about. For example, a presentation about conservancy can start with: "Every second, a slice of rainforest the size of a football field is mowed down. That's over 31 million football fields of rainforest each year."

5. Provide a reference to a historical event. 

Good attention getters for speeches include mentioning a historical event. There are times when the day you present may have some significance in history that can be tied to the subject of your presentation as an opening gambit. You can quickly look up what happened on any day in  Today In Sport  or a more general site such as  This Day In History . You never know what pertinence the day might have that will add some pizzazz to your presentation. It's worth a look.

6. Use the word imagine.

Another effective attention grabber for speeches is the word “imagine.” It invites the audience to create a mental image of something. Ever since John Lennon's famous song, it has become a powerful word with emotional appeal. A good example is Jane Chen's TED  talk . She speaks about a low-cost incubator that can save many lives in underdeveloped countries. Chen opens by saying: “Please close your eyes and open your hands. Now imagine what you could place in your hands, an apple, maybe your wallet. Now open your eyes. What about a life?” She displays a slide with Anne Geddes' image of a tiny baby held in an adult's hands as she says this. Combining a hook with a visual is one of the most engaging speech attention grabbers.

There is power in asking the audience to conjure up their imagination, to play along. You can easily adapt this tactic to any topic where you want the audience to imagine a positive outcome or a vision of a better tomorrow. You can also use this opening gambit to ask the audience to imagine being in someone else's shoes.

7. Add a little show business.

If you’re looking for ideas on how to make a hook that's entertaining, consider the world of movies. Movies occupy a central place in most people's lives and a well-placed, pertinent movie quote at the start of a presentation can perk up your audience. Perhaps you have your own inspirational quote from a favorite film. You can also find some classics here:  The Best Business Wisdom Hidden In Classic Movie Quotes .

8. Arouse curiosity.

Powerful attention grabbers spark people's curiosity. To do this, you can start with a statement designed to arouse interest and make the audience look up and listen to you attentively. Bestselling author Dan Pink does this masterfully in  one  of his talks. He says: "I need to make a confession, at the outset. A little over 20 years ago, I did something that I regret. Something that I am not particularly proud of, something that in many ways I wished no one would ever know, but that here I feel kind of obliged to reveal. In the late 1980s, in a moment of youthful indiscretion, I went to law school." The hook here leads to some self-deprecating humor, which makes it even more effective.

9. Use quotations differently.

Often-used hook ideas involve the use of quotes. While many speakers start with an apt quotation, you can differentiate by stating the quote and adding a twist. For example, "We've all heard that a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. But we need to remember that a journey to nowhere also starts with a single step." You can also use a quotation from your own life. For example, in a presentation on price versus quality, I have often used a quote from my grandfather, who used to say: "I am not rich enough to buy cheap."

There are numerous sources for quotations, such as  The Library of Congress , but you might also consider  The Yale Book of Quotations , which brings together over 13,000 quotes. You can also find such resources in app form, including  Famous Quotes  and  Brilliant Quotes .

10. Quote a foreign proverb.

A novel attention grabber for speeches is quoting a proverb from a culture your audience might not be familiar with. There is a wealth of fresh material to be culled from around the world. Chances are your listeners have never heard them, so they have novelty appeal. Here are some examples: "Our last garment is made without pockets" (Italy); "You'll never plow a field by turning it over in your mind" (Ireland); "The nail that sticks up will be hammered down" (Japan), and "Paper can't wrap up a fire" (China). Whatever phrase you select,  take the time to read and understand any important context around it, so as to make sure it's appropriate for your talk.

11. Take them through a "what if" scenario. 

A compelling way to start your presentation is with a "what if" scenario. For example, asking "What if you were debt-free?" at the start of a money management presentation might grab your listeners' attention as it asks them to look forward to a positive future and it can intensify their desire for your product or service. Exploring hook ideas that use a "what if" scenario may be fruitful as the "what if" concept is easily adaptable to almost any presentation.

12. Tell them a story. 

The most engaging and widespread examples of hooks, without a doubt, are stories. Nothing will compel listeners to lean in more than a well-told story.  Science  tells us that our brains are hardwired for storytelling. But the story needs to be brief, with just the right amount of detail to bring it to life. It must be authentic and have a "message," or lesson, to support your viewpoint. Above all, it must be kind. 

A version of this article was originally published on April 11, 2013. 

Photo: Getty Images

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17.2 Types of Persuasive Speeches

Learning objectives.

Maya Angelou speaking at Burns Library at Boston College

Burns Library, Boston College – Maya Angelou – CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Obviously, there are many different persuasive speech topics you could select for a public speaking class. Anything from localized claims like changing a specific college or university policy to larger societal claims like adding more enforcement against the trafficking of women and children in the United States could make for an interesting persuasive speech. You’ll notice in the previous sentence we referred to the two topics as claims. In this use of the word “claim,” we are declaring the goodness or positivity of an attitude, value, belief, or behavior that others may dispute. As a result of the dispute between our perceptions of the goodness of an attitude, value, belief, or behavior and the perceptions of others, we attempt to support the claim we make using some sort of evidence and logic as we attempt to persuade others. There are four common claims that can be made: definitional, factual, policy, and value.

Definitional Claims

The first common types of claims that a persuasive speaker can make are definitional or classification claims. Definitional claims are claims over the denotation or classification of what something is. In essence, we are trying to argue for what something is or what something is not. Most definitional claims falling to a basic argument formula:

X is (or is not) a Y because it has (or does not have) features A , B , or C .

For example, maybe you’re trying to persuade your class that while therapeutic massage is often performed on nude clients, it is not a form of prostitution. You could start by explaining what therapeutic massage is and then what prostitution is. You could even look at the legal definition of prostitution and demonstrate to your peers that therapeutic massage does not fall into the legal definition of prostitution because it does not involve the behaviors characterized by that definition.

Factual Claims

Factual claims set out to argue the truth or falsity of an assertion. Some factual claims are simple to answer: Barack Obama is the first African American President; the tallest man in the world, Robert Wadlow, was eight feet and eleven inches tall; Facebook wasn’t profitable until 2009. All these factual claims are well documented by evidence and can be easily supported with a little research.

However, many factual claims cannot be answered absolutely. Some factual claims are simply hard to determine the falsity or trueness of because the final answer on the subject has not been discovered (e.g., when is censorship good, what rights should animals have, when does life begin). Probably the most historically interesting and consistent factual claim is the existence of a higher power, God, or other religious deity. The simple fact of the matter is that there is not enough evidence to clearly answer this factual claim in any specific direction, which is where the notion of faith must be involved in this factual claim.

Other factual claims that may not be easily answered using evidence are predictions of what may or may not happen. For example, you could give a speech on the future of climate change or the future of terrorism in the United States. While there may be evidence that something will happen in the future, unless you’re a psychic, you don’t actually know what will happen in the future.

When thinking of factual claims, it often helps to pretend that you’re putting a specific claim on trial and as the speaker your job is to defend your claim as a lawyer would defend a client. Ultimately, your job is to be more persuasive than your audience members who act as both opposition attorneys and judges.

Policy Claims

The third common claim that is seen in persuasive speeches is the policy claim —a statement about the nature of a problem and the solution that should be implemented. Policy claims are probably the most common form of persuasive speaking because we live in a society surrounded by problems and people who have ideas about how to fix these problems. Let’s look at a few examples of possible policy claims:

Each of these claims has a clear perspective that is being advocated. Policy claims will always have a clear and direct opinion for what should occur and what needs to change. When examining policy claims, we generally talk about two different persuasive goals: passive agreement and immediate action.

Gain Passive Agreement

When we attempt to gain the passive agreement of our audiences, our goal is to get our audiences to agree with what we are saying and our specific policy without asking the audience to do anything to enact the policy. For example, maybe your speech is on why the Federal Communications Commission should regulate violence on television like it does foul language (i.e., no violence until after 9 p.m.). Your goal as a speaker is to get your audience to agree that it is in our best interest as a society to prevent violence from being shown on television before 9 p.m., but you are not seeking to have your audience run out and call their senators or congressmen or even sign a petition. Often the first step in larger political change is simply getting a massive number people to agree with your policy perspective.

Let’s look at a few more passive agreement claims:

In each of these claims, the goal is to sway one’s audience to a specific attitude, value, or belief, but not necessarily to get the audience to enact any specific behaviors.

Gain Immediate Action

The alternative to passive agreement is immediate action, or persuading your audience to start engaging in a specific behavior. Many passive agreement topics can become immediate action-oriented topics as soon as you tell your audience what behavior they should engage in (e.g., sign a petition, call a senator, vote). While it is much easier to elicit passive agreement than to get people to do something, you should always try to get your audience to act and do so quickly. A common mistake that speakers make is telling people to enact a behavior that will occur in the future. The longer it takes for people to engage in the action you desire, the less likely it is that your audience will engage in that behavior.

Here are some examples of good claims with immediate calls to action:

Each of these three examples starts with a basic claim and then tags on an immediate call to action. Remember, the faster you can get people to engage in a behavior the more likely they actually will.

Value Claims

The final type of claim is a value claim , or a claim where the speaker is advocating a judgment claim about something (e.g., it’s good or bad, it’s right or wrong, it’s beautiful or ugly, moral or immoral).

Let’s look at three value claims. We’ve italicized the evaluative term in each claim:

Each of these three claims could definitely be made by a speaker and other speakers could say the exact opposite. When making a value claim, it’s hard to ascertain why someone has chosen a specific value stance without understanding her or his criteria for making the evaluative statement. For example, if someone finds all forms of technology immoral, then it’s really no surprise that he or she would find Internet dating immoral as well. As such, you need to clearly explain your criteria for making the evaluative statement. For example, when we examine the SUV claim, if your criteria for the term “gas guzzling monstrosity” are ecological impact, safety, and gas consumption, then your evaluative statement can be more easily understood and evaluated by your audience. If, however, you state that your criterion is that SUVs are bigger than military vehicles and shouldn’t be on the road, then your statement takes on a slightly different meaning. Ultimately, when making a value claim, you need to make sure that you clearly label your evaluative term and provide clear criteria for how you came to that evaluation.

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Home » Blog » Presentation Delivery » Presentation Hooks: the 13 most successful presentation hook examples

Presentation Hooks: the 13 most successful presentation hook examples


Wouldn’t it be great if every single person who attends your presentation gets excited at your speech and stays tuned until the end, focusing on you the entire time? Have you seen any presentation hook examples that really got you involved in the presentation?

As presenters, the problem is that we always lack presentation hook ideas to start the presentation.

If you want to catch the attention of your audience , however, you must really hook your audience from the very beginning.

Did you know that you normally lose 90% of your audience within the first 5 minutes of your presentation?

If you get 60 minutes to present, you do not get 60 minutes worth of attention. In fact, the typical attention span in an hour-long meeting goes something like this (Source: Sequoia Capital ):

Graph showing attention versus time in a presentation

Your hook is often the difference between a successful presentation and a very boring one. Think about it.

If you don’t grab your audience right away , you’ll lose them forever.

You went through all that work of preparing a killer presentation, right? You worked hard at it. You did a ton of research and you spent a lot of time carefully taking care of every single slide.

However, the truth is that if your introduction sucks, your efforts will be for nothing. Well done, my friend, you lost before you even got started! 

If you want to spread your presentation hook ideas so that they resonate with your audience, you need to conquer them from the very first moment you talk to them. How to hook the audience?

Let me show you how.

Table of Contents

Attention Getters for Speeches and Presentations

If you Google the topic “ Presentation hook ideas “, you’ll find plenty of public speakers and pitch experts who will give you their top 5, top 10, top (x) advice points on how to create the perfect hook persuading the audience.

I have identified commonalities and summarized the most impactful, shared and successful presentation hook ideas coming from the top experts below and I’ve enriched them with real life dedicated examples.

Below you’ll find a long list of presentation hook examples with a whole bunch of ready to use ideas to use.

Effective hook examples chart

How to Start a Presentation: Attention Getters

Pre-hook: interact with the speakers first.

When you speak at a conference, it’s very rare that you are alone. There might be other speakers like you, and you might not be the first one to talk. I like not being the first speaker, as this allows me to listen to the others carefully and improve on my own presentation .

If somebody speaks before you, it’s always a good strategy to connect your intervention to their speech .

Every time I’m invited to give a speech at a conference, I always request to join from the beginning, even though I’m not the first speaker. By doing so, I can listen to the other speakers, take notes and prepare my hook .

By connecting your intervention to the others, you show respect to the other speakers and you demonstrate that you have been an active listener while you were in the audience; you’ll give a good example on how you expect your audience to behave during a speech.

Moreover, you create a connection that contextualizes your intervention into the flow of the conference and you turn the separated speeches into a dialogue that you trigger by commenting on the other speeches. By creating a dialogue atmosphere, the audience will wake up from the previous speech and connect with you .

Now you are ready for your hook!

How to Make a Good Hook: Presentation Hook Examples

Let’s take a look at the top 13 presentation hook ideas you can use to start your presentation and focus your audience’s attention on your message:

1. Storytelling

Starting with a story is one of the oldest and most powerful methods of introducing your presentation.

Storytelling is a good hook for  a speech because it shows you are human and shows you have feelings, emotions and reason. It is even more powerful if you start with a personal story.

The audience will feel close to you and will trust you. If you earn their trust, you’ll get their attention.

Normally when you start talking, people are tired from the other speeches, and their attention level is not ready for your core message or your call to action. You will need to start slowly and take them in gradually. A story is common to everybody, and it’s easy to follow .

In most cases, it’s very effective to start with a story. You don’t really need to introduce yourself at the beginning. Your introduction can be postponed to when the audience will be really listening to you .

If you start telling them why you’re good, you’ll immediately build distance from the audience, you won’t be perceived as one of them, so it will be harder for the audience to connect with you.

Psychologist Shawn Achor explains that the happy secret to better work starts straight away with a funny personal story about his childhood and keeps going until 2 minutes fifty, until the audience sympathizes with him, and so gives the audience his message.

Shawn shoots the message when he is sure that he has 100% of the audience’s attention , not before. He only gives information about his prestigious background (“When I applied to Harvard […]”) at 6:32, after he has passed the core message.

Still, he feels normal and empathetic to the audience when he shares the feeling of being an average guy surrounded by smarter guys, in such a great university. Therefore, he makes sure that his background does not bring him away from the audience.

Making the slides for this kind of hook will be very easy because all they need to do is help the audience visualize the story .

Therefore, all you need is just a sequence of beautiful full-screen pictures. If you are telling them a personal story, show personal pictures. This will make them feel how real your story is, and it will catch their attention .

Learn more about how storytelling applies to presentations: Forget slides, tell stories.

I want to show you a trick for perfect presentation hook examples. If you do not want to tell a personal story or you do not have one, I’d suggest you invent one!

After all, we have plenty of pictures on our social media channels we can leverage to invent an ad hoc story. The most important thing is that your story appears real, because if the audience thinks you are tricking them, they won’t trust you and you’ll lose any chance to connect with them.

How do you tell compelling stories?

How do you tell stories that your audience wants to hear?

How do you make them feel really engaged with your story?

What about the story of your brand?

There are many storytelling formulas you can leverage recommended by my friends from Buffer.com – 11 Storytelling Formulas to Supercharge Your Social Media Marketing

The reality is that storytelling is more than just telling stories.

What do I mean?

Recently I’ve found myself in the challenge of turning a boring presentation into a powerful story.

Taking in consideration the audience of my client that day, the story was the only possible solution for a manager who needed to share her experience in front of millennials at the university.

The way storytelling infused power to my presentation left me astonished, I think you should have a look at what happened that day: Storytelling techniques for presentations [Real case study].

If you have no creativity, you could even take inspiration from websites that offer stories by keywords like BusinessBalls . In BusinessBalls, for example, stories are characterized by keywords:

BusinessBalls site search

2. Questions and audience interaction

One of the most common errors that presenters commit nowadays is thinking they are one step above the audience, just because they came to present.

We are in the era of “listening” today, more than ever before, with the advent of social media. If we want to be listened, first you need to listen .

Presentations aren’t an exception.

If you want to give a successful presentation, first you need to build a one-on-one relationship with your audience and start a dialogue .

What’s better for engagement than asking questions to your audience from the beginning of your presentation?

Questions turn on people’s curiosity. Their brains will begin figuring out the answer. If they know the answer, they want to know if their answer is correct. If they do not know the answer, they might get involved and focus on the speaker in order to get the answer.

In any case, answering a question works like a reward, because people feel satisfied by the fact that they canceled one more doubt. People’s curiosity will make them focus on you to find the answer. 

Child pointing at the camera

When you ask question, you pair up with your audience as they feel like they’re in your position, and they want to help you answer the question. If you are perceived as one of them, you’ve won their trust and therefore their attention.

There are several kind of questions you might want to ask as good hook for a speech:

Yes/No questions

These questions help you interact with the audience. Having just simple answers, all you need to do is to ask people in a sequence to vote for “ Yes ” by raising their hands and then you can ask people to vote for “ No ” to do the same.

Audience raising their hands

You can adopt this technique every time you have a multiple choice question, so the audience can vote for a single option by raising their hands.

You could ask how they’re affected by the problem you’re going to solve during your presentation.

This is a good technique to use for checking the audience responsiveness. When you ask a Y/N question, people naturally answer loudly, so you’ll immediately know if most of them are still awake.

Open-ended questions

Using open-ended questions, you expect the audience to develop an answer. This is the typical situation of a Q&A session, and can be useful in those situations as a presentation hook example.

However, this technique enables you to open a real discussion with members of the audience. However, people may answer what they feel without a filter, so they can impede you if you are uncomfortable with their answer.

This is an incredibly powerful technique for creating presentation hook ideas , but at the same time, you risk getting controversial opinions by freeing people to develop their discourse.

Man giving a presentation

Also, be sure that everybody can be heard when talking from the audience, because they’re not standing in front of everybody with a microphone.

Sometimes you have a hostesses who may bring the microphone to people for them to answer, but this depends on the size of the event. You’ll be in charge of picking somebody from the audience to answer.

A good practice is to repeat the answer to the audience in order to make sure everybody heard it. By doing so, you’ll give them the feeling of being part of the dialogue and you will show that you are careful to keep everybody in the loop .

Rhetorical questions

Rhetorical refers to those questions asked by a speaker who does not expect to receive an answer. Even though you know you don’t want an answer, the audience does not know if it’s a rhetorical question.

Their brains will be automatically triggered to elaborate an answer. Just by doing so, you’ll turn on their brains and you’ll catch their attention .

presentation hook ideas

In order to maximize the effect of rhetorical questions, I recommend you to pause just after you ask.

People will be forced to think of an answer. If you talk too quickly and you skip immediately to the answer, they won’t have the time to think about the answer.

If you show you are thinking of the answer in real time, this will help you to make the audience feel close to you. They’ll feel involved and they’ll try helping with their answers. This already means that they are interacting with you, so you’ll have their attention.

Finally, if you choose this technique to open your presentation, I’d recommend you select the right number of questions based on their form . You do not want to open a full debate during your hook.

If you decide to go for open-ended questions, you won’t make more than one or two. On the other hand, if you ask a sequence of questions where the audience needs to raise their hands, you can ask more.

Question with surprise effect

A cool trick you could use for your presentation hook ideas is to send the audience in one mental direction , and then tell them they’re wrong. I know it sounds weird, but let me give you an example of a hook.

You ask a question and you give 3 possible options: A, B and C.

You ask the audience to vote for one of the 3 options . Once they vote, you tell them that none of the answers were correct. At this point, they’ll feel surprised and you can hook them, then show them the correct one.

You could build your speech step by step, commenting on why the 3 options are wrong . In this way, you’ll bring the audience to the message more naturally.

When I want to introduce the color theory for Lean Presentation Design , I commonly ask my students how many colors we need to use in a presentation, and I give them 3 options.

presentation hook ideas

However, none of them is right, as I want to show them the technique on how to choose the best color palette to make colors work in the most effective way.

After the vote, they feel they have it wrong, so they want to know what the correct answer is. That’s a great hook for presentation.

Direct questions

Direct questions can be scary, and that’s why this is a powerful technique !

In this case, you ask the question and you pick someone random from the audience to answer. However, if the person does not know the answer or if they’re shy, they’ll feel embarrassed.

You need to be able to manage the embarrassment , or you’ll immediately create a tense atmosphere. However, people will know that you might call them all of the sudden to join the dialogue. Therefore, they’ll pay attention to avoid being caught unprepared.

Again, I recommend you to handle these situations carefully, because you do not want to recreate the atmosphere of a classroom exam.

presentation hook ideas

Introduce yourself

I really like this technique and, more than the other presentation hook examples, I often use it during my training as a powerful icebreaker .

Instead of starting with you or your speech, start with your audience and ask them to introduce themselves one by one. I also like to add a question about what they expect to learn during my training , so I already set their expectations and I’m sure I’ll talk about something relevant to the audience.

One of the most common problems during presentations is that the audience isn’t interested in the topics discussed. On the other hand, it’s true that it’s often hard to know what everybody expects from the presentation, so what could be better than just asking them what they are looking for?

Knowing the people in front of you also enables you to acquire knowledge about your target and their language, so it will be easier for you to connect with them.

I suggest you to take note when people talk so that you can use the information during the rest of the presentation to hook them again.

For example, if I know that somebody comes from finance and wants to know how to present an ugly P&L, when I’m about to talk about that topic I can call his name and say something like, “Hey Anders, the coming section is the one you are interested in” . By doing this, I’ll wake him up and I’ll get his attention.

Another great technique to craft outstanding hook examples, is to discover the names of your attendants, so every time you talk to them, you can use their names . This will make them perceive you very close to them.

Man presenting to a group of people

3. State a shocking fact

This is one of the classic presentation hook examples that leaves the audience with their mouths open, staring at you. To create this effect, you normally use a surprising statistic .

You can capture their attention by reminding them of their fears. If you properly leverage uncertainty, you can create anxiety due to the unknown, and people will need your answers to overcome their fears.

Jorge Soto uses this technique in his TED speech when he claims, “1 out of 3 people sitting in this audience will be diagnosed with some type of cancer”.

People are scared of cancer, so they want to listen to him to find out if he can provide them with a solution.

There are 2 ways to astonish your audience:

Did you know that…

When you start with the formula “Did you know that…? ” and add the fact, you are creating expectations. The trick is to choose the most effective stats to make the audience interested in your message. Therefore, you need a statistic that matches your presentation.

To get the right fact, it’s often a good practice to do some research in your field. But you can also find websites full of facts that you can use as hook sentence examples:

Source: did-you-knows.com or factmontster.com/scary-facts-that-will-creep-you-out .

When deciding to choose this technique, your slides will play a crucial role. Check the difference between the two slides below:

presentation hook ideas

The one to the left is made with a powerful graphic, but the second one shows the consequences of an earthquake. It shows destroyed buildings and the army helping people. The second one shows a dramatic situation, so it makes the problem immediately relevant, as it brings the consequences to life.

Imagine how much stronger the message could be if the city represented is the same city where your audience lives. If you can relate scary facts to the audience, you will resonate with them and you’ll be able to get their attention .

Facts first

In this case, you shoot the fact straight to your audience and then you introduce the consequences.

Giulia Miur (check the analysis) gives an example:

Before the rule, more than 50 people here were dying in trenches every year. When you get killed in a cave-in, it’s not an easy way to go. You’re literally crushed to death under the weight of the soil. Soil weighs approximately 3,000 pounds per cubic yard. Nobody deserves to go to work and die that way .

presentation hook ideas

Finally, when you use a provocative fact as a way to hook your audience, I’d recommend you to make sure you integrate the fact with emotions. Always keep in mind that you need to use a fact with relevant consequences to your audience.

4. Use quotations to grab them

Opening with a famous quotation is a great way to borrow credibility from somebody who is well recognized and accepted by everybody. There are tons of presentation hook examples that use quotations.

The beauty of a great quote is its power to distill. To punctuate. To make things click. Sometimes the moral is presented on a plate, obvious as can be; sometimes the delivery is more subtle and sly. No matter how they’re served up, the best quotes resonate – for days, weeks, even years. Forbes

Quotes play a curious effect of attributing to the speaker the values and the meanings behind them.

However, even though they have a powerful communication effect , they need to be used carefully.

In fact, you absolutely need to be sure that the quote you choose matches your message.

It needs to be relevant to what you want to say. Take your time to scan the sources and find the best quote for the specific message you have to communicate.

There are different kind of quotes you can use to obtain this effect:

Hook famous quote

They just have a powerful and commonly accepted effect on people. If you can associate the quote to a resonating image, you’ll hit your strike on the very first slide.

Say I want to present a new technology for snowboards. I could use the following slide to introduce my speech:

Snowboarder background with Einstein quote

You can source tons of famous quotes on the web. Let me share with you some of my favorite sources:

BrainyQuote topics and authors

Presentation Hook Examples: movie quotes

Movies play a central role in most people’s lives. Movie quotes are a common knowledge and often part of jokes or slang.

Starting with a famous quote allows you to quickly connect to the audience, wake them up and creating presentation hook examples .

I’m presenting a new sailing boat brand. Instead of start saying why our boats are faster, with better sails and so on, I could start with the meaning behind the brand by quoting Captain Jack Sparrow:

presentation hook ideas

If I want to sell plastic surgery to women, I could open my presentation with the following quote:

Person in shadows with 'Nobody is Perfect' text

I’m clearly copying Joe E. Brown in “Some Like It Hot” and I’m combining it with an image that allows me to introduce my message. With a simple quote and a related picture, I can mean whatever I want by borrowing the powerful communication effect from Joe.

You could source famous quotes from many different places and use them as unlimited source of presentation hook ideas, let them inspire you!

Hook foreign quotes

You could also broaden the border of your quotes or proverbs and go catch some famous ones abroad. If your audience has never heard the quote, they could discover a new powerful proverb thanks to your speech.

Let’s make the presentation hook example of a company that produces yellow umbrellas. You could start with the famous Italian proverb shown in the slide below:

presentation hook examples | Maurizio La Cava

You can source many foreign proverbs from: site for foreign proverbs .

One more fantastic source of inspiration for quotes is Pinterest . You just type in “quotes” and it gives you many tags to combine to customize your research.

presentation hook ideas

It also gives you some inspiration as all the posts associate an image to the quote.

Do not let Pinterest take your place . Remember that for this technique to work properly, you need to associate a meaningful image to the quote so that it delivers your message. Therefore, use it for inspiration but don’t let it do your job.

Another good way to leverage quotes is to adopt a controversial approach. You could also go against quotations and revert them: A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. But we need to remember that a journey to nowhere also starts with a single step. Bruna Martinuzzi

This will make the audience curious, as you are challenging a common belief. So they’ll want to hear how this can be possible and will focus their attention on you.

Another great technique to introduce quotations for your presentation  hook ideas is to use a picture of the author :

presentation hook ideas

If you are talking about a famous author, you’ll automatically inherit the values that they bring with them.

Finally, remember that quotes are a powerful way of making your presentations memorable to the audience . Leverage the opportunity to hook them since the beginning with an opening stunning quote.

5. Break common belief and provoke the audience

Provocation can be a great tool to hook your audience and to raise their curiosity . By provoking the audience, I mean you have to claim something that is totally against their belief.

You’ll then spend the whole presentation supporting the claim and demonstrating how it can be true. If you are able to uncover the truth step-by-step, you’ll have them hooked to the end.

Let me give you an example from the outstanding TED speech of Jane McGonigal :

I’m Jane McGonigal. I’m a game designer. I’ve been making games online now for 10 years, and my goal for the next decade is to try to make it as easy to save the world in real life as it is to save the world in online games. Now, I have a plan for this, and it entails convincing more people, including all of you, to spend more time playing bigger and better games. Right now we spend three billion hours a week playing online games. Some of you might be thinking: “That’s a lot of time to spend playing games.” Maybe too much time, considering how many urgent problems we have to solve in the real world. I’ve calculated the total we need at 21 billion hours of game play every week. […] In fact, I believe that if we want to survive the next century on this planet, we need to increase that total dramatically.

This is the point where the audience thinks:

“ Wow! Hold on a second. Are you really claiming that to save the world I should be spending more time playing video games?”

The common belief is that video games are a way to escape reality and to waste productive time. We all think that the new generations are burning their lives in playing video games.

But suddenly at TED, an influential speaker is claiming exactly the opposite and this makes the audience curious to know how it can be true that the reality is so different to what they thought.

Jane is also great at uncovering the message step by step through the presentation . The audience can’t really figure out why this is true until the very end. So Jane proceeds to hook the audience with a persuasive claim and keep them hooked until she shoots her message.

Finally, go against something the audience is convinced of and claim the opposite. Then walk them through your logic step by step to show how this is possible, and you’ll get their attention from beginning to end. This is a good presentation hook example .

6. Bring it to life

“A picture is worth a thousand words” is an English idiom meaning that a complex idea can be conveyed with just a single image, or that an image conveys its meaning more effectively than a description.

What makes a good hook in this case?

Opening with a picture, a video or a prop allows you to bring the subject to life immediately .

If you are a good presenter, you’ll be able to leverage the imagination of your audience, but if you place the subject in front of their eyes, it’s not even a matter of imagination, it’s just true.

Let’s suppose you are in charge of presenting the new Apple SIRI, the virtual assistant. You could start talking about the features and all the functions it has, you could tell your audience how to activate it on their iPhones, or you could just show them the following video:

Watch out, because surely this takes attention off you, so it decreases the pressure level.

But you need to be able to catch the attention back immediately .

If you use a picture or a prop, this goes very fast because the processing time of a picture is very fast, and a prop is normally shown by a presenter, who interacts with it.

If you show a video instead, you’ll lose the attention of the audience for entire the length of the video and you’ll need to re-catch it once the video is finished .

A video, more than a picture, can help you convey a whole emotional environment to the audience. You can show a product demo, but you can also show a powerful trailer with music and enticing footage. This is a perfect tip for outstanding presentation hook examples and ideas.

7. Make them laugh

Not an easy task, I know. To make the audience laugh, sometimes a joke might not be enough and on certain occasions, the audience might miss the joke, causing a no reaction at all.

Looking at what the other influencers suggest online, as a result of my analysis, I’ve found a common opinion about how to make the audience laugh. Tell them a joke.

You can easily source jokes online if you do not have one. There are even websites that organize jokes by category: AjokeAday.

AJokeADay Categories

What happens if they do not laugh? Well, your hook is dead but this does not mean that you ruined the whole presentation, so ignore the reaction and keep going.

Now, based on my experience, often telling a joke is not enough because to make people laugh, you need to feel the moment, you need to feel the connection with them and you need to behave in a such surprising way that you automatically trigger the fun.

In the following presentation, I was giving an introduction lesson about Lean Presentation Design and I made them laugh just by playing with the rhythm of my voice and showing them what could happen to the audience if you show them ugly slides.

So I showed them an ugly slide and then I showed them the sleeping audience. That was enough to make them laugh. I can tell you that afterwards, they were receptive, paying attention up to the end of the presentation.


8. Leverage historical events

Let’s say you work for a company that produces solar panels and wind turbines. The company closed a bad financial year and you, as a CEO, need to go out today, 26 th of April, to motivate your board and get their commitment for the coming year.

Instead of reminding them that they won’t receive a bonus this year and that if they perform better, they will for the next year, you could motivate them by giving meaning to their work.

You could take advantage of that date (26 th of April), show the following slide and saying, “About 10 years ago in Ukraine, a catastrophic nuclear accident occurred. Today, we exist to give the world an alternative”.

persuasive speech hook examples

Your start will empower your board members. They’ll feel their work is important and has a real impact on the world, it saves lives. From now on, you can make your presentation because you will have them hooked.

9. Trigger the audience imagination

Imagine a big explosion as you climb past 3,000 ft. Imagine a plane full of smoke. Imagine an engine going clack, clack, clack. It sounds scary.

Plane crash survivor Ric Elias begins his speech by bringing the audience back to the event, straight into the story, triggering their imagination and making them visualize the scene of the plane crush. By using the word “ imagine “, he turns on the people’s minds and force them to start seeing the images and feeling to be there.

A very effective way of using this technique is beginning with “ Close your eyes and imagine “. Because in closing their eyes, people will focus on image visualization, not being distracted by the environment or the speaker. Moreover, you could prepare a surprise for when they re-open their eyes.

You could also begin with a “ what if … ” form.

You could depict an ideal scenario that could actually be true if they listen what you have to say. Of course, it has to be a desirable scenario for the audience. Let’s say you invented a cure for cancer, you could start saying, “ What if cancer deaths stop today?” Build on it.

“ What if you could no longer lose someone close, a parent or friend, because of cancer?” and so on. You can keep going and build up expectations, and the farther you go, the more curious the audience will be.

10. Straight to the Problem

Start the presentation by describing the problem straight away . Be sure that the problem is relevant to the audience if you want your hook to resonate with them.

Let me give you a very simple example.

“Good morning, everybody. Competitor A took us over in terms of revenue this year and we have nothing with which to return fire”.

Company revenue chart

Now, if you work in that company, you might be interested in this fact and therefore you would want to know what comes next, to check whether there is a solution or if the speaker can just walk you closer to a solution.

If you give a clear and relevant problem to the audience, then this is a very quick technique to hook them from the very beginning without spending time searching for specific visuals or the right quote.

Elon Musk in the Debuts of Tesla Powerwall presentation made a memorable speech that started with this technique.

So, what I’m gonna talk about tonight is about a fundamental transformation of how the world works about how energy is delivered across the Earth. This is how it is today

Person giving presentation to an audience

It’s pretty bad, it sucks! Exactly! I just wanna be clear, because sometimes some people are, like, confused about it. This is real. This is actually how most power of the world is generated, with fossil fuels, and if you look at the curve, that’s a famous curve, the Keeling curve…

He hooked the audience bringing their attention straight to a well-known shared problem ; this is a good presentation hook example.

…which shows the growth in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, and every year it ratchets up, it gets higher and higher, and if we do nothing, that’s where it’s headed to levels that we don’t even see in the fossil record.

presentation hooks

Well, I think we collectively should do something about this and not try to win the Darwin Award for us and a lot of other creatures too.

At this point, he starts with his discourse:

The way the grid works today is this: you got coal, you got natural gas, nuclear, hydro and wind and solar […].

Check the first 2 minutes of the following video.

11. Set the expectations

First of all, I want to make it clear that setting expectations does not absolutely mean sharing a summary of your presentation like the one shown in the slide below.

presentation hook examples | Maurizio La Cava

That would just bore your audience even before you start the presentation, and won’t add anything to them.

Let’s take an example from Cordell instead, who tells we should leverage the hook to go straight to the point and tell the audience:

In this case, the audience feels more like you take care of them and you are saving them time by giving them only the information they need to know to take the proper action, which you’ll suggest as well.

In his 40.2 million views TED speech, Sir Ken Robinson gives an anticipation of 2 main topics that have been discussed by the others and that he wants to discuss during his presentation.

Check the first 2 minutes of the video below.

Without any special effects, Sir Robinson starts anticipating two main topics he will discuss and connecting his speech to the conference.

This technique isn’t creative at all compared to the others, but it is extremely powerful because tells the audience that they won’t waste their time and you’ll go straight to the point.

Imagine the scene when you come up on the stage and the first thing you say is, “Today, I’ll be telling you two things…”

A presentation hook examples technique comes from the outstanding presentation of Steve Jobs for the launch of the first iPhone. He sets the expectation and goes far beyond just exceeding them!

If you haven’t watched this video yet, you’ll be astonished:

Today we are going to introduce 3 revolutionary products of this class: the first one is an iPod.

presentation ideas

The second is a revolutionary mobile phone.

persuasive speech hook examples

And the third is a breakthrough internet communication device.

Steve Jobs giving keynote presentation

So, an iPod, a phone and a revolutionary internet communication device.

At this point, he keeps repeating the same sentence, telling the audience the three devices that he’s going to introduce.

At this point, the audience starts laughing and clapping his hands because they think he is happy about these 3 new devices, but here he comes out with an explosive surprise.

These are not 3 separate devices, this is one device!  

Boom! The audience goes crazy, he’s got them hooked from the very first moment of the presentation.

12. Use a surprising metaphor

Start with an image, just to create a suspense effect linked to your message and then uncover your message step-by-step with a metaphor .

The president of an electronics equipment company needed his managers to cut costs. Rather than showing mundane charts, graphs, and spreadsheets, he opened the meeting by asking, “What sank the Titanic?” When everyone in unison replied, “an iceberg,” he displayed a beautiful high-definition image of an iceberg on the screen: the tip of the iceberg was clearly visible above the water; the much larger portion was dimly visible below the surface of the water.
The same thing is about to happen to our company, he continued. Hidden costs — the dangers beneath the surface — are about to sink this company. I need your help. This visual metaphor spawned a creative, productive brainstorming session that inspired every business unit manager to diligently hunt for what they labeled the “icebergs”, says Price. The result was saving millions and ultimately the company. https://business.financialpost.com

Trying to imagine his opening slide, I designed the following graphic:

Hidden costs iceberg

Mentioning the Lean Presentation Design Book here, you get a famous tip from Seth Godin:

The home run is easy to describe: You put up a slide. It triggers an emotional reaction in the audience. They sit up and want to know what you’re going to say that fits in with that image. Then, if you do it right, every time they think of what you said, they’ll see the image (and vice versa).  Sure, this is different from the way everyone else does it. But everyone else is busy defending the status quo (which is easy) and you’re busy championing brave new innovations, which is difficult.

13. Combine more hooking techniques together

We went through a long list of presentation hook ideas coming from all the most influential speakers on the net. You’ll have to choose your technique based on the specific situation and on your audience. However, nobody said you can’t combine more of them together to craft your special perfect opening.

In the following video, Alan Watts , master of storytelling, combines two presentation hook techniques we have analyzed.

First, he asks couple of rhetorical questions to the viewer and then introduces a story from his personal experience with his students.

It takes time to get to the message but when he gets there, you feel that what he’s telling you is the natural consequence of the story that brought you there (good hook for a presentation).

As a result, you are hooked from the beginning and the video results in impactful and memorable storytelling .

What did this video make you think? Did you like it? I just love this video and I like listening to this storytelling, as it is incredibly impactful.

Try one of these presentation hook examples

A good hook for a speech launched in the first seconds of the presentation is the difference between success and failure.

Now you have 13 presentation hook ideas , and a long list of videos and examples from which you can take inspiration every time you need to make a new hook.

If you liked this piece of research, I’d invite you to share and comment in order to enrich the guide and make it even more useful, thanks to the contribution of new readers. I’m looking forward to seeing your presentation hook ideas described in the comments below.

Have you ever successfully hooked you audience? How did you do? What are your favorite presentation hook ideas?

Let me know your presentation hook examples.

The 13 most successful hook ideas ever 

Argumentative hook ideas

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Maurizio La Cava

About Maurizio

Comments on Presentation Hooks: the 13 most successful presentation hook examples

'  data-srcset=

Thanks for the article – this was a fantastic resource for putting together my upcoming seminar presentation.

Great tips and ideas to focus on to get the audiences engagement

'  data-srcset=

Mark Peter Quitorio

Very Nice, it helps me a lot to explore this techniques

'  data-srcset=

I wanted to stop by and give my genuine feedback on your website. I really enjoyed to read your content, I think it’s interesting and very well written. I’ve been on your website for an hour or so and very enjoyed it.

I didn’t find your Instagram page though, do you have one?

Best, Yalla

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Like a fine thoroughbred, you need to hit the ground running by starting strong. Instead, many presenters are more like old, tired workhorses—they start weak by wasting those first precious seconds with platitudes and pleasantries. Brain research shows that we don t pay attention to boring things. Surprise your listeners with a hook that immediately grabs their attention.

'  data-srcset=

This was great information especially for my presentation

'  data-srcset=

I love the way you practice what you profess to be true. Usually I flip through websites about public speaking… It’s pretty much all the same. YOURS WAS TOTALLY DIFFERENT. You actually showed us with words, with online examples, and with the presentation of your own message: Presentation hook examples. YOU KNOCKED IT OUT OF THE PARK!!

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persuasive speech hook examples

Presentation Strategist, Founder of the Lean Presentation Design Methodology, Professor of Presentation Strategies, Public speaker, CEO at MLC Presentation Design Consulting . Author of: Lean Presentation Design and Startup Pitch, Startup Pitch Strategist at Polihub.

"Every presentation represents the unique opportunity to share your ideas and persuade an audience to act on them"

persuasive speech hook examples

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persuasive speech hook examples

How To Write A Persuasive Speech: 7 Steps

11 Aug 2021

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What is a persuasive speech and the purpose of it.

7 Steps On How To Write A Good Persuasive Speech

Persuasive Speech Tips You Have To Remember

Are you wondering what a persuasive speech is? Have you ever questioned yourself on how to write a persuasive speech without any previous experience? In brief, it is a text containing crucial information on a   topic to convince the audience (whether it is your classroom or a big scientific meeting) of your opinion. An effective persuasive speech should be clear, concise, and argumentative so that it is easy to see the statement you want to communicate. The sentences and words of it should be not academic, not complicated, or hard to understand.

Persuasive talks can be written on any subject or any social issue about which you have a certain opinion and want to share it with somebody. They are aimed at drawing people’s attention to the importance of understanding a social issue and one’s thoughts about it or even a call to action. It is not a problem to use the speech writing service to ease your life and have some spare time.

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As we have mentioned before, a persuasive speech is an appealing and inspiring talk you give to an audience that should comprehend the issues you talk about and the processes you criticize or praise. The structure of it is quite simple: there should be a thesis that reflects the main text thesis and confirms that the author’s purpose is to inform the audience, not only to persuade it.

In the main body, there is evidence and a probable solution to the problem the speaker offers. In the end, the need for an appropriate conclusion appears as well as a call to action.  

What is the purpose of a convincing speech?

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7 Steps On How To Write A Good Persuasive Speech

Writing an excellent, compelling speech is all about proper planning and knowing how to start a speech . Following a clear outline and format will help you finish an impressive persuasive speech that will move the crowd. Here are a few steps to follow if you want to write a persuasive speech that everyone will love.

Research is the most crucial part of writing a persuasive speech. Unless you’re well-informed, you won’t be able to compose your task properly. You’ll most probably write about a controversial topic, and this means a lot of reading and research is needed. You must sound like an educated expert who has enough knowledge that influences others. You must also learn about the audience and choose the right language and style to write a speech for me that provides real value.

Brainstorm for interesting ideas. Take notes and draw mind maps that help you stay focused while planning. Have all the information ready before you start working on your task.

Picking the right sources is the key to successful writing. While there might be tons of information, students and professionals should always stick to relevant academic sources like journals, official documents, books, and studies. If you’re using an online source, make sure it’s academically adequate.

You can always hire a professional speech writing service to help you with picking sources and references. This way you can guarantee it will sound professional and be academically accurate.

What’s the purpose of your persuasive speech? Your audience should identify the problem or issue from the very beginning. This way they will stay focused on listening till the end. It all starts with crafting an informative thesis statement that tells people what they’re about to hear.

After brainstorming for good ideas, it is time for writing. Following the right persuasive speech, the format is essential. Starting your introduction with an attention-grabbing quote, picture, video, or compelling story will certainly tempt people to listen. Link your speech to the audience and what interests them. Make sure that your thesis statement explains the purpose and cause of writing this persuasive speech, in addition to suggesting a solution to the problem. Some prefer writing the introduction at the end. It doesn’t matter as long as you follow the right rules.

Remember the goal of persuasive speeches is to motivate and influence. But successful writing is not only based on what you feel and think. This means your central idea should be backed up by logical evidence that supports your claims. Make sure you discuss each point in detail and use facts that support your viewpoint.

Counter-arguments add value to your persuasive speeches because they show that you’ve done lots of research. This section provides answers that your audience will most probably ask.

The conclusion should end with a call to action. After listening to your argument and proof, you want the audience to make a move. Restate your purpose statement, summarize the topic and reinforce your points by restating the logical evidence you've provided.

If you want to learn how to write a persuasive speech but don't have the time or energy to do the research, why not have a paper written for you ? Persuasive speeches are an important part of many events and activities, and knowing how to write one will help you make a strong impression on your audience. Through careful research and thoughtful delivery, you can craft a persuasive speech that will captivate and reach your audience, whether you're trying to convince them of a point of view or persuade them to act.

Stuck with finding the right title?

Get plenty of fresh and catchy topic ideas and pick the perfect one with PapersOwl Title Generator.

Now that you’ve written your task, you should check it for grammar, punctuation, and spelling mistakes. Moreover, you must practice delivering it in front of the audience. One of the best persuasive speech tips is to read it in front of some friends and family members. Listen to their honest feedback and highlight areas for improvement. You can also practice in front of a mirror, and watch out for the right body language that can have a significant effect on the success of your persuasive speech.

In this article, we have tried to persuade you that it is easy to persuade an audience while composing a text to have a great impact. You are able to write the text for a speech yourself or delegate your responsibilities to one of the best writing services. The advantages of the second option are obvious: free time, a text’s quality, flexible deadlines, and reasonable prices. Nonetheless, do not neglect your opportunity to become a writer yourself as it is a wonderful experience.

Build your thesis statement

This is AI-powered online tool that lets you create a thesis statement about any topic you need.

Composing inspiring talks is not a simple task to do if you are a beginner in the writing sphere. Whether it is a college assignment or your personal business, it will not seem easy when it comes to the   writing process - be prepared for that. This work is quite harder than doing homework or an essay as it requires brainstorming your main statement variants and possible arguments to support it. It is vital that you consider those seven steps for writing that our experts have given above. Or you can always speech writing services online at PapersOwl. 

If you fail to follow our pieces of advice, you risk missing something important when composing your convincing talk. For example, if you have no passion for your topic or have no idea what your conclusion will be like, then more than likely your audience will not take you seriously. Know your weaknesses, strengths, and persuasive speech topics about art , follow your passion, and you will certainly come up with a great text.

Crafting a persuasive speech that will capture and retain the attention of your audience can be quite a challenge. But you don't have to do it alone. By working with PapersOwl.com , you can easily create a persuasive speech that's both effective and well-organized. We'll be with you every step of the way, from coming up with a compelling argument to delivering the speech with confidence.

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persuasive speech hook examples


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