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What are Rhetoric, Discourse and Phronesis? Essay

Simply stated, Rhetoric is the art of speaking or writing in an effective way. It is a skill by means of which one can persuade the audience. It is one of three ancient arts of discourse. Discourse on the other hand, is a verbal exchange of ideas or more simply a debate. Phronesis deals with the way a person has to act in certain situations. It is practical wisdom in any decision making process. All three are related because they are often used in public speaking.

A debate on whether the state should allow capital punishment is a Discourse. Political speeches such as that of Martin Luther King are good examples of Rhetoric. Sometimes, the person might not rely on facts and figures to deliver the speech. However, the way the speech is delivered and expression and words used can make more of an impression. In public speaking, a lot of times, speakers might evade clear facts or twist facts to prove a point. The ability to balance it out, without misleading the audience is Phronesis.

2. What is the difference between a thesis and a preview? Briefly explain then offer an example of each. A thesis gives an immediate and specific answer to the question. If one is debating on global warming and the countries responsible for it, then a sentence briefly identifying the countries or nations responsible for it would serve to be the thesis statement. On the contrary, a preview shows the way an argument will be proven. The preview statement provides a structure of the argument.

Keeping the global warming debate in mind, if one were to add right after the thesis statement that they will compare emission facts and figures from both developed and developing nations and instances from the Kyoto Protocol to prove their point, then that would be the preview statement. 3. What is the difference between a transition and a main point? Briefly explain then offer an example of each. Transition simply means change. In public speaking, it is often used to tie information together so that it flows smoothly and keeps the audience entertained.

For example, showing a video on the subject or a handout will give the audience members a little break from the monotony. Main points are the body of your presentation. They provide details of why you chose a certain thesis statement in the first place. If your thesis statement is that developed countries are responsible for managing global warming then the main points would be: • Lack of education and awareness of developing countries. • Higher emissions by developed countries therefore they should be responsible for it.

• Lack of funds and proper governance in developing countries to make a difference. 4. Think back to our discussion of the Transactional Model of Communication – which two features do you think are most important to public speaking, and why? In the Transactional model of communication, the message and the way the message is sent by the sender is very important. The message must be thoroughly researched or at least said with certainty and confidence. If the speaker is slouching, has a diverted gaze and stuttering, then the message, no matter how correct, will lose its effectiveness.

5. What 3 aspects of your own speaking would you like to improve and how will you go about working on them? At times I find myself talking too much when I’m nervous or when I’m in front of a large group of people. This usually results in me saying a lot of useless information and losing the audience’s attention span. To improve, I plan to practise and time myself from before so that I do not repeat any points over and over again. Also, pausing after a sentence is delivered, gives ample time to recollect and reorganize my thoughts and the next sentence does not come out cluttered.

Secondly, I often speak so fast that the audience gets confused. I am unable to make my point clear. To resolve this, I will try to punctuate certain words to draw attention to them. This will help me vary the speed at which I deliver words. Breathing, pauses, looking people in the eyes can help me persuade the audience better. Sometimes, I lose my focus during a presentation and forget the main points of the argument. For that, practice and cues can help me to remember the crux of the presentation. Cue cards, PowerPoint slides are just some of the things that can be used to fix this problem.


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