Sunday, November 13, 2011


            I’ve heard rhetoric referred to in a positive way and in a negative way.  Plato said rhetoric was a means of deceit instead of discovering truth.  Aristotle called rhetoric an artistic ability, the appropriate means of persuasion in a given situation.  Researching the concept I found there have been many studies and research on how to be a proper rhetorician.  For this essay I’m going to keep the discussion basic and simple as to avoid writing a book on the subject.  Defined simply rhetoric is the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing.  It is language designed to have a persuasive or impressive effect on its audience.  Rhetoric is part of the ancient arts of discourse or trivium.  Trivium is a Latin term meaning “the three ways” or “the three roads”.  The three arts of discourse are grammar, logic or dialectic, and rhetoric.  Grammar is the mechanics of a language, logic or dialectic is the mechanics of thought or analysis, and rhetoric is the use of language to instruct and persuade.
            With the three arts of discourse in mind, mainly rhetoric how does one become a master of persuasive speaking or writing?  Practice is the first step that comes to my mind; practice what?  Persuasive speech is the most difficult type of speech to develop.  Many people find it difficult because they are worried they might offend or impose their views on others.  However, to persuade others to adopt your way of thinking you must present your speech boldly and with confidence backed with knowledge ( 
Preparation is important; determine if your speech discusses fact, value or policy.  A fact-based discussion is an attempt to persuade your audience of your interpretation of those facts.  Value speeches challenge people to consider a different viewpoint of what is important.  Policy-based speeches encourage the audience to take a stance on how to deal with the issue you’re presenting (
Persuasive writing requires much of the same skills as developing persuasive speeches.  The writer is trying to convince others to agree with the facts or values being discussed.  Establish facts, clarify relevant values, prioritize, and edit properly.  Persuasion is built with facts, which illustrate conclusions.  This means you need to know what you are talking about, and cannot be lazy with your facts, or you will not succeed in convincing anyone.   Most important have confidence to communicate your persuasion ( Remember rhetoric is an art; be creative, believe in the fact or value you’re presenting.  Take pride in the knowledge you’ve gathered, so to portray confidence and have fun.  



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