Friday, April 28, 2017

Extra Credit Blog Post

The first time I have ever heard the word Rhetoric was when I was signing up for this class. But once I looked up the definition, I realized that I have been using Rhetoric my whole life. Rhetoric is defined by the Webster Dictionary as: "the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the use of figures of speech and other compositional techniques." I have been speaking and writing persuasively in and out of school for as long as I can remember. Looking back, my class on persuasive speaking was basically a class all about rhetoric. Its interesting to me that not only did my high school offer a class on rhetoric, but UNL also offers a few different options in which you can learn about or how to use the art of rhetoric. I personally think it should be focused on more heavily, or that taking one persuasive speaking/writing class should be mandatory for students. Its so important. Learning how to effectively communicate to your audience is vital to achieving and accomplishing your goals in life. When most people hear the words persuasive speaking, I think that the common thought is convincing somebody to do what you want. But to me that is not what rhetoric is about.  For example whining and complaining to your parents until they get you the car that you want is not considered rhetoric. But learning how to speak to your audience, and understanding how to make your argument sound like something they should not only want to pay attention to but actually listen and comprehend what you are saying is rhetoric. That is what should be taught in schools. That type of skill is so helpful when you are in the work place. One of my favorite things that we learned in this class, was how to identify your audience and how to identify what will make sense and get through to your audience. This can be so helpful in the work place and also in personal relationships. Critically thinking about "how" your audience listens and choosing the best words to fit your audience is a great way to get your point across clearly and effectively. Using the figures of speech and other compositional techniques is also a very important part of rhetoric that should be taught. This is how you make your sentence flow. This can also help to make your point stick in the mind of another. While it is sometimes harder to stick  these types of mechanisms into regular day to day life, it is important to do so when you have the opportunities. When giving a business pitch, or speaking to a coach it is important to make sure you sound educated and like you know what you are talking about. To me, using techniques is not about making your speech "fancy", it is more about making yourself sound more relevant and influential. 
To me rhetoric is so useful and important. I truly believe that all students should take at least one class learning the techniques and another class learning how to apply them. It would help everybody out greatly in their lives if they knew how to properly use rhetoric. 

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