Below, you’ll find a list of the key rhetorical devices that will help achieve a highly persuasive style in speech writing at any level.

In order to write and/or deliver a successful speech, you must be able to understand and skillfully use rhetoric. ‘Rhetoric’ is the art of persuasive speaking; it was first developed in Ancient Greece and is still used by politicians, businessmen, and leading professionals in almost any field of work in the present day.

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A personal story, either your own or about someone you know. It must be told in a way that sets a persuasive example.

E.g. ‘When I was a little child, I used to think…. ‘

‘My friend had this problem a few years ago…’


Repeating the beginning of a sentence several times for effect — amplifies your point and connects several ideas together.

E.g. Nothing will grow here, if we do not change the way we treat the earth. There will be no trees. There will be no birds. There will be no humans either, because we all depend on ecosystems to exist.


An over-exaggeration of a statement in order to create a more sensational, emotional and emphatic point about something. It can be comedic or used to stress an important idea. Hyperbole is always factually inaccurate.


Over Christmas this year, I must have gained at least 90 kilos.

Snails are the absolute worst creatures on this planet.

There are millions and millions of people who all agree that krispy kreme donuts are the best donuts in the world.

The prices of that company were sky high.

Tripartite structure

A grouping of three words, phrases, or concepts. Groups of three are thought to be very memorable, so use this technique when you want something to stand out or you want your key ideas to be remembered.


Pancakes, lemon and sugar is the best food combination.

There are three atrocities in society that we really must tackle: poverty, health and exploitation.

School uniforms are great for students because they help to stop bullying over appearance, they help everyone feel like part of a team and they make it easier to get ready in the morning.


Use of puns, irony and other comedic techniques in order to make the audience at ease, more trusting of your ideas and in a relaxed, entertained mood. Not every speech requires humour — make sure to understand the right tone and style required for your audience and topic before using this technique.


She’s got worse fashion sense than my grandma.

Sure, skiing is fun, but have you ever tried filing your tax return at two minutes to the deadline? That’s a really wild ride.


Idioms, or idiomatic expressions, are phrases that can’t be directly translated because they don’t literally mean what they say. We use them figuratively as an expression or figure of speech to create an informal, conversational, friendly and familiar tone. They can also sometimes be humorous.


The manager has got a screw loose.

That failure was actually a blessing in disguise.

Rhetorical question

A question that doesn’t require an answer, either because it opens up the audience’s mind and makes them think deeper about something, or because the answer is very obvious in the first place. A highly persuasive technique that is used to get the audience on your side about a particular issue.


We’ve all experienced difficulty at some point in our lives, haven’t we?

Is he really going to get away with this?

Who here among us today thinks slavery is still acceptable?

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