Do you know these people who seem to have been born on stage? No matter what the subject is or how many people they speak to: ...the art of rhetoric was just dropped into their laps. But can really everyone learn rhetoric?
For them, a stage performance or free speech in front of smaller and larger groups of people is not associated with sleepless nights, sweating or nervous convulsions. No! For this group of people, free speech is an absolute comfort zone. Fear of rhetoric? Not at all! Learn rhetoric? No problem.
How can I learn rhetoric?
It's like everything else: practice makes perfect. Nowadays it is hardly possible to bypass the basic knowledge of rhetoric. Because in all possible situations in life we have to communicate freely, confidently and confidently - not only professionally but also privately. Every person should therefore learn rhetoric to a certain extent.
Learning rhetoric plays a major role even in the age of digital media. Because one-to-one communication is still unbeatable - and good rhetoric is still essential. In this article we would like to tell you which tips you can use for this.
If you want to learn more about this topic, you can download our free Keynote Development Workbook now.
Learning rhetoric - The best tips at a glance
Verbal and non-verbal communication
You've probably heard it before: "You can't, not communicate". This is the first of the five axioms after the communication scientist Paul Watzalawick. It means: No matter whether you communicate with language or just stand there in silence: you always communicate.
For both the language and the behaviour itself can and will be interpreted, interpreted and in case of doubt also evaluated by your counterpart (individual or group). And yes, even your sovereignty is quasi also a rhetorical tool - and the start of every performance. Which stylistic devices help you to learn rhetoric, you will now learn from us.
Authentic appearance - non-verbal rhetoric
You can think of it that way: You go on stage. It's your moment. You've prepared for it for many weeks, you're pretty sure that everything will go well. The intensive rhetoric training has prepared you for all eventualities and you know that today you can draw and use everything from your rhetoric knowledge.
You go on stage, you are still silent, the audience claps, you stand there and at that moment you notice that you urgently need to take a sip of water. No problem, the audience still applauds.
But then it is silent - and you stand there with your glass of water in your hand, drinking, not saying anything, still orientating yourself ... and: communicating! Because your silence says a lot: that you are not focused. And the audience feels that - without you having said a single word.
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Learn rhetoric: Your way on stage - or: All beginnings are difficult
But before you go on stage, back to the beginning: What is rhetoric? And how can rhetorical means be understood and used practically? For whom is rhetoric suitable and what do we need the art of speech for?
Rhetoric is the ability to speak convincingly in front of an audience and in one-on-one conversations. Rhetoric is therefore the art of free speech. In order to speak freely, clearly and distinctly, there are some rhetorical means, some of which you are certainly familiar with.
These make it easier for you to get your message across as clearly as possible. But be careful: Both your language and the use of rhetorical means must always be in proportion to the level of knowledge, age and dsjkdjsk of your audience and in relevance to your topic.
A very figurative, vivid language is useful for motivating speeches in front of an audience that can understand these rhetorical devices as such. For example, "I worked like a dog to win that trophy."
Of course, these skills do not fall from the sky. On the contrary: As in so many areas of life, it requires a lot of practice and routine.
Imagine you want to learn a new language. In order to make this project a reality, a routine, you practice the vocabulary of the new language day by day. The more diligently you practice, the easier it is to speak the language - even in public.
And it's the same with rhetoric. Without practice, training and routine you will not become a good speaker. Not in front of one person, or even hundreds of people. Yes - unfortunately, that's exactly how it is. But do not panic: There are some very valuable tips & tricks with which you can learn AND use rhetoric in a short time.
Rhetorical means - an overview
The special thing about rhetorical means is that by using the respective means you can strengthen or weaken the effect of your language and what you are teaching.
Imagine that you have a toolbox full of tools with which you can reinforce, strengthen and make your statements more effective. These are exactly the rhetorical tools: helpers who work wonders in language! We have summarized the 5 most important rhetorical tools for you here:
Alliteration: Lined up terms with the same initial sounds. "Milk makes tired men feel better. Effect: Emphasizing, memorable.
Metaphor: Illustration of facts, whereby image and expression are connected with each other by special characteristics. "A flood of people". Effect: Illustrative.
Climax: Increase from the weaker to the stronger. "Earth, our solar system and the whole galaxy." Effect: Penetrating, emphasizing.
Personification: Humanizing a thing. "Time is running out." Effect: Illustrative.
Comparison: Two terms or facts that are similar in one or more characteristics are related to each other by "as" or "as": "Strong as a bear. Effect: vivid, emphasizing.
Note: More rhetorical tools & info can be found at the end of this article.
As written above: Body language is the A&O of rhetoric. Sounds funny - doesn't it? After all, it's the verbal communication that you want to convince with. But in fact it is your appearance, your appearance and yes, even your clothing that determines the overall impression. If you are insecure or reserved, your audience will notice it immediately!
Overcome fear of speech!
Of course, this is easier said than done, but unfortunately it is true: Whoever wants to (or has to) speak must not only master at least the basic knowledge of rhetoric, no, he must overcome his fear of speaking. This is possible with this simple tip:
Give yourself courage! You're good and you can do it. Just keep telling yourself that before your performance - like a kind of mantra.
"I'm good, I can do it!" Because: The more positive you are, the more confident you will be able to sell your lecture, your presentation or your concern to the audience.
And it makes no difference whether you speak in front of one or more people. Just keep in mind: You have a request and you want to inspire, convince or inform your audience.
Prepare your presentation!
Okay, you now know 5 important rhetorical devices that you can use in your language. Of course, it doesn't matter which language you speak - the main thing is that your audience understands you 😉
You now know how to perform and how to formulate your message. This paragraph is now about preparing the rhetoric, the content and the performance. We also have a great tip for you here:
Really make sure that you have gathered everything you need for your lecture! And by everything, we mean Everything! Whether it's clothing, presenter (the remote control, for your presentation - if you have one), your presentation (if you have one), your notes, your topic, the focus of your message, the right socks to go with your suit, comfortable shoes to go with your dress, date, time and place - and, and, and ...
You can see for yourself: The list of your preparations can be endless. Therefore, take enough time, prepare yourself and take notes on everything you need to clarify or want to clarify. Because: The best rhetoric is useless if you forget half of your things on day X!
So we hold on:
The most important thing for a successful speech, a rousing presentation or an unforgettable speech is: Learn rhetoric! And: Perform with confidence. Feel comfortable with what you say, with what you wear and with where you are at the moment. And even if something doesn't fit the way you want it to, stay positive, confident and believe in yourself. After all, you are the expert in your subject!
Learning rhetoric works for everyone
The targeted use of language is the most beautiful ability we humans can have. The good thing about it is that each of us is able to learn rhetoric in order to achieve our goals.
In order to make the power of rhetoric clear to you, we have linked a speech to you below, in which the speaker simply convinces with his quality.
It's best to watch the speech as soon as you have read this article.
The biggest mistake: not learning rhetoric
Let's just say it's all set up: You have your performance date, the audience knows about it, you have your theme and the clothes are ready. But: You have no idea how to communicate your thesis, your message or your concern effectively in front of an audience - no matter whether you speak in front of a small circle or stand on a big stage.
As you now know: There are numerous rhetorical tools that support you in your communication. A metaphor can be used to illustrate an aspect - and thus make something complicated, something very simple, understandable.
An alliteration is a great rhetorical tool to get the listeners' attention. "Milk makes tired men feel better" is a classic example. A parallelism makes you think "You sing loud, you talk soft". And as you surely know: Everything your listeners think about stays in their heads.
Also rhetorical means like neologism are a great tool for your speech. A neologism, which you create from two or more words, will remain in the listener's memory. What is important here: Don't get too abstract. The neologisms should make sense in the broadest sense.
The Klimax offers you the gradual increase of the words - and draws a great tension curve. Already you have the attention of the audience.
As you can see, there are numerous rhetorical tools that can make your presentation a success - if you use them correctly. So practice diligently and "learning rhetoric" is easy to apply in practice!
Conclusion: Learning rhetoric is possible for everyone
In this article we have given you some tips that you can use to improve your rhetoric.
We are sure: It makes no difference whether you are a beginner or not. With the right methods, you too can learn rhetoric and raise your language skills to a new level.
We would like to support you on this way. Therefore we would like to give you our workbook "Keynote development" as a present. Just click on the link in the box and download the ebook for free.
How did you like that article? Do you have any other rhetoric tips you would like to share with us? Then simply leave us your opinion as a comment. We look forward to discussing this exciting topic.
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