By rhetoric we mean the art of speaking and the power of persuasion. On the one hand it is important to express oneself well and on the other hand to choose the right arguments and their positioning in the course of the speech in order to achieve a successful result.
Since a good speech depends on both non-verbal and verbal elements, both communication methods must be sufficiently considered and practised.
Success or failure will always be achieved through the overall impression your presentation leaves behind.
It is not only speaking and presenting that must be learned, preparation also plays a major role and is generally underestimated.
In addition to this, fears such as stage fright, fear of making a fool of yourself, of making mistakes or of criticism all play a role. You can learn how to deal with these fears appropriately.
Stress in the context of speaking in front of others is not without exception negative. Emotional and physical tensions, which restrict the speaker, can be positively influenced. "Positive stress", referred to as "eustress", has a motivating effect and increases the speaker's motivation and concentration.
The structure of a speech must be particularly well thought out.
Arguments, but also their arrangement (beginning/main section/end) are very important, because due to different psychological and physiological processes the attention span and ability to concentrate are greater at certain points than at others. Rhetorical training develops the personality in all areas, gives you more self-confidence and self-awareness, increases your powers of persuasion, helps to motivate others better and makes you more receptive to being objective and tolerant.
Author: Management Institute Dr. A. Kitzmann
Further background information on rhetoric.
How to learn good rhetoric?
Chatterbox, blabbermouth, busybody, know-it-all, show-off - they can all talk, at lengths, a lot, with pleasure. What they can't do is rhetoric. Because this is the first rule of rhetoric: Convince your audience and get them on your side.
Rhetoric can be learned, provided there is a willingness to engage in seemingly nonsensical exercises:
- Speaking with a cork in your mouth
- Repeating nonsense sentences
- Practicing breathing
Training the voice is an essential element for better rhetoric. If you want to be understood, you have to be able to speak in an articulate way that goes beyond a regional dialect. Speech impediments such as a lisp or a slurring of letters can be corrected with the help of targeted exercises, since the muscles of the face, jaw, tongue and throat are responsible for forming sounds. Breathing sets the vocal cords in vibration, coupled with the movements of the lips, throat, tongue and palate, sounds are created and with them the letters, words and sentences. So, in order to leave a good rhetorical tone, work can also be done on the basic elements of sound formation.
The right words,
a convincing performance,
a good impression
these are the qualities that are generally associated with rhetoric. The prerequisite for all these skills is a wide vocabulary. Whether an elaborated language code or a restricted word field - what is learned is learned. A craftsman does not understand an academic, and no teacher can bear a conversation between paramedics unless it is intentional. So to put it accurately, the first question is: Who is listening? The second follows: What do I want to accomplish?
To be a good craftsman, the language must be appropriate. Academic education is readily presented using appropriate formulations in the respective context, and depending on the industry, these or those rules apply. For example, IT specialists like to speak in abbreviations and Denglish, while humanities graduates try to use words of German and Latin origin. The right words are always found by the person who chooses one or the other because he or she knows that the target group likes to hear such things. To be rhetorically on top of your game, it helps to read, read, read.
TIP: Don't be intimidated by complicated-sounding words. Many foreign words come from Latin and can be easily translated. Technical words always belong to a particular discipline. When you use them, you want to make sure that the other person can follow along. Technical and foreign words are sometimes also an attempt at discrimination. You demonstrate sovereignty by inquiring about the meaning. And already it proves whether your counterpart knows what he or she is talking about.
Rhetoric is known for the stylistic devices that can be chosen to make an impression, to surprise, or to get to the heart of a matter. A prerequisite for using stylistic devices is learning their function. For example:
Oxymoron = silent chatterbox (two opposites).
tautology = never ever (doubling)
Euphemism = disposal park instead of dump (euphemism)
It is advisable to use only those stylistic devices that fit the person. If you like to speak clearly, you should avoid onomatopoeia. If you are dealing with people who have little sense of humor, "wet rain" will not get a laugh. Similarly, exaggerated constructions such as "In the evening, however, everyone works except Zacharias" are only suitable in exceptional cases.
On special occasions, a speech or interview should be prepared in a targeted manner, which may include the selection of rhetorical devices. Anyone who describes himself or herself in an interview as a "key account manager" would do well to emphasize the commonality with the industry. However, he or she makes himself or herself interesting by talking about "personal customer care" or "individual consulting for important customers" in the next sentence. This makes it clear that the term is not parroted, but actually internalized and adapted to one's own linguistic world. Showing flexibility in words is also an expression of education and intelligence.
Seminars on the topic of rhetoric - eloquence and persuasiveness in practice are held by Management-Institut Dr. A. Kitzmann in Münster, Hamburg, Berlin, Leipzig, Cologne, Frankfurt /M., Stuttgart, Munich, Vienna, Zurich, Warsaw and online.
Author: Management-Institut Dr. A. Kitzmann