Chapter 2 rhetoric and technical communication
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Chapter 2 Rhetoric and Technical Communication. Rhetoric Is the Study of. How words persuade people How words work and affect audiences How writers or speakers use words to get their ideas across to audiences. Rhetoric Helps Writers to. Understand writing in context Consider these contexts

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Chapter 2 Rhetoric and Technical Communication

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Chapter 2Rhetoric and Technical Communication

Rhetoric Is the Study of

  • How words persuade people

  • How words work and affect audiences

  • How writers or speakers use words to get their ideas across to audiences

Rhetoric Helps Writers to

  • Understand writing in context

  • Consider these contexts

  • Use the correct documents for the correct audience

  • Acknowledge their participation in various contexts

The Problem Solving Approach

  • Involves rhetorical thinking

  • Works through all types of documents

  • Discovers why communication is necessary

  • Supplies possibilities for all situations

Problem Solving Should Consider

  • An exigence, or situation, that must be addressed

  • A writer who must solve a problem

  • A audience that must understand the writing

  • A particular kind of document appropriate to the context

Exigence & Purpose

  • The impetus, requiring some form of communication and rhetorical assessment

    • A problem to be solved

    • An issue to be addressed

    • A situation that requires a response, explanation, or additional information

  • Everyday occurrences in the workplace

Purposes for Writing

  • Consider what documents accomplish

  • Consider who they reach and affect

  • Consider how they reflect the writer

Purposes for Documents

  • To inform

    • Present information or answer questions

  • To define

    • Illustrate the characteristics of something

  • To explain

    • Define how a process works

Purposes for Documents

  • To propose

    • Recommend a particular course of action

  • To convince

    • Persuade its audience to do something

Writers in the workplace carefully analyze their audiences and understand how those audiences interpret and use the documents you write

Workplace Documents Consider the Audiences’

  • Knowledge and expertise about the subject

  • Expectations and attitudes toward the subject

  • Ability and power to act

Classifying documents allows writers to determine

  • What kind of document to use

  • What information to include

  • What style of writing to address

  • What vocabulary to employ

  • What organizational strategies to use

Writers must understand audiences in these ways because they often need to produce documents intended for multiple audiences


  • Are not passive recipients of information

  • Have expectations about documents

  • Have different attitudes toward different subjects

  • Require documents that suit their needs

Addressing Audience Attitudes

  • Positive Attitude

    • Reaffirm that the readers’ attitudes are correct

  • Negative Attitude

    • Address and respond to readers’ objections

  • Neutral Attitude

    • Persuade readers to agree

Workplaces are filled with people who do not always get along, so it is crucial for workplace writers to understand the ways their documents address audiences with varying expectations and attitudes

Ways that Audiences Use Documents

  • To skim quickly

  • To read partially

  • To read closely from beginning to end

  • To revise and return to the author

  • To make a decision or plan a course of action

  • To support other documents

Multiple Audiences

  • Often read the same documents

  • Often have different needs

  • Often need to be considered in writing documents

  • Often need to be addressed with different sections of a document

Strategies for Cross-Cultural Audiences

  • Compose shorter sentences

  • Choose words carefully

  • Avoid idioms and jargon

  • Clarify acronyms and abbreviations

  • Avoid confusing visuals

Questions to Consider for Cross-Cultural Audiences

  • Is English the proper language to use?

  • What cultural aspects might influence communication?

  • What laws might influence communication?

  • How will technology influence communication?

Writers EstablishCredibility Through

  • Correctness

    • Enhances the reputation and trustworthiness of the writer

  • Experience and Expertise

    • Shows that the writer can deal with the situation at hand

Writers EstablishCredibility Through

  • Goodwill

    • Shows how the audience will benefit

  • Similarity

    • Shows shared beliefs and interests

  • Trust

    • Is developed through a combination all these elements

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