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Lecture 7 Speaking to Persuade
Ethics and persuasion: • It is not possible to bring about a truly beneficial result by using unethical methods. ---Martin Luther King • Set ethical goals; • Be honest; • Use the language responsibly.
Persuasion is… • A psychological process; • The most complex and challenging type of speech; • A strategic activity; • Something a speaker does with the audience; • A task to reach your target audience.
Types of Persuasive Speeches: • On questions of fact; • On questions of value; • On questions of policy.
On questions of fact: • Will China’s economy keep booming so dramatically next year? • What will happen next in the Middle East? • Is sexual orientation genetically determined? • Did William Shakespeare really write all the plays attributed to him?
Example: • Specific Purpose: To persuade my audience that genetically engineered crops pose serious dangers to the environment and to human health. • Central Idea: Genetically engineered crops have the potential to create major environmental and health hazards.
Main Points: • I. Genetically engineered crops will create environmental destruction by harming beneficial insects while creating super-bugs and super-weeds that will be very difficult to control. • II. Genetically engineered crops will create health problems by introducing harmful toxins and allergens into foods without the knowledge of consumers.
On questions of value: • What is the best Chinese movie in the past 10 years? • Is the cloning of human beings morally justifiable? • What are the ethical responsibilities of journalists? • Should College Entrance Exam be the only way to judge the academic capacity of high school graduates?
Example: • Specific Purpose: To persuade my audience that bicycle riding is the ideal form of land transportation. • Central Idea: Bicycle riding is the ideal form of land transportation because it is faster than walking or running, does not exploit animals or people, is nonpolluting, and promotes the health of the rider.
Main Points: • I. An ideal form of land transportation should meet four major standards. • It should be faster than running or walking. • It should not exploit animals or people. • It should be nonpolluting. • It should be beneficial for the person who uses it.
II. Bicycle riding meets all these standards for an ideal form of land transportation. • It is faster than walking or running. • It does not exploit the labor of animals or of other people. • It is not a source of air, land, water, or noise pollution. • It is extremely beneficial for the health of the rider. • --- speeches on questions of value may have very strong implications for our actions.
On questions of policy: • What measures should be taken to protect the United States against terrorist attacks? • Should same-sex marriage be legalized? • Should higher education be made compulsory for all high school graduates? • How should colleges and universities deal with the problem of binge drinking?
Purpose 1: To gain passive agreement: • To persuade my audience that there should be stricter safety standards on amusement-park rides. • To persuade my audience that CEE should no longer be used as the only standard in determining college admission. • To persuade my audience that school districts should not allow soft-drink companies to stock their products in school vending machines.
Purpose 2: To gain immediate action: • To persuade my audience to donate blood through the Red Cross. • To persuade my audience to start a regular exercise program. • To persuade my audience to purchase organic foods.
Three basic issues: • Need: • --- Is there a need for new regulations … • Plan: • --- What specific regulations should be implemented for … • Practicality: • --- Will these regulations work…
Example: • Specific Purpose: To persuade my audience that action is needed to deal with the safety problems caused by motorists’ use of cell phones while driving. • Central Idea: Solvingthe safety problems caused by using a cell phone while driving will require action by individuals and government alike.
Main Points: • I. The widespread use of cell phones by motorists has made driving much more dangerous. • A. Studies have shown that motorists are four to eight times more likely to be involved in an accident when they are using a cell phone. • B. In the past three years, an alarming number of fatalities have been blamed on drivers’ use of cell phones.
II. The problem can be solved by a combination of individual and government action. • A. While driving, individuals should only use their cell phones for genuine emergencies. • B. Government should pass legislation restricting the use of cell phones while driving.
Monroe’s motivated sequence: • Designed for policy speeches that seek immediate action: • Five steps: • Attention: • Need: • Satisfaction: • Visualization:. • Action:
Exercises for Critical Thinking: • To persuade my audience to donate time as a community volunteer. • (question of policy) • Question of fact: • To persuade my audience that there is a serious shortage of community volunteers in our locality. • Question of value: • To persuade my audience that they have a moral obligation to help people less fortunate than themselves.
2. To persuade my audience that violence on TV is a major cause of violent behavior in society. • (question of fact) • Question of value: • To persuade my audience that the government has a moral duty to monitor the amount of violence in TV programming. • Question of policy: • To persuade my audience that further reforms should be enacted to reduce the amount of violence on TV programs.
3. To persuade my audience that a national sales tax should be adopted to help pay off the national debt. • (question of policy) • Question of fact: • To persuade my audience that a major source of new revenue is needed to pay off the national debt. • Question of value: • To persuade my audience that a national sales tax is an equitable way to help pay off the national debt.
4. To persuade my audience that it is unethical for businesses to use genetic testing in screening potential employees. • (question of value) • Question of fact: • To persuade my audience that genetic testing is not always accurate in predicting whether people will contract particular diseases. • Question of policy: • To persuade my audience that businesses should be prohibited from using genetic testing as a method of screening potential employees.
Methods of persuasion: • Listeners will be persuaded by a speaker for one or more of four reasons: • 1) high credibility; • 2) strong evidence; • 3) sound reasoning; • 4) touching emotions.
Enhance your credibility: • a. explain your competence: personal experience • b. establish common ground with the audience • c. deliver your speech fluently, expressively and with conviction:
Using evidence: • a. use specific evidence; • b. use novel evidence; • c. make clear the point of your evidence.
A. Reasoning from specific instances: induction • a. avoid hasty generalizations: • b. avoid using absolute words: • c. reinforce your argument with statistics or testimony:
B. Reasoning from principle: deduction • When both the general principle and the minor premise are soundly based, your audience will be much more likely to accept your conclusion.
C. Causal reasoning: • Two common errors to avoid: • a. Fallacy of false cause: • b. Pitfall assuming that events have only one cause:
D. Analogical reasoning: • Red Herring: • (A has no bearing on B) • Introduces irrelevant issue in order to divert attention from the subject under discussion. • Ex: Why should you worry about the amount of violence on TV when thousands of people are killed in automobile accidents each year?
Invalid analogy: • Ex: If you are good at playing badminton, you will be great at Ping-pang. • The analogy is only valid when the two cases being compared are essentially alike.
Ad Hominem: • (“against the man”) • Attacking the person rather than dealing with the real issue in dispute. • Ex: The president has a number of interesting economic proposals, but let’s not forget that he comes from a very wealthy family.
Either-Or: • a false dilemma • It forces listeners to choose between two alternatives when more than two alternatives exist. It oversimplifies a complex issue. • Ex: Either we build a new high school or children in this community will never get into college.
Bandwagon: • “Because something is popular, it is therefore good, correct, or desirable.” • Ex: The president must be correct in his domestic policy; after all, the polls show that 60% of the people support him.
Slippery Slope: • The name comes from the image of a boulder rolling uncontrollably down a steep hill. Once it gets started, it can’t be stopped until it reaches the bottom. • Ex: If we ban the ownership of handguns and even hunting rifles, the right of free speech will be the next to go.
Exercises for Critical Thinking: • I don’t see any reason to wear a helmet when I ride a bike. Everyone bikes without a helmet. • (bandwagon fallacy) • It’s ridiculous to worry about protecting America’s national parks against pollution and overuse when innocent people are being endangered by terrorists. • (red herring)
There can be no doubt that the Great Depression was caused by Herbert Hoover. He became President in March 1929, and the stock market crashed just seven months later. • (false cause) • If we allow the school board to spend money remodeling the gymnasium, next they will want to build a new school. Taxes will soar so high that businesses will leave and then there will be no jobs for anyone in this town. • (slippery slope)
Raising a child is just like having a pet --- you need to feed it, play with it, and everything will be fine. • (invalid analogy) • I can’t support his proposal for a finance reform. After all, he was kicked out of law school for cheating on an exam. • (ad hominem)
One nonsmoker, interviewed at a restaurant, said, “I can eat dinner just fine even though people around me are smoking.” Another, responding to a survey, said, “I don’t see what all the fuss is about. My wife has smoked for years and it has never bothered me.” We can see, then, that secondhand smoke does not cause a problem for most nonsmokers. • (hasty generalization) • Our school must either increase tuition or cut back on library services for students. • (either-or)
Appealing to emotions: • Intended to make listeners feel sad, angry, guilty, afraid, happy, proud, sympathetic, reverent, etc. • a. Develop vivid examples: • b. Speak with sincerity and conviction: • c. Make reason and emotion work hand in hand.