In the previous post on how to write a good situational essay, we learned about 3 strategies to tackle an informal email —analyse the task, amplify the given information and apply the appropriate tone. With these 3 principles, you can practically tackle any type of situational essay. However, when it comes to certain types such as a speech or a proposal, a degree of persuasiveness is required to make an impact.

In this post, you will learn to use 3 persuasive techniques

  1. logos,
  2. inclusivity
  3. rhetorical question

These will be demonstrated with this question:

Your Co-curricular Activity Group (CCA) would like to celebrate the endof the school year by going on a day trip. The CCA Leader has asked for suggestions for places where there are opportunities to learn and to have fun. You have seen a webpage about Sentosa Island and think it would be a good choice. Your CCA Leader has asked you to give a speech to the group about Sentosa Island.

In your speech you should:

  • give a date and time for the trip
  • suggest any four activities your group might enjoy
  • explain how these four activities will give a balance of learning and fun
  • say why you think this trip would be a good way to celebrate the end of the school year

Write your speech in clear, accurate English and in a persuasive, enthusiastic tone to convince your group that this would be a great day out.

You may add any other details you think will be helpful.

You should use your own words as much as possible.(2016 ‘O’ Level Paper 1 Section B)

A few things to note about this question — recalling the 3As from the last post —you are to give a speech to your fellow CCA members (Audience) to encourage them to join a year-end outing (Context) to Sentosa Island (Purpose).

Your task is to suggest activities that provide learning opportunities and fun, hence your amplification of the given information should focus on highlighting these aspects in the activities chosen.

A speech is a specific type of text with unique features, and adopts a certain tone. Some of these features will be discussed in this post, together with sample responses.

1. Logos (reason)

This is one of three common persuasive techniques (the other two being pathos and ethos) aimed at appealing to the head (by logos, or reason), the heart (by pathos, or emotion) and credibility (by ethos). In this speech, logos and pathos (logical and emotional appeal) would be most relevant. We will focus on logical appeal with the following approach:

Questions to ask

a. What are some good reasons for your CCA mates to join the year-end outing and/or go to Sentosa Island?

b. What are some opportunities for fun and learning?

Possible responses

a. A time to get to know and bond with other CCA mates that they may not have interacted with during the year; Sentosa is not a place that most would have visited so it has some novelty; Sentosa offers a variety of attractions.

b. Taking the Sentosa Nature Discovery for example, your CCA mates can explore a jungle filled with all types of flora and fauna; see wildlife up-close after seeing them in books and on the Internet, and learn more about biodiversity from the description boards provided. In terms of fun, there is a game of hunt for various types of plants and animals.

Basically, give good reasons for your choice/proposal and support them with examples (as you do for your PEEL paragraphs in essays).

2. Inclusivity

This is the concept of making your reader feel included and personally involved.It also helps to establish a sense of connection with your reader. You as a speaker can achieve this by using personal pronouns like ‘I’, ‘you’, ‘your’, ‘we’, ‘our’ and ‘us’.

The following are some examples:

As most of you know, we are celebrating the end of the school year with a day trip to Sentosa Island.

I believe that everyone has had a hectic school year, so a trip to Sentosa is bound to refresh and rejuvenate your spirits!

As members of the Science Club, I’m sure everyone of you is looking forward to a close encounter with wildlife after studying about them mostly in books and on the Internet.

* Note that this is also a way of using pathos (emotional appeal) as you are appealing to your reader’s sense of belonging and the common understanding shared between them and you.

3. Rhetorical Question

Questions are always effective ways to get your reader’s attention, and more so rhetorical questions that usuallybeg the agreement of the reader instead of seeking an answer. Find common ground or highlight something you are confident your reader will agree with, and turn that into a rhetorical question.

Here are some examples:

For the adventure seekers out there, don’t you think the high-level obstacle courses at the Megazip Adventure Park are just the experiences you’ve been looking for?

Wouldn’t it be lovely to stroll along the Sentosa Boardwalk and see five different tropical landscapes?

If you are a beach lover, doesn’t a dip in the sea or sunbathing sound tempting?

* Note that you can use contractions, e.g. “won’t”, “don’t” and “you’ve”, in rhetorical questions. You may use them in certain parts of your speech but use them sparingly.

We have discussed three ways you can make your speech more natural and persuasive — by using logos, inclusivity and rhetorical questions.

Use them selectively and avoid overusing them as that easily makes them lose their effect and causes the speech to sound repetitive and monotonous. Why not try using them in your next speech assignment, or revisit your last speech writing, and rephrase some of the sentences with the above techniques?

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2024 Bukit Timah Branch Secondary English Tuition Timetable

LevelClass TypeDayTime
S1All Components ClassSAT5 pm to 7 pm