full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Camille Langston: How to use rhetoric to get what you want

Unscramble the Blue Letters

How do you get what you want using just your words? Aristotle set out to answer exactly that question over 2,000 years ago with the Treatise on Rhetoric. Rhetoric, according to Aristotle, is the art of seeing the available manes of persuasion. And today we apply it to any form of communication. Aristotle focused on oration, though, and he described three types of persuasive speech. Forensic, or judicial, rhoteirc establishes facts and judgements about the past, similar to detetivces at a cimre scene. Epideictic, or drntevtiosmae, rhetoric makes a proclamation about the pnesert situation, as in wdinedg speeches. But the way to accomplish change is through deliberative rhetoric, or symbouleutikon. Rather than the past or the present, deliberative rhetoric focuses on the future. It's the rhetoric of politicians debating a new law by imagining what effect it might have, like when Ronald Regan warned that the introduction of mcdaiere would lead to a socialist future snpet telling our children and our children's children what it once was like in America when men were free. But it's also the rhetoric of activists urging change, such as Martin Luther King Jr's dream that his chilerdn will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. In both cases, the speaker's present their audience with a possible future and try to enlist their help in avoiding or achieving it. But what makes for good deliberative rhetoric, besides the future tense? According to asriotlte, there are three persuasive appeals: ethos, loogs, and pathos. Ethos is how you convince an audience of your credibility. Winston Churchill began his 1941 address to the U.S. Congress by declaring, "I have been in full harmony all my life with the tides which have flowed on both sdeis of the Atlantic against privilege and monopoly," thus highlighting his virtue as someone ctemoitmd to democracy. Much earlier, in his defense of the poet Archias, Roman consul cerico aeelppad to his own practical wisdom and expertise as a politician: "Drawn from my sudty of the liberal sciences and from that careful training to which I admit that at no part of my life I have ever been disinclined." And finllay, you can damrttesone disinterest, or that you're not motivated by personal gain. Logos is the use of logic and reason. This method can employ rhetorical devices such as anoaliges, examples, and citations of research or statistics. But it's not just facts and figures. It's also the structure and content of the speech itself. The point is to use factual knowledge to convince the audience, as in Sojourner Truth's argument for women's rights: "I have as much mcluse as any man and can do as much work as any man. I have plowed and reaped and husked and chopped and mowed and can any man do more than that?" Unfortunately, speakers can also manipulate people with false information that the audience tkhnis is true, such as the debunked but still widely believed cliam that vaccines cause astium. And finally, pthaos appeals to emotion, and in our age of mass media, it's often the most effective mode. Pathos is neither inherently good nor bad, but it may be irrational and unpredictable. It can just as easliy rally ploepe for peace as incite them to war. Most aetdivinrsg, from beauty products that promise to relieve our pyhaiscl insecurities to cars that make us feel powerful, rleeis on pathos. Aristotle's rciaoehtrl appeals still remian powerful tolos toady, but deciding which of them to use is a mtater of knowing your audience and purpose, as well as the right place and time. And perhaps just as important is being able to notice when these same methods of persuasion are being used on you.

Open Cloze

How do you get what you want using just your words? Aristotle set out to answer exactly that question over 2,000 years ago with the Treatise on Rhetoric. Rhetoric, according to Aristotle, is the art of seeing the available _____ of persuasion. And today we apply it to any form of communication. Aristotle focused on oration, though, and he described three types of persuasive speech. Forensic, or judicial, ________ establishes facts and judgements about the past, similar to __________ at a _____ scene. Epideictic, or _____________, rhetoric makes a proclamation about the _______ situation, as in _______ speeches. But the way to accomplish change is through deliberative rhetoric, or symbouleutikon. Rather than the past or the present, deliberative rhetoric focuses on the future. It's the rhetoric of politicians debating a new law by imagining what effect it might have, like when Ronald Regan warned that the introduction of ________ would lead to a socialist future _____ telling our children and our children's children what it once was like in America when men were free. But it's also the rhetoric of activists urging change, such as Martin Luther King Jr's dream that his ________ will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. In both cases, the speaker's present their audience with a possible future and try to enlist their help in avoiding or achieving it. But what makes for good deliberative rhetoric, besides the future tense? According to _________, there are three persuasive appeals: ethos, _____, and pathos. Ethos is how you convince an audience of your credibility. Winston Churchill began his 1941 address to the U.S. Congress by declaring, "I have been in full harmony all my life with the tides which have flowed on both _____ of the Atlantic against privilege and monopoly," thus highlighting his virtue as someone _________ to democracy. Much earlier, in his defense of the poet Archias, Roman consul ______ ________ to his own practical wisdom and expertise as a politician: "Drawn from my _____ of the liberal sciences and from that careful training to which I admit that at no part of my life I have ever been disinclined." And _______, you can ___________ disinterest, or that you're not motivated by personal gain. Logos is the use of logic and reason. This method can employ rhetorical devices such as _________, examples, and citations of research or statistics. But it's not just facts and figures. It's also the structure and content of the speech itself. The point is to use factual knowledge to convince the audience, as in Sojourner Truth's argument for women's rights: "I have as much ______ as any man and can do as much work as any man. I have plowed and reaped and husked and chopped and mowed and can any man do more than that?" Unfortunately, speakers can also manipulate people with false information that the audience ______ is true, such as the debunked but still widely believed _____ that vaccines cause ______. And finally, ______ appeals to emotion, and in our age of mass media, it's often the most effective mode. Pathos is neither inherently good nor bad, but it may be irrational and unpredictable. It can just as ______ rally ______ for peace as incite them to war. Most ___________, from beauty products that promise to relieve our ________ insecurities to cars that make us feel powerful, ______ on pathos. Aristotle's __________ appeals still ______ powerful _____ _____, but deciding which of them to use is a ______ of knowing your audience and purpose, as well as the right place and time. And perhaps just as important is being able to notice when these same methods of persuasion are being used on you.

Solution

  1. matter
  2. finally
  3. spent
  4. rhetoric
  5. analogies
  6. demonstrative
  7. logos
  8. advertising
  9. sides
  10. demonstrate
  11. crime
  12. aristotle
  13. detectives
  14. thinks
  15. committed
  16. easily
  17. present
  18. appealed
  19. children
  20. means
  21. claim
  22. today
  23. cicero
  24. muscle
  25. tools
  26. medicare
  27. pathos
  28. wedding
  29. physical
  30. people
  31. autism
  32. relies
  33. rhetorical
  34. remain
  35. study

Original Text

How do you get what you want using just your words? Aristotle set out to answer exactly that question over 2,000 years ago with the Treatise on Rhetoric. Rhetoric, according to Aristotle, is the art of seeing the available means of persuasion. And today we apply it to any form of communication. Aristotle focused on oration, though, and he described three types of persuasive speech. Forensic, or judicial, rhetoric establishes facts and judgements about the past, similar to detectives at a crime scene. Epideictic, or demonstrative, rhetoric makes a proclamation about the present situation, as in wedding speeches. But the way to accomplish change is through deliberative rhetoric, or symbouleutikon. Rather than the past or the present, deliberative rhetoric focuses on the future. It's the rhetoric of politicians debating a new law by imagining what effect it might have, like when Ronald Regan warned that the introduction of Medicare would lead to a socialist future spent telling our children and our children's children what it once was like in America when men were free. But it's also the rhetoric of activists urging change, such as Martin Luther King Jr's dream that his children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. In both cases, the speaker's present their audience with a possible future and try to enlist their help in avoiding or achieving it. But what makes for good deliberative rhetoric, besides the future tense? According to Aristotle, there are three persuasive appeals: ethos, logos, and pathos. Ethos is how you convince an audience of your credibility. Winston Churchill began his 1941 address to the U.S. Congress by declaring, "I have been in full harmony all my life with the tides which have flowed on both sides of the Atlantic against privilege and monopoly," thus highlighting his virtue as someone committed to democracy. Much earlier, in his defense of the poet Archias, Roman consul Cicero appealed to his own practical wisdom and expertise as a politician: "Drawn from my study of the liberal sciences and from that careful training to which I admit that at no part of my life I have ever been disinclined." And finally, you can demonstrate disinterest, or that you're not motivated by personal gain. Logos is the use of logic and reason. This method can employ rhetorical devices such as analogies, examples, and citations of research or statistics. But it's not just facts and figures. It's also the structure and content of the speech itself. The point is to use factual knowledge to convince the audience, as in Sojourner Truth's argument for women's rights: "I have as much muscle as any man and can do as much work as any man. I have plowed and reaped and husked and chopped and mowed and can any man do more than that?" Unfortunately, speakers can also manipulate people with false information that the audience thinks is true, such as the debunked but still widely believed claim that vaccines cause autism. And finally, pathos appeals to emotion, and in our age of mass media, it's often the most effective mode. Pathos is neither inherently good nor bad, but it may be irrational and unpredictable. It can just as easily rally people for peace as incite them to war. Most advertising, from beauty products that promise to relieve our physical insecurities to cars that make us feel powerful, relies on pathos. Aristotle's rhetorical appeals still remain powerful tools today, but deciding which of them to use is a matter of knowing your audience and purpose, as well as the right place and time. And perhaps just as important is being able to notice when these same methods of persuasion are being used on you.

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

Important Words

  1. accomplish
  2. achieving
  3. activists
  4. address
  5. admit
  6. advertising
  7. age
  8. america
  9. analogies
  10. answer
  11. appealed
  12. appeals
  13. apply
  14. archias
  15. argument
  16. aristotle
  17. art
  18. atlantic
  19. audience
  20. autism
  21. avoiding
  22. bad
  23. beauty
  24. began
  25. believed
  26. careful
  27. cars
  28. cases
  29. change
  30. character
  31. children
  32. chopped
  33. churchill
  34. cicero
  35. citations
  36. claim
  37. color
  38. committed
  39. communication
  40. congress
  41. consul
  42. content
  43. convince
  44. credibility
  45. crime
  46. day
  47. debating
  48. debunked
  49. deciding
  50. declaring
  51. defense
  52. deliberative
  53. democracy
  54. demonstrate
  55. demonstrative
  56. detectives
  57. devices
  58. disinclined
  59. disinterest
  60. dream
  61. earlier
  62. easily
  63. effect
  64. effective
  65. emotion
  66. employ
  67. enlist
  68. epideictic
  69. establishes
  70. ethos
  71. examples
  72. expertise
  73. facts
  74. factual
  75. false
  76. feel
  77. figures
  78. finally
  79. flowed
  80. focused
  81. focuses
  82. forensic
  83. form
  84. free
  85. full
  86. future
  87. gain
  88. good
  89. harmony
  90. highlighting
  91. husked
  92. imagining
  93. important
  94. incite
  95. information
  96. inherently
  97. insecurities
  98. introduction
  99. irrational
  100. judged
  101. judgements
  102. judicial
  103. king
  104. knowing
  105. knowledge
  106. law
  107. lead
  108. liberal
  109. life
  110. live
  111. logic
  112. logos
  113. luther
  114. man
  115. manipulate
  116. martin
  117. mass
  118. matter
  119. means
  120. media
  121. medicare
  122. men
  123. method
  124. methods
  125. mode
  126. monopoly
  127. motivated
  128. mowed
  129. muscle
  130. nation
  131. notice
  132. oration
  133. part
  134. pathos
  135. peace
  136. people
  137. personal
  138. persuasion
  139. persuasive
  140. physical
  141. place
  142. plowed
  143. poet
  144. point
  145. politicians
  146. powerful
  147. practical
  148. present
  149. privilege
  150. proclamation
  151. products
  152. promise
  153. purpose
  154. question
  155. rally
  156. reaped
  157. reason
  158. regan
  159. relies
  160. relieve
  161. remain
  162. research
  163. rhetoric
  164. rhetorical
  165. roman
  166. ronald
  167. scene
  168. sciences
  169. set
  170. sides
  171. similar
  172. situation
  173. skin
  174. socialist
  175. sojourner
  176. speakers
  177. speech
  178. speeches
  179. spent
  180. statistics
  181. structure
  182. study
  183. symbouleutikon
  184. telling
  185. tense
  186. thinks
  187. tides
  188. time
  189. today
  190. tools
  191. training
  192. treatise
  193. true
  194. types
  195. unpredictable
  196. urging
  197. vaccines
  198. virtue
  199. war
  200. warned
  201. wedding
  202. widely
  203. winston
  204. wisdom
  205. words
  206. work
  207. years