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This is going to be difficult to compose, but should fit well within your time limits. In my mind, the first step is for you to clearly establish in your own mind how you feel about what advance health care directive you wish your loved ones to pursue in the event you are incapable of making decisions about your state of being. Ask yourself what instructions you would leave regarding treatment. In figuring this out, I think that you cover the major element present. I think that an excellent introduction in your speech should focus on the Terri Schiavo case. The absence of a living will or set of instructions as to how to pursue made this case so powerfully compelling and also made a private issue an intensely public one. The positive to this was that it opened up a dialogue that had not been as apparent as it should have been. The negative element here was that one of the most private of issues was extremely politicized and publicized. In my mind, the persuasive element of the speech might lie in your choice, but should really lie in why a living will is essential. For this element, using the Terri Schiavo case can serve as an excellent introduction.
I think that you should emphasize the problems involved if you do not have a living will. Emphasize the ways in which your family would be affected. You might have parts of your family fighting with one another over whether to allow you to die. Surely you would not want the legacy of your death to be a huge fight that makes your family members hate one another. So, in order to avoid that, you need a living will. That's the major argument I'd make.
First, do a little bit of research and explore when exactly did this concept begin to materialize. Who were the first people in history to write wills? Why did they do it? Was it out of financial need, or was it a thing of superstition? That would be a fabulous beginning and will make your audience interested. Then, move on to what living wills represent in modern society, and why people create them. Afterwards, explain how people used to create living wills in the past versus the present. You will find it interesting that people in the 80's would have had to hire a lawyer to notarize and complete a will whereas now, in the 21st century, you can create a will on LegalZoom if you wish to.
Finally, if you want to add spice to your essay, talk about how wills have changed over the years. This may take a little research but, think about this, back then people were not nearly as eccentric as people are now. These days people add strange things to their wills as far as what to leave their pets, what NOT to leave certain people, etc. Think about whether people would want someone to manage their blogs after they die, or whether they want to bank their gaming points at a certain moment once they are gone for good. It is a very rich and interesting topic. Have fun with it! I know I would!
That's a very short amount of time to persuade anyone of anything, so keep your intro/claim short and to the point. For example, "A living will is one of the most important decisions you may ever make in your life, because if you should ever need it, you will no longer be able to decide anything." From there you can describe the main reasons supporting your claim. You may have time for one anecdote (story of someone who needed a living will). You might also look up the Terry Schiavo case, which highlighted this issue very well.
Yes, you are going to have to do your research and pick only the most important and salient points to use to support your view. You will not have time for anything else. You will have to quickly introduce your view, then offer maybe three points that support your view, with very quick reference to opposing arguments. Above all, you are going to have to plan and prepare LOTS to make this work. Remember that public speaking is supposedly about 20% what we say and 80% how we say it, so practising your delivery is going to be crucial here.
A critical first step is to provide a full and detailed definition of what a living will is specifying that it addresses life prolonging procedures and medical care. A living will takes the burden of decisions in difficult medical situations from off the shoulders of family and places it squarely upon the shoulders of the person writing the living will--a terrific advantage for all parties.
In persuasion, the speaker is making an argument. You must take a side. Therefore, your first step is research in order to have a basic understanding of the issue.
Forming the topic into a question also places what you are going to say in an argumentative form. For example, this is the kind of statement you need: "Should a person have a living will?" Your answer to this question gives the argument that you will take in your brief speech. From this, write your claim/or thesis statement.
Work toward the two minute time limit. There is no way a good persuasive argument can be made in just one minute. Start with a brief introductory statement possibly defining and explaining the topic; then give the claim/thesis statement. Again, here is an example:
The living will is a necessity in order to fulfill a a person's wishes when he can no longer make life determining decisions.
The next step is to give two reasons why the argument should be accepted. From your research, you will find those reasons. This is the body of the speech. This is time to give proof of your argument. Here are a two subclaims you might prove for your argument.
A. Legally, a living will must be in place so that no extraordinary measures will be used to extend your life. (Brief explanation of the point)
B. Quality of life is an important reason for having a living will. (Brief explanation of point.)
After making completing your arguments, you are ready for your conclusion: a brief summary and possible a quotation to end with a bang. IN this subject, prboably one that would pull at the heart strings.
Remember, you are going to tell them your argument; prove the argument; and then summarize what you said. The most important way to be sure you are on target with your time is to practice and practice exactly what you are going to say.
All of these steps apply to persuasive speech. If the speaker had 4/5 minutes, everything would just be extended. Remember to be in control. Again, preparation and rehearsal are the keys.
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