An account or story which supports an argument, but which is not supported by scientific or statistical analysis.
Let's say you have to give a speech about civil rights in America and how your audience must take active roles in protecting their own civil rights as well as the rights of others. You might begin by laying out a foundational overview of the historical timeline of civil rights since America's independence in 1776. Persuade your audience by sharing compelling examples of how civil rights have been violated across many groups: gender, race, religion. These broad appeals are sure to resonate with many different members of your audience. You may also provide examples that all get back to your same idea: infringing upon any civil rights by any group to any group is wrong. You might share how a relative was involved in the Mississippi riots in the 1960s or how your mother was involved in the Women's Liberation movement in the 1970s. Finally, walk the audience through the basic principles of your argument about how the infringement of civil rights for one group can ultimately lead to the infringement of civil rights for all.
Once you have solidified your position in your thesis statement, you want to back up your thesis with a variety of supporting ideas and examples. To do this, there are several ways you can support your claims while adding variety and interest to the overall story of your speech.
Set the Stage
Using exposition is a great way to get your audience all on the same playing field. When you use an expository approach, you're carefully laying out all of the background information your audience needs to know in order to understand your point.
Appeal to Commonalities
As you notice commonalties between audience members, the audience and your topic, and you and your audience, appeal to those commonalities to not only establish rapport but also to more easily persuade them to your thesis and claims. Your audience is more likely to trust and believe you if they feel they share something in common with you and your topic.
Finding a Consensus
Your audience may already feel a certain way about your topic. Depending on what you're trying to argue, you may want to go ahead and appeal to that consensus. Just be careful: you don't want to bore your audience by "preaching to the choir. "
Tell a Story
One of the best ways to back up your claims–besides cold, hard, facts and data–is to share a personal story or anecdote. This shows your audience that you really connect to your subject, making you more believable and personable. Using anecdotes are a perfect opportunity to lighten the mood and add some humor as appropriate to your speech.
Deconstruct Your Topic
You might have a particularly complex subject or thesis. In these instances, it's helpful to break it down into its simplest parts. By breaking your information down into bite-sized chunks, your audience may have an easier time of following your train of thought or logic.