Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
COMM 112
Course Title:
Persuasive Speaking
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Explores theories of persuasive speaking and the nature of arguments. Develops skills of inquiry and advocacy through oral discourse, including critical analysis and rules of evidence. Includes practice in using, planning, delivering and refuting persuasive arguments in a variety of extemporaneous formats. Investigates how persuasion works to influence others as well as self. Prerequisites: MTH 20 or equivalent placement test score, and WR 121. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon successful completion, students should be able to:

  1. Manage arguments through learned rhetorical strategies.
  2. Engage in decision making by constructing, articulating and critically evaluating arguments.
  3. Prepare, research, outline and present an effective persuasive message using public speaking skills. 
  4. Use rhetorical strategies in order to engage with audiences of diverse perspectives.
  5. Use refined organizational and presentational skills for improved community leadership.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  • Students will deliver at least three (3) formal oral instructor-graded presentations before an audience in the classroom. €œFormal€ means prepared, researched and structured.
  • At least one of the required presentations will be delivered as an individual presentation and one in a debate format.
  •  Students will critically analyze and evaluate arguments in oral presentations and will demonstrate their understanding of rhetorical theory and strategies via written and/or oral formats
  • Other forms of assessment and evaluation may include:
    • Examinations
    • Essays
    • Journals
    •  Research papers
    •  Portfolios
    •  In-class participation
    • Group projects
    • Peer evaluations
    • Service learning
    • Observations

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  • Theories of persuasion
  • Audience analysis and adaptation
  • Persuasive organizational patterns
  • Critical thinking: discovery of issues, investigation, analysis

Methods to develop arguments and supports

  • Rhetorical proofs (ethos, pathos, logos, mythos)
  • Effective language
  • Effective listening
  • Effective presentation and nonverbal factors
  • Ethical practices and responsible communication
  • Principles of motivation, including values, attitudes & beliefs
  • Logical fallacies
  • Different modes of presenting arguments (i.e., debate, panel discussion, platform presentations, impromptu speeches)

Competencies and Skills:

Students will:

  • Be able to choose ethical rhetorical communication behaviors appropriate to the audience and the situation.
  • Be able to identify concepts in the study of persuasion, argumentation, and debate.
  • Be able to identify a range of potentially effective persuasive and argumentative behaviors within a variety of communication settings.
  • Be able to effectively present oral presentations using appropriate rhetorical strategies.
  • Be able to conduct research and analyze the quality of their findings.
  • Be able to analyze controversies and determine the motives of actors within conflict situations, as well as the veracity of assertions.