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Monday, 03 April 2017 01:42

Can you suggest any outlines about this topic? “The art of rhetoric” in analyzing a political speech.

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A Good OratorI would suggest using the elements of rhetoric to analyse a political speech, or a speech of any type for that matter. I would take a look at each element of logos, pathos, ethos and create a set of benchmark standards that you can objectively compare different speakers.

For example: using Logos. Did the speaker provide verifiable facts to back up their argument? If so, what were the facts?

Here’s an article that I recently wrote that may help you developing your outline. The article is written from the perspective of being persuasive.

The Content of Persuasion: Logos, Pathos and Ethos

Aristotle’s on Rhetoric has been the essential guide for public speakers since the middle of the fourth century B.C. and with regards to persuasion, it focuses on three key concepts: logos, pathos and ethos.

Speak with logic (logos): An appeal to logos can appear in at least two ways: clear lineal reasoning and fact-based thinking. An effective technique to lay out a logical argument is to develop five or six independent pieces of the problem and then link them to their respective causes and solutions. Think of them as links of a chain. It is not unusual for someone in your audience to be unpersuaded by an element of your argument. If one of the links should break or not be strong enough to persuade a member of your audience, the others will be strong enough to support it. The other links should be strong enough to encourage your audience to take action. In building these chains of links, each must link throughout the entire speech --- problem to cause, cause to solution and solution back to problem.

Second, persuasion should rely on fact-based thinking. You should mix individual stories with statistics and incorporate hard variable facts. Cite credible sources for your facts, preferably, sources that your audience is likely to recognize.

Speak to the heart (pathos): Your persuasive presentation should include an appeal to the emotions. Aristotle called it pathos. Effectively used in a speech it can make the difference between one that is compelling and one that is forgettable. An emotional appeal in persuasion prepares the listeners to accept your message and compels them to act.

Structurally, pathos and logos work in tandem. It is often advisable to start a presentation with a humorous or heart-warming story and then follow up with logic and fact. There has to be a balance between the two. Long, emotional stories can be draining to the audience as endless chains of logic can bore them. You need to remember that emotion works both ways. While it can inspire empathy for a cause or a victim, it can just as easily create antipathy toward the cause or the root of the problem.

Speak From Authority (ethos): Finally, the capstone of Aristotle’s rhetorical triad is the appeal of credibility (or from authority), ethos. For the most part, you can create this appeal in two ways: use external sources and your own history and character.

First, you can generate credibility quickly and effectively through the use of credible external sources --- the same sources used to build a fact-based argument, satisfying the appeal to logic. Cite organizations or individuals that carry intellectual weight and rely on statistics and stories of those with a history of neutrality and accuracy.

Second, generate authority through your own experience and character. If you are an expert, let your reputation precede you.

Finally, you have to care about your topic, if you want your audience to do so. You can have a well researched, intellectually crafted speech, but the audience must see that your words come from your heart. When you believe, others will follow.

Thanks for your question.

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Rae Stonehouse

Author Bio:

Rae A. Stonehouse is a Canadian born author & speaker. His professional career as a Registered Nurse working predominantly in psychiatry/mental health, has spanned four decades.

Rae has embraced the principal of CANEI (Constant and Never-ending Improvement) as promoted by thought leaders such as Tony Robbins and brings that philosophy to each of his publications and presentations.

Rae has dedicated the latter segment of his journey through life to overcoming his personal inhibitions. As a 20+ year member of Toastmasters International he has systematically built his self-confidence and communicating ability. He is passionate about sharing his lessons with his readers and listeners. His publications thus far are of the self-help, self-improvement genre and systematically offer valuable sage advice on a specific topic. He is a long-time member of Kelowna Flying Solo Toastmasters and is the driving force behind its long-term success. 

His writing style can be described as being conversational. As an author Rae strives to have a one-to-one conversation with each of his readers, very much like having your own personal self-development coach. Rae is known for having a wry sense of humour that features in his publications.

Author of Self-Help Downloadable E-Books:

Power Networking for Shy PeoplePower Networking for Shy People: Tips & Techniques for Moving from Shy to Sly!

PROtect Yourself!PROtect Yourself! Empowering Tips & Techniques for Personal Safety: A Practical Violence Prevention Manual for Healthcare Workers.

E=Emcee SquaredE=Emcee SquaredTips & Techniques to Becoming a Dynamic Master of Ceremonies.

Power of PromotionPower of Promotion: On-line Marketing for Toastmasters Club Growth


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To learn more about Rae A. Stonehouse, visit the Wonderful World of Rae Stonehouse at http://raestonehouse.com

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