Rhetorical engagement refers to using rhetoric in speech and writing to spark a discussion and keep the audience engaged. You must have heard a monotonous public speaker, and you must have yawned while listening. The same goes for writers who write in a monotonous manner. These writers do not know how to engage with their audience. It is because they do not use rhetorical engagement. Rhetorical engagement requires a thorough understanding of rhetoric and language. The cultural context is quite important in the utilisation of rhetoric. This article will tell you everything you need to know about rhetorical engagement.
How do you engage in rhetoric?
You can engage in rhetoric by employing rhetorical devices. Rhetorical devices are those means through which speakers and authors engage in rhetoric. They use rhetorical language in a manner that makes their communication unique. Audiences respond well to these devices with praise and excitement. Loud cheers and amusement demonstrate the devices’ effectiveness in capturing the audience’s attention and acceptance. Presenters and writers can utilise the devices to “prompt” audience members’ attention throughout the speech or writing.
Public speakers and writers use rhetorical engagement mostly in persuasive speaking and writing. People utilise them on the spur of the moment in a regular speech to persuade others. Professional communicators utilise them for writing editorials, composing political speeches, and creating commercial slogans. Some devices may be used by novice speakers on the spur of the moment, but not enough to keep audiences engaged. So, this article will tell you about the four rhetorical strategies in the next section.
What are the four rhetorical strategies?
Here are the four strategies for rhetorical engagement:
Ethos is a Greek word which means character. It is the most common strategy for rhetorical engagement. Public speakers and writers use ethos by appealing to an influential character or personality during their speeches and writing. Authors and public speakers use ethos to persuade the audience through this strategy. It is an appeal to the credibility of the author or writer. Writers mostly use this appeal based on their expertise. Moreover, writers also appeal to credibility by citing the works of others in their writing. In a nutshell, ethos means the following:
- An emphasis on the writer’s or speaker’s credibility.
- Writers and speakers either appeal to their character or trustworthiness.
- The writer’s tone conveys ethos by providing a balanced perspective in his or her arguments.
- Writers employ ethos when they use a counterargument to highlight the opposing perspectives before demonstrating why their thesis is still correct.
- The writer may also focus on his character, integrity, or competence in a specific subject. An appeal to ethos is frequently used in advertising that depends on a doctor’s words or political credentials.
Logos is a Greek word which means “reason” or “logic”. In rhetoric, it refers to using reasoning to persuade others. Logos is a rhetorical strategy that depends on rational thinking and logic rather than using emotions, prestige, or character. Authors and speakers appeal to logic rather than authority or personality in their public speaking and writing. Logical argumentation appeals to an individual’s sense of logic. Effective logos-based rhetoric will try to convince people based on reasons and evidence. Logos is a more effective strategy for rhetorical engagement since it is well-reasoned and fact-based. Deductive and inductive reasoning are the two most prevalent approaches to logos.
This reason builds on general statements and infers a conclusion from the general statement. Authors propose true or valid statements and integrate them to conclude. For instance:
- All men are mortal (Statement 1) True Statement
- Socrates is a man (Statement 2). True Statement
- Therefore, Socrates is mortal (Conclusion)
Inductive reasoning is another way of logos-based rhetoric. It is contrary to deductive reasoning since it yields a plausible conclusion rather than a certain one. It doesn’t mean it’s inadequate. Many scientific concepts we accept as true are inductive explanations. These explanations go through trial and error and experimentations. These explanations are factual and subjected to falsification. If new evidence comes to light, the scientific community rejects that hypothesis. It is a way of building knowledge. So, inductive reasoning is an effective strategy for rhetorical engagement since it does not say that anything is definite but sparks the discussion further by asserting the various possibilities.
Kairos is a Greek word that signifies “at the right time,”. It means identifying your audience first before you speak or write. Once you know your audience, you will use those words and phrases that appeal to them. According to this rhetorical strategy, the timing of an argument’s presentation is just as essential as the content of the argument. An argument delivered at the wrong moment or to the wrong kind of people is pointless. Writers and speakers who want to convince people about something must understand what kind of people are their audience. In practice, kairos refers to selecting the appropriate rhetorical devices for the audience you’re aiming to persuade.
It is a Greek word which means “suffering” or “experience”. Pathos is a rhetorical strategy that appeals to people’s emotional side. These emotions can be happy or sad, but the point is that you connect with people on an emotional level. Authors use pathos to pique their audience’s interest by appealing to their emotions.
How can you be rhetorically effective to your audience?
You can be rhetorically effective to your audience if you appropriately employ rhetorical devices. The first thing is to identify your audience and the purpose of your communication, whether it is spoken or textual. Rhetorical engagement depends on crafting your arguments and using language effectively to engage the audience. The most important thing is to use rhetorical devices in such a manner that can achieve the desired outcome of your communication.
Rhetorical devices are effective in engaging the audience and conveying the intended message. But these devices should be used carefully and in a balanced manner. It is because too much usage of rhetoric makes the communication frivolous.
Robert Fawl is a professional Content writer & Content Marketer. Based in London, Robert is an author and blogger with experience in encounter composing on various topics including but not limited to Essay Writing, Dissertation Writing, Thesis Writing Services and Assignment Writing Services etc.